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Deadly Quotes Escaping Psychiatry 3

Deadly Quotes. Escaping Psychiatry 3

by Olga Núñez Miret


Death by natural causes. That was the official explanation. Until they found the quote.

Killing isn’t as difficult as people think. In fact it can be quite easy.

Was it a novel the dead man had been writing? Was it an eerie suicide note? Was it murder?

Mary Miller and Leah Deakin, friends and doctors, are not sure there is a case worth investigating but are intrigued. Could a serial killer behind bars have orchestrated another killing spree? Can the clues be found in his own autobiography?

The fourth book in the Escaping Psychiatry series sees Mary, psychiatrist, survivor of attempted rape and murder, and amateur crime investigator by default, team up with Leah Deakin, an FBI pathologist, in a case that pitches them against a man who loves to play mortal games. Will they be able to stop him? And at what price?

If you enjoy reading gripping psychological thrillers, prefer strong female protagonists, feel oddly attracted to ultraintelligent and twisted baddies, and can’t get enough of challenging mysteries, you shouldn’t miss this novel.

Discover Mary Miller’s new adventure, and if you’re new to the Escaping Psychiatry series, you can go back and read the prequel Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings, in e-book format without any extra cost.



It is a truth universally acknowledged that a murderer will go back to the scene of the crime. Of course, as is the case with any wisdom that has become general knowledge, it must be taken with a pinch of salt, although… (King, T. To Live Killing)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” One of those sentences that have been attributed to many people through history and through the years. Personally, I prefer Oscar Wilde’s version: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” I’ve always had a weakness for Wilde. Now, don’t you start thinking that I share his taste for the opposite sex, or rather, the same sex. But his style… not sartorial, but his behaviour, the way he showed off and he treated others, his genius, his art… And yes, like him I also think that I’ve dedicated my genius to my life and only my talent to my art.

I’m conscious that not many people see it that way and they don’t believe murder is a talent, something one should cultivate or feel proud about, but I do. For me, it wasn’t an impulse, something I did in a moment of insanity, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, overburdened by my emotions or provoked to the limit of my resistance. No, no, not at all. It was a conscious and premeditated decision.

I know there are many who follow family tradition; they start working in their parents’ business when they’re young, or perhaps they end up there, not quite so young, even if they don’t want to. Some try many different things without being able to find their calling, something they’ve been born to do, however hard they try. Others seek advice from counsellors, guides, gurus or coaches, asking them to help them find their true talent. I don’t imagine any of them would ever advise anybody to go into a life of crime or murder, even if they have the ability and the skill for it. I suspect that’s something one discovers alone, be it with desperation, disillusionment or trepidation.

In my case, I realised when I was quite young that I was interested in death. And that I had a certain talent (with time I’ve become modest) to accelerate its arrival. Once I overcame my initial surprise (after all, I come from a normal family and didn’t have, at the time, any criminal connections), I devoted myself fully to it. It’s true that practice makes perfect. And, although I shouldn’t say that, I achieved a certain level of mastery. That’s why, now that due to my sad personal circumstances I can’t carry on practising, I thought that a book, a cross between a memoir and a manual, could be of interest, not only to those who study people like me but also to those who might be considering serial murders as a possible career.

Even though, as all artists, I’m against plagiarism and piracy; as I say at the beginning, imitation is a completely different matter. So, if you find here something useful that you might be able to use in your future endeavours, don’t hesitate. Of course, a token of recognition and appreciation will be always welcome. (King, T., To Live Killing)

The Case

Mary read the e-mail Leah had sent to the encrypted account the FBI had set up for her.

Hi, Mary:

As you and Elliott, my boyfriend, have been encouraging me to get into other aspects of investigations, apart from the post-mortem reports, when this case dropped on my lap and I started to make enquiries, I thought about you. Read the information attached and I’ll phone you tomorrow.

Summary of the post-mortem report:

Steve Burton, male, 45 years old, estate agent by profession, divorced with two sons, with no criminal history, was found collapsed in front of his computer in Sparta, Georgia. They thought he’d had a heart attack and had died of natural causes.

One of the policemen noticed what was written on the computer screen. It seems it was a new document, and they didn’t find any copy of it on Burton’s computer, and the only thing written there, in Times New Roman 36, was: Killing isn’t as difficult as people think. In fact, it can be quite easy.

At first, the local police thought it might have been a story he was writing, but they could find no evidence that he did any writing. Neither on his computer, nor in his online browsing history, or even in the things he read, that weren’t many. It seems he was interested in football, police-procedural TV series, and little else, which made them suspect that perhaps his death was not natural and that the quote might have been written by the murderer.

I know that apart from being a writer you are also an avid reader. I don’t know if you will think the same, but I thought the statement in question sounded like a quotation. And even more, it sounded familiar to me. So, after thinking about it and it spinning round and round in my head and the computer, I finally found where it came from. I’m sure you’ll remember Taylor King. A serial killer who terrorised the country a decade ago. You probably remember he was caught, and he’s still locked-up, but after plenty of controversy and disputes to-ing and fro-ing, they decided to publish his memoirs, To Live Killing. It’s a quote from that book.

Taylor is in a Maximum Security Unit, so it couldn’t have been him, but it may have been a copycat.

I asked them to do more tests, as they didn’t know what had killed Burton. I suggested they look for injection marks and told them to send the blood samples to some specialised toxicology labs to make sure the killer had not used a rare poison or some new drug. As you can see from the pictures I attach, there is no evidence that he resisted.

Today they called to tell me they had found a needle mark in Burton’s body. In the popliteal fossa, the area behind the knee. And, luckily, a more sophisticated lab managed to find traces of a new sleeping pill, very fast acting, in his blood. It’s called Somnodem. There were only tiny traces of the drug, but it’s very likely he was asleep when he was murdered, and that explains why he didn’t resist.

But there are too many things that don’t fit, which made me think this is not a simple murder, if there ever is such a thing. Although they had only asked me to check the post-mortem, I’ve had an idea. I’ll call you to see what you think.

Thanks and speak to you soon.


Mary smiled. She had met Leah, a forensic pathologist working for the FBI, when they had asked her to become a consultant for the FBI after she survived the attack of a rapist and serial killer, and Leah was in charge of the induction course for the newbies. Mary immediately liked her, although it was evident she did not enjoy talking in public, even if it was to a small group of people. She was good at teaching, but it bothered her that people were forever asking her about one of her teammates, who seemed to be very well known in the FBI and had a reputation for being both a weirdo and a genius, Elliott Best. Because Mary was not an FBI insider and did not know the said Elliott, she focused on the topic they were studying, and they ended up talking after the course finished, and had kept in touch. Leah had confessed that she was seeing Elliott but to avoid any encroachments on their privacy, they hadn’t told anybody. And now, after much discussion of investigations and cases, in the abstract, it seemed that finally there was something more tangible to work on, perhaps together.

Chapter 1. Leah and Mary. Friends and Colleagues


“Yes. Hi, Leah. I’ve read your e-mail. I’m intrigued.”

“Do you remember King’s case?” Leah laughed nervously.

“Yes. Of course. I remember reading about King. When they caught him he said he chose the murder’s location by randomly opening a travel guide and he gave all kinds of awkward explanations about how he chose his victim and the method of the killing. I also read his book years back. I’ve never met him personally, but I was quite intrigued by the case, not only due to his explanations and the content of the book, once it was finally published, but also because of the debates his possible diagnosis and treatment caused within forensic psychiatry circles. It caused much controversy and there was talk about it for several years, although not recently. It’s peculiar, for sure. And worrying, if there is a connection between the murder and the quote.” Mary sighed.

“Both things seem to be connected. There’s no evidence that Burton had access to Taylor’s book or even that he’d looked him up on the internet.”

“If it was the murderer who wrote the quote, it’s really worrying.”

“Indeed. It’s difficult to know how his mind works. But his behaviour is odd. On the one hand, he goes to such lengths to hide that it is a murder, making it look like a death due to natural causes, and on the other hand, he leaves that quote there. As if he (or she) was trying to put us to the test. I’m worried that if this is the work of a copycat, this might be only the beginning.”

“It gives me the creeps to even think about it. What were you thinking of, Leah?”

“I don’t know how busy you are or if you’d be able to take some time off. The FBI might call you to advise on a case.”

“Right now, apart from doing some research on several topics for future books and correcting my notes, I have nothing in the works. Phil, my friend, the lawyer I told you about, wants me to attend a course with him, but there’s still plenty of time left for that, and the two

FBI agents I work with, Barnes and Dean, are helping set up a local unit, so I’m not expecting any calls. I’m all yours.”

Leah laughed.

“I was thinking we could take the opportunity whilst Elliott is in San Diego participating in a conference and several courses for you to come here. We could go over what we have so far. I’m sure that your opinion will be very useful to me. And if we think we might get somewhere with it, we could always travel and investigate something in the field.”

“It sounds good,” replied Mary. “I don’t think you need me, but I’d love to come and watch you work. I have very little experience with FBI methods and I want to learn more. I’m much more used to dealing with people face to face, trying to decipher the true meaning of what they tell me.”

“I think we’ll make a good team. And even if the investigation doesn’t take us anywhere, we can always have fun and do some sightseeing.”

“Professional tourism. An excellent marketing idea, dear Leah. Do you have any date in mind?”

“I’ll talk to my superiors about it and I’ll phone you to confirm it with you.”


Eager to see Mary, Leah managed to secure two weeks’ holiday, which she stretched a couple of days more by changing her rota. She enjoyed her job, even if it meant spending many hours alone or sometimes with an assistant, with unknown bodies, often murdered in nasty and cruel ways, but every so often she missed the give and take of working on a joint project with somebody. And even though it was true that Elliott would call her sometimes to ask for her opinion, and they’d worked together on a couple of cases, no matter what he said, for her, the cases were Elliott’s. She loved to help him and was very proud of the fact he was one of the most highly valued FBI agents in the department, but she wanted to prove to herself how far she could get. And yes, she fancied working with a woman. Although she knew of many examples, she didn’t truly believe that women were always suspicious of each other and stabbed each other in the back if they could. And if she could prove it by working with Mary, a woman she’d felt drawn to from the very beginning, better still.

Olga Núñez Miret Author/translator (English/Spanish), psychiatrist. Autora/traducciones (español/inglés), psiquiatra

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And I thought I'd give you a Christmas present. A little book I published last year, with advice and pictures, bilingual, that you might enjoy.


You can download it in MOBI format here: MOBI 

And here in Epub format: EPUB 

Comments (1)

Olga Nez Miret - 17/12/2018

Thanks so much for sharing my post about my new book. I hope all your readers enjoy it. And the gift. All the best and happy holidays!

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