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The Dead

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Five years ago, Ed Fagan disappeared and since then nothing has been heard from the serial killer known as the Night Hunter. Now, a Dublin newspaper has received a letter from someone claiming to be Fagan, and the message is chilling: he's going to kill again.

At first, the Dublin Police are inclined to dismiss the letter as the work of a crank. Then, the body of prostitute Mary Lynch is found, and it's only ...

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Five years ago, Ed Fagan disappeared and since then nothing has been heard from the serial killer known as the Night Hunter. Now, a Dublin newspaper has received a letter from someone claiming to be Fagan, and the message is chilling: he's going to kill again.

At first, the Dublin Police are inclined to dismiss the letter as the work of a crank. Then, the body of prostitute Mary Lynch is found, and it's only too clear that a murderer is at large again.

But is it Fagan?

Saxon, a former FBI agent still haunted by the events of five years ago, was writing a book about Fagan when he disappeared, and she is certain as anyone can be that the killer must be someone else. So while Detective Chief Superintendent Grace Fitzgerald and the rest of the DMP sniff at a cold trail, she somehow has to convince them to look beyond the obvious.

But in a city of shadows and secrets, that's never easy—especially when the truth is so surprising that even the most astute detective would be shocked into carelessness in the moment of discovery.

And as Saxon knows, it's never wise to be careless in the presence of a killer.

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Editorial Reviews

Daily Telgraph (Australia)

"This is a book in which lots of people, including the killer, are insanely driven and ferociously clever; Ingrid Black kept me guessing until the very end."

Sunday Independent (UK)

"I defy anyone to guess the identity of the killer or to put this book down. The Dead is clever, riveting, and invigorating. Highly recommended."

Sunday Times (UK)

"Atmosphere, pace, and tension are superbly controlled."

The Crime Bookseller (UK)

"Strong, explicit stuff that grabs the reader by the throat."

Publishers Weekly
Irish author Black invades Val McDermid territory and comes out a winner in this first mystery set in gritty, moody Dublin. Saxon (we never learn her first name), a former FBI agent turned true-crime writer, has remained in Dublin after her unsuccessful attempt to write a book about Ed Fagan, a vicious, Bible-quoting serial killer who suddenly vanished from Dublin five years earlier. She has a fond relationship with her lover, Detective Chief Superintendent Grace Fitzgerald, but a professional life in limbo. Then newspaper reporter Nick Elliott, who did write a book about Fagan, receives a letter with a threat to kill five prostitutes in the next week. With each murder, the killer taunts the police with enigmatic clues. Grace pulls Saxon into the investigation as an expert on Fagan, but Saxon knows from a secret she can't reveal to Grace that this is a copycat killer. The book becomes a tense balancing act between the police search for Fagan and Saxon's search for the real killer. A string of plausible suspects keeps the reader guessing and the suspense at fever pitch until the breathtaking ending. Black writes with the edginess of Denise Mina, Jenny Siler and the masterful McDermid. On the minus side, the many characters are hard to keep track of, and the use of Britishisms like "whilst" and "opposite to" by Saxon and a fellow American profiler jars. Still, this first book will whet the reader's appetite for a sequel. Agent, Kathleen Anderson. (June 17) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An Irish serial killer resumes his murder spree after a five-year hiatus . . . or does he?Grimly sardonic ex-FBI agent Saxon (no first name) tells a story that begins in a Dublin pub, where she meets with journalist Nick Elliott, who's received a letter from someone identifying himself as Ed Fagan. Fagan, a.k.a. the Night Hunter, murdered a string of prostitutes before disappearing five years ago. At the time, Saxon was simultaneously pursuing Fagan and chronicling his crimes for a proposed book. She can't believe that Fagan has resurfaced, mostly because she killed him, a dark secret she's kept at considerable personal expense ever since. Everybody else thinks Fagan simply quit. Soon after Saxon agrees to verify the identity of the letter writer, Fagan or his impersonator begins to kill again. Though his victims and m.o. don't completely match the old pattern, there are enough similarities-messages heavy with biblical allusion and cryptic quotation, for instance-to convince police. That the American Saxon still lives in Ireland, which she regularly disdains, may seem inexplicable until you know her other big secret: an affair with Dublin detective Grace Fitzgerald. Their liaison benefits both in pursuit of the perpetrator, whose pompous musings counterpoint the main narrative. Several murders and genuine surprises precede a taut finale. Forensic analysis and intellectual speculation overshadow action, but sublimely prickly Saxon is a solid foundation for debut mystery-monger Black to build a series on.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312326326
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ingrid Black is a writer and journalist who lives in Ireland.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2004

    Exciting thriller

    Five years ago, Ed ¿The Night Hunter¿ Fagan killed his last prostitute, but suddenly vanished without being caught. In Dublin Post free lance journalist Nick Elliott informs former FBI agent Saxon that he received a letter from someone claiming to be Fagan and insisting it is time to start again. Saxon pursued The Night Hunter serial killer without success, but kept a journal with hopes of a true crime book coming out of their ¿joint¿ endeavor; not catching the killer left that book seemingly dead............................. However, Saxon is a bit shocked with Elliott¿s news because she knows why Fagan and her book vanished since she killed him though everyone else thinks the Night Hunter lost interest temporarily. Saxon agrees to uncover the identity of the letter writer who has begun to kill. Though the killing signature and his modus operendi are slightly different, the Dublin police believe Fagan is back. Teaming with her secret lover Dublin police detective Grace Fitzgerald, the American expatriate searches for a killer who seems like a fun house mirror image of The Night Hunter..................................... This engaging Irish serial killer thriller hooks the audience due to the somewhat acrimonious narration of Saxon at times juxtaposed by her more intellectual sounding lover as both debate the murders. The story line uses action, though limited, to enhance the cerebral elements of the plot. The climax is terse, twisty, and terrific, but this tale is totally owned by the former American fed whose cat and mouse encounters five years ago and now make for a fine time for readers........................ Harriet Klausner

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