The Next Accident (FBI Profiler Series #3)

The Next Accident (FBI Profiler Series #3)

by Lisa Gardner


$44.17 $46.99 Save 6% Current price is $44.17, Original price is $46.99. You Save 6%. View All Available Formats & Editions


New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner is at the top of her form as she takes us on a desperate manhunt for a killer who preys upon his victims’ minds—just before he claims their lives.

What do you do when a killer targets the people you love the most? When he knows how to make them vulnerable? When he knows the same about you?

These are the questions that haunt FBI Special Agent Pierce Quincy. The police say his daughter’s death was an accident. Quincy will risk everything to learn the truth—and there’s only one person willing to help. Ex-cop Rainie Connor had once been paired professionally—and personally—with the brilliant FBI profiler. He helped her through the darkest days of her life.

Now it’s time for Rainie to return the favor. But this killer is like none these two hard-boiled pros have ever encountered. This twisted psychopath has an insatiable hunger for revenge...and for fear. As the clock ticks down to one unspeakably intimate act of vengeance, the only way Rainie can unmask this killer is to step directly in his murderous path. She will become a murder waiting to happen. She will be...the next accident.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780708993996
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books, Ltd.
Publication date: 12/28/2002
Series: FBI Profiler Series , #3
Pages: 472
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About the Author

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and The Neighbor, winner of the International Thriller Writers’ Award. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.

Read an Excerpt

Portland, Oregon

Monday afternoon, private investigator Lorraine Conner sat hunched over her paper-swamped desk, punched a few more numbers into her old, cagey laptop, then scowled at the results shown on the screen. She tried the numbers again, got the same dismal results, and gave them the same dark look. The Quicken-generated budget, however, refused to be intimidated.

Damn file, she thought. Damn budget, damn heat. And damn circular fan that she’d purchased just last week and was already refusing to work unless she whacked it twice in the head. She stopped now to give it the requisite double-smack and was finally rewarded with a feeble breeze. Christ, this weather was killing her.

It was three in the afternoon on Monday. Outside the sun was shining, the heat about to crest for another record-breaking July day in downtown Portland, Oregon. Technically speaking, Portland didn’t get as ridiculously hot as the East Coast. Nor, in theory, did it get as humid as the South. These days, unfortunately, the climate didn’t seem to realize that. Rainie had long since traded in her T-shirt for a white tank top. It was now plastered to her skin, while her elbows left rings of condensation on the one clear spot on her desk. If it got any hotter, she was taking her laptop into the shower.

Rainie’s loft offered central air, but as part of her “belt-tightening” program, she was cooling her vast, one-room condo the old-fashioned way — she’d opened the windows and turned on a small desk fan. Unfortunately, that little matter of heat rising was conspiring against her. The eighth-floor condo wasn’tmagically getting any cooler, while the smog content had increased tenfold.

Bad day for belt-tightening programs. Especially in Portland’s trendy Pearl district, where iced coffee was served on practically every street corner, and all the little cafés prided themselves on their gourmet ice cream. God knows the majority of her upwardly mobile neighbors were probably sitting in Starbucks right now, basking in air-conditioned glory while trying to choose between an iced Chai or nonfat mocha latté.

Not Rainie. No, the new and improved Lorraine Conner was sitting in her trendy loft in this trendy little neighborhood, trying to decide which was more important — money for the Laundromat, or a new carburetor for her fifteen-year-old clunker. On the one hand, clean clothes always made a good impression when meeting a new client. On the other hand, it didn’t do her any good to land new cases if she had no means of carrying them out. Details, details.

She tried a fresh round of numbers in her Quicken file. Showing a gross lack of imagination, the file spit back the same red results. She sighed. Rainie had just passed the Oregon Board of Investigator’s test to receive her license. In the good news department, this meant she could start working for defense lawyers as a defense investigator, à la Paul Drake to their Perry Mason. In the bad news department, the two-year license cost her seven hundred bucks. Then came the hundred dollars for the standard five-thousand-dollar bond to protect her against complaints. Finally, she got to fork over eight hundred dollars for a million dollars in errors-and-omissions insurance, more CYA infrastructure. All in all, Conner Investigations was moving up — except she was now out sixteen hundred dollars and feeling the crunch.

“But I like eating,” she tried to tell her computerized business records. They didn’t seem to care.

A buzzer sounded. Rainie sat up, dragging a hand discouragingly through her hair, while she blinked twice in surprise. She wasn’t expecting any clients today. She peered into the family room, where her TV was tuned in to the building’s security cameras and now broadcasted the view from the main entrance. A well-dressed man with salt-and-pepper hair stood patiently outside the locked front doors. As she watched, he buzzed her loft again. Then he glanced up at the camera.

Rainie couldn’t help herself. Her breath caught. Maybe her heart even stopped. She looked at him, the last person she expected to see these days, and everything inside her went topsy-turvy.
She ran a hand threw her newly shorn hair again. She was still getting used to the look, and the heat made it flip out like a dark, coppery dish mop. Then there was her tank top — old and sweat-soaked. Her denim shorts, ripped up, frayed, and hardly professional. She was just doing paperwork today, no need to dress up, and oh God had she put on deodorant this morning, because it was really hot in here and she could no longer tell.

Supervisory Special Agent Pierce Quincy remained gazing up at the security camera, and even through the grainy image, she could see the intent look in his deep blue eyes.

Rainie’s scattered thoughts slowed. Her hand settled at the hollow of her throat. And she studied Quincy, nearly eight months since she’d last seen him and six months since even the phone calls had stopped.
His eyes still crinkled in the corners. His forehead still carried deep, furrowed lines. He had the hard, lean features of a man who spent too much time dealing with death, and damn if she hadn’t liked that about him. Same impeccably tailored suit. Same hard-to-read face. There was no one quite like SupSpAg Quincy.

He pressed the ringer for a third time. He wasn’t going away. Once he made up his mind about something, Quincy rarely let it go. Except her...

Rainie shook her head in disgust. She didn’t want to think that way. They’d tried, they’d failed. Shit happened. Whatever Quincy wanted now, she doubted it was personal. She buzzed him in.

Eight floors later, he knocked at her front door. She’d had time for deodorant, but nothing in the world could save her hair. She swung open the door, balanced one hand on her denim-clad hip, and said,


“Hello, Rainie.”

She waited. The pause drew out, and to her satisfaction, Quincy broke first.

“I was beginning to worry that you were out on a case,” he said.

“Yeah well, even the good guys can’t be working all the time.”

Quincy raised a brow. His dry tone made her positively nostalgic as he said, “I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

She smiled in spite of herself. Then she swung the door open a bit wider, and truly let him in.

Quincy didn’t speak right away. He walked around her loft casually, but Rainie wasn’t fooled. She’d blown the majority of her savings on the loft just four months ago and she knew the kind of impression it made. The eleven-foot ceilings of a converted warehouse space. The open, sunny layout with nothing but a kitchen counter and eight giant support columns to came out four simple spaces: kitchen, bedroom, family room, and study. The huge expanse of windows, filling an entire wall with the original 1925 paned glass.

The woman who had owned the condo before Rainie had finished the entranceway with warm red brick and painted the living space with rustic shades of adobe and tan. The result was the shabby chic look Rainie had read about it magazines, but knew better than to try on her own. The loft had nearly bankrupted her, but the minute she’d seen it, she couldn’t have gone without it. It was fashionable, it was upscale, it was beautiful. And maybe if the new and improved Lorraine Conner lived in this kind of place, she could be that kind of person.

“It’s nice,” Quincy said finally.

Rainie scrutinized his face. He seemed sincere. She grunted a reply.

“I didn’t know you did sponge painting,” Quincy commented.

“Don’t. The previous owner.”

“Ahh, she did a nice job. New hairdo?”

“I cut off the length and sold it to buy the loft, of course.”

“You always were clever. Not organized, as I can tell by looking at the desk, but clever.”

“Why are you here?”

Quincy paused, then smiled grudgingly. “I see you still know how to cut to the chase.”

“And you still know how to dodge a question.”


She arched a brow, signaling that too wasn’t an answer. Then she propped up her hip on the edge of her desk, and knowing Quincy as well as she did, she waited.

Supervisory Special Agent Pierce Quincy had started his career as an FBI profiler, back in the days when that division was called the Investigative Support Unit and he was known as one of the best of the best. Six years ago, after a particularly brutal case, he’d moved to the Behavioral Science Unit where he focused on researching future homicidal practices and teaching classes at Quantico. Rainie had met him a year ago in her hometown of Bakersville, Oregon, when a mass murder had ravaged her quaint community and garnered Quincy’s attention. As the primary officer, she had walked that crime scene with him, having met him just an hour before and already impressed by how impassive he could keep his face, even when looking at the chalk outlines of the bodies of little girls.

She hadn’t had his composure in the beginning. She had earned hers the hard way, over the following days of the investigation, when things in her town had gone from bad to worse, and she’d realized just how much she had to fear. Quincy had started as her ally. He’d become her anchor. By the end of the case, there’d been the hint of more.
Then Rainie had lost her job with the sheriff’s department. Then the DA had charged her with man one for a fourteen-year-old homicide, and she’d spent four months waiting for her day in court. Eight months ago, without warning or explanation, the charges against her were dropped. It was over.

Rainie’s lawyer had the impression that someone might have intervened on her behalf. Someone with clout. Rainie had never brought it up, but she’d always suspected that person was Quincy. And far from drawing them together, it was one more thing cluttering the space between.

He was Supervisory Special Agent Pierce Quincy, the man who’d brought down Jim Beckett, the man who’d discovered Henry Hawkins, the man who probably did know what had happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
She was simply Lorraine Conner, and she still had a lot to do to get her life on track.

Quincy said, “I have a job for you. Rainie nearly snorted. “What? The Bureau’s no longer good enough for you?”

He hesitated. “It’s ... personal.”

“The Bureau’s your life, Quincy. It’s all personal for you.”

“But this more so than most. Could I have a glass of water?”

Rainie furrowed her brow. Quincy with a personal mission. She was hopelessly intrigued.

She went into the kitchen, fixed two glasses of water with plenty of ice, then joined him in the family room. Quincy had already taken a seat on her over stuffed blue-striped sofa. The couch was old and threadbare, one of the few remnants of her life in Bakersville. There, she’d lived in a tiny ranch-style house with a back deck surrounded by soaring pine trees and air filled with the mournful cries of hoot owls. No sounds of sirens or late-night partiers. Just endless evenings crammed full of memories — her mother drunk, her mother raising her fist. Her mother, missing most of her head.

Not all of the recent changes in Rainie’s life were bad.

Quincy took a long sip of water. Then he removed his jacket and carefully draped it over the arm of the sofa. His shoulder holster stood out darkly against his white dress shirt.

“My daughter — we buried Mandy last month.”

“Oh Quincy, I’m sorry.” Rainie responded instinctively, then fisted her hands before she did something awkward such as reaching out to him.

She knew the story behind Mandy’s automobile accident. Last April, Quincy’s twenty-three-year-old daughter had collided head-on with a telephone pole in Virginia, causing permanent brain damage as well as shattering her face. At the hospital, she’d immediately been put on life support, though that had only been intended to sustain her organs long enough to gain permission for harvest. Unfortunately, Quincy’s ex-wife, Bethie, had confused life support with life, and refused to have the machines turned off. Quincy and Bethie had argued. Finally, Quincy had left the bedside vigil to return to work, a decision that had alienated his ex-wife even more.

“Bethie finally gave permission,” Rainie supplied.

Quincy nodded. “I didn’t think.... In my mind, Mandy has been dead for well over a year. I didn’t think it would be this hard.”

“She was your daughter. It would be strange if it were easy.”

“Rainie...” He seemed on the verge of saying something more, maybe caught up in this moment when they seemed like old friends again. Then the moment passed. He shook his head. He said, “I want to hire you.”


“I want you to look into my daughter’s accident. I want you to make sure that it was an accident.” Rainie was too flabbergasted to speak. Quincy read her doubt and rushed on firmly: “Some things have come up. I want you to investigate them.”

“I thought she was drunk,” Rainie said, still trying to get her bearings.

“Drunk, hit a man, a dog, and a telephone pole. End of story.”

“She was drunk. The hospital confirmed that she had a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit, but it’s how she came to be drunk that has me concerned. I met a few of her friends at the funeral, and one of them, Mary Olsen, claims that Amanda spent most of the evening at Mary’s house, playing cards and drinking Diet Coke. Now, I hadn’t spoken with Mandy in a bit. You ... you know I haven’t had the closest relationship with her. But apparently, Amanda had joined AA six months before her accident and was doing very well. Her friends were very proud of her.”

In spite of herself, Rainie frowned. “Did something happen during the card game? Get her upset, make her drive straight to a bar?”

“Not according to Mary Olsen. And Amanda didn’t leave until nearly two-thirty in the morning, after the bars were closed.”

“Was she alone?”


“Maybe she drove home and got drunk.”

“And then got back into her car to drive where?”
Rainie chewed her bottom lip. “Okay, maybe she had liquor stashed in her car and started drinking the minute she left the party.”

“No containers were found in her vehicle or in her apartment. Plus, the liquor stores would all be closed, so she couldn’t have purchased it that night.”

“Maybe she’d bought it before arriving at her friends, then she threw away the empty containers on her way home. You know, to cover her tracks.”

“Amanda crashed fifteen miles from her apartment, on some back road that bears no direct relationship to Mary Olsen’s house or hers.”

From the Audio Cassette edition.

Copyright 2002 by Lisa Gardner

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Next Accident 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 408 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Small town police officer Lorraine ¿Rainie¿ Connor and supervisory special agent Pierce Quincy worked together, solving a case involving mass murders. Their relationship could have developed into something more but Rainie felt she wasn¿t good enough for him and pushed him out of her life. Now they are brought back together once again to solve the biggest case of their career or die trying.

This case is up close and very personal for Pierce because his daughter is in an auto accident that was no accident and his ex-wife is killed. The local Virginia police finger Pierce as their prime suspect. Pierce moves heaven and earth to protect his remaining daughter Kimberly with Rainie¿s help. She wants to make sure that the man she cares about doesn¿t lose anymore people he cares about. She also wants to see him stay alive so they can begin a future together.

THE NEXT ACCIDENT is a stunning work of romantic suspense with so many unexpected twists that the reader will not be able to predict what happens next. Lisa Gardner has written a fast paced action adventure plot while never forgetting to create characters the audience so that the audience will feel strongly enough for them to survive and get it on together. Anybody interested in seeing how Pierce and Rainie first met should read THE THIRD VICTIM even though THE NEXT ACCIDENT is a stand-alone thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Moeluna5 More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of Gardner's best books. You will continue to love these characters. This plot is one of her best. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat! The suspense is amazing. You will fall in love with these characters, wanting to know more about them even after you reach the ending. Bravo! Garnder!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't good, it was great! I will say this is the first Lisa Gardner book I have ever read and I enjoyed it immensely. I had read a few other mystery/thriller novels before and they were very intense from start to finish. I found this one to have a somewhat slowish start (because of the introduction of characters to the story a lot of background was given). I'd say it got juicy for me about 1/3 into the book, after that I would think about it all the time when I wasn't able to read because I was so excited about what would happen next. I'm so glad I stuck with it because it was very intense! I will surely be reading more Lisa Gardner books from now on. I especially appreciated that it didn't just end abruptly without it expertly piecing together all the questions in the reader's mind and answering those things. I felt overall it was an excellent book!
Britt12321 More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book I got into it right away. The pace of the book and the plot really draw you in. All the characters stand out and really fit with the story. There was never a moment when I was bored with this book. I was kept guessing till the end!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I kept seeing The Perfect Husband in book sections. I kept saying I need to read that. Well, I went to the store to grab it and they didn't have it. I decided to give The Next Accident a try and boy am I glad I did! I couldn't stop turning the pages! I later learned that she used to write romance novels under a different name and I could not tell at all in this book (I am DEFINITELY not a romance reader). This book is right up there with some of the best mystery books I have read! Now, I really can't wait to read The Perfect Husband and many more by Lisa Gardner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Next Accident (FBI Profiler Series #3) I couldn't put the book down! A powerfully fast paced tale of twisted suspense! A continuous battle of wits against a psychopath bent on revenge. Rainie and Quincy are very fascinating characters who come from opposite ends of the spectrum determined to stop the unidentified killer. The race is on! Will they succeed in time? Lisa Gardner came out of the blue for me. I'm now hooked on her FBI Profiler Series!
meags222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good mystery novel. I had read her more recent novels and this is one of her first novels. It has familiar characters that had always been secondary characters in the books I'd previously read by Gardiner. I really liked reading these characters in a different light. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
baswood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
fairly run of the mill crime novel with formulaic characters
tanya2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Everytime I thought I knew who the killer was the author threw a twist in and I wasn't sure again. Someone was killing off an FBI agents family. It had lots of suspense and mystery which I love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Edge of seat suspense, all of the FBI Series keep me coming back, for MORE.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me thinking and figuring through out. Good romance too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago