Oh, so this is the last chapter! Well, I have to say, you set up a really interesting possibility if you ever chose to do a sequel. Hint. Hint. Hint.
Good old Ron! Leave it to him to put the pieces together and see them for what they are. I love the small patterns that you worked into Simon Ross's actions. I guess the main thing that would have been really neat is if you'd dropped some of the hints in earlier, like giving the name of the girl that was killed way back at the beginning. That would definitely add more of that "gotcha" factor when you reveal things later on.
You built up some nice suspense around the raid on Ross's flat. I wasn't sure what to expect, even after seeing that Ross knew they were coming. He's plainly decided that Teddy has to die, which is a scary thought. Then the Aurors arrive, and I'm expecting him to have some nasty surprises for them...
But he doesn't. What is this? He's just coming quietly, without putting up a fight? You know who Ross is starting to remind me of? Hannibal Lecter. He has that eerie, quiet disposition. The cultured, cerebral exterior that conceals the incredible capacity for violence and cruelty that lies underneath. He went quietly with the Aurors because he knew that the Ministry was the place where they would be at their weakest. The place where they feel safe and secure. You have created a really amazing villain here, equal parts chilling and intriguing.
As they interrogate Ross, more and more pieces clicked into place for me, until... I just had one of those revelations that makes you feel cold inside. Ross didn't kill his own family. And the reason he went back to the morgue was to make sure that David was dead. To double-check his own handiwork. He obviously hated David passionately. You don't think... Nah, it couldn't be, right? Did David kill Ross's family? Is that what this is really all about? Chills...
The part about how David faked his own death, at least for my tastes, sounded a little off. It's strange to imagine a Medical Examiner, who's a good friend of Harry's, allowing Harry to believe that David was dead while Harry was standing there in shock and nearly in tears. I understand that he made a promise, but Harry is the Head Auror, David's boss. It just seemed strange that Graham wouldn't have said something. All's well that ends well, I suppose, except now I think that David might be a murderer. You twist my feelings in knots with this story, you know that? :p
Ross's final message to Teddy was chilling, and the specific way he bides his time until he could kill the guards and escape only added to that Hannibal Lecter vibe. I'm imagining Anthony Hopkins, when he escapes from his cell in Silence of the Lambs. More chills...
David's funeral must have been really awkward for all involved. I can't imagine poor Harry, having to go and try to comfort David's bereaved mother. But you did a really nice job of putting all the pieces in place if you ever wanted to continue this story. Hint. Hint. Hint. ;)
Sam, I can't say enough about how much I've enjoyed reading this. It was really nicely done and very fun. Let's just forget all those half-baked theories of mine, OK? Thanks! Great job!
Author's Response: Hey, Dan!
I see your hint and I raise you... one planned sequel in my notes. ;)
Ron is the best for this. Ron was not so emotionally involved that he could only see things one way. So he was always going to be the one to crack the case. Harry can't have all the glory. The name of the girl was something I missed out because at the time, this wasn't where the story was heading. Maybe now that it is complete, I can go back and edit this.
Simon has definitely decided that Ted needs to die. When is the question. ;)
Simon Ross reminding you of Hannibal Lecter is pretty much the best compliment a thriller/mystery/horror writer like me could ever receive. Especially since the Hannibal series are some of my favorite movies ever. Thank you. Simon is a desperate man willing to do anything to get what he wants, but he knows how to conceal it and wait. He's had a lot of practice.
Oooh, a chillingly reasonable deduction. Did David do it? No, David did not kill Simon's family, BUT he is, in Simon's eyes, the reason they're dead.
And Tim is not happy about it, but he didn't tell Ted the whole story. *wonders what that could be* David has reasons that go further than Harry being his boss, things that tie in with the above. Ah, what did he do? Are the knots thoroughly twisted? :P
You know, I'll think I'll watch Silence of the Lambs tonight. Re-reading your reviews for this story has put me in the thriller mood. :D
I'm so glad you decided to read this story and I'm so sorry it's taken so long for me to respond. Thank you for leaving a review!