Garden of Evil

Garden of Evil

3.9 18
by Edna Buchanan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

While attempting an arrest, a sheriff is slain by an enigmatic young woman who promptly vanishes into the northern Florida landscape. As the story comes over the wire, reporter Britt Montero is intrigued. Few copkillers escape so easily.

The murders continue. Men are lured into sex by the same woman, their lifeless bodies dumped half-naked in ditches,

See more details below

Overview

While attempting an arrest, a sheriff is slain by an enigmatic young woman who promptly vanishes into the northern Florida landscape. As the story comes over the wire, reporter Britt Montero is intrigued. Few copkillers escape so easily.

The murders continue. Men are lured into sex by the same woman, their lifeless bodies dumped half-naked in ditches, woodlands and along the road, their cars, cash, and valuables gone. The murderer, who leaves lipstick traces on the bullets she uses-slugs that blossom into flower-shaped blades designed to maim-is swiftly dubbed the Kiss Me Killer.

Tracking the killer's path, Britt senses it will lead to Miami, sweltering through the hottest summer on record. When a top politician tastes the killer's kiss of death, leading to a media frenzy, the story belongs to Britt and quick reader reaction comes-from the killer. They open a chilling dialogue, and the body count mounts as the bad and beautiful serial murderer decimates the hard partying South Beach scene. The mutual fascination between killer and reporter builds into an explosive face-to-face meeting that turns deadly as Britt begins a terrifying odyssey through the Sunshine State's dark heart, in the company of the murderer. On the road, on the run, a young father is brutally slain, his small child is kidnapped, and the truth behind this bloody spree is exposed in a shocking revelation. The question is: will Britt survive to write it?While attempting an arrest, a sheriff is slain by an enigmatic young woman who promptly vanishes into the northern Florida landscape. As the story comes over the wire, reporter Britt Montero is intrigued. Few copkillers escape so easily.

The murders continue. Men are lured into sex by the same woman, their lifeless bodies dumped half-naked in ditches, woodlands and along the road, their cars, cash, and valuables gone. The murderer, who leaves lipstick traces on the bullets she uses-slugs that blossom into flower-shaped blades designed to maim-is swiftly dubbed the Kiss Me Killer.

Tracking the killer's path, Britt senses it will lead to Miami, sweltering through the hottest summer on record. When a top politician tastes the killer's kiss of death, leading to a media frenzy, the story belongs to Britt and quick reader reaction comes-from the killer. They open a chilling dialogue, and the body count mounts as the bad and beautiful serial murderer decimates the hard partying South Beach scene. The mutual fascination between killer and reporter builds into an explosive face-to-face meeting that turns deadly as Britt begins a terrifying odyssey through the Sunshine State's dark heart, in the company of the murderer. On the road, on the run, a young father is brutally slain, his small child is kidnapped, and the truth behind this bloody spree is exposed in a shocking revelation. The question is: will Britt survive to write it?

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Toby Bromberg
From its opening pages to its climactic outcome, Garden of Evil bursts with suspense and adventure. The story is a spellbinding one, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Buchanan definitely knows how to hook her audience with suspenseful scenes. A true thriller, the novel is one you won’t be able to put down until the stunning finale.
Romantic Times
New York Times Book Review
Britt's charm is her frenetic energy, her wicked curiosity and her insatiable appetite for a good story...a story to die for.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
A supremely expert yarnspinner.
Missouri State Journal
Garden of Evil by Edna Buchanan takes the reader on an altogether different kind of trip, a roller-coastr literary adventure starring a determined, tough reporter named Britt Montero and a deadly serial killer.
Library Journal
After taking a break with Pulse, Miami crime reporter Britt Montero is back and she's hotter than ever! As usual, Britt is in the thick of things, sweltering during a Miami heatwave and chasing the usual suspects. But her most interesting assignment is about a mysterious woman who kills a sheriff in north Florida and then weaves a southerly track downstate toward Miami, leaving a trail of corpses in her wake. Each is found with his pants down--his genitals mutilated, shot with Black Talon bullets, and graced with traces of lipstick. She becomes the "Kiss-Me Killer." Britt's coverage of the murders attracts the attention of the killer, who contacts Britt and draws her into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game that could cost Britt her life. The usual cast of interesting side-kicks add to the fun. Britt's many fans will welcome this fresh installment in the series. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/98.]--Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Steffens
Buchanan delivers a gripping portrait of a warped mind wrapped in beautiful packaging.

Entertainment Weekly

Reynolds
In her sixth outing with quick-thinking police reporter Britt Montero, autjor Edna Buchanan (The Corpse Had a Familiar Face) again shows the street smarts that earned her a Pulitzer Prize for police reporting in 1986 at The Miami Herald...Buchanan keeps the action crackling in this edgy, psychological tale.

People Magazine

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061957604
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/26/2010
Series:
Britt Montero Mysteries , #6
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
218,298
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The garbled police radio transmissions had been confusing: reports of gunfire, a fleeing car, a traffic accident, and a corpse. Were they related? It was impossible to determine from my dashboard scanner. Cops speak guardedly on the air these days, assisted by sophisticated encoding techniques that scramble their signals and permit outsiders to pick up only intermittent one-sided fragments of transmissions.

Steamy waves of heat rose off pavement that would still be hot to the touch at midnight. It was nearly dusk, the hottest day so far of Miami's hottest June on record. The temperature had shattered weather bureau records every day, all month. The heat index, taking the humidity into account, had settled at a wilting 115 degrees. The backs of my thighs had become one with the vinyl seat and my dress clung damply in unseemly places. Deadline rumbled toward me like an avalanche, and I still had work to do on two other stories.

I parked outside a little family grocery on the corner, left my press card on the dash, and separated myself from the car seat. What had happened here? I scanned the chaos of the street. Spinning emergency flashers and yellow crime-scene tape stretched for blocks into the sunset's red and purple glow, creating a hypnotic, nearly psychedelic effect. To my relief I saw Homicide Detective David Ojeda. Mercurial and savvy, he is a quick study, so sure of himself that he is not afraid to talk to a reporter. He wouldn't stonewall. And he owed me. At least I liked to think so; he probably wouldn't agree. Homicide cops always feel righteous, no matter what. He acted as though the history we shared had never happened, but Iwouldn't forget. You don't forget a man who whips out his handcuffs and books you into the county jail.

Ojeda did not look happy to see me. He looked limp, from his loud tie to his usually fierce and bristly mustache. Damp half-moons ringed his armpits. His high forehead Glistened. His knowing smile had given way to a scowl. Not happy at all.

A late-model Buick Riviera had slammed into a huge eight-by-ten-foot concrete planter, in what looked like the last stop on a path of destruction.

A woman sat mumbling on the curb behind the wrecked Riviera, head in her hands, so drenched in blood and gore that I thought she must be seriously hurt. Her hair and even the little pink barrette she wore in it was spattered and stained. Uh-oh. Was that a little pink barrette? Up closer it appeared to be a chunk of brain matter. But whose? The medic checking her pulse did not seem unduly concerned.

Other medics surrounded a young man lying in the street. His hair looked as though he had jammed a wet thumb into a light socket. Was it normally that wild or rearranged by whatever mishap left him sprawled on the pavement? What on earth had the not-so-good citizens of Miami been doing to each other out here?

The world is crazy, full of crazy people. Miami has more than its share. My job is to tell the public all about it. My name is Montero, Britt Montero, and I cover the police beat in this superheated sea-level city at the bottom of the map.

The medical examiner and two cops stepped away from the Buick just then and I glimpsed the driver, still behind the wheel. My God! I swallowed hard. Ojeda mopped his face with a handkerchief as I sidled up and murmured softly in his ear.

"Where is his head?"

"Nowhere," he replied, "and everywhere."

"Was this an accident or a shooting?" I demanded. "What happened?"

"Talk to PIO," he said.

"Nobody from public information is here."

"Jesus, will you look at that," he muttered. We stared morosely at adults in the crowd who had hoisted toddlers up high onto their shoulders so the wee ones could better view the carnage.

"Okay." The detective stashed his sodden handkerchief. "Don't tell them I talked to you," he warned. "Here's the four-one-one.

"Our victim, the driver here; his gal-pal Wanda, that's her over there"—he indicated the woman on the curb, whose mumbling was rapidly coalescing into an incoherent rant—"and his brother come bopping into Overtown to buy crack. The brother is riding shotgun, literally. He's in the backseat with a sawed-off across his knees."

"That him over there? The injured guy in the street?"

"Nope. Don't get ahead a me here." Ojeda looked annoyed. "Don't jump the gun. You always do that.'.'

I wanted to argue that he was no one to talk, but didn't.

"He's the street-corner dealer our happy little group in the car is making a buy from when a dispute arises. Our man in the street there is leaning in the car window, negotiating, when our driver apparently tries to take off with both the drugs and the money. Don't know if they planned a rip or if it was some spur-a-the-moment brainstorm. The seller refuses to let go the goods; he's half in and half outa the window, getting dragged. The brother in the backseat starts brandishing the shotgun, the seller grabs it and hangs on for dear life, getting dragged farther into the car as they wrestle over the gun. Then ba-boom! It goes off, taking off the driver's head, which explodes onto his girlfriend's lap. The dead guy's foot punches the accelerator and the car peels out, leaving a hundred-and-fifty-foot traila blood back on Second Avenue."

He stopped to glare at the flies already buzzing the car.

"He slumps, his chest on the horn, foot on the accelerator. They wind up here about a mile later. From what I hear, his passengers were screaming louder than the horn. The dealer's legs are still hanging out the back window, kicking and thrashing. One of our unmarked cars had to swerve up on the sidewalk to get outa their way.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >