The Fortiers, a wealthy dysfunctional family from Ridgefield, Connecticut are abusive. Jeffrey Fortier’s sister Ellie helps to raise him on their estate where neighbors’ homes are not in close enough proximity to hear their parents’ psychological abuse which is used as discipline.
Jeff displays no regard for danger, and Ellie gets punished for anything bad that occurs. She is lonely and will not confide in anyone because she is terrified it will get back to her parents. While visiting, Ellie and Jeff’s great Aunt Ida observes the Fortiers’ disturbing behavior. She pretends to have lost her glasses and asks Ellie to read a letter, about the two dolls named “Jenny” and “Emily”, that she says are from a friend. However, Ida is the one who penned the letter... After reading, Ellie fears the dolls are bad luck. Aunt Ida is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Knowing she doesn’t have long to live, Ida sends newborn great niece, Isabella the mysterious dolls with a message and traumatizes niece, Weeze Doucette by saying the dolls will take care of things.
A fire starts after Jeff runs through their home with flames dripping from a funnel made of newspaper. Fearful of her next punishment, Ellie devises a plan as a desperate attempt to stop her parents’ psychological torture. Rookie police officer, Patrick Russell overhears the Fortiers’ neighbor say she saw Jeff assault Ellie. Russell befriends Ellie and spends time with her in hopes to get information to arrest Jeff and make a name for himself within the Ridgefield Police Department. Ellie makes excuses that Jeff doesn’t intend to do bad things and they just happen, even after she spies Jeff building explosives, because she is scared Russell will derail her plan to stop her parents’ abuse in THE PAINTING OF DECEIT - Book One of The Fortier Series.
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