A serial killer novel with a difference: smartly written, densely plotted, and almost <\I>too clever<\I>.
Somebody who calls himself Alec Cutter is targeting the Adonis demographic of Mobile, Alabama. After luring beautiful young men to their doom, he beheads them and inscribes their pubic regions with gibberish (“Warped a whore. Warped a whore. Whores warped. A full quart of warped whores. Rats back. Rats back. Rats back. Rats. Rats. Rats. Back. Back. Back”). Captain Terrence Squill, the politically manipulative Director of Investigative Services, is seething that Detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus have caught the case because they’re hotdogs who can’t be squelched. He’d be even madder if he knew that the earlier serial-killing spree that won Ryder his promotion was actually solved by Ryder’s brother Jeremy, a killer locked away in a mental institution. As he battles to stay on the case, Ryder’s also battling to keep Dr. Ava Davanelle, an assistant pathologist who needs a stiff drink every night and every morning, on the wagon. Though the killer’s low profile makes him well-nigh unguessable, newcomer Kerley brings his gruesome, baroque pathology to vivid life along with crazy Jeremy, sad, sexy Ava, and cocky, haunted Ryder.
The whole story is told in prose as inventive as—well, as a fight to the death between embattled virtue and monstrous evil ought to be.