'You turn the pages as if your very life depends on it' - Daily Mail
Mr Marseille is polite, elegant, and erudite. He would do anything for his genteel true love Anabelle. And he is a psychopath.
A quiet Philadelphia suburb. A woman cycles past a train depot with her young daughter. And there she finds a murdered girl posed on a newly painted bench. Strangled. Beside her is a formal invite to a tea dance in a week's time.
Seven days later, two more young victims are discovered in a disused house, posed on painted swings. At the scene is an identical invite. This time, though, there is something extra waiting for Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.
A delicate porcelain doll. It's a message. And a threat.
With Marseille and Anabelle stalking the city, Detectives Byrne and Balzano have just seven days to find the link between the murders before another innocent child is snatched from its streets.
Praise for Richard Montanari
'A relentlessly suspenseful, soul-chilling thriller that hooks you instantly'
'The author's elegiac tone takes the curse off this blood-drenched thriller . . . Gripping'
New York Times (the 10 best crime novels of 2016)
'A master storyteller'
'Taut, propulsive and darkly gripping, Montanari is a master of suspense'
'A specialist in serial killer tales . . . a wonderfully evocative writer'
Amazon readers love Richard Montanari
***** 'One of the best detective stories I have ever read'
***** 'If you haven't read these books yet.... START READING THEM!'
***** 'Great plot and incredible pace. A real page turner'
***** 'I couldn't put it down - utterly absorbing and compelling!!'
***** 'The last 20 pages had me biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my chair!'
***** 'Absolutely brilliant - almost impossible to put down'
***** 'Every once and while I read a classic which I'll NEVER forget.This is a book I'll never forget'
***** 'This is a chillingly good read with a fast-paced storyline full of twists and turns'
***** 'From start to finish, you never want to stop! You have to know what happened!'
***** 'An outstanding tale with as many twists as a game of snakes and ladders'
***** 'One of the best crime/thriller writers'
***** 'Richard Montanari never lets you down. The ending is always a surprise'
***** 'So easy to pick up, so hard to put down'
Montanari's compelling eighth crime novel featuring Philadelphia police detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano (after 2014's The Stolen Ones) opens with the particularly gruesome murder of a prostitute that some readers may find off-putting. After this scene, the book turns into a detailed police procedural, as Byrne and Balzano's investigation leads them from one killing to an ever more complex series of grotesque crimes and a baffling array of questions. Why is a doll left at the scene of each execution? What is the connection among the victims? The plot goes down an astonishing number of byways, including the history and technology of doll making, the psychology of collectors, and the covert meanings of popular songs. Montanari creates a large cast of believable, moving characters, men and women with families, needs, and histories. The workings of the Philadelphia PD are as detailed and convincing as those of Isola in an Ed McBain novel, in which the city itself becomes a virtual character.