Kiss of Evilby Richard Montanari
"Detective Michael Ryan died in Cleveland's Renaissance Hotel two years ago, murdered with his own weapon. A stunning fashion model was accused of the crime, then cleared - leaving a good cop's name forever tainted by these damning words: corruption, greed, and betrayal." "Since that time homicide detective John Salvatore Paris has worked long and hard to salvage his… See more details below
"Detective Michael Ryan died in Cleveland's Renaissance Hotel two years ago, murdered with his own weapon. A stunning fashion model was accused of the crime, then cleared - leaving a good cop's name forever tainted by these damning words: corruption, greed, and betrayal." "Since that time homicide detective John Salvatore Paris has worked long and hard to salvage his good friend Mike Ryan's reputation, but with no success. Now the beautiful suspect who walked away has perished in a fiery suicide. The circle is closed." "But the rash of brutal slayings that is rocking Paris's city suggest otherwise. The plague of terror and ritual sacrifice is savage enough to shatter even the most street-hardened cop's faith in justice and a rational world. Each murder is different, yet equally horrific. The street hustler, the suburban career woman, the dealer in religious artifacts - the only evidence connecting these victims is a strange symbol carved into their flesh. And, perhaps, one name: Michael Ryan."--BOOK JACKET.
- Arrow Books, Limited
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Read an Excerpt
I step into the white room at precisely eleven o'clock. White walls, thick white carpeting, white stippled ceiling. The lights are on and it is very bright, very warm. Aside from the blue-screened computer on the desk in the corner, the only color in the room is the plum velvet wing chair, dead center, facing the computer's small video camera, facing the lights.
I am dressed in charcoal trousers, pleated, and a powder blue shirt with French cuffs. I am also wearing a pair of black Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. I am barefoot and the shirt is open at the top.
I received the e-mail from Dante at eight-thirty and that gave me just enough time to get to the dry cleaner, just enough time to flirt with a waitress and pick up some dinner at Sfuzzi. I can still taste the garlic from the veal piccata and feel like I might be cheating this woman, even though she is going to be light-years away, figuratively speaking. But I understand what compels the person on the other side of the session to call, to arrange, to pay. I respect that.
So I take out my Binaca and freshen my breath.
I sit down.
At eleven-ten the computer speakers sizzle with static, the small window in the upper right of the computer monitor flickers once, twice, but does not yield an image. I do not expect it to. Although the connection allows for two-way video transmission, I have yet to see anyone appear in that frame. Watchers watch.
Soon, from the speakers, there comes a synthesized voice, robotic, yet unmistakably female.
"Hello?" the voice says.
"Hello," I answer, knowing she can see me now.
"Are you the police officer?"
The game.Eternally the game. First the game, then the guilt. But always, in the middle, the come. "Yes."
"Just home from a tough day at work?"
"Just walked through the door," I say. "Just kicked off my shoes."
"Shoot anyone today?"
"Not today." "Arrest anyone?" "Yes."
"Just a girl. A very wicked girl."
She laughs, pauses for a few moments, then says: "Fix yourself a drink." I stand, walk out of the frame. There is no bar in this room, but there is a desk with some of the items I anticipated needing. She cannot see these things, these props I will use to produce this chimera for her. Nor, of course, can she see the cauldron, the long-rusted hooks.
Those are in the black room.
As I pick up the tumbler containing a few inches of rum, I hear an increase in the pace of the woman's electronic breathing. Watchers like to anticipate, too. Watchers like it even when they can't watch.
I play her for a few moments, then reenter the frame and sit down.
"Drink," she says, a little breathless now.
I drink. The liquid is pleasant amber fire in my stomach.
A strong, authoritative command. I obey.
"Now," the voice continues, "I want you to take your shirt off. Slowly."
I turn my right wrist, look again at my silver cuff links, at the ancient symbol engraved into the smooth matte surface. I take the cuff links out with great drama, then unbutton my shirt slowly, one mother-of-pearl button at a time, and let it slip over my shoulders to the floor.
"Good," says the voice. "Very good. You are a very beautiful young man.
"Now your trousers. Belt first, then the button, then the zipper."
I do as I am told. Soon I am naked. I sit down on the chair. My penis looks thick and heavily veined against the purple velvet.
"Do you know who I am?" asks the voice.
I do not. I say so.
"Do you want to know who I am?"
I remain silent.
"I can't tell you anyway," the voice says. "But I do know what I want you to do now."
"What is that?"
"I want you to think about the woman you saw today. At the whorehouse.""Okay."
"Do you remember her?"
"Yes. I haven't been able to forget her."
The voice continues, a little faster. "The woman you saw on the topfloor. Did you like her?"
"Yes," I say, my erection beginning to amass. This was the easy part."Very much."
"Did it turn you on to watch her?"
"Yes." Up a few more degrees. Then a few more.
"That was me, you know. I was the whore."
"Do you like to watch me do that to other men?"
"Yes. I love it."
"Spread your legs," she says, the transmission breaking up a bit.
A few more moments of static, then: "Meet me."
"No.""Meet me tonight."
It is a plea, now. The power has shifted, as it always does. "No," I reply.
"Meet me and fuck me."
I wait a few beats. My heart begins to race. Is she going to be the one? "If I say yes, what will you do for me?"
"I...I'll pay you," she says. "I have cash."
"I don't want your money. "
"Then what do you want?"
I pause. For effect. "Obedience."
"If we meet, you will do as I say?"
"You will do exactly as I say?"
"Are you alone now?"
"Then listen to me carefully, because I will tell you this once."
She remains silent. I shift in the chair, continue.
"There is an abandoned building on the southeast corner of East Fortieth and Central," I say. "There is a doorway on the East Fortieth side. Iwant you to stand there, facing the door. Understand?"
"Do you truly have the courage to go there? To do this?"
The slightest hesitation, then: "Yes."
"Do you understand that I am going to fuck you in that door-way? Doyou understand that I am going to walk up behind you and fuck you inthat filthy doorway?"
"You will wear a short white skirt."
"You will wear nothing underneath it."
"You will wear nothing on top either, just a short jacket of some sort.Leather. Do you have one?"
"And your highest heels."
"I'm wearing them now."
"You will not turn around. You will not look at me. Do you understand?"
"Yes."Kiss of Evil. Copyright � by Richard Montanari. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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