For defense attorneys Zack Wilson and Terry Tallach, time is precious. Not just because they're paid by the hour. Or because their careers have taken off after a succession of high-profile cases. Or because a baffling, shocking serial murder case is threatening to tear Zack's family apart. For these two lawyers, time is precious because they have just walked into the wrong courtroom at the wrong time, where a man is shooting a gun into a crowd that includes Zack's innocent young son.
But until the last second, there's hope. While a woman detective desperately races through the city streets to stop a sadistic serial killer, while a puzzle of lies, madness, and brutal manipulation comes together, two men are out of time--for everything but the truth....
From the Paperback edition.
Gaffney's latest installment in the exploits of defense attorneys Zach Wilson and Terry Tallach manages to make good on the promise of its explosive opening-no small task, as page one finds Zach with mere seconds to save a crowded courtroom-including his seven-year-old son-from the scattered shots of a raving gunman. As time ticks down in short snippets, lengthy flashbacks depict the hunt for a newly resurfaced serial killer thought imprisoned decades ago. While Zach and partner Terry investigate the convict originally held responsible for the crimes, a former suspect and his daughter cope with the media spotlight, retrained on them following the new round of killings, and what may be the watchful gaze of the killer himself. Despite some bland dialogue and generic, B-movie-ready characters-wise-cracking buddy lawyers, a riddling serial killer, an enigmatic crime boss-Gaffney jerks the plot in enough different directions to keep readers alert and entertained. In addition, Gaffney's dry wit and willingness to make light of his more absurd plot twists keep this over-the-top stunner afloat when it threatens to capsize. The legal thriller equivalent of a James Bond flick, this guilty pleasure is best enjoyed with the more discerning half of the brain turned off and the adrenaline turned all the way up. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 25, 2007
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Excerpt from Diary of a Serial Killer by Ed Gaffney
Five Weeks Earlier
"ARE YOU TELLING ME SOME SERIAL KILLER took a twenty-year vacation and then all of a sudden started murdering people again last night?"
Police Detective Vera Demopolous put a pair of latex gloves on, and carefully removed the letter from the plastic evidence bag.
She had just walked through the front door of her first murder scene as lead detective-the single-family home at 53 Lakeview Street in the Indian Oaks section of Springfield. She was talking to Sergeant Jimmy Wong, who had almost twenty-five years on the job. Wong had been a rookie on the force back in the early '80s. Right around the time Vera was attending Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Jimmy laughed. "I doubt it. Willy Grasso put away the Springfield Shooter back in '84. Alan Lombardo. Real sick guy. I'm just saying, from what I remember, this scene is a little like those-including a note from the killer. At least from what I heard. I was doing mainly traffic control back then. Not too many murder investigations."
Vera turned her attention to the letter. It was on a plain white piece of paper, and looked like it had been run off a computer printer.
To the Detective assigned to this case:
First, please give my regards to Detective Grasso. I hope he is enjoying his well-earned retirement.
As I'm sure you must have surmised, this letter was written before I got here, so I will not, herein, be able to provide you with many details of my activities. But I'm sure the condition in which I leave Mr. Chatham will provide you with more than enough work to keep you busy for some time. Of course I will tape him up, and I will shoot him, but beyond that-well, I will just have to see how things progress.
What I can tell is that I'll be in touch with you soon about the next murder you'll be working on. (Oh yes, I'm one of those kinds of killers!!!)
But I don't want to distract you from Mr. Chatham. You're going to want to pay special attention to him, because he's our first. Go ahead, Detective, look for clues, ask around, see if you can find me before I kill somebody else.
But you won't.
When she finished reading it, she replaced the letter in the evidence bag. Jimmy gestured over his shoulder and said, "Body's over here in the living room."
Vera followed the sergeant as Wong turned left off the entry hall. Forensics and Crime Scene were already well into their work. "Can you fill me in on what you've got so far?"
Vera was lucky that somebody as experienced as Jimmy Wong was at the scene. Murder scenes were always complicated, and for now, Vera was working without any backup.
She had joined the force two years ago, but three of the detectives who had been working when she started were gone. Willy Grasso, the senior member, had retired and moved to Florida. His former partner, Ole Pedersen, was on medical leave recovering from surgery, and John Morrison had died in the line of duty.
Suddenly Vera was one of the most experienced detectives in the shorthanded precinct. When Lieutenant Carasquillo had assigned last night's murder investigation to her, he'd assured her that she'd be getting help soon. And he'd mentioned that he'd left word for Willy Grasso to call her because of the similarities to the Springfield Shooter case twenty years ago.
"Okay. Victim's name is Corey Samuel Chatham. Earlier this morning, around eight-thirty, a software engineer named Muhammed- No, wait"-Wong checked his notes-"Maleek Muhammed, pulled into the driveway to pick up Chatham to go to work. They carpool, and it was Muhammed's turn to drive. Chatham is always on time, ready to go, but today he doesn't come right out, so Muhammed honks the horn. Still no Corey. Muhammed gets out of the car, knocks on the door, rings the bell, no answer.