His epic masterwork Speaks the Nightbird, a tour de force of witch hunt terror in a colonial town, was hailed by Sandra Brown as "deeply satisfying...told with matchless insight into the human soul." Now, Robert McCammon brings the hero of that spellbinding novel, Matthew Corbett, to eighteenth-century New York, where a killer wields a bloody and terrifying power over a bustling city carving out its identity—and over Matthew's own uncertain destiny.
The unsolved murder of a respected doctor has sent ripples of fear throughout a city teeming with life and noise and commerce. Who snuffed out the good man's life with the slash of a blade on a midnight street? The local printmaster has labeled the fiend "the Masker," adding fuel to a volatile mystery...and when the Masker claims a new victim, hardworking young law clerk Matthew Corbett is lured into a maze of forensic clues and heart-pounding investigation that will both test his natural penchant for detection and inflame his hunger for justice.
In the strangest twist of all, the key to unmasking the Masker may await in an asylum where the Queen of Bedlam reigns—and only a man of Matthew's reason and empathy can unlock her secrets. From the seaport to Wall Street, from society mansions to gutters glimmering with blood spilled by a deviant, Matthew's quest will tauntingly reveal the answers he seeks—and the chilling truths he cannot escape.
Set in Manhattan in 1703, this spellbinding sequel to Speaks the Nightbird (2002) from bestseller McCammon finds Matthew Corbett, a 23-year-old magistrate's clerk, on the trail of the Masker, a killer who stalks prominent businessmen. Matthew stumbles on the bodies of two of the Masker's victims, including pederast Eben Ausley, the headmaster of the orphanage Matthew once reluctantly called home. Plucky Matthew, who becomes a junior associate of the New York branch of a London "problem-solving" firm called the Herrald Agency, discovers a possible link to the crimes in the person of an elderly amnesiac patient in a mental asylum who's known as "the Queen of Bedlam." Matthew and his cohorts later make a dangerous foray to the headquarters that the villainous Professor Fell maintains for young-criminals-in-training. McCammon brilliantly captures colonial New York and closes with a tantalizing cliffhanger that suggests more exciting sleuthing to come.