A bloodthirsty serial killer plans a series of Christmas murders as revenge against the NYPD
Thelma Johnston holds her breath as she passes the dealers on the corner of St. Marks Avenue. She’s been sober five years, but the temptation to relapse never goes away. She inhales deeply once she passes and finally arrives home, arms laden with Christmas presents for her two children. She’s fumbling for her keys when a shape comes out of the darkness and presses her against the dark side of her stoop. Within seconds, she’s dead.
Thelma died just a few blocks from a precinct house, and while the cops could do nothing to save her, they’ll try their best to avenge her. But when Lt. John Vinda realizes Thelma’s death was part of a series of slayings, he knows he has to solve the case before the media catches on. It’s Christmas in New York, and there’s a killer on the prowl.
A steaming witch's brew of a tale about a serial killer bent on revenge against the entire New York City police force, Caunitz's ( One Police Plaza ) latest blockbuster recipe combines his lifetime of police work with a hint of Hollywood, a helping of women's rights, a bit of bombing, a touch of Transylvania and a pinch of S & M. After a second young black woman is found with her throat ripped out, the NYPD appoints rogue-male Lieutenant John Vinda to head up a task force. The subsequent murder of a white Sutton Place heiress belies a racial motive and prompts protests by angry women's groups, leading to the addition of two female detectives to the task force. The discovery of a fourth body by a famous movie star in the dressing room of a ritzy Fifth Avenue salon turns the case into a media circus. The lady cops pull off some outrageous interrogation techniques amid right-on characterizations of New York types. Never mind that the plot is a little contrived or that the cops have apparently gone through sensitivity training or that the ending may be unintentionally humorous--this book is great entertainment. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.