When a monsignor is found knifed to death in a Nebraska airport restroom, FBI special agent Maggie O'Dell is called in to profile the ritualistic murder of a priest, the latest in a series of killings.
Maggie soon discovers a disturbing Internet game that's popular among victims of abuse by Catholic priests. With this first real lead in the investigation, she wonders if the group has turned cyberspace justice into reality. Then Maggie gets a second lead–one that leaves her stunned.
For the past four years she has been obsessed with finding Father Michael Keller, whose brutal acts against children continue to haunt her. Now, it seems, he has become a target.
When Keller offers to help Maggie solve the ritual killings in exchange for protection, she decides to ally herself with the elusive child killer, stepping into a world of malevolence from which she may not return unscathed. Maggie knows the bargain is a necessary evil…one that may be made in blood….
About the author
Alex Kava is an international bestselling suspense writer. Her work has been widely praised by critics and fans alike, and her previous novels in the Maggie O’Dell series, A Perfect Evil, Split Second and The Soul Catcher, have spent several weeks on the New York Times extended and USA TODAY bestseller lists. Growing up in the country outside Silver Creek, Nebraska, Alex Kava fantasized about becoming a writer. Her parents, although they understood the value of education, had a tremendous work ethic. Reading was seen as frivolous unless required as schoolwork. As a teenager, Kava wrote short stories on the backs of calendars, sharing them only with her younger brother and hiding them in a shoe box under her bed. / Kava earned an art scholarship to attend college. To pay living expenses, she worked in a nearby hospital’s central supply department collecting and sterilizing all of the basins, instruments and equipment from surgery, pathology and the morgue. In 1982 she graduated magna cum laude from College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, with a B.A. in art and English. /After graduating, Kava held a variety of jobs, mostly in advertising and marketing. Starting her own graphic design firm, Square One, she designed food packages and logos for national corporations, wrote brochures and newsletters, created a line of greeting cards and directed TV and radio commercials. In 1992 she returned to her alma mater as its director of public relations. /Kava quit her public relations position in the summer of 1996, wanting to dedicate more time to writing fiction and getting published. To pay the bills, she resurrected Square One, refinanced her home, maxed out her credit cards and even took on a newspaper delivery route. /Alex Kava is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Her Web site is located at www.alexkava.com
In bestseller Kava's derivative fifth thriller to feature Maggie O'Dell (after 2003's At the Stroke of Madness), the beautiful FBI profiler and recovering alcoholic suspects that more than one killer is involved in a spate of nationwide murders of Catholic priests. When Father Michael Keller, himself a serial killer, becomes a target, he tries to strike a bargain with Maggie in order to save his life. Their relationship will remind many of that between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, just as Maggie's drinking problems sound a lot like those of the better realized heroes of James Lee Burke or Lawrence Block. The book's most original concept is an online computer game run by a not-so-mysterious figure called the Sin Eater that allows young victims to "kill" the priests who abused them. Heavy-handed clues, a tacked-on love interest and characters who behave less than credibly won't deter Kava's fans, who'll find the usual graphic gore, from the requisite maggots to autopsy details like "that sucking sound when the brain is pulled out after the top of the skull is sawed off."