"W-We were at a friends place, playing cards. The guy, Peter somebody, he was a real prick. So full of himself. Helen, that's my wife couldn't stand him but Maggie our friend, well she's a bit desperate, so we stayed as long as we could, but he was so awful we came home early. Good thing, Hey!"
Mr. Livingstone was rambling. The adrenaline that had kept him going for the last thirty minutes was wearing off. He was coming down, coming down fast.
He got himself a cup, then reached up into the overhead cupboard for a jar of instant coffee. Gary noticed his hands were shaking. Suddenly the coffee jar slipped from his grasp, bounced off the bench top and smashed onto the floor, exploding into a thousand pieces, covering the floor with coffee powder. John Livingstone began to shake uncontrollably, his breathing rapid and shallow. His legs gave way from under him and he slumped down onto the kitchen floor. His eyes filled then overflowed.
"Oh Jesus," he wailed. "Oh Jesus," over and over again. "How could anyone do that to my little girl Mr. Samson. He killed Steffy and then tried to do the same to my Becky. He raped her, cut her throat and left her to die. If we hadn't come home when we did...."
John let out a cry like a wounded animal. He hugged his knees to his chest and rocked back and forth, bashing his head repeatedly against the cupboard door, trying perhaps, to distract himself from the unbearable pain he felt in his soul. He rolled over onto his side, curled up, coverd his head with his arms, trying to block out the terrible images which assailed him.
"He cut off her finger," he whispered, "raped her, slit her throat and then cut off her finger. Like some sort of trophy."
Gary brushed away the broken glass fragments with is foot and joined the distraught man on the floor. he lifted John into a sitting position and, leaning against the kitchen cupboard, placed an arm around his shoulder.
"It's alright John," he told him gently, "I'm sure Rebecca will pull through, and I promise you, I'll get the bastard who did this. I'll get him if it's the last thing I do."
Set in the cities and outback of Australia, 'Innocent Until Proven deadly' tells of Detective, Gary 'Schoolbags' Samson's search for the man responsible for the rape and murder of three women.
This is Kevin Barry's third novel.