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Torn Apart
     

Torn Apart

4.3 13
by Shane Gericke
 

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"Gericke knows how to tighten the screws and keep the fear and tension building." —Tess Gerritsen

A teenage girl, brutalized and discarded. A rural sheriff, gunned down and left to die. A beloved landmark, destroyed in an instant. A tidal wave of violence is rushing full-speed toward the quiet Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois. Detective Emily Thompson

Overview

"Gericke knows how to tighten the screws and keep the fear and tension building." —Tess Gerritsen

A teenage girl, brutalized and discarded. A rural sheriff, gunned down and left to die. A beloved landmark, destroyed in an instant. A tidal wave of violence is rushing full-speed toward the quiet Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois. Detective Emily Thompson is locked and loaded—ready to stop the bloody crime spree in its tracks. But she's up against a deadly countdown that threatens everyone she knows and loves... Her partner. Her best friend. Her whole world. In these final desperate hours, Emily will bring down the most diabolical killer she has ever faced—or die trying...

"A no-nonsense thriller, action-packed and explosive." —Erica Spindler

"Gericke's writing is a blistering rush of sheer artistry." —Ken Bruen

"Gericke's power is unforgettable." —Gayle Lynds

"Cross James Patterson with Joseph Wambaugh and you get Shane Gericke." —American Cop

"Gericke is the real deal." —Lee Child

"A high-rev, page-turning thriller." —Jeffery Deaver

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786020393
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
07/01/2010
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

TORN APART


By SHANE GERICKE

PINNACLE BOOKS

Copyright © 2010 Shane Gericke
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7860-2039-3


Chapter One

Midnight, November 18 Black River Falls, Wisconsin

Thunderbolts attacked from the rioting sky.

Most zigged. Some zagged. One ripped a spectacular Z-for-Zorro that stained the storm clouds mildew green. Homes ignited on each side of Interstate 94. Cyclonic wind punched the worn cargo van dangerously close to the flooded-out median.

"Could be worse!" Cancer shouted from the back.

"How's that?" Gemini said from the wheel.

"Could be snow."

A gasoline tanker roared by in the fast lane, throwing a hurricane of water. The van's wipers sputtered across the windshield like a failing heart, trying to keep up. A wolf pack of semis pursued the gas man, throwing their own hurricanes. The van jittered and jigged, then skittered and slid.

The teenager screamed from the back.

"Shut up," Gemini snapped, feeling his nuts tighten as he white-knuckled the van through the exploding water.

"Please," she whimpered. "Let me out. I won't tell, I swear, just don't hurt me any more-"

Vicious slaps from Aquarius, Cancer, and Virgo. Yips and cries from the girl. A rat-a-tat of thunder, followed by rain so intense it felt like the inside of a fire hose.

"Could be snow," Gemini muttered.

An earsplitting ka-blam jerked the van sideways, banging Gemini's triangular head off the window. He blinked away stars as he wrestled the Ford Econoline straight, muttering every curse he'd learned collecting debts on the shrimp docks in the Easy. He'd give anything to wait out this monster at an off-ramp honky-tonk, with a bartender asking no questions except, "Nuther, brother?"

Wasn't gonna happen. They were hours behind schedule, thanks to the dickhead narcotics supplier in Minneapolis who'd rope-a-doped them on the handoff, whining that he needed more money because Katrina was so hot it smoked. Six bloody rips with a can opener convinced the screaming maggot that money really wasn't the most important thing in his life, was it? But the convincing slowed them, and Gemini was acutely aware that Maxximus would be, um, displeased if they were late-

Ah, Christ. Now she's blubbering. Gemini snapped his eyes at the rearview.

The crew beat her to mumbles, went back to splitting her logs.

The booty call started east of Minneapolis, where they'd spotted the teenager thumbing a ride on eastbound I-94. She'd hopped in, putting extra wiggle in her hips because there's no such thing as a free lunch. The crew kidded with her awhile, sharing their Pepsi and Fritos, asking her what was up with the midnight run. She said she was hitching to Chicago, gonna find a fancy job to pay for her big dreams. They blew her some smoke about being a Hustler video crew and did she want to make ten Ben Franklins then and there.

"A video crew?" she'd said, eyeing the paint cans, brushes, plastic, and drop cloths littering the cargo area of the extended-length van. "You're, like, kidding, right?"

Gemini, like, wasn't, and held up the cash to prove it. Virgo worked the videocam as she expressed her appreciation. Gemini loaded the first three minutes into his cell phone.

Video-texted it to Freddie-Boy.

"Are you a moron?" Freddie-Boy yelled. "I said young. This one looks fifteen for chrissakes. Throw her back and grab up baby sister." Since Freddie-Boy paid five figures per child delivered, Gemini said he'd find what he wanted.

"You damn well better," Freddie-Boy warned. "By close of business today. See what happens if you don't."

Gemini protested the ridiculous deadline, but heard only dead air-the child trafficker had already disconnected. Scowling, he told the boys to have some real fun.

Sometimes you eat the bear, he thought as the teeny shrieked from the frenzied rape and mauling. Sometimes the bear eats you.

Something dear old dad liked to pound into Gemini growing up, that bit about the bear, not realizing his firstborn would someday grow mean enough for grizzly-sized payback. After ruining Gemini's fourteenth birthday with a foul, drunken rant-the old man hated anyone but him getting attention-he chased Gemini into the basement then stomped down himself, swinging the orange electrical cord he used to whip his kid's back into streamers.

The moment the fat bastard hit the last step, he was scrabbling the cold concrete floor like a stepped-on roach. When the pain of the broken legs finally broke through the shock of Gemini's blitz attack with the galvanized pipe, he shrieked. Just like the drug maggot had during his can-opener scraping-girly high, a wheeze almost, hairball strangling a cat, not understanding what just happened, yet there it was, all over the floor. The can opener in Gemini's hand, with its rusty steel head and Drink Blatz Beer on the handle, flayed twenty-seven strips off dear old dad, ending only when mom said, "Don't kill him, boy, he'll haunt us like them Dracula vampires...."

Good times.

He checked the rearview, saw nothing but rain and bouncing asses. He pinched out a smile. The runaway, who'd introduced herself as "Kandy, with a K," was a pleasant way to kill the eight-hour drive from Minneapolis to Naperville, the Chicago suburb where they'd drop their load of drugs and collect their suitcase of dead presidents. Gemini checked his watch. Not bad. Even with the storm they were moving all right: Naperville by six, rich by seven-

Another wail erupted from the back.

Gemini sighed. What the hell should he do with her? The teenager was more appealing than he'd expected from a hitchhiker. Polo-shirted, blue-jeaned, and knob-kneed. Loose swingy hair, legs up to her armpits, narrow hips, grapefruit boobs. Creamy face with a smile to make a corpse stiff. Exactly the kind of girl Freddie-Boy should wet himself to own, the picky goddamn pervert ...

"Enough," Gemini said.

A moment later he heard the distinctive clack of a forearm breaking a windpipe. It wasn't loud like in the movies. More like a dry stick across a knee.

"Women," Cancer said, wagging his finger in mock dismay as she thrashed like a gaffed marlin, trying to suck air.

"Can't live with 'em," Gemini said.

She turned blue.

Virgo spread her dancer legs. "One for the road?" he asked.

She gurgled.

"Thanks, baby, you're great too."

Five minutes later he was done.

So was Kandy, with a K.

"Onward and upward," Gemini said, tapping the GPS map suctioned to the dash.

Cancer crawled up to the shotgun seat to find a place to dump the body. Aquarius and Virgo bundled her into a paint-spattered drop cloth, tied it neat with clothesline.

The van roared sideways through the rain.

Chapter Two

Midnight, November 18 Naperville, Illinois

The wasp crawled into Emily's ear.

She couldn't swat the beast-one of the psychos might notice the jerky movement. It took a blood bite, crawled into her hair for dessert. She gasped at the searing pain.

Then brought her eyeballs to the window, peeking through the gap between Budweiser's neon bowtie and the flashing green bikini of Coors Light.

Two bulky shadows raced up the aisle, waving flashlights. They stopped every few seconds to look toward the back, then shoved liquor into bags.

The cold bite of adrenaline scoured her arteries.

She inched to the entry door. Squatted till her rump smacked her heels, examined the quarter-inch gap between door and frame.

No lock.

She tugged the door's handle.

It moved.

Too freely for midnight, when the store closed at ten.

Armed robbery in progress, she decided. Time to call in the cavalry.

Vibrating with excitement, she crept backwards, brushing the yellow brick wall with one hand and pulling her pistol with the other. She glanced around every few seconds, made sure she wasn't a target herself. The walking crouch blowtorched her thighs. She ignored it. She had to stay below the windows while moving. She couldn't chance alerting the heavily armed bandits inside.

She settled in twenty yards west, pulled her iPhone from her Wranglers. Her hands were dewy with August humidity. She pushed nine. Her thumb slipped sideways, mashed the pound sign instead. Scowling, she dried her fingers on her jeans, pushed more carefully. Connected. She clamped the phone between shoulder and ear, bashed the wasp with her free hand. Looked at her palm. Grinned. Suck my blood, will you ...

One ring.

Two rings.

Anybody home? she fumed, impatient to get the attack rolling. Let's go, c'mon, let's-

"Naperville nine-one-one," said a nasally voice. "What's your-"

"This is Detective Emily Thompson," she interrupted. "Officer needs immediate backup at Premium Wine and Spirits, One Hundred Eleventh Street and Route Fifty-nine."

"For?"

"Armed robbery in progress. Two robbers, maybe more." The adrenaline made her voice squeak. She elbowed it out by clearing her throat.

"Any chance it's our bad boys?" the dispatcher said.

"I hope so," Emily said.

A three-man stickup crew-two goons and a wheel man-had terrorized bars and liquor stores throughout the Chicago area since Memorial Day. Sometimes they burgled. Mostly they robbed, brutally and efficiently, whipping out steel guns and beating employees toothless if the cash register was even a penny short of expectation. One such victim was in a coma. Another had undergone complete facial reconstruction.

She hoped the bastards chose to shoot their way out, rather than surrender.

"Describe the suspects," the dispatcher said.

Emily shook her head as if he could see. "I saw only silhouettes from their flashlights," she said. "They're still inside. What's the status of backups?"

"Ten units inbound, running silent," he said. "I've mobilized SWAT. What else you need?"

"An armored car," Emily said, feeling naked without her bulletproof vest. She'd been heading home from the gym, so exhausted from cardio kickboxing she could sleep for a week. But Chief Kendall Cross had asked everyone to eyeball liquor establishments during their drives around town, on duty and off. She took that job seriously-the first coma victim had been behind the register because his Social Security didn't stretch far enough. The bandits bounced his head off a refrigerated case, cracking his skull in three places. "Just kidding. I'm fine. I've moved west of the store's front entrance."

The dispatcher repeated her new location. She confirmed.

"Tell me how you're dressed," he said.

"Blue jeans, mango top, running shoes. Black leather jacket. I'm carrying a Glock and a SureFire." Pistol and flashlight. "My badge is on my belt."

"Got it. I'll describe you to all units," he said.

So they don't shoot me by mistake, Emily translated. His heads-up play impressed her. Friendly fire was a serious risk for plainclothes cops, as adrenalized responders sometimes mistook them for bad guys and bombs away. She owed him a margarita.

"No imminent danger," she said. "I'll stay put and observe till backup arrives."

"Understood. Let me know when-"

She didn't hear the rest because her face began to pulse heat. Her arms trembled, and her thighs went numb. Disemboweled bodies spun and danced in her brain.

No, no, no! she screamed at herself. Not now, dammit. Not now.

The feeling disappeared.

"Uh ... sorry ... repeat that, dispatch?" she said, trying to catch her breath.

"Let me know when backup arrives," the dispatcher said.

From the corner of her eye, she saw a black-and-white bump into the sprawling asphalt lot of the strip mall. Per the drill on silent runs, its sirens, flashers, and headlights were off. She straightened herself, fanned November air under her jacket. The Crown Victoria Police Interceptor aimed her way. Twenty seconds later it was angled into the curb, out of the line of vision of the liquor store's windows.

Another on-the-ball colleague, she thought.

The door opened without sound or interior light. The driver unsnapped a hip holster and hustled her way. The orange anti-crime lights turned his navy-blue Naperville Police uniform mildew green.

She smiled at the driver's gelled, spiky hair.

"Hey, Hawk," she whispered, glad for such fearsome backup.

"Back at ya, Em," said Sergeant Robert Hawkins. He was five-nine and rangy, with wide eyes and a smile that displayed a gap between his top front teeth. The gap made the smile charming, not hillbilly-ish. He had ginger-colored hair, spatters of reddish freckles on his face and neck, and ropy veins along his muscled arms. He was a computer crimes cop, cracking felonies committed via Internet. He kicked down doors for SWAT. Occasionally, he filled in as a night-shift patrol sergeant, to keep his street skills fresh. "Situation?"

She explained.

"We're eyes and ears only?"

"Till the rest of the circus arrives," she said.

"Cool. I'll go around back," he said. "In case they-"

A long, wet shriek erupted from the store.

Hawk moved forward a quarter step. Emily's heart kicked as fresh adrenaline scoured her body. Her vision sharpened; her muscles tightened. She hardened her grip on her custom-made 9-millimeter Glock.

"So much for waiting," she said.

"Screams in the building," Hawk spat into his radio. "We're going inside."

"First three backups are one minute out," the dispatcher objected.

"She doesn't have that long," Hawk said, holding out the mike to the rolling wail.

"Jesus," the dispatcher said. "Uh, go."

Hawk hustled to the cruiser, pulled a Heckler & Koch MP-5 machine gun from the trunk.

They sprinted to the unlocked front door.

Emily crouched next to it, breathing fast and shallow. Hawk jammed up behind her, so close she could smell his cologne. They peered through the door, saw no one. She gripped the door handle. "Three, two, one ..." he counted.

She yanked the door and exploded into the gap, staying low as she swung her pistol into the left side of the store.

Hawk followed high, sweeping his machine gun right.

Their SureFires lit the aisles like miniature lightning strikes.

No bandits.

No victims.

Just Chivas and Ketel and Bud.

"They moved," Emily stage-whispered. "Let's try-"

Another curdling female scream.

"Shut up, or I'll kill you now," a male voice warned. A dozen slaps followed. The scream tailed to a whimper.

Emily pointed to a vertical hole in the darkness at the rear of the store.

Hawk nodded to show he understood.

They raced down the tiled hallway, her in front, him trailing, muzzles up and hunting, staying as quiet as possible. The only light was a doorway next to the back exit. It was triple the brightness of the usual office fluorescent. Music poured out with the whiteness.

They crept the final ten feet.

Hard-core rap thumped their spines. "Bitches" and "whores" and "pig-ass Five-O" blended with "slaughter, maim, destroy." The woman's howl became so toxic Emily strained to not shoot her tormenters through the wall.

"All right, scream all you want," male voices taunted. "It'll hurt that much more when we drink your blood."

Hawk stiffened, and put the machine gun's red laser dot on the wall next to Emily. She snapped her Glock to eye level.

Three, two, one ...

Chapter Three

12:09 a.m. Black River Falls

Cancer tapped the GPS with a fingernail loosened by blood blisters. "Found our dumping ground," he said.

"Where?" Gemini said, wiping the fogged windshield with the sleeve of his hoodie.

"Millston," Cancer said. "It's right off the interstate, so small it won't have a separate police department. Only the sheriff's patrol. And those guys are so busy with this storm they don't know whether to shit or go blind. They'll never know we were there."

"How far is it?"

"Thirteen miles," Cancer said.

"That could take forever in this rain. Anything closer?"

"Nope. It's the next exit."

Gemini nodded approval.

"All right, boys," he said. "We're dumping the chick at the next exit."

"Can't hear ya," Aquarius said over the thunder crash.

"We're dumping Kandy in Millston," Gemini repeated. "Next exit, small town, no cops, easy in and out."

"Cool," Aquarius said.

"Think they got a mill?" Virgo said.

"Uh ... what?" Gemini said as the van plunged into a deep road pond. The engine sputtered. He cranked the wheel this way and that, looking for high ground-if it died, they were done for. A moment later the tires bit into solid pavement. The engine recovered. His shoulders joined his head pounding with pain.

"A mill," Virgo repeated. "Millston. I wonder if they got a mill?"

"Who cares?" Gemini said, digging a knuckle between his eyes.

"I do," Virgo said. "I like history. Lots of these towns have mills from the old days. Just wondering if this one does, that's all."

"They do or they don't," Gemini said, "or they did and it burned to the ground and the smoke killed all the fuckin' cows. It makes no difference to me."

"Grain," Virgo said.

"What?"

"You said cows. Mills are for grain. Not cows."

Gemini glared in the rearview. "What part of 'I don't care' don't you understand?"

Virgo shrugged. "I'm just sayin'."

"Say it to yourself," Gemini said. He whipped his head to the shotgun seat. "Cancer, you give a damn about some stupid mill?"

"Nope," Cancer said cheerfully.

"Aquarius?"

"Not me, boss."

"See?" Gemini said. "So shut up about it already."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from TORN APART by SHANE GERICKE Copyright © 2010 by Shane Gericke. 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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Torn Apart 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Four thugs working for child pornographer, white slaver and drug dealer Cash Maxximus kidnap a teen and have sex with her. They give her a designer drug named Katrina, which takes only one dose to make someone addicted. The foursome plays too rough and kills their victim. Without a thought they dispose of the corpse off a bridge in Wisconsin. When they stop to change a tire, local Sheriff Spencer Abbott checks them out; they kill him and dump his body into the river before leaving for Naperville, Illinois. The Hawkman serial killer is sending body parts to Naperville Detective Emily Thompson Even though she is afraid she persuades her husband Marty to go hunting. . The leader of the crooks Karl Dittmer kidnaps the two children of Emily's partner; she rescues one of the kids, but the killer gets away with the other. NPD is on full search and rescue while detective Robert Hawkins needs one million dollars to save the life of his little girl through experimental therapy. He finesses the Katrina from Dittmer and sells it back to Maxximus. Marty finds Abbott who gives him the names of the killers while Emily is trapped by the Hawkman leading to another NPD officer rescue attempt. Putting aside Naperville being the murder capital, the third police procedural (see Cut to the Bone and Blown Away) is a complicated thriller with several subplots that Shane Gericke effortlessly blends into a strong story line. The villains are perverts who have no qualms about molesting little girls before giving them to a sexual slave trader to sell to other psycho sex predators. Emily is a dedicated cop who will work outside of legal limitations if the case like these required extraordinary rendition. Harriet Klausner
nannerKS More than 1 year ago
this plot was too contrived. Characters had possibility, but the plot just didn't work for me. I tried to like it, I really did. sorry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am ambers sister... i wanted to ask u how u got ur apartment
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Prepare yourself for a gritty ride only an experienced journalist can conceive. TORN APART strikes like a viper at a bullet¿s velocity. You¿ll have a hard time putting this one down. -- Mark W. Danielson, Writer's Block
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Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
"Torn Apart" is the latest novel written by Shane Gericke. Shane throws the reader in the driver's seat with no brakes from page one. The setting of the book is divided up into two areas, central Wisconsin and Naperville, Illinois. Four killers, who name themselves after zodiac signs, begin the crime spree by working with a man called Cash Maxximus. The zodiac quartet kills a young girl and dumps her body in central Wisconsin, but not before they have a shoot out with a local officer. Cash Maxximus is a child porn/slavery runner and drug dealer, that gets his victims hooked on a new, designer drug called Katrina. Detective Emily Thompson lives in the quiet Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL where violent crime is non-existent. Emily is tracking a serial killer named "Hacksaw" who is sending her body parts in the mail. Police Officer Robert Hawkins (Hawk) is a father in desperate need of raising four million dollars to save his daughters life and will do anything to get the money. Shane brings all these storylines into one gripping climax. "Torn Apart" is not just a fast-paced thriller; Shane takes the book into light speed. He does an outstanding job of weaving many different subplots into one, all while breathing life into his characters. With a hint of romance and a no nonsense thrill ride, "Torn Apart" should be considered one of the best books to hit the shelves in 2010. Reviewed by: John Raab, CEO/Publisher/EIC of Suspense Magazine www.suspensemagazine.com
Gericke_Fan More than 1 year ago
It's great to see our favorite Naperville characters back in heart-stopping action in Shane Gericke's third book. The plot is superb, and Gericke's excellent writing style make this his best book yet.
qwertyshrdlu More than 1 year ago
I'll say up front that I'm the author, so you might think I'm biased. Maybe I am, a little. But I'm my own worst critic, too--there's nothing you can say negatively that I haven't told myself a thousand times. That said, I believe this is the single best book I've ever written. Torn Apart is a sweeping look at the American narcotics trade, child trafficking, murder, mayhem, courage, triumph, family dynamics, desperate criminals who kill for any reason or none ... and the cellphone technology that makes it all possible. (Plus, some cracking-good cop jokes!) The story is pulled together by the five brave police officers who are the heroes of my series: Detective Emily Thompson, Commander Martin Benedetti, Deputy Chief Hercules Branch, SWAT Commander Annie Bates, and Chief of Police Ken Cross. Tragically, one of them is destined to die ... unless Emily can do something about it. Torn Apart has won plaudits from such New York Times-bestselling authors as Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Lee Child, Erica Spindler, Gayle Lynds and Ken Bruen, with one critic saying: "Cross James Patterson with Joseph Wambaugh, and you get Shane Gericke." (Hey, mom really liked that one, let me tell you. Me, too.) But seriously, I really like this story, and hope you do too. For some reason (too much coffee, perhaps!) I was able to unleash my inner anarchist and pour out the action, emotion, fear and triumph onto the pages of this third in my series. Please find out for yourself on July 6, when Torn Apart hits the stands. It's a paperback, so at $6.99, it won't empty your wallet, a big deal in our ongoing lousy economy. And please, drop me a line at www.shanegericke.com if you're moved to comment to me directly; I personally answer all fan e-mail. Thanks for reading this, and see you in July. Sincerely, Shane Gericke