NIGHTWATCHER by Charles P. Wilson
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Wealthy, haunted attorney Brandon Richards investigates the death of his daughter, nurse Judith Salter, raped and killed only a few hundred yards from the Mississippi mental hospital where she works. The police naturally assume Judith was killed by the three inmates who escaped that night. But when one of them turns up dead in Judith's own attic and another cowering in the attic of his own ward, and when blood samples from the crime scene role them all out, Richards looks outside the hospital, where the list of suspects is even longer: Judith's estranged husband, psychiatrist Martin Salter, whose alibi is a male prostitute; one of the numerous men she shared S/M sex with, maybe the one rumored to be in law enforcement; or the naked man reported in Judith's bedroom by clever, manipulative Marcus Minnefield, a mass murderer now confined to the hospital. Enlisting the help of good-old-boy p.i. J.J. Winstead (who's spent the night with Judith himself), Richards joins Sheriff Raymond Tidwell in tracking down leads but wonders--especially after he's caught breaking into Salter's house for evidence against him--how much he can trust either Winstead or Tidwell, or mysterious witness Minnefield, who has his own murderous agenda. First-novelist Wilson throws one curve after another while keeping up the suspense like an old pro; the whole book rushes over you like a jolt of adrenaline.

Pub Date: Dec. 5th, 1990
Publisher: Carroll & Graf