The Homeless Houseguests by J.E.T. Johnson by J.E.T. Johnson - Read Online
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The Homeless Houseguests

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Length: 280 pages4 hours

Summary

TUDA is approached by gay couple Wendy Sutherland and Martha O’Keefe for help in evicting their unwanted house guests. Weeks earlier the naïve couple had given shelter to two strangers. The homeless mother – Debbie Langdon - and her twelve-year old daughter Lucy, have now seemingly settled in permanently. The women report a growing fear of Debbie and her ‘over-friendly’ child.
Two days later a cyclone ravages Sydney and the couple’s dog Brutus, disappears.
Later it’s discovered that Lucy is also missing.
TUDA’s senior partner, Marilyn Harris, sets out to evaluate Debbie for herself. She also travels to Birrong to interview the eldest daughter, Maureen Whitlock. The story of incest and brutality that Maureen relates has Marilyn frightened for the lives of Lucy and Brutus. She believes Debbie is setting her benefactors up for a charge of child sexual assault, probably as a prelude to blackmail. This is substantiated when Martha and Wendy naively agree to a police search of their home and some of their possessions are taken. Later, forensics find traces of the child’s fluids on the removed items which shakes both the women and their TUDA employees.
Marilyn tasks TUDA’s receptionist and her son’s lover, Siobhan McConnigal, with a phone interview of Martha’s homophobic and fanatically religious parents. Marilyn senses the ‘coincidental’ meeting between Martha and Debbie was engineered by the O’Keefe’s. She believes the manipulative Debbie ingratiated herself with the couple and offered to ‘save’ their daughter from her lesbianism. Dylan Harris is installed in Wendy and Martha’s home with orders to provoke Debbie. Marilyn hopes the woman’s ‘mousey’ veneer will crack and she will give herself away with an unplanned response. Unlike his mother, Dylan has no experience with familial abuse and he is horrified by it and Debbie. Whilst pursuing unsettling acknowledgements of prejudice within his moral awareness, Dylan settles in for his first night at the Stanmore residence. As his mind wanders to his relationship with Siobhan he forgets to check for the presence of a sleeping bag that Marilyn has asked him to locate.
This oversight has deadly consequences.
In the early hours of the following morning Debbie loses her pursuer in the area of Centenary Park. Two hours later, at six a.m., there is a temporary break in the storm. A dog walker stumbles across a grisly sight in a Stanmore park. Fifteen minutes later, two corpses are removed from the park. Dylan calls his mother and Siobhan to tell them of the deaths, but neither one answers. He attempts to strong-arm Debbie into revealing the location of his Mother and Siobhan, but she remains silent.
Panic-stricken, he rings Detective Inspector Young. The officer denies knowing Marilyn’s whereabouts. He informs Dylan police had an anonymous call identifying Maureen Whitlock as Lucy’s murderer and after a search of her Birrong residence, it was found the interior of her shed was awash with blood. Dylan then remembers Siobhan was supposed to interview the O’Keefe’s by phone and that their address is not far from the Whitlock residence. He knows that his mother had sensed a link between the O’Keefe’s and Debbie Langdon. Painful experience has too often substantiated Marilyn’s intuitive powers no matter how unfounded they seemed to her son, so he now identifies the O’Keefe’s as a danger. He begins to suspect Siobhan has either decided to visit them of her own accord, or been sent by his mother. He relates this to DI Young and then rushes to join him at the Birrong address. By the time he arrives armed responders have surrounded the residence. Neighbours report the O’Keefe presence, but no one has answered the phone.
Dylan watches DI Young approach the door, identify himself and knock – but there is no response. The DI tries again – and then bedlam ensues. Windows break and doors splinter as the police attempt to force entry. Then a woman screams...

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