|StoneGate Ink (2010)|
|Tags:||Suspense, Thriller, FICTION / Thrillers|
This is how your life ends: Not with a whimper, but a scream! Jude Parish is afraid. The former violent crimes cop turned bestselling true crime author has a fear-filled demon lodged inside of him. A demon so real he can only imagine a slimy reptilian beast with scaly skin, black eyes, and razor-sharp fangs having taken up residence inside the place where his once confident and fearless soul resided. Now, in the wake of his literary success, the ever anxious Jude is hoping to lead a quiet, peaceful life in the idyllic Adirondack vacation town of Lake George, New York with his new pregnant wife, Rosie, and Jack, his young son from a previous marriage. But when Jude becomes the accidental witness to a bizarre “kill game” in which the killer, video game designer and master of disguise, Hector “the Black Dragon” Lennox, insists on recording the screams of his victims prior to shooting them dead, the ex-cop’s life is turned upside down. When Lennox is arrested by the L.G.P.D. and Jude is asked to act as the state’s “star witness,” he has no choice but to fight his demon-fear and take on the role. But what he doesn’t realize at the time, is that the killer’s arrest is actually the first level in what is a carefully designed and scripted first-person video kill game that will involve his entire family as “players” and “victims.” How will the kill game end? Like all violent video games, it will end in death. But it won’t be “Game Over” until Hector Lennox catches the screams of his tortured victims.
### About the Author
Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, CONCRETE PEARL, MOONLIGHT RISES and SCREAM CATCHER. He is also the author of the bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL and MOONLIGHT MAFIA. Harlan Coben has described his novels as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called THE INNOCENT, "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" In March, April and May of 2011, he sold more than 100,000 Kindle E-Book editions of his novels. In September 2011, he signed a major deal with Thomas and Mercer of Amazon for the publication of his new novel, Murder by Moonlight, and the re-publication of many of his back-list titles, including The Innocent and The Remains. Zandri's list of publishers also include Delacorte, Dell, StoneHouse Ink and StoneGate Ink. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated into many languages including the Dutch, Russian and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for RT, Globalspec, IBTimes and more, he lives in New York. For more go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM
PRAISE FOR VINCENT ZANDRI
“If you want a novel that runs wild like a caged beast let loose, Zandri is the man.”
—New York Post
“Probably the most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.”
“A thriller that has depth and substance, wickedness and compassion.”
—The Times-Union (Albany)
“Vincent Zandri explodes onto the scene with the debut thriller of the year. As Catch Can is gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting. Don’t miss it.”
—Harlan Coben, author of The Final Detail
“A Satisfying Yarn.”
“Compelling…As Catch Can pulls you in with rat-a-tat prose, kinetic pacing…characters are authentic, and the punchy dialogue rings true. Zandri’s staccato prose moves As Catch Can at a steady, suspenseful pace.”
—Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Exciting…An Engrossing Thriller…the descriptions of life behind bars will stand your hair on end.”
—Rocky Mountain News
“Readers will be held captive by prose that pounds as steadily as an elevated pulse… Vincent Zandri nails readers’ attention.”
“A smoking gun of a debut novel. The rough and tumble pages turn quicker than men turn on each other.”
“The story line is non-stop action and the flashback to Attica is eerily brilliant. If this debut is any indication of his work, readers will demand a lifetime sentence of novels by Vincent Zandri.”
—I Love a Mystery
“A tough-minded, involving novel…Zandri writes strong prose that rarely strains for effect, and some of his scenes…achieve a powerful hallucinatory horror.”
“A classic detective tale.”
—The Record (Troy, NY)
“[Zandri] demonstrates an uncanny knack for exposition, introducing new characters and narrative possibilities with the confidence of an old pro…Zandri does a superb job creating interlocking puzzle pieces.”
—San Diego Union-Tribune
“This is a tough, stylish, heartbreaking car accident of a book: You don’t want to look but you can’t look away. Zandri’s a terrific writer and he tells a terrific story.”
—Don Winslow, author of The Death and Life of Bobby Z
Other books by Vincent Zandri
Table Of Contents
Like the cat I have nine times to die …
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
Sweeny’s Boxing Gym
Lake George, New York
Tuesday, August 15, 6:10 A.M.
The man is hiding. Has been for a long time now, since his life—his physical body—became reduced to a shadowy reflection of his own fear. A fear so real, so palpable and heavy, it seems like there are times it might be possible for him to unzip it like you would a second skin and maybe hang it up on a sixpenny nail to dry. If only that were possible.
But his fear is more than skin deep. It is an internal demon and it is lodged inside bone and flesh like a cancer. It is what he has in the place of a soul. Rather, it is what has replaced his soul. Only when he least expected it did it reveal its beastly head of pale white skin, black eyes and fang-like teeth before entering into his body and holding him hostage.
Ever since that day he has since been trying his best to purge the demon from his body. But he does not use a priest for his exorcist. He does not use a shaman. He does not use a psychiatrist. He does not use God.
Instead, he uses only physical exertion.
He attempts to push the fear out through his ribs by improving his physical body with exercise. Grueling exercise on a daily basis. Running, lifting, boxing, stretching, sweating, groaning, pushing, pulling, crying, bleeding, sucking air and, on occasion, passing out.
It’s bad that those closest to him no longer trust him. It’s worse that he no longer trusts himself. And a man who cannot trust himself can never know what it is to truly love or be truly loved in return.
Yet, he lives and carries on as if today—this
moment in time—will be the end of something bad and the beginning of a new life free of the demon.
But today will not be one of those days.
Because today, Jude Parish, forty-five year old ex-cop turned bestselling true crime writer, gets to be the eyewitness to a murder.
Here’s how it happens:
He’s just exited
Sweeney’s Boxing Gym
by way of the back door. It’s raining, the new summer dawn hidden by a black and blue sky; its heat by fierce wind gusts; its calm by lightning and thunder. The early morning workout—six rounds jump rope, six rounds speed bag, six rounds heavy bag—is all but historical fact. Now oxygen starved lungs crave the fresh air; tired muscles and joints welcome cool rain. Kissing the sky, Jude allows the rain to pelt his stubbly face, to soak his cropped hair, to dampen his gray sweats.
Mounted to the block wall behind him is a reflective exit sign and a lit spotlight. To his right a blue dumpster, the letters B.F.I. printed on the four metal side panels. To his left, an open sea of cracked and blistered blacktop. Beyond that, a too dark nothing that stretches all the way beyond the Canadian border.
Dead ahead he spots two people.
What at first glance appears to be a long-haired man chasing a T-shirted man from out of the old Malloy gravel pit. Two grown men stumble down the pit embankment, crash through second growth woods like two hunted deer, until spilling out onto the flat lot.