Beneath the rotting floorboards of an abandoned shed are human bones -- lots of them -- the last things a runaway rogue true-crime writer and his photojournalist ex-lover expected to find when they took shelter from a vicious Wisconsin blizzard. The grisly nightmare Frank Corso and Meg Dougherty have uncovered is nothing they can turn a blind eye to. The hideous slaughter of a family, undetected for fifteen years, must be avenged, as the hunt for a killer carries Corso halfway across the country, and through a chilling history of violence, terror, and bloodshed. But becoming an instrument of justice has made him a target of a rage-driven maniac -- and it's leading to ashocking truth hidden in an isolated place where death lives ... and where no law protects the innocent.
The bestselling true-crime writer Frank Corso and his tattoo-covered Girl Friday, Meg Dougherty, literally fall into the hunt for a bizarre serial killer in this suspenseful fun-and-gun adventure from Ford (Fury; Black River). Snowed in for days at O'Hare, Corso impulsively decides to rent an SUV and drive out of the storm zone, but when he gets to Avalon, Wis., he plunges off the icy road and over a cliff. Tearing up the flooring for firewood in the abandoned farm they take refuge in, Corso uncovers the corpses of a family, merely one set of victims in a killing spree spanning 30 years. Following in the tradition of John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee romps, Ford's eclectic plot sends his hero from state to state, from an inbred mountain enclave in New Jersey to a nunnery with a murder. Deep into the book, he pointedly has a cop say, "This is like something out of science fiction." Corso and Dougherty alternate between acting like ruthless hard cases and giddy teenagers sneaking a joint any excuse for a good scene, an entertaining moment (such as the guy who "looked like he'd been captured by vampires and was being kept as a pet"). When Corso falls into the hands of the killer and faces torture, though, Ford achieves fever pitch ("Corso began to make noises in his chest like a gored animal"). This is a thrill ride, sure to please readers looking for fast-paced suspense.