Dead of Night

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All words fell away. I pushed myself off the path, noticing for the first time the signs of earlier passage—the matted earth, broken twigs. And I knew. My mouth turned cottony.
I licked my lips, took three halting steps. My maddening, visual brain churned out pictures of colorless faces on a cold slab—Debbie Lille, victim number one; Wanda Deminger, number three . . . He’d been here. Dragged this one right ...
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Dead of Night

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Overview

All words fell away. I pushed myself off the path, noticing for the first time the signs of earlier passage—the matted earth, broken twigs. And I knew. My mouth turned cottony.
I licked my lips, took three halting steps. My maddening, visual brain churned out pictures of colorless faces on a cold slab—Debbie Lille, victim number one; Wanda Deminger, number three . . . He’d been here. Dragged this one right where I now stumbled. I’d entered a crime scene, and I could not bear to see what lay at the end. . . .

This is a story about evil.
This is a story about God’s power.

A string of murders terrorizes citizens in the Redding, California, area. The serial killer is cunning, stealthy. Masked by day, unmasked by night. Forensic artist Annie Kingston discovers the sixth body practically in her own back yard. Is the location a taunt aimed at her?

One by one, Annie must draw the unknown victims for identification. Dread mounts. Who will be taken next? Under a crushing oppression, Annie and other Christians are driven to pray for God’s intervention as they’ve never prayed before.

With page-turning intensity, Dead of Night dares to pry open the mind of evil. Twisted actions can wreak havoc on earth, but the source of wickedness lies beyond this world. Annie learns where the real battle takes place—and that a Christian’s authority through prayer is the ultimate, unyielding weapon.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786291885
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Series: Thorndike Christian Mystery Series
  • Edition description: REV Large Print
  • Pages: 463
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.81 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Brandilyn Collins, known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™, is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, Eyes of Elisha, and other novels. She and her family live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Visit her website at www.brandilyncollins.com and her blog at www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com

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First Chapter

Dead of Night

Prologue
Not so pretty in death, are you.
Head twisted, back arched. Contorted mouth, eyes wide in shock, limbs all locked tight.
Now your outside looks like your inside---a black soul, an immoral soul, a horrified and horrifying soul, bound for the black pits, the depths of darkness, for eternity, ever and ever on.
Skin still warm, clothes all askew, bleached blonde hair tangled around your devious head, fragile wisps caught on your evil tongue. Dead, dead, dead and gone, and who will miss you now?
Sit back and look at you, deserving the work of my hands.
Look you up and down, your shoes kicked off in the convulsions,
wrists bent, fingers curled like the limbs of an arthritic tree, one knee drawn up toward your chest.
How hard they fall, the proud and vain and shallow.
But...
Sweep aside the coarse, white-yellow hair. There it is.
Pretty earring. Pretty, pretty bauble, so shiny, with a big blue stone and little white stones around it, playing with the spectrum like shimmery fairies. Put my finger behind your earlobe,
move it this way and that, watch the dancing colors catch the light. My earring now, only mine, to keep and smile at and watch it shine.
How to take it? It is connected to your ear, right through it.
Silly, arrogant woman, piercing holes in your body in the name of beauty. Like her. She was self-absorbed and flirtatious, making eyes at the men, swaying hips and pouting lips, and meanwhile the child saw and was unseen, and no one else knew,
and no one else cared, and who would tend the child?
Pull. Tug. Rip at the earring, and still it will not come. It latches to your ear like a leech. You defy me, even in death, you shout to me in your silence that you will not be dejeweled, not be robbed of the sparkly outward display of your wretched and gaudy heart.
Hurry away,my footsteps scuffing the kitchen floor to grab what I need. I grip the handle, one finger testing the blade. I
will take the prize from you, and your yawning mouth will scream in silence, but no one else knows, and no one else cares, and who will tend to you?
There.
The earring is mine.
Hold it close to my eyes. Feel the hardness of the stone with my finger, tip it, turn it, watch the light play, the fading light of the setting sun. Darkness creeps toward the earth like it has crept over you, and to the ground you will go, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, to be remembered no more, to wither and rot.
In the dead of night you will be taken. As the dead of night,
so shall you ever be.
Tuesday, June 21
Chapter 1
The moment before it began, I stood in my bedroom, folding clothes.
In the last year I've developed a kind of sixth sense---a lingering smudge from my brushes with death. A sense that jerks my head up and sets my eyes roving, my ears attentive to the slightest sound. Nerves tingle at the back of my neck,
then pinprickle down my arms and spine. The sensations surge through my body almost before I consciously register what caused them. Sometimes they are right; sometimes they are overreactions to mere surprise.
Experience has taught me to err on the side of caution.
And with five local murders in as many months, I was already on edge.
Something...something downstairs...
My arms stopped to hover over my bed, a half-folded shirt dangling from both hands.
'Hey!'
The male voice echoed up from our great room one floor below---a voice I didn't recognize. It mixed surliness with a throaty growl, like stirred gravel.
I didn't hear the doorbell.
'Hey!' The voice again, impatient.
My thoughts flashed to Kelly, my fourteen-year-old. She'd fallen asleep down there, on one of the oversize couches near the fireplace. My daughter in a vulnerable position . . . some man I didn't know standing over her?
Kelly gasped---loudly enough for me to hear.With the expansive wooden floor and the wood wainscoting of our great room, sounds echo. The fear in that gasp jolted me into action. Almost before I knew what I was doing, I'd run for my purse on the nightstand. My fingers fumbled, looking,
searching.Within seconds I felt the smooth, frightening comfort of my gun.
I yanked it out.
No time to think. Pure instinct took over. Hadn't Chetterling told me it would? I wrapped my hands around the gun, trigger finger ready, and sneak-sprinted down the hall.
Below me, the great room jerked into view through banister railings. I skidded to a halt at the landing and nearly dropped the gun. My terrified eyes fixed on an unknown man in profile to me, hulking over Kelly. He was in his early twenties.
Big---maybe six two?---with vein-laden, bulging biceps. The wide nose and lips of an African American, but with dustycolored skin. Light brown hair in thick dreadlocks. Kelly had raised up on one elbow, mouth open, her expression a freezeframe of shock.
My legs assumed the stance Chetterling had taught me.
Feet apart and planted firmly. My arms stretched before me over the banister, gun pointed at the man's head.
'Stop!'
He jerked toward me, eyes widening. Both arms raised shoulder height, large fingers spread. 'Hello.Wait one minute.
I was just looking for Stephen.'
His cultured tone so surprised me that I almost lowered the gun. From the looks of him, I'd expected more of an urban hip-hop. Annie, keep it together; he's right near Kelly! I
stared at him, breath shuddering. How could this be happening?
I'd drawn a gun on someone. Someone who stood right next to my daughter. 'Back away from her.'
He retreated one step.
What if this was the man who'd killed those five women?
'More.'
'Would you mind putting the gun away?' He shuffled back two more steps, but he couldn't go far. Another three feet and he'd hit the armchair facing the fireplace.To his left sat a big glass-topped coffee table, to his right the sofa where
Kelly lay.
Any second he could lunge for her, pull her in front of him as a shield. What would I do? Chetterling, we never practiced anything like this!
'Look.' Sulkiness and an arrogant irritation now coated his voice. 'I was just going to ask her about Stephen; you don't have to threaten my life.'
My insides shook, but my hands did not waver.When I
spoke, my voice carried the cynical disgust of a policeman on patrol. 'I don't recall anyone letting you in the house.'
'The door was unlocked.'
Unlocked. Still, that was hardly an invitation. My jaw clenched. 'You in the habit of just walking into people's homes?'
He shrugged.
Anger tromped up my spine. How dare he act so nonchalant?
'Well, let me tell you something---you picked the wrong house to walk in to.'

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Read with your lights on!

    I've also read the first two books in this series, but I'm going to review this one first. Why? Because it was one of the best suspense books I have read this year. I was seriously creeped out while reading this book. I won't lie though. The first two books in the series while very good just didn't keep me up late at night because I was afraid to sleep. But this book however, wow. I wanted to keep the lights on! What's interesting is that there is absolutely no hint of who the actual killer is throughout the whole book. While the killer does have scenes before they are finally revealed, there is no indication at all that points evidence towards them. When I found out who it was, I flipped back trying to figure out when this character first appears but it seemed like they had always been there in the background. Reading the killer's monologues in between characters was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. You get so uncomfortable and irritated and want to scream. The thinking is so twisted and evil that it's deliciously scary. The final battle between the killer and Annie was bite on your nails, cover your eyes, hide beneath the covers all out suspense. The only minor complaint I had was that the killer never says to Annie why they did what they did and that we don't find out what happens to them. But I'm actually rather glad this wasn't written. I hate 'last chapter confessions' because it is so unreal that the killer wants to divulge everything before they get caught. Seriously, now I know why Brandilynn's tag line is 'Don't Forget to Breathe.' This book totally took my breath away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2005

    Christian working for CSI

    I couldn¿t set this book down for fear that something terrible might happen to the characters if I stopped reading. The characters seemed like real people with real struggles looking for real solutions. It¿s great that the Christian walk can be portrayed realistically through the life and struggles of the characters. If you get deep into stories and can¿t set them down, you better read this book in the morning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2005

    Don't fall asleep while reading this one...

    You won't have pleasant dreams. Another murderer is on the loose and seems to want Annie this time. Will her son's choices land their whole family into deeper water than they can handle? Will life ever let up on this poor single mom? Can she find happiness with all this chaos around her? What will stop these murders? A great read full of suspense and all the emotional baggage that comes with it. :-) I highly recommend this one. It's the best I've read of Brandilyn Collins and I've read them all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2005

    Fascinating ending

    Edge of your seat suspense is an apt description fo rDead of Night. I had a hard time sitting still as I began to suspect first one person and then another. I am not sure I would want to read this one if I was alone at night.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2005

    can't stop reading

    This is absolutely riveting. I didn't want to stop reading. I literally found myself not breathing as I caught my breath in anticipation of what might happen next. And then the twists and turns really caught me off guard. Such writing creativity. This is a great suspenseful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2005

    Pulse-Pounding Suspense

    You know you've hit a great suspense novel when you find yourself talking to the characters, warning them as you read. Dead of Night marks the return of Annie Kingston, a forensic artist, a divorced mother of two, and a character with just enough doubts to be believable -- in this one, she is on the trail of a serial killer who slays with strychnine ... and if you haven't read Collins' earlier work, Dead of Night is an excellent place to start. Highly recommended; builds steam with every page, right up to the surprise ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2005

    The third Hidden Faces book

    I think this is the best book so far in Brandilyn Collins¿ ¿Hidden Faces¿ series. It has a twisted, complex criminal, an emotionally tangling plot, and a powerful spiritual message. This is definitely more graphic than previous books. The prologue gives the reader a very good feel for the intensity level to expect. Christian readers who might be frightened or disturbed by the violence of the crimes can gauge their comfort level after reading the first two pages. I personally was not too disturbed by the violence of the crimes. It added to the suspense, and it also made me feel more for the characters threatened by the serial murderer, who is very creepy. It was nice to see the main character Annie push herself harder in her profession, her courage, and her faith. I related to her weaknesses but I also cheered her acts of bravery, her steps of growth. The spiritual thread reminded me in vivid prose of the supernatural might of Christians¿ prayers. Brandilyn herself is a valiant, sensitive prayer warrior, and it was riveting to read the power-filled prayer lives she describes in Annie and her friends. The plot twists and builds tension without becoming confusing. I didn¿t guess the identity of the murderer until a few pages before it was revealed. This kind of intense character and crime might appeal to teenagers, especially considering the kinds of hacker/slasher horror films they¿re bombarded with. This storyline has a Godly message that I personally believe might speak to teens in a way that a Sunday sermon might not, and I wouldn¿t hesitate to loan this book to any of the high school students I work with in my church youth group. I¿m looking forward to the fourth and final book, coming out in January 2006.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2005

    You must buy this book!

    This book is an intense rollercoaster ride. One that I recommend to everyone I know. You will get sucked in right from the start. The book starts off putting you right in the thick of the action, and doesn¿t let up until the end of the book. The glimpses into the killers mind are just down right creepy. You can¿t help but fall in love with the main character, Annie Kingston, you feel her terror, and you sympathize with her through all the ordeals of this book. You are right there with her when she learns of the amazing power of prayer. Brandilyn Collins has written a wonderful suspense that will go on my keeper shelf.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2005

    SEATBELT SUSPENSE AT ITS BEST

    Annie Kingston is desperate. Not only does she cry out to God to stop the string of senseless serial murders plaguing her town of Redding, her son suffers from the devastating affects of drug abuse. As a forensic artist, her heart is touched by the victims' sufferings. But when one of them is someone she knows personally, the murders take on an even more horrific nature. While Collins draws the reader into Annie's heart, she also sensitively portrays the inner workings of an evil mind. Using the same skills, the author demonstrates the power of prayer. This story will chill, thrill, and fill you. If you dare to set it down, it will haunt you until you've come to its spine-tingling conclusion. Dead of Night is a great read, a page-turner told by an expert storyteller.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2005

    Seatbelt Suspense at its finest

    Diving right into the action, DEAD OF NIGHT opens with narrator Annie Kingston confronting an intruder in her house. That same day she discovers the sixth victim of a serial killer in the woods on her property. Placed there randomly? Or is the killer trying to taunt her? Book #3 in the Hidden Faces series continues the saga of forensic artist Annie Kingston with page-turning intensity. Not only must Annie draw the victims of the killer for identification, she must also face the escalating consequences of her teenage son¿s rebellion and the challenges of living out her new-found faith. Interspersed throughout the first person narrative are chillingly evil, yet often strikingly poetic, scenes in the killer¿s point of view. I was reminded of Edgar Allen Poe¿s story ¿The Telltale Heart¿ as I read them. With this novel, and the rest of the Hidden Faces series, Brandilyn Collins has pushed the envelope in the emerging genre of Christian crime fiction. She¿s not afraid to tell it like it is, yet spares us the gratuitous details most secular crime writers thrive on. That said, DEAD OF NIGHT isn¿t just about crime and its aftermath. It¿s also about the power of prayer. As the back cover states: ¿Annie learns where the real battle takes place - and that a Christian¿s authority through prayer is the ultimate, unyielding weapon.¿ Highly recommended, five star fiction! Get out and buy this book. And while you¿re at it, pick up Book #1 BRINK OF DEATH & Book #2 STAIN OF GUILT.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2005

    A taut, edgy thriller

    Brandilyn Collins has created a great character in her forensic artist Annie Kingston. No one else can do exactly what Annie can so she has no choice but to stay involved with the police. She also has a strong sense of justice that keeps her going even when she¿d rather live a quiet life. Dead of Night starts fast and never lets up. The sing-song madness of Collins¿ serial killer set me on edge from the first word and set the tone for a taut thriller. In book three of Collins¿ Hidden Faces series Annie is stretched to the limits with all that¿s going on in her life. But Collins gives Annie an underlying toughness that keeps her fighting for her family and justice. This toughness and vulnerability make Annie a very real life character. Annie is no more prepared for the morgues, crime scenes and corpses than anyone. I got a real sense of how it would be to have to see such ugliness. The emotional toll it takes on Annie is at war with her urgent need to help. Collins did a great job of drawing me into the pages of Dead of Night and holding me there, right through to the shocking, twisted end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2005

    Seatbelt Suspense Indeed!

    Dead of Night is the best of the Hidden Faces series. I found myself having to cover up the bottom of the page to keep from reading ahead and missing any well-placed and well-written details. Brandilyn Collins writes about something so ordinary as eating a can of soup yet can use that scene to knock your socks off!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    Dead of Night

    Number three in Brandilyn Collins' Hidden Faces series knocks out the theory that sequels will disappoint. Dead of Night is the best of them all and just about caused me to hyperventilate. Annie Kingston once again finds herself in a fight with evil. But this time, she has something she didn't have before. She has found the power of God. Chilling, thrilling, and totally entertaining, this third book in the series seems to wrap up some things, but I'm not so sure. I think there is reason to hope for another book. Buy this one. And if you haven't read the first two Hidden Faces books, buy them too. You'll be glad you did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    Spell-binding Story Will Hold You Enthralled

    In Brandilyn Collins' Dead of Night, Forensic artist, Annie Kingston, engages in a relentless battle against evil. A cunning serial killer poisons one woman after another, terrorizing citizens in the Redding, California area. Annie and other Christians pray as they've never prayed before. The killer determines to prove their prayers useless. Gripping in its intensity, this spell-binding story promises to capture and hold the reader's attention. More than that, it focuses on the power of prayer as the Christian's ultimate weapon in the war against wickedness. It's a must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2005

    Dead of Night - Roller Coaster Read

    If you like Patricia Cornwell, you will probably like Brandilyn Collins. She writes with less clinical detail, but with equally interesting story lines. If you have discovered Ted Dekker or are a fan of Frank Peretti, you'll appreciate the gritty, honest spiritual undertones. A compelling page turner, interesting characters, surprises. A good book for a rainy night. If you dare!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2005

    Brandilyn Collins Does It Again!

    Move over Mary Higgins Clark---Brandilyn Collins is taking your crown as the new Queen of Suspense!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Highly Recommended Read!!

    This book is chilling because Annie Kingston's story could be anyone's story. Everyone comes face to face with evil at some point in life, whether that be in the form of a serial killer or in the form of an addiction, or any other weapon of evil. The best thing about the book is that through the intensity that Annie faces she always finds a lifeline, a hope that can overcome any situation in which she finds herself. This lifeline is prayer, a weapon more powerful than any the realms of evil can ever throw our way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2005

    Hang On For The Ride!

    It's always a treat to pick up a book and get lost in the story. It's a double treat to pick up a book like DEAD OF NIGHT and not only get lost in the story, but to feel like you've been on an emotional rollercoaster by the book's end. Fast paced from the first page to the last, this intricately plotted novel is a feast for suspense fans. For Christian fiction fans, the book drives home the truth that prayer can overcome anything, something the author has experienced in her own life. I highly recommend DEAD OF NIGHT for anyone who enjoys a satisfying read--Brandilyn Collins doesn't disappoint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2005

    Awesome Reading- A Real Page Turner

    Brandilyn Collins takes the reader on a spinning vortex of suspense and terror with Dead of Night, only to lift the reader, and the main character Annie Kingston, up on the power of prayer. I found myself having to go back and re-read because I was reading too fast. I couldn't turn the pages quick enough. A must read for suspense fans! - author of Pursued By Evil and A Dream Fulfilled

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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