The serial killer to end all serial killers is out there and only one person in the whole city knows it...
Twenty years ago John Costello's life, as he knew it, ended. He and his beautiful girlfriend, Nadia, were victims of the deranged 'Hammer of God' killer who terrorised New Jersey City throughout the summer of 1984. Nadia was killed instantly. John survived, but withdrew from society, emerging only to work as a crime researcher for a major newspaper. Damaged he may be, but no one in New Jersey knows more about serial killers than John Costello.
Then a new spate of murders starts - all seemingly random and unrelated - until John discovers a complex pattern that links them. But could this dark knowledge be about to threaten his life?
This disappointing crime thriller from Ellory (A Quiet Belief in Angels) focuses on a serial killer who restages famous murders with new victims across New York City. As the surprisingly ineffectual NYPD struggles to track down the Anniversary Killer, Det. Ray Irving finds himself unexpectedly allied with the enigmatic and reclusive John Costello, lone survivor of a previous serial killer's rampage and perhaps New York's foremost authority on serial killers. While the fiend strikes again and again, Ray is forced to depend on the fragile John, despite the personal cost to John as well as Ray's growing concerns about John's reliability. Ellory's operatic story, for all its entertaining purple-tinged prose and forays into the lurid underbelly of serial-killer fandom, brings little new to this familiar subgenre. His decaying New York as a place of unrelenting despair and violence will strike many as far more suited to the 1970s than to the present.