She stood at death's door, clinging to the promise that her visit beyond its threshold would be a brief one. Then she stepped inside.
Ella Laraway couldn't watch the make-believe autopsies on TV without shuddering, and this was going to be much worse. When the real-life detective who'd accompanied her from the parking lot had described what she'd be seeing, she'd assumed the monologue was routine for him. But his description of the body-identification process had made her queasy.
At least she wasn't alone. They walked in silence now, Ella and Detective Frank Bianchi, past a red arrow on the wall and a sign that read Viewing Room. Then they turned a corner to the swinging door that opened onto the Toronto morgue.
In her mind, Ella replayed Jim Kenyon's 9:00 AM call to her office to ask a personal favor. Although her heart usually beat a bit faster at the sound of his voice, it missed a beat this time when she learned the favor would be in the company of a detective, not him, and that he wanted her to identify a body so he wouldn't have to.
Jim told her that his son Jamie had disappeared, leaving behind a note explaining why. Jim didn't share the details with Ella, but from the stammering fear in his voice, it was obvious to her that Jamie's explanation was that he'd killed himself.