Had Dr. Neil Harris, a sincere, genuine psychiatrist and radio talk show host, not become concerned, the killing rampage of the devil might have gone unnoticed.
Perhaps, the authorities would have never discovered the trail of bodies in his wake. The young women who died might have been destined to be no more than a statistic, one among a number of tragic deaths of girls who’d lost their will to live, among the masses of New York City.
The devil disguised his crimes well until Neil mentioned his concerns to his long time friend, Detective Sergeant Joseph Farley of the 21st precinct of the NYPD. From his conversation with Neil, Farley decides to delve into what turns out to be a string of killings by a serial killer, knowing neither remorse nor fear.
Joe Farley and his men strive to catch the devil before he strikes again or escapes to hunt victims in another locale, while they face personal problems and the politics of the city of New York.
The devil targets his next victim….
It had been a month since his last kill. The urge came creeping into his mind, causing sweat to break out above his upper lip. His tongue snaked forth to capture the moisture. He planned to leave within the week. There was no desire in him to be caught, so it was time to move on to another city—another challenge.
Those thoughts were for the future, he decided; today was the here and now. He swallowed the remaining drops left in his takeout cup of coffee. The car’s upholstery still smelled of factory newness, as he rubbed his gray sprinkled black hair against the plush headrest. Tapping long and manicured fingers on a leather steering wheel cover, he remembered the salesman’s expression when he paid cash for the car. “Hey, man, I want a job like yours. What do you do for a living?”
He commenced the hunt at about two that afternoon. The predator preferred college age women for prey, so he usually confined his hunting to campuses. He grinned now. My vocation.
The windows of the sliver-gray Audi were halfway down. The car was parked in the campus parking lot. A comfortable 73 degrees on a pleasant Spring day, a slight breeze, coming from the west, played in his short spiked, salt and pepper hair.
He waited patiently for his next mission. There was a time, he recalled, when he’d been so nervous and anxious that the palms of his hands sweated as he waited. It was not that way anymore. Oh sure, each hunt was exciting, but nothing like it had been in the beginning. Now it mimicked, Just another day at the office. He smiled and winked the long lashes of his right eye. For an instant a sunbeam flashed in the windshield, and reflected itself in ice blue irises so pale they nearly faded into the whites: ‘Killer eyes’. His mother smiled when she said it to him as a boy, but in later life, he began to wonder if she knew.
Occasionally, a person came to the parking lot, got in their car, and drove away. He saw them, often they were women, but none interested him. He waited patiently for a certain young, attractive woman. He’d know her the moment he saw her. She’d be beautiful and petite, preferably brunette, slim and nicely developed.
The radio dial was set to a classic rock station. He popped the tab on a Coke, took a deep drink, and then lit a Camel. The Moody Blues were playing Nights In White Satin as he took a drag from his cigarette. It was a pleasant way to spend the time.
It was near three o’clock, when he saw her. She left building C and her dark-brown hair bobbed as she pranced across the asphalt. “Yes, yes, yes,” he whispered. She was perfection. He wasn’t going to strike out today. Tight faded cutoff jeans hugged her slender hips and a snug blue knit shirt emphasized her shapely breasts. As the shirt pulled up and down with her motion, he caught glimpses of lightly tanned flesh.
She yanked open her car door and parked her delightful bottom on the seat, so he engaged the Audi’s ignition. When she settled behind the steering wheel and closed the door, he slipped the Audi into drive. Her engine coughed a bit and the wheels started to turn. She was driving some kind of white Japanese car that looked like the typical box with wheels. Her backup lights came on, he let up on the brake, and prepared for the chase.
He stayed three-quarter’s of a block behind her, trying to keep at least one car between them. It wouldn’t do to allow her to spot the tail. After a fifteen-minute drive, she pulled into an apartment complex. Luck was with him; there was a parking spot on the street in front. In a few seconds he was out of the Audi and into the lot of the complex in time to see his quarry enter apartment 115 on the ground floor.
Unhurried, back he went to his car, drove around the block, and entered the parking lot on Northside lane. He circled around and parked close to his prey’s entrance. 3:15 pm made it the perfect time of day. The majority of people were still at work and children were prisoners of school buses. His mouth creased in a snide grin. It was daylight and evil only lurks in the dark.
Now it didn’t matter if she saw his car. He left it and walked openly to her door, rapping on its wooden surface.
Without any hesitation, she pulled open the unlatched door. “Yes? What can I do for you?”
Up close, she smelled of mint and lingering lemon, perhaps from an earlier shower. There was a small brown and white terrier leaping at her side. A bigger, more unruly dog would have changed the plan, but fortunately for him, this was not the barking kind of mutt. Instead, the little fellow licked his shoe.
With his left hand he grabbed the small dog’s collar and lifted him in the air. While the fingers of his right hand grabbed the front of the girl’s shirt, his bent knee came up into her belly, shoving her back into the apartment. Stepping in quickly, he kicked the door shut behind him.
Panic raced across her brown eyes as she squealed, “Why? What?” like it was one word.
“Shut the fuck up!” He held the struggling mutt in the air; it was too frightened to breathe while he shook it. “You scream and I’ll break the dog’s neck.”
“No, please! Don’t hurt him!”
“That depends on you—little girl—depends on you.” He slurred the words suggestively. “Just how bad do you want ta live?” He let loose of the dog’s collar and the terrier fell injury-hard against the floor, yipped, and scurried under a couch. He still held the girl’s shirt. An easy hundred pounds heavier, he twisted the shirt and pulled her closer. His free hand grabbed the back of her hair. “You and me gonna party, babe. You play real sweet and we’ll all walk away in one piece.”
He yanked her around to face the front door. “Lock it!”
As trembling fingers tried to turn the lock, the golden brown eyes flooded with tears and she choked on the sobs in her throat.
“Lock it, bitch!” He yanked so hard on her hair that her scalp split in places so blood tinted her hair green. His other hand pulled her shirt up to muffle the scream of pain.
Her tone dropped into a pitiful wail, “I’m trying.” And she succeeded.
He glanced around the apartment, breathed in the feminine scent of her, as he held her tight in one arm while he sucked at her neck. “Gonna play real nice.” He spotted the door on the left. Ajar, he could see the pattern of rose and gold that winked at him from the bedspread. “Nothing like an afternoon rump in the sack.” A deep snicker followed a coarse laugh.
The injured pup moaned under the couch as the man dragged its owner, her feet barely touching the ground, to the bedroom. Tossing her on the bed face up, he yanked off her shoes and socks. Then reached up and pulled the stretchy top over her head. “Nice.” He paused to squeeze her breasts through the pink lacy bra.
“Please don’t hurt me!” she begged.
“Little girl, I’m gonna give you the screwing of your life.” He laughed and slapped her face so hard her head whipped back and forth twice, and she nearly passed out. Next he pulled off her jeans and ran his palms up the smooth silky flesh of her legs. He pinched her inner thighs to force her legs apart. Grabbing the crotch of the pink panties, he tore them off.
Then he undressed while he kept telling her the things he was going to do to her, as if he expected her to be grateful.
For less than half an hour, his hands and mouth abused her. He forced her to kiss him back, to respond and then he violated her.
Swinging off the bed, his hand swept the nightstand and scattered her silly knickknacks to the floor. She lay silently huddled in a fetal curve on the bed as he dressed. Taking her wallet from the dresser, he relieved it of its credit cards and fifty-three dollars in cash. Pulling the cord from the lamp he stepped back to hover over her again. She whimpered—it was all she could do. Her throat had closed up and her tears were spent.
“Tell yah what. You’ve been a good girl—so I’m not gonna hurt yah. I’m gonna tie you up and put you and your little doggie in the closet. I won’t tie you tight. You can get loose in an hour or so. First off, you give me the pin numbers for these.” He waved the credit cards in front of her eyes. “Don’t lie—cause I’m giving myself an hour. One don’t work, I’ll be back and you are gonna be one sorry bitch!”
“123me works for them all.” She forced out the information.
“Okay, roll over.”
She never saw the switchblade. He held her face in a pillow, her arms flailed helplessly until there was no strength left and her blood flowed from a dozen wounds.
When he was certain she was dead, he took her engagement ring from her finger. From the living room he confiscated the 28-inch flat screen TV and deposited it in the Audi’s trunk. He came back for the stereo and laptop. “So long pup,” he called to the mutt, still hidden somewhere.
Out of the glove compartment, he got dark glasses and a baseball cap for his sojourns through the ATM machines. The women never lied to him. A bank debit MC card, an Amex, and Visa should net him around a couple thousand or more.
“Last call for the ‘Dunkin’ run. Put your order in and your change up, unless you want to make it till dawn on that dish water in the lounge.” There was the nightly last minute scramble, as everyone talked at once and stuffed money in Josh’s hand. Too tall, too lean, and twenty-two, Josh Hammond was the least important member of the behind-the-scene’s radio crew.
Mark Gheil gave a soft groan as he eyed the huge clock on the wall. The clock was always set at the correct time—never off by a second. He tossed a fiver on the desk. “Bring some Danishes.” He held his hand up palm forward as his stare settled on Doctor Neil Harris. Everyone knew six Danish were five ninety-nine plus tax and Mark was notoriously cheap.
Neil Harris waited for the signal. Too narrow in the chest and round in the butt to entice a TV camera, still, he was blessed with a voice to die for. As Mark’s hand came down, Neil cleared his throat.
“This is KJAB, talk radio, 102.1 on your radio dial. I’m Doctor Neil Harris and I’m here to discuss your problems in the wee hours of this morning. Who do we have as our first caller?”
A slight whimper could be heard in the immediate stillness that followed the announcement. “Ah, um, I’m Michelle.” The voice was thin and forced.
“Michelle, a lovely name,” Neil answered. “And Michelle…what seems to be your problem? How can I help you?” This was followed by the expected pause.
They always had second thoughts. Always needed the pause before they could say the words that disclosed the reason for the late night call. Once decided, the tone became rushed and the words spilled out. “I just can’t do it anymore.”
“Can’t do what, Michelle?”
“I can’t go on.”
Neil’s eyebrows shot up and he slowly nodded his head to Mark. ‘Bad one,’ he indicated. “What do you mean?” he asked.
“I think I’m going to have to kill myself.”
Experience gave Neil the ability to hear implications in a voice that others would miss. This lady’s calm assurance rang a bell in his brain. “Surely the situation can’t be that bad, Michelle?” he said, as he gestured that Mark should react. “I need you to listen carefully. I’m going to switch you over to Mark, my producer, and he is going to connect you with someone who can help you.”
He could see Mark was already punching the keys that would connect the caller to the 24-hour Crisis Line. At the Crisis Line they had caller ID and would send the authorities if they determined that suicide was an immediate possibility. Through his headphones he heard the male voice cut in, “Hi Michelle, I’m Dale, I’ve been where you are…”
He felt a sense of relief as he closed his end and opened another line.
“Doctor Neil Harris here to discuss your problems in the wee hours of this morning. Who do we have as our next caller?”
“I’m Sarah,” was followed by the anticipated pause before, an angry whine to her words announced that she saw herself as a self-sacrificing mother. “My teenage son has been cutting class behind my back. You see, I’m a single parent and I have to work and I can’t be at home to see that he gets off to school. What am I to do?”
“Sarah, an interesting biblical name—that’s survived unblemished down through the ages. And your problem is just about as old.” Neil laughed softly to lighten the mood. A belligerent teenager feeling the pangs of independence, this was something he could deal with. Already Michelle and her death wish was fading into memory.
The large clock on the wall continued to tick away the seconds, the minutes, and the hours before dawn.
Hours later and five miles away, there was knock at Michelle Baine’s door.
* * *
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detective mystery, October 9, 2010
By Grace Chan (Canada)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, intriguing, September 22, 2010
By Gezza (Australia) –
This review is from: The Devil Came East (Paperback) I had the pleasure of reading Geri and Andy’s novel before publication and I can honestly say, as a typical non-crime/mystery reader, that it was an excellent read. It is fast paced, gets into the psychology of a most intriguing serial killer, and has well crafted characters and subplots. A balanced job. This is their first novel and I can only see better things coming from them. Well done guys!
Top notch crime thriller!
I had the pleasure of reading Geri and Andy’s novel before publication and I can honestly say, while being a typical non-crime/mystery reader, that it was truly an excellent read. It is fast paced, gets into the psychology of a most intriguing serial killer, and has well crafted characters and subplots. A balanced job. This is their first novel and I can only see better things coming from them. Well done guys!
I had the pleasure of reading this before it hit the shelves and I must admit, while it does follow the same line as a typical crime drama, it has much more to it than that. You as the reader are able to get inside the head of the killer and look at the psychological aspects as to why he does what he does. I was thrilled to be part of the few chosen to read it before it came out and I must admit, I love the book. I look forward to seeing more great things from these authors and recommend this book to anyone.