Joe Gunther (The Price of Malice, 2009, etc.) pursues a vindictive killer and pays heavily for catching him.
Three people meet sudden deaths: two middle-aged women and a 19-year-old boy. A car wreck kills one; another dies horribly in the aftermath of a home invasion and rape; the third is an apparent suicide. None of them knew each other, or so it seems, yet soon enough the deaths turn out to be connected by three blood spots. Carefully placed on each lifeless body, they amount to a message, a catch-me-if-you-can taunt from a brilliant sociopath to a slew-footed police force apparently not up to the challenge. And for a while at least, Joe and his team at the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, lured into a frustrating cat-and-mouse game, do feel overmatched. Hubris, however, can lead brilliant bad guys into dumb mistakes. Seen through the smart scopes of a highly sophisticated forensics lab, those galling blood spots speak volumes. Meanwhile, Joe’s former lover, beautiful, politically ambitious Gail Zigman—“the most talked about woman in the state”—is racing hell-for-leather to the governor’s mansion. Will Joe’s chase impinge on Gail’s race? Yes, and explosively.
Compassionate by nature, self-schooled to be tough when he needs to be, the sage of Brattleboro is as usual a pleasure to spend time with.