One man must stop a psychopath in his tracks…
Chief Inspector Jack Grayson is hunting a serial killer terrorizing London, a stalker who watches his prey carefully and displays the bodies of his young female victims brazenly. But Grayson has a problem – only one lead and scant evidence – and the body count is rising.
He discovers that an unsolved 18-year-old murder case bears all the hallmarks of the current killings, but he still can’t seem to find a single, obvious suspect, and he is so far unable to outthink a master predator.
Grayson must catch a hunter who knows how to outwit the police – a showman intent on completing his macabre collection. But he’s missing a vital clue, a critical piece of the puzzle. When he finally discovers the killer’s identity, he’s completely unprepared for the fallout…
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She didn’t know he was about to kill her of course. He stepped soundlessly behind the blonde, between chrome-coated elevator doors, his shoes gliding over polished grey marble. As she turned to the control panel to select her destination with a well-manicured fingernail, he craned his neck forward to inhale her scent. The sweet musky aroma curled around his nostrils pleasantly. It was familiar to him. It reminded him of her. Anya.
She stood waiting as the doors closed with a quiet hiss and the elevator started to descend. He glanced over her, taking in her elegant profile, her smooth alabaster skin, observing the details of her; breasts round and full, encased in a white shirt half a size too small and straining at the buttons, begging to be released. He noted the way her hair piled upon the top of her head, loose tendrils of spun gold escaping and caressing a slim neck. A hair pin edging its way out of the bun, aching to be plucked.
It’s an abomination, unnatural. His mother’s voice in his head again. Would she never shut up?
Fingering the knife in his pocket as the elevator descended, he felt the sharp edge grate the pad of his finger. He clenched his fists, feeling the rage building inside him. How dare this girl taunt him so? The calm of the Brahms sonata being piped through to the elevator’s occupants came in sharp contrast to his raggedly spiking mood. The feeling, rising within him, was irrepressible. The urgency to possess her climbed rapidly, like his blood pressure.
Unaware of his watchfulness, she fumbled around in the depths of her handbag, trying to locate something. The tilt of her lovely face tipped downwards in profile, making him catch his breath. Boldly he stepped forward, pulling the blade out of his pocket and placing one arm around her throat as he came up behind her, restraining her tightly against him. He didn’t hesitate as he drew the blade deftly across the thin skin of her throat, slicing her neck.
The blood spurted violently as the blade bit into her jugular vein, spraying the shiny, mirrored walls. The piped sonata seemed to be slowing down and he felt as if the world had momentarily stopped. Blanched, devoid of colour. The only bright spots – the only things that existed at all – were her and him, and they existed in a lurid blur of light. He held her there, his head bent over her tumble of blonde hair, as she struggled pathetically in his arms, her body weakening with every kick.
He watched as she gasped her last, her mouth opening obscenely, as her fingers scratched at empty air. Drinking her in, he tried to memorise every atom of her, as her body became deadweight in his arms. Finally, in that last second, he felt the serenity that inevitably washed over him each time. A feeling of satisfaction. Of completion. Peace.
Eli Carros is a crime fiction and thriller author from London, England. His debut novel, The Watcher, was inspired by the London landscape, and by what can happen when sexual obsession, abuse, and madness collide. Eli loves reading crime, fantasy, and mystery suspense, and is an ardent admirer of authors Steven King, Mark Billingham, Harlan Coben, and Patricia Cornwell.
A trained journalist with experience as an assistant court reporter, Eli interned at The Daily Mirror and the BBC before he became a novelist. A strong supporter of causes that promote equality for all, in his spare time he loves sailing, camping, hiking, and sketching, and detests getting up in the morning without several cups of strong percolated coffee.