The Frenzy Way: Book One in The Frenzy Cycle Seriesby Gregory Lamberson
When raped and dismembered corpses start to appear throughout New York City, the investigation draws police captain Mace into a plot that plays like a horror movie. Taking the lead role in this chilling story may be the challenge of his career, testing his skills and his stamina, but even a superhero would find the series of terrifying crimes daunting. Unlike anything… See more details below
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When raped and dismembered corpses start to appear throughout New York City, the investigation draws police captain Mace into a plot that plays like a horror movie. Taking the lead role in this chilling story may be the challenge of his career, testing his skills and his stamina, but even a superhero would find the series of terrifying crimes daunting. Unlike anything Mace has experienced, every blood-spattered scene is filled with body parts and partially eaten human remains and in the wake of each attack is the haunting premonition of another murdering onslaught. As Mace follows this crimson trail of madness, he must accept the inevitable conclusion: whomever or whatever is responsible for this terror does not intend to stop, and it’s up to him to put an end to the chaotic reign of a perpetrator whom, until now, he’s met only in the annals of mythology. Unfortunately, the mere mention of the wordwerewolfwould send New Yorkers into a panic.
Read an Excerpt
The Frenzy Way
By Gregory Lamberson
Medallion Press, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Gregory Lamberson
All right reserved.
Chapter One"The Original People worshipped Sun, who loved a Crow woman. When an evil Crow man raped Sun's wife, she committed suicide. Angered, Sun banished the Crow people from their land and threatened to kill them. White Wolf took pity on the Crow people and secretly provided them with food. When Sun learned of his servant's disobedience, he forgave the Crow people and made Wolf an outcast instead." -Native American Religion, Terrence Glenzer
* * * The cell phone's piercing ring caused Tony Mace to stir in the darkness. Rolling over, he blinked at the digital alarm clock as he clicked on the bedside lamp: 4:40 AM, almost an hour before he had planned to rise. Beside him, Cheryl pulled a pillow over her head. Mace picked up his phone and squinted at its display, which flashed Night Watch Command. The detective bureaus closed their doors at 1:00 AM, when Night Watch responded to their calls. He pressed the phone against his ear. "This is Mace."
"Sorry to wake you, Captain," a female voice said. "This is Sergeant Evans with Night Watch Command. One of your detectives, Willy Diega, is requesting to speak to you from a crime scene."
Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Mace set his mind to military time. The detective bureau closed shop at 0100 and reopened for business at 0800, four hours from now. The only time Night Watch summoned on-call detectives during that period was in an extreme situation requiring immediate attention. He and his lieutenant, Ken Landry, took turns being on call to supervise their detectives in such situations, and Mace was up at bat. "Put him through, please."
"Yes, sir." A click, followed by a beep. "I have Captain Mace on the line, Detective Diega."
"Thank you," said Willy Diega, detective first grade.
"You're welcome." Another click as Evans hung up.
"Go ahead, Willy."
"Captain, we've got a real bag of shit in the Oh-Six. The biggest bag of shit I've ever seen."
The Sixth Precinct, Mace thought. "Who's the primary?"
Mace understood the concern in Willy's voice. His partner, Detective third grade Patty Lane, had proven herself to be a sharp-eyed Murder Police, but she had not yet headed a major investigation. "Okay, I'll be there in half an hour."
"Bring your accessories. This is unlike anything I've ever seen before. The first officer puked."
Shutting the phone off, Mace clambered out of bed. In the shower's hot spray, he soaped and rinsed his muscular arms. Because he stood only five-seven, he had compensated for his lack of stature by working out on a regular basis for most of his adult life, and at thirty-nine he was in better condition than most men half his age. Returning to the bedroom, he saw that Cheryl had gotten up, and he felt guilty for waking her. He dressed in a tailored black suit and combed his short dark hair.
Cheryl stood waiting for him in the kitchen with a cup of espresso, her pink robe belted at the waist and her curly dark hair crushed on one side. They had been married for four years, and she had adjusted well to being a cop's wife.
"Thanks," Mace said, taking the sterling cup from her. "You didn't have to get up." He blew on the espresso and sipped it, jolting his sleepy nerves.
"I only get to enjoy caffeine vicariously through you now," Cheryl said. They had confirmed her pregnancy just two weeks earlier. "What's the 911?"
"Professional curiosity?" He suppressed a smile. Cheryl worked as an associate producer for an afternoon TV talk show. "I don't know yet. Something in the Village." He swallowed the espresso and set the cup in the sink.
"Don't forget we have dinner plans."
"I won't." Sliding his hands around her still-narrow waist, he kissed her lips. Then he moved the palm of his right hand to her belly. "Make sure you eat a lot today."
Crossing the apartment, Mace took an olive green trench coat from the closet. He usually woke up at 0530 to jog in Carl Schurz Park before reporting for duty and considered the run an important part of his day. Skipping the routine fouled his mood.
"Make the city safe for expectant mothers," Cheryl said.
"I'll try." He unlocked the door and stepped into the carpeted hallway, the overhead fluorescent lights humming in the morning quiet. He waited for Cheryl to lock the door behind him, then descended three flights of stairs to the lobby, little more than a wide corridor lined with brass mailboxes.
Outside, he raised his eyes to the black sky. The mid-September days alternated hot and cool, and the humidity had dropped from the previous afternoon. He walked half a block to the underground parking garage where he kept his blue Chevy Impala, courtesy of the department, and got into the vehicle. With the NYPD parking permit visible on the dashboard, he started the engine and exited the garage. Passing his building, he steered the car across York Avenue, then East End Avenue, and finally onto the FDR Drive, which he took at a fast clip. The early morning traffic consisted mostly of taxis transporting bar hoppers and partygoers, and pink streaks appeared in the sky behind the high-rises on Roosevelt Island, across the East River to his left.
He exited the FDR at Houston and sped across town to the West Side, where deliverymen unloaded bundles of fresh newspapers from their trucks. Only donut shops, all-night diners, and hookers continued to serve their customers. Red and blue glare splashed the windshield as the car turned onto Bedford, a curved side street tucked off Christopher. Three radio cars, an unmarked Cavalier, and an EMS ambulance occupied spaces before a tree-lined brick building with white trim. Mace checked his watch: almost 0530.
Parking alongside the ambulance, he climbed out of the Impala and glanced at the building across the street. Half a dozen apartment dwellers in bedclothes stood gossiping on their stoops, and twice as many silhouettes hovered like ghosts within lit windows. Mace removed his gold shield from his belt and clipped it onto his coat even though most uniforms who worked below Fifty-ninth Street knew him on sight.
The grim-faced PO stationed at the front door nodded to him. "Good morning, Captain."
The word still sounded new to him because he had been promoted to the head of Manhattan Homicide South only five weeks ago. "Which apartment?"
Entering the wide vestibule, Mace glanced at the tenants' directory on the wall. The tag next to 3-C identified Glenzer, T as the apartment's occupant. A second PO opened one of the two interior doors, and Mace slipped inside the carpeted lobby. Nodding to the uniform, he boarded the elevator and jabbed the third-floor button. As the elevator rose, he reached into his coat pocket and removed a pair of latex gloves, which he pulled on. This was the first homicide site he had been called to since his promotion from lieutenant, and Willy had warned him to bring his accessories. Entering the third-floor hallway, he passed the backs of a paunchy man in pajamas and a tall woman with graying hair who wore a bathrobe. They whispered to a shorter woman who stood framed within her doorway as they glanced at the far end of the hall.
The super, his wife, and the nosey next-door neighbor, Mace concluded. He had seen people like them at scores of crime scenes. They grew silent when he passed them, then resumed their excited gossiping.
A female PO, the recorder, stood guarding the open doorway at the end of the hall, not far from a foul-smelling puddle on the carpet. Willy had said that the first officer on the scene had vomited, and now that mess belonged to the crime scene. Short and stocky, the policewoman held a clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other. She recorded Mace's name and rank as he ducked beneath the yellow crime scene tape that crisscrossed the doorway like a spiderweb. Finding himself in a narrow hallway with little light, he turned right and entered the apartment proper.
Books had been pulled from the living room's floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and the sofa's seat cushions had been torn apart, their stuffing scattered around the room. A wooden desk lay tipped over on one side, an oversized electric typewriter upside down on the floor before it. Scores of books had been torn apart and piled high in the middle of the room, along with shredded maps and reams of loose pages scrawled with handwritten notes. Leaning over them, Mace frowned. The scene resembled a book burning except that the volumes had been smeared with urine and excrement rather than gasoline. He covered his mouth and nose with his left hand, warding off the odors rising from the mess, then reached into his coat pocket for his own charcoal filter mask, which he positioned over his face.
A flash came from the bedroom, and he followed it to its source. Patty Lane photographed something beyond his field of vision in the room. Willy stood beside her, sketching the bedroom's layout. Both partners wore filter masks.
Mace's first impression was that someone had painted the room red. Then the horrible truth seeped into his consciousness. Dark blood glistened on the bed, and viscera spotted the walls. Partially devoured organs and unrecognizable appendages radiated across the floor. Chunks of wet flesh clung to a wooden bureau and the baseboards. Ropy intestines lay uncoiled near a spinal column, still attached to skeletal hips, near the foot of the bed, slick with crimson. Even the ceiling had been spattered, with dull red light shining through the centered fixture. The victim had not just been murdered. He had been torn to pieces.
Bile crawled up the back of Mace's throat. As he composed himself, his rank requiring him to set an example for his subordinates, he attempted to mentally reassemble the gruesome shapes on the floor into a human figure. The task proved impossible.
Something is missing, he thought as he battled the nausea enveloping him. It was impossible to concentrate, and for a moment he feared he would pass out. The only window in the room had been smashed open, jagged pieces of broken glass fanning the floor below it. A breeze blew the curtains inward, then sucked them snapping out like towels on a clothesline. A single word formed in Mace's mind: rage.
Willy registered his presence. The thirty-six-year-old man's shaved head sparkled with sweat. "Welcome to our hell, Captain."
Patty took another photo, then faced Mace. Thirty years old, she stood an inch taller than him, her dark red ponytail hanging over the back of her charcoal-colored jacket. "You're up early." She glanced sideways at Willy, who offered a guilty shrug in response.
"The burden of responsibility," Mace said, scanning the crimson-slicked floor.
"Paramedics declared the time of death 04:30." Patty spoke in a no-nonsense tone.
Mace pulled on a pair of disposable blue shoe covers. "Mind if I take a look?"
Willy stepped over to the doorway. "Be my guest."
Mace traded places with him. The room felt even more oppressive inside, and he felt a tingling sensation as the blood rushed from his head. Blood, red and dripping, everywhere. Flies buzzed the carnage in ghoulish anticipation. Something's missing, he thought. Now he had a clear view of the wall Patty had been photographing, and a tremor ran through his body. Dripping red letters a foot and a half high spelled out a single bloody word that ran from one end of the wall to the other: skinwalker.
"'Helter Skelter,'" Patty said as if reading Mace's mind.
The gory scene screamed cult activity or satanic ritual. Conjuring images of drug-crazed lunatics carving up T. Glenzer in an orgy of violence, he surveyed the room. "Where's the head?"
"That's the million-dollar question," Willy said.
Mace nodded at the wall. "Those letters are six inches wide-the same width as a man's neck."
"Jesus, you're right." Excitement rose in Willy's voice. "They used the head like a crayon."
"But what does skinwalker mean?"
"A stripper or a transvestite?"
"This condo belongs to Terry Glenzer," Patty said. "He is, or was, a history professor at NYU." She picked up a plastic evidence bag with a brown leather square inside it. "We found this wallet on the floor next to the bedside table." She passed the wallet to Mace, who examined it through the plastic.
Sticky blood covered one side of the wallet. Opening it through the plastic, Mace studied the gaunt features of an elderly man in a postage stamp-sized photo on a New York State nondriver' ID. Gray hair swept back from the man's widow's peak. The text identified him as Glenzer, Terrence above the Bedford address and a birth date. Glenzer had been sixty-two. Turning the wallet sideways, Mace parted its leather flaps. Almost one hundred dollars in cash remained, making robbery an unlikely motive.
"He doesn't look like a stripper or a transvestite to me," Patty said.
Taking out his cell phone, Mace pressed auto dial. After the third ring, a tired voice on the other end said, "Lieutenant Landry."
"Ken, it's Tony. Sorry to bother you, but we've got a real shit storm in the Oh-Six. Lane and Diega took the call."
"That's okay, Boss. What do you need?"
"I need you to do a search for me. You got a pen?"
"I do now."
"Look up the word 'skinwalker' and call me back."
"Give me five minutes."
Mace pocketed his phone.
"The perps probably took the head as a souvenir," Patty said. "We found a jawbone under the bed. The bottom teeth are intact, so we should be able to make a dental comparison if we can locate his records. Good thing he didn't wear dentures." She pointed at several small sausagelike shapes on the floor near Willy. "We also have these fingers for prints."
Mace's body tingled. Standing there, he felt overwhelmed by the notion that his team had caught a case that could destroy careers as easily as it could make them, and he regretted being a departmental middleman.
"According to the super, Glenzer lived alone and never brought home guests," Patty said. "He liked to travel, sometimes months at a time, and kept to himself. His downstairs neighbor-" she consulted her notepad "-Irene Hoffman heard the window smashing at 0400 hours, followed by a lot of thumping around, and called 911. She didn't hear any screams. The super unlocked the door for the first officer nine minutes later."
Careful to keep his feet planted, Mace turned and studied the smashed window. Wind rustled the leaves of a thick-limbed tree beyond the fire escape.
"There's no sign of forced entry through the front door," Patty said. "The perps climbed that tree to the fire escape and smashed the window from outside, then left the same way. It's hard to tell if any property's missing, and with this mess on the floor, we can't toss the place or even take measurements until Crime Scene Unit shows up. The coroner's going to have a hell of a time removing these parts."
From the doorway Willy said, "All the king's horses and all the king's men ..."
Mace knew Patty assumed there was more than one perpetrator because of the extensive damage to the victim's body. It was a logical assumption; he could not imagine a single person committing such atrocities over even an extended period of time, let alone in nine minutes. But he saw one problem.
"Look at those prints on the fire escape. There are only four of them, which means there could have been only two perps."
"Two people did all this?" Willy shook his head in disbelief. "Look at that." He pointed at the curved, bloody bones on the floor. "They pulled his ribs apart."
Like a human wishbone, Mace thought.
"The vic was still in bed when the attack started." Patty motioned to a severed arm near the fingers, cocked at the elbow and devoid of skin. "The other arm is on the floor on the other side of the bed. The assailants ripped them off, and the victim rolled off the bed, probably in shock."
Mace focused on a half-open closet door. Some of the clothes had fallen from their hangers onto the floor.
"The head could be in there," Patty said. "But we still have to wait on CSU."
Mace nodded. "Let me show you something in the living room." Patty furrowed her eyebrows.
"I'll wait here," Willy said in a deadpan voice.
Mace retraced his steps out of the bedroom, and he and Patty peeled off their shoe covers and bagged them. He led her to the pile of books on the living room floor. "How do you feel?"
"I'm good," Patty said in a heavy Queens accent.
Excerpted from The Frenzy Way by Gregory Lamberson Copyright © 2010 by Gregory Lamberson . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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