No one can hear you scream. The second spell-binding, unputdownable thriller in the Byrne and Balzano series from the Sunday Times besteller.
The streets of Philadelphia are blistering in the summer heat, the homicide rate is soaring and the nights belong to the mad. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are prowling the streets with a growing sense of unease. Where next will evil rear its ugly head?
When a series of seemingly unrelated crimes shatter the restless silence of the city, their worst fears are confirmed. A beautiful secretary is slashed to death in a grimy motel shower. A street hustler brutally murdered with a chainsaw. Piece by piece, a strange and sickening puzzle presents itself: someone is meticulously recreating Hollywood's most well-known and horrifying murder scenes, capturing them on film and inserting the clips into videos - for an unsuspecting public to find.
While Kevin Byrne begins furtive investigations of his own, Jessica Balzano goes undercover to work the steaming back alleys of Philadelphia, entering a violent world of underground film, pornography and seedy nightclubs, hidden to all but the initiated. Discovering that none of The Actor's victims are as innocent as they appear to be, the two detectives arrive at a terrifying reality: They are not just chasing a homicide suspect. They are stalking evil itself ...
In this high-body-count chiller from the author of The Rosary Girls, Philadelphia homicide detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are up against a savagely inventive serial killer with a yen for stomach-churning cinema verit . Copycat murders modeled on Psycho, Fatal Attraction and other movies are terrorizing the city, as the "auteur" slayer splices film of his bloody re-enactments into rental videos surreptitiously stolen from and then returned to video stores. Byrne, recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound and swallowing Vicodin like candy, is working half time, so it's up to his eager partner, Balzano, to take the lead in the investigation. Montanari's short, punchy chapters propel the convoluted and kinky plot, which caroms between the big-budget movie sets of a Philadelphia filmmaker made good and an underground porn industry where good girls go bad. Several potential perpetrators rear their creepy heads, but the real killer comes out of left field though readers very attentive to scattered clues won't be too taken aback by the gory denouement. Byrne's awkward relationship with his deaf teenage daughter, Colleen, after his divorce, and Balzano's concern for her precocious three-year-old daughter, Sophie, after she boots her philandering husband (and fellow cop) out of the house, add welcome humanity to a grisly, atmospheric thriller.
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This is the second of Richard Montanari's books I have read and I can't wait to start the third. Although it took me a couple of chapters to get into it once I was hooked I couldn't put it down a fab and exciting read.