Thirteen bodies are discovered inside a small Louisville restaurant just after closing time. The ferocity and apparent randomness of the crime prompt the police to call in criminology professor Daniel Millikan-they want a profile of the murderer.
The massacre of 13 people in a Louisville restaurant opens Perry's latest psychological thriller (after Death Benefits). Criminologist Daniel Millikan determines that this was no random occurrence, but an assassination carried out by a ruthless, methodical predator but who was the target The killer, James Varney, is a cold-blooded psychopath who claimed his first victim his aunt at the age of 11; a loner, he later turned to robbery and murder for hire. Against his better judgment, Millikan supplies the father of one of the victims with the name of someone who might be able to help: shady operator Roy Prescott. Prescott's past is dark enough to enable him to get inside the mind of the killer and, with Millikan's help, he sets in motion an elaborate cat-and-mouse game that moves from city to city, with each man trying to anticipate the other's every move as the body count continues to rise. The traps Prescott devises to catch his prey and the ways in which Varney eludes them are fascinating, albeit a bit far-fetched, and Perry supplies just enough background to give the two leads depth with a minimum of psychobabble. The female characters, while essential to the plot, are thinly drawn by comparison, and the book loses momentum about halfway through, when Varney goes into hiding and Prescott tries to determine who hired him to commit the initial murders but Perry definitely comes through in the end, expertly tying the threads together. Agent, Lescher and Lescher. 6-city author tour. (Dec. 18) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Pursuit by Thomas Perry
Daniel Millikan looked down at the thirteenth corpse. This one was at the back of the restaurant kitchen, dressed in a white uniform with a ridiculous paper hat on his head that was supposed to keep his hair out of the food, and a long apron that had been filthy even before the blood had gushed down to soak it red. Millikan corrected himself. This was the first corpse, and the one a few feet from it was second. The others, logically, came later.
He bent to let the light catch the tile floor just right so he could tell if there had been any wet footprints in the kitchen, but there had not. There were none in the dining room either: the killer had been here, done his work, and locked the door behind him before the rain had begun. Time in the restaurant had been stopped at ' he would guess ' around nine-thirty. The light, misty spring rain had not reached Louisville and begun to gleam on the street pavements until late at night, after Daniel Millikan had finished his speech at the conference and retired to his hotel downtown. He had still been awake and noticed it when the rivulets began to run down the window of his room. He had been frustrated because he needed to catch the plane back to California at seven tomorrow morning, but he had been too agitated and restless to sleep.
He never felt tense while lecturing his own students at the college in Los Angeles, but the audience tonight had been people he thought of as grown-ups. They were serious men and women of his own generation who had heard of him and ' at least some of them ' read his books. They had come to take a look at the expert . . . or, more accurately, at the alleged expert. They had listened to his lecture on the interpretation of homicide evidence with a polite attentiveness that he could only call professional. In the faces of the grown-ups there was always a reserve, something they held back or maybe even disguised, possibly because they had worked homicides and, unlike Millikan, expected to do it again.
He had considered pouring one of the little bottles of scotch from the bar cabinet into a glass, diluting it with tap water, and swallowing enough to help him sleep. He was glad that the two cops had arrived in the lobby and rung his room before he had done it, instead of after. Lieutenant Cowan ' s voice on the telephone had been courteous but confident: after delivering that particular lecture, Millikan could hardly say he would not dress and go with the police to look at a homicide scene. Right now, he was glad that his brain was functioning quickly and efficiently, but he knew that when he got back to the hotel, he was going to want that drink.