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Nora shook her head. “We heard back from his wireless provider. He hadn’t had any calls or texts within his last few hours. And all the calls and texts from earlier that day were from the guys he was with.”

“Dammit. So why’d the killer take his phone, if not to slow down our investigation?”

“Maybe to sell it?”

“Mason said it was old. I doubt it was worth anything. And this guy is good . . . he’s got us scrambling to find him. I don’t see him grabbing a phone because he might make a buck off of it.”

“Then it was probably for a trophy.”

Ava nodded grimly. That answer made sense. “What was the evidence Zander called me about before the murder last night?” she asked. “I kept meaning to ask you yesterday.”

“We found the same fingerprint on two of the masks that doesn’t belong to any of the responders or family members,” said Nora.

“It’s on two masks?” Ava’s attention perked up fifty points. “Which ones?”

“On Weldon’s and Samuelson’s.”

“Yes! I knew Weldon belonged to the group.” Ava grinned. “It’s that final confirmation we needed. No leads on the print, though?”

“It hasn’t turned up in any of the databases we’ve searched,” said Nora. “We’re combing through some others.”

Ava could tell there was something she hadn’t shared. “Just one print? A one-fingered killer?” she joked.

“We’re wondering if it was planted on the masks,” Nora said.

“Why is that?”

“Have you ever listened to the fingerprint guys talk when they find an unusual print?” Nora asked.

“Yes.” Ava nodded. “They turn into a bunch of science geeks. Totally excited and talking in jargon that I don’t understand. I think an interesting find after looking at boring fingerprints all day shoots them over the top.”

“This print made the whole evidence department have nerdgasms,” said Nora.

Ava snorted.

Nora pulled out her phone and opened up an image, holding it out to Ava. Ava studied the enlarged fingerprint. She knew very little about prints, and she glanced at Nora in confusion. “Am I seeing a happy face?”

Nora nodded, and Ava looked at the print again. The whirls and swirls of the print formed two eyes and a perfectly symmetrical smile. Apparently this was heaven to fingerprint technicians. “It’s very unusual. Is that why you think it might be planted?”

“This was the sole print inside of each mask.” Nora stated. “It’s such a rare print, it made us wonder if they’re having a bit of fun with us.”

“If we find a suspect with this print, that’d be some pretty incriminating evidence,” said Ava. “If everything else makes sense.”

“If the suspect doesn’t have it, does that mean he didn’t do it?” Nora countered.

“No, of course not,” Ava admitted. “But it wasn’t on Schefte’s mask?”

“No. But we’ll check the mask from the scene last night.”

Ava studied the smile on the phone. Was someone messing with them? “Are they sure it’s real? Could someone have created it?”

“It’s real. They were positive. A print like that isn’t unheard of, but it is quite rare.”

“Pretty cool, isn’t it?” Zander asked, looking over her shoulder.

“You would like this sort of thing.” She turned to look at him. “You’re the biggest science geek—” She stopped, stunned by the dark circles under his red eyes. “You okay?”

Zander looked away. “Yeah. Didn’t sleep.”

Ava bit the inside of her cheek. She’d worked with Zander on cases where no one got sleep, but she’d never seen him look this bad. He looked as if he’d finished a fifth of tequila and not slept in days. “It was a disturbing scene last night,” she agreed, watching him closely.

“Bad one.”

Bullshit. Louis Samuelson spiked to a wall in his living room had been ten times worse than their murder scene last night. Whatever was bugging Zander, he clearly wasn’t going to share it at the moment. Either he didn’t want to talk or it was nothing and he was coming down with the flu.

Or he was just being Zander. Silent man who never shared what bugged him.

Probably that last option.

“You up for this?” she asked, tipping her head toward the door to the autopsy suite.

“Not a problem,” he stated.

“Is Henry joining us this morning?” she asked Nora.

“Henry doesn’t do autopsies,” said Nora with a smile. “He gets to skip them because I’m afraid he’ll crack his skull open when he hits the floor, and he refuses to wear the protective brain bucket I suggested.”

“He’s fainted?” Zander asked.

“Three times. I let it go after that. It’s easier to hold the weakness over his head and demand favors.”

The three of them stepped into the autopsy suite and Ava felt the temperature dip ten degrees. She’d expected it and had worn two layers under her sweater. They donned long-sleeved ankle-length gowns and shoe covers and picked up face shields, planning to get up close to Dr. Trask’s work. Ava was curious to see how the petite doctor worked with death. She’d found her to be down-to-earth and amusing while she did her once-over of Lucien Fujioka last night. Most pathologists Ava had met had pretty good senses of humor. She figured it was necessary to face their job day after day.