Could it be? The Boston Strangler doing his thing again after four decades?
If true, he'd almost certainly qualify as a senior-citizen serial killer, an aspect of his story surprisingly neglected by ace reporter Jack Flynn of the Boston Record (Dead Line, 2004, etc.). Flynn gets involved when a manila envelope arrives at the Record office addressed to him. It contains the driver's license of a young woman—plus a message: “You're going to help me get the word out or other women will die.” It's signed, “Phantom Fiend,” which, it turns out, was the media's pet name early on before Boston Strangler came into vogue. So what are we to think—a killer quiescent for more than 40 years suddenly on the prowl again? Hold on now. Albert DeSalvo died in prison six years after being convicted so how could. . . ? Ah, but there's a revisionist view. DeSalvo may have been convicted, the argument goes, but he wasn't the Strangler. Before too long, Flynn slides into the dissenters' camp, and having done so, his course is clear. For two reasons, both of some urgency, he must crack the case: (1) to help save the lives of untold innocent women, and (2) to register the kind of big-time scoop his readers have come to expect of him.
Though McGrory is himself a journalist (for The Boston Globe), his fictional journalist fails to convince, as does his reenergized Strangler.