Color Blind

Color Blind

4.2 7
by Jonathan Santlofer

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Kate McKinnon is back -- and this time it's personal.

When two hideously eviscerated bodies are discovered and the only link between them is a bizarre painting left at each crime scene, the NYPD turns to former cop Kate McKinnon, the woman who brought the serial killer the Death Artist to justice. Having settled back into her satisfying life as art historian,


Kate McKinnon is back -- and this time it's personal.

When two hideously eviscerated bodies are discovered and the only link between them is a bizarre painting left at each crime scene, the NYPD turns to former cop Kate McKinnon, the woman who brought the serial killer the Death Artist to justice. Having settled back into her satisfying life as art historian, published author, host of a weekly PBS television series, and wife of one of New York's top lawyers, Kate wants no part of it.

But Kate's sense of tranquility is shattered when this new sequence of murders strikes too close to home. With grief and fury to fuel her, she rejoins her former partner, detective Floyd Brown, and his elite homicide squad on the hunt for a vicious psychopath known as the Color-Blind Killer. In her rage and desperation, Kate allows herself to be drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse. She abandons her glamorous life for the gritty streets of Manhattan, immersing herself in a world where brutality and madness appear to be the norm, where those closest to her may have betrayed her -- and where, in the end, nothing is what it seems.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Kate McKinnon Novels , #2
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Color Blind

Chapter One

"Hold on a sec." Kate unhooked her black lace bra, lay back onto the all-white bed, pillows, silk spread pushed aside.

"I was just getting to that."

"The bedspread or my bra?"

"Who cares about the spread?" Richard smiled, crow's-feet deepening at the corners of his dark blue eyes.

"I do. And I'd think you would know that after almost ten years of marriage."

"Is this going to be a discussion?" Richard's lips grazed one of Kate's breasts.

Kate shivered, then sighed. "No discussion." She slid her arms over his neck, thinking how much she loved him, perhaps even more so now than she did when they had first met and he'd courted her -- Richard Rothstein the dashing bachelor lawyer, Kate McKinnon the Astoria cop. Talk about an odd couple. At least on the surface. Not so different once you stripped away Richard's glossy facade to find the boy from Brooklyn; or added the polished veneer that Kate had worked so hard to acquire after she'd left the force, returned to her first love, art history, earned the Ph.D. that became the art book that became her very own PBS series, Artists' Lives. All of it a surprise to her still.

If anyone had bothered to ask the young girl from Astoria where she'd be at forty she would never have predicted any kind of fame, certainly not riches. Exchange a row house for a penthouse? Sometimes even Kate had trouble believing it. She was lucky and she knew it. Perhaps that was why she devoted half her time to the educational foundation Let There Be a Future -- the one that funded inner-city kids from grade school through college.

Saving kids.Hell, she didn't need a psychiatrist to explain that one to her -- the motherless girl from Queens. Though when she could finally afford to she'd spent some time on the couch trying to get past it, or at least understand it: her mother's early death -- a suicide -- and all the guilt she'd felt, as if somehow she'd been the cause.

It was the shrink who got Kate to see that following in her father's footsteps -- becoming a cop -- had more than a little to do with trying to please him and make up for his losing his wife, who, by the way, if anyone cared, happened to be her mother.

Just about every other man in her family -- uncles, cousins -- had been a cop. Kate was the first woman. And even with her making detective in two short years, getting her father's attention and approval had proved elusive. But when they assigned her to runaways and she'd gotten the chance to save kids, it all became worth it. Back then, Detective McKinnon thought she could save everyone -- but those missing teens had taken a toll.

How many times can I have my heart broken?

A question she'd put to herself, her shrink, her chief in Astoria, and later to Richard, who had promised to try and mend the many fissures and cracks when he proposed marriage and offered her a way out. And so far he'd done a pretty good job.

"Love you," she whispered.

Richard smiled at his wife, took in her unconventional beauty -- the long straight nose, expressive brows over piercing green eyes. He ran his hand through her thick dark hair that Kate had only recently begun to spend way too much money on -- having the few gray strands spun into gold. A gift to herself for her forty-second birthday.

"Anyone ever tell you you're gorgeous?"

"No. Not recently." Kate leveled a stare at Richard. "Get it?"

Richard painted a sheepish grin across his features. "Sorry."

"Forgiven," said Kate, moving her hand down Richard's back and under the waistband of his pajamas -- ones she'd bought in Florence when she was there to deliver a lecture on up-and-coming American artists at the Accademia only last month.

Richard rolled off her, pushed his pajamas down, kicked until they fell off.

Sometimes, thought Kate, observing her tall, athletic husband kicking away, he seemed like a little boy, even with his forty-fifth birthday only a week away. Maybe, she mused, as he maneuvered himself back on top of her, all men are boys, which, at the moment, was just fine with her. Kate kissed his mouth, then ran her lips lightly over his ear.

Richard moved to Kate's neck, tongue skiing along her collarbone until reaching her breast.

Through half-closed eyes Kate took in Richard's brown-gray curls, freckles on the tops of his shoulders. Was it only a year ago she'd come so close to losing him; to believing he had betrayed her?

The Death Artist.

An image flashed behind Kate's eyes: Richard's onyx-and-gold cuff link half-hidden under the edge of a Persian rug, catching a hint of light, but enough to be noticed -- at the scene of a murder.

"Richard, you won't ever lie to me again, will you?"

Richard's shoulders sagged. "What? No. Why ... now?"

"Nothing. Sorry. Never mind."

Richard expelled a loud breath, sat up. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing. I -- I was just ... remembering,"

"We've been through it, haven't we, Kate? A dozen times. I thought it was ancient history."

"It is. Forgive me." Kate was sorry she'd spoken, wanted to take it all back, have Richard's hand on her thigh, tongue on her breast. "Tell you what," she said, laying her hand on his cheek, "I promise to shut up completely if you just go back to where you left off, okay?" Her fingers flitted over the hair on his chest, then down, lightly skimming his half-erect cock, back and forth, feeling it get hard again.

"Deal," said Richard, burying his head in her neck, adding a playful bite.


"You're not allowed to say anything, remember?"

Kate lay back, closed her eyes. But a second later another image flashed: a body on a kitchen floor -- and blood everywhere ...

Color Blind. Copyright © by Jonathan Santlofer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Jonathan Santlofer is the author of five novels and a highly respected artist whose work has been written about and reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, and Arts, and which appears in many public, private, and corporate collections. He lives and works in New York City.

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Color Blind 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
All of the characters are either totally good or bad. Kate's best attribute is that her spine tingles when a psycho is wanting to kill her friends and family. What would happen if people started getting wise and didn't want to befriend her any more?
harstan More than 1 year ago
NYPD Detective Floyd Brown does not want to leave the ¿City¿ for his old working area, the Bronx, but the two repulsive mutilated corpses are there. The killer has left a trademark at each crime scene, weird arranged colorful paintings. Baffled by the ¿clues¿, he decides he needs a consultant and the obvious one is his former partner turned art historian Kate McKinnon who worked on the Death Artist case that somewhat seems eerily similar to Floyd.............................. Kate refuses to get involved as she likes her work, loves her successful wealthy lawyer husband Richard Rothstein, and never fully recovered from the Death Artist investigation though the MO excites her. However, when apparently the painter murders Richard, the investigation turns personal. Now the homicidal artist who happens to be colorblind and the art expert play cat and mouse, but who is really the hunted in this deadly game?..................... This exciting serial killer tale is well written and spiced up by insight into the art world from painting techniques to attending a show, etc. The story line hooks the reader once Kate becomes involved. However, the deranged culprit except for his reaction formation to his only able to see the world in shades of grey comes out of serial killer 101 even similar to the Death Artist as Floyd notices. Still this is a fine thriller enhanced by the ¿City¿s¿ art scene....................... Harriet Klausner