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Myth Man

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A serial killer is on a killing spree of the religious in New York City, and a seasoned police detective is the only one who can stop him.

He is a lion, and the religious cattle his prey. A serial killer is focused on severing religion's stranglehold on humanity in order to cleanse the world of superstitions, religious leaders, and gullible citizens. Myth Man is preparing to unleash an unholy vengeance.

Lieutenant Dominick Presto is one of New ...

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Myth Man

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A serial killer is on a killing spree of the religious in New York City, and a seasoned police detective is the only one who can stop him.

He is a lion, and the religious cattle his prey. A serial killer is focused on severing religion's stranglehold on humanity in order to cleanse the world of superstitions, religious leaders, and gullible citizens. Myth Man is preparing to unleash an unholy vengeance.

Lieutenant Dominick Presto is one of New York City's finest police detectives. While the obese Presto battles prejudices from within his own department, he matches his wits with one of the most sensationalized killer in the city's history. But Myth Man fears no one. And the murder spree begins. Hailed as the Son of Satan by the local newspapers, Myth Man uses hidden contacts and disguises as he moves from victim to victim, while Presto attempts to decipher his psychotic mind in order to predict his next move.

The serial killer has a plan. And soon the world will come to know him, celebrate him, and perhaps worship him-for he is Myth Man.

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Editorial Reviews

ForeWord Clarion Review
Mueck has crafted an engaging and well-paced mystery with a lead detective who’s under no illusions about himself or what others think of his physical appearance... The story follows a logical progression and the reader is never hoodwinked. All the information is there for the keen-minded reader to follow, along with the red herrings of misdirection that are vital to a well-told mystery. Mueck has done his homework well.

Mueck certainly has entertaining stories yet to tell. He could very well be a name to watch in the future.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450247245
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 8/25/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,339,988
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

First Chapter


By Alex Mueck

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Alex Mueck
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4502-4725-2

Chapter One

Bullseye envisioned the killer of myths, faiths, and fables. He smiled at the twentysomething, curvy brunette and stared, neither at her inviting smile nor her ample and welcoming chest but rather at the ashen cross on her forehead. Oh, how he would like to place a bullet through her Ash Wednesday smudge, but the fun would have to wait for later.

She made eye contact as the subway closed in on his last stop. Staring at her cross, he unbuttoned the top of his gray overcoat and revealed a Roman collar.

Her eyes twinkled, and the left side of her mouth curved upward. She nudged closer, smiling. "Father?"

"My child," the killer said warmly with a purposeful trace of a mideastern accent. "I see you started your day with God," he said, eyeing her ashen cross again under the brim of his fedora.

Her head dipped demurely, and then she proudly declared, "Mother wouldn't have it any other way."

"God bless her," he said while thinking, this dirty slut probably performed fellatio last night. "She must be a great woman, and I see the fruits of her labor have not fallen far from mother tree." His eyes zeroed in on her forehead again.

The brunette smiled. "I must say, I have never seen a priest on a subway before."

He laughed inside, but his lightly darkened, disguised-with-makeup face never wavered. "My dear, God uses many types of chariots to do his good work."

She laughed as the subway jerked and then decelerated.

A mechanical voice plagued by static announced, "Forty-second Street, Grand Central Station."

He spoke over the hiss. "My stop. Remember our sinful nature and recognize God's forgiveness." He folded his hands and bowed slightly.

"Thanks," she said but then thought that he did not exactly seem the celibate type based on the way he had leered at her.

He stepped off the subway and looked across to where the local six-train platformed. He was encumbered with an over-the-shoulder bag, but he decided the weather was scripted for the day and headed for the stairs.

With several steps to climb, he saw a swirling gray sky punctuated by swiftly falling snow. He smiled as the first hard, wet flakes struck his face.

When he emerged on Lexington Avenue, an umbrella flew at him with deadly aim, striking him forcefully in the right thigh. His grin twisted to a grimace. He looked up angrily.

A gaunt, elderly woman sheepishly approached. "I'm so sorry," she pleaded.

The killer smiled and handed her the umbrella. In a halting Indian accent, he told her, "It's okay. Anyway, I have someone else to kill today."

Her eyes widened, and she edged backward.

He smiled.

Tremulous, she asked, "You're, uh, kidding?" Her face twitched like a timid mouse, but her eyes expressed hope, like maybe the cheese was not attached to a trap.

His face was dispassionate, but his tone was serious. "I wish I was." He flashed a smile as if to suggest otherwise and then tipped his hat, revealing a dark bushel of wavy hair. "Be careful in this nasty weather." Despite the gusting winds, his wig held firm.

She thanked him and gripped her umbrella tightly as she departed.

He pivoted and walked toward Fifth Avenue. Making a right, he saw the double spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral rise three hundred feet into the snowy heavens. Across the street was Rockefeller Center, where a sculptured Atlas held the weight of the world on his shoulders.

The killer laughed. The Greek gods once ruled the world only to be replaced by more elaborate fabrications. We're mortals. No god or gods intervened in our mundane lives.

After all, there were no miracles against a well-aimed bullet.

He walked up a short flight of stairs past a few policemen huddled together and stood before two double bronze doors that weighed ten thousand pounds each.

Two weeks prior, a most helpful tour guide provided that factoid and gleefully answered all his questions. Ms. Giovanni appeared dazzled by his alluring smile, Armani suit, and Italian accent.

Despite his contempt for religious places of worship, St. Patrick's was a magnificent church. The stained glass windows, the chapels, and the marble altars-indeed there was much to marvel. Not all religions managed to have such a glorious spectacle as New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral, so today's deed was an extra thrill.

As he finally strode through the bronze doors, he recalled the legend where St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland. The accounts varied, but one thing remained certain-it was as fictitious as the exploits of Atlas. Snakes were not indigenous to the Emerald Isle.

Myths, he raged.

Warm, stuffy air greeted his nostrils, and he gagged in disgust before suppressing his revulsion. There they were-the faithful arriving to bear their crosses. Next to Easter and Christmas, what other Christian holiday drew such attendance?

He especially despised Ash Wednesday.

He gazed at the arriving flock and assigned sins they were here to ask God's forgiveness for: cheating on taxes, adultery, alcoholism, domestic violence, racism, and clearly gluttony, by the size of one woman's girth. Hypocrites. Your worthless devotion.

Faith, he seethed.

He was a lion. The Christian cattle were his prey.

Since the sheep were forming to the right, he headed straight. Just as he stepped forward, a preppie, pencil-pushing plebe brushed into him and moved on without an apology. Asshole. He was blabbing with his female companion about getting a picture of the altar of Saint John the Evangelist.

Speaking of assholes. If only this apocalyptic shit-spreader had been killed like his brother James.

Today, if someone uttered St. John's lunatic rants of the apocalypse, we'd squirrel that seed in the nuthouse. Instead, however, his revelations have sprouted and strangled mankind with an atmosphere of gloom. How many times had he scoffed as some windbag preacher forecasted a date for the arrival of this so-called Antichrist? The date always passed. The excuse is always, of course, the human element of miscalculation.

The only plus to the evangelist's ramblings was the wealth of fiction it created, both in cinema and literature. Sure, God usually prevailed, but evil always grabbed a few souls before being vanquished. Today, he'd move the abacus in the devil's direction, although he considered his musings as funny talk. Satan was no more real than Hades, Asmodeus, Baal, Iblis, or Loki. They were all just superstitions used to intimidate mankind.

Fables, he stormed.

He was not intimidated. This was a time to spit back at generations of lies with an unholy vengeance. Let them grab their rosaries and other superficial talismans. Their monopoly on our minds is over. It was time to break free of religious institutions. It's a new world order.

Walking forward through the nave, he reached the end of the pews and moved down the center aisle toward the sanctuary.

A few paces farther, he stopped. Slouched and snoring was a disheveled man, who had not seen a shave by the sight of him or a shower by the smell of him in quite some time. A vagrant. Perfect. When life was hell for the homeless, how could such a man believe in God?

He took the shoulder strap off and placed the bag on the floor. Nonchalantly, he sat next to the man, quickly seized his wrist, and with his other hand, injected a needle in his arm. The man stirred. "Peace, my brother," the killer said in a soothing voice. "I'm leaving you a few things. There's some food, but first, rest."

Smells of alcohol and vomit rose off the homeless man's body. The killer winced as he placed two paper bags beside the vagrant. He moved back to the aisle, thrilled to escape the man's aroma. He removed his overcoat and swung it over his right arm. With the same hand, he grabbed the bag and walked with it by his side.

When he reached the sanctuary, he turned right toward the south transept. Along the wall stood the faithful, awaiting their ashes. He turned toward two guards who stood before a rope partition.

With perfect Gaelic precision, he asked, "Dear lads, I'm visiting from Ireland. St. Patrick's Parish of Wicklow." He paused to gesture outside. "I lost my way in the storm. My destination is the rectory."

One guard deferred to the other. The younger, thinner guard appeared to think for a moment and then asked. "What's your name, Father?"

"Martin Balor," he replied, heavy on the brogue. "From Wicklow."

"I'll call it in," the skinny guard said. "Sorry for the inconvenience, Father. He has to check your bag, regardless."

The guard nodded and pulled a device off a belt clip. He turned away and spoke into the thing and waited. After a brief moment, he spoke again, this time much louder.

"No problem. My pleasure," he said without a hint of such. He said the right words but slouched and spoke in a slow, strained fashion. His wavy brown hair was disheveled. His eyes were red and underlined by black creases, like a hungover big leaguer during a sunny afternoon game.

With an apologetic expression, the other guard motioned to the bag.

"I understand, sir. You Americans have been through a lot, especially New Yorkers. Where I'm from, we don't have this concern. Well, unless you're a bloody Brit," he said with a sly smile.

The killer opened his duffel bag. "All I have is a change of clothes and some holy books. I'm attending an interfaith seminar tomorrow."

At first, the man's darkened complexion caught the skinny guy's attention, but the priestly garments and accent disarmed him. Half-heartedly, the guard fished through clothes, linens, books, and one bottle of water. He thought, The man was an Irish priest. He looked like a decent chap. This didn't fit his profile of a dangerous sort.

The killer gazed over to the pulpit and raged. How much bullshit had been spewed from that stage over the past hundred and thirty years?

The guard broke his fury. "You're in luck, Father. There's a way to the rectory without braving the elements again. I'll escort you."

As I suspected, the killer thought as he suppressed a smile. He clasped his hands together. "That's most kind."

A simple phone call a few months prior was all it took to schedule the visit. The real Martin Balor from Wicklow was possibly settling down with a pint of beer and a plate of corned beef and cabbage at this very moment. Tomorrow, Balor would step it up to scotch to forget his newfound infamy. Corned beef and cabbage was cattle food, but the killer enjoyed good Irish spirits. Not just the booze, but also the Celtic legends.

It was also those legends that led to the selection of Father Balor. He'd been scouting a list of Irish priests he'd easily found on the Internet when he spotted the name Balor. He loved the irony. In Celtic lore, Balor was a cyclops creature that represented death. The connection was too good.

A small smile breached the killer's resistance. Now comes the fun part, he thought.

They came around a bend to the famous Lady Chapel. The marble walls were accented with narrow pillars that rose into arches and then tapered to long, narrow columns surrounded by stained glass, which depicted more flights of fancy, including the ascension of Jesus to heaven. The killer enjoyed this part of the church. He knew beauty, even if it was in the misguided form of religion.

His brown eyes sparkled. The optometrist, whom he later disposed of, found the request unusual. She raved about his dynamic blue eyes. Why did he want brown contacts? She was sweet, but she was a potential future witness. And, she was a meddling Jew, so she had to die.

His ogling was interrupted. "Just this way, Father," the guard advised.

The excuse for security appeared overtaxed and/or bored. The splendor of the cathedral had worn thin from the monotonous ritual of standing around.

He might have to die.

Behind the sanctuary, in the ambulatory, a staircase descended. It led to the crypt and sacristies. Also, there was an underground tunnel that led to the rectory. This was not part of the tour, but he knew that anyway. The information was public from multiple sources, and his accommodating tour guide was most helpful with his follow-up questions.

His escape plan depended on that information.

"Father Venezia is in the sacristy," the guard informed. "I'll take you to him, and he'll take it from there."

The killer had two plans to ditch the guard. One was to say that he'd been below years ago and knew the way. The other, if he proved a persistent escort, was murder. But the guard's suggestion was even better. He tipped his hat again. "Thanks," he said, keeping it simple. He feared the excitement might kill his Irish accent.

When the cathedral was built, they had to blast out concrete to accommodate the sublevel design. The double green bronze doors to the left led to the crypt. Every deceased archbishop from New York was buried there. He had hoped to provide the ex-archbishops with some added company, but alas, the current reigning fool had tripped, broken his leg, and was currently hospitalized. There were always other holidays on the calendar.

The tour continued farther, and they turned right. The guard pointed to a door. "Enter there. Father Venezia knows your coming." He turned and strolled back to the stairs.

The killer cocked his head in satisfaction. Does he know? Surprise, you're dead. Out of his jacket, he pulled a long bamboo tube. With his other hand, he rapped his knuckles on the door.

Death comes aknocking.


From dust you come, and unto dust you will go.

Chapter Two

Father Venezia prepared. Dressed in white vestments and purple pendants, he was every bit as dedicated as he was thirty years ago when he was first ordained a priest. Preparation was not making the ashes from last year's Palm Sunday fronds (that was the Saxon's task), but rather, Father Venezia prepared through silent prayer.

Ash Wednesday was a time of reflection, a period to recall our propensity to sin. The wonder of God's forgiveness comes at an infinite price. Father Venezia prayed for mankind. The world was at another perilous crossroads. The devils minions-oppression, starvation, war, genocide, and indifference-were on the rise. The evidence was overwhelming.

At an early age, Father Venezia felt drawn to God. His father was a fisherman, and every time he sat perched at the stern of his father's boat, he stared across the sea into the misty horizon until he saw nothing. In the nothingness, he felt a deep calling.

As an eleven-year-old, he had asked his father if it was okay if he put a cross on the cabin wall, next to the captain's chair. He was unsure what his father would say. His mother was the one who made him go to church, while his father was strictly a Christmas and Easter guy.

His father had looked him in the eyes and asked, "Do you believe in God, Son?"

Unwavering, he had answered deliberately, "Yes. I do."

His father looked him over and said, "Well then. On the next voyage, God will be my copilot."

Thrilled, he'd run to the church store. On an overcast morning, he watched his father hang the cross on the cabin wall. Bon Voyage.

A few days later, he was lying in bed when he heard his mother crying. Softly, he descended the stairs, but a sudden creak gave his presence away.

Even in the dim morning light, he could see his mother's moist, puffy, red eyes. She didn't command him back to his room but instead called to him. He ran to her open, but shaking arms.

An unexpected northern front collided with a strong southern pressure system. The storm was ferocious, and wreaked havoc across the northeastern seaboard. Downed electric lines, an abundance of automobile accidents, broken branches, and uprooted trees clogged the flooded roads. More precious beach land was stolen by the oceans.

At sea, the wind was howling at fifty knots. The coast guard reported thirty-foot swells. Communication had been lost with many vessels, including the SS Hacklehead, the ship his father captained.

Mother had already talked to some of the crewmates' wives. Captain Venezia was experienced and seaworthy, but the Hacklehead was not meant to brace waves of the storm's magnitude. Everyone was concerned. The worst was feared.

The young boy heard the wind and rain pound the house in tandem. There were other sounds: branches whipping, car alarms beeping, garbage cans rolling, and then something else-subtle, like a small pulse emitted in the chaotic cacophony of the storm's dirge, something deeper.

Sal Venezia spontaneously left his mother's embrace and charged to his bedroom. He leaped into bed. On the wall was a cross. It was identical to the one that hung on his father's boat. He bought two of them. It just seemed right.


Excerpted from MYTH MAN by Alex Mueck Copyright © 2010 by Alex Mueck. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    Great Book

    I read the author's first book and couldn't wait for this one to come out. It's even better. Alex Mueck has an imagination that's both incredible and, at times, a bit warped. The book will truly keep you guessing. Read it! You won't be sorry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2010

    Great Read!

    An excellent novel of suspense, one that once started was hard to put down. Intelligent mystery. I was full of anxiety, waiting for the plot to untangle. There are some surprising twists in the end leaving reader with something to contemplate, and expectation for more. Waiting for the next book by this author. Great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A Must Read !!!!!

    Another great book by new author Alex Mueck. Once you start to read it you won't put it down. Compelling story line. He hit another home run with this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2011

    Intriguing!! Must read if you love surprise twists.

    Mueck is proving himself to be a true suspense novelist with his second novel, Myth Man. As before, he tells a gripping story but ends up surprising the reader; not one you can predict halfway through. I am looking forward to more from this promising young author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2010

    Highly recommend this book!

    Alex Mueck provides the right touch of suspense and easy to read in this serial killer book. It possesses a great story line, smooth flow, not overly complex plot but also not spoon fed to the reader. The author was able to create a serious mood and within the same page, make me laugh out loud...a skill most authors will never achieve. He has a knack for bringing the reader to a place, while knowing the characters and feeling the tension, without being tediously descriptive. I look forward to reading more works from this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2010

    No sophomore slump here!

    Mueck's follow up to his debut "The Account" doesn't disappoint. Myth Man has a timely storyline/backdrop in terms of social context. The author has an entertaining writing style, great character development and a unique ability to describe the essence of the characters quotes and actions. Myth Man is smartly written - you'll find yourself anxious to get to the next page.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    Buy this book, but you have been WARNED!

    They are difficult to find, but there are a few who are out there - authors who not just spin a great story, but speak to you as if they already know you. Such things can't be taught easily, but Mueck seems to have that gift - the ability to effortlessly guide you through a story. Myth Man doesn't seem forced at all - it's more akin to him monitoring your dreams, waiting for your worst nightmare to arise, and then publishing it.

    Those living in New York City will appreciate the attention paid to the small details of everyday life in the Big Apple. Those outside NYC will still be able to appreciate the authenticity presented in the book. The author's understanding of the mind of a serial killer is also essential to the believability of the novel. Those are key elements - they allow for a story or situation that COULD be real, even though it's fiction, which makes for the best kind of story, because it's difficult to forget once you're finished with the last page.

    I anxiously await Alex Mueck's next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

    Be prepared to visit proverbial hell!!!

    Awesome book - a MUST READ

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2010

    Excellent book!

    Mind gripping intrigue! Very suspenseful! I literally couldn't put the book down! 6 out 5 stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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