Say what you will about him, Tim Bowman knows what he likes. A tender steak, cooked to perfection, is enough to make his day. But for a man of Tim’s rather specialized tastes, finding just the right cut was the challenge. Fortunately, for a hunter of Tim’s particular interests, that was less of a problem than it would seem. His favorite game animal?
The only thing Tim loves more than the taste of perfectly grilled human flesh is his 1970 Cadillac Deville. After police discover his horrible crimes, Tim makes a run for it in his beloved Deville—and finds an unexpected passenger along for the ride. By the end of the conversation, Tim’s life will change forever. Thanks to the patronage of a supernatural power with equally perverse appetites, Tim becomes one with his car to become something beyond comprehension:
Reese Smith, a New York detective with a brilliant mind, makes it his life’s mission to catch the killer. Simultaneously fascinated and disgusted by the cannibal’s skill, he’s determined to capture his killer—no matter how bizarre—before more lives are lost.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.14(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The first Novella in the "Phantom Pain" series
By Jamie Boot, Aaron Colon
Abbott PressCopyright © 2016 Aaron Colon, Jamie Boot
All rights reserved.
The detective's car sped toward the crime scene with sirens blaring. Sergeant Reese Smith had been working on the cannibal murder cases for almost five years. The victims were all college-aged women, ages ranging from eighteen to twenty-five. In the earlier cases, they found the bodies strewn across the forests and lakes of Suffolk County. Bites to the lower extremities found on each body suggested the women were partially devoured. Later, as the killer became more sophisticated, he started hiding the bodies better, placing them in drainage ditches or burying them in shallow graves.
The killer also became less savage and more practical. Instead of biting the flesh off his victims, he would cut steaks from their bodies. No doubt to cook and eat later, Smith thought grimly. Autopsies revealed that each of the victims was given large amounts of antibiotics, presumably to keep them alive during their long and torturous captivity. Once finished with his captives, the killer would cut their throats open using a large, serrated knife.
No evidence was ever found on the bodies — no fingerprints, hair, fibers, or any signs of sexual abuse. Even the bite marks of his earlier victims had been carefully sterilized. The killer had one motive: to devour and kill young girls.
The case had started eating Sergeant Smith alive as well. Every lead was a dead end. Since starting the case, Smith had been through two divorces. Between the job, marital problems, and the passing of his mother, he could simply take no more, which led to a failed Ambien-and-whiskey suicide attempt the previous August.
After the failed attempt, Smith was admitted to the River Oaks Mental Institution for two months. To him, that place was a hell on earth — barred windows, cold showers, and primitive, metal, prison-style toilets. It wasn't much better than the jails he sent criminals to — not to mention the hours of group therapy where counselors espoused how the world was full of happiness and rainbows. Sergeant Smith had seen too much of the world, too many dead bodies, to actually believe what those academic eggheads were selling.
After Smith was released, he returned to the force with the stipulation that he must attend weekly counseling from the department's psychologist. The fact was that Smith was one of the most praised detectives on the force. His superiors saw great potential in him, and he had always produced results, beginning with catching the Selden Strangler, his first big close. He received the meritorious service medal for his work on that case.
Even so, Smith suspected some of his fellow detectives made fun of him because of his unorthodox tactics and his two-month stint in the loony bin. However, none of that mattered; the job was all that was important to him.
Sergeant Smith parked his car outside of the crime scene. Two officers lifted the police tape for him as he walked to the Cadillac.
"What do we have here, Frank?" he asked the detective who was already on the scene. Smith considered Frank a drunk and the laziest cop he had ever met.
"Well, not much. CSI found no blood, fingerprints, or hair in the car. The officers found no driver when they opened up the door."
"No driver? How is that possible? He was blocked in and surrounded by one hundred-foot apartment buildings on all sides."
Frank shrugged. "The officers said when they approached to apprehend the subject, he pulled a Houdini. There was nothing in the car besides the smell of rotten flesh and a bit of smoke."
"What did the search of the house find?" Smith asked.
"One dead girl — about eighteen years old, mutilated, with her throat recently slashed," Frank replied.
Smith grimaced and looked toward the ground. You bastard. You couldn't even let one get away, could you? "And CSI didn't find any prints in the car or house?" Smith asked.
"I told you. They didn't find anything," Frank said. "The guy must have worn gloves the entire time he was active."
Smith looked at him. "Did you check under the hood?"
"Why would we do that?"
"Well, with everything we know about this guy, he is extremely cautious and neat," Smith said with exaggerated patience. "That's why we've never had a lead on him until I cross-referenced his bite marks against prison dental records. But I am certain that he would take great care of a classic car like this. Part of taking care of this car would be checking the engine oil on a routine basis.
"I assume he wore gloves the entire time he was on a killing cycle and sanitized everything he touched at his house, just in case law enforcement arrived. We know from Mr. Bowman's psychological profile that he is highly meticulously and precise. In order to take proper care of his car, he would need to remove his gloves for any type of maintenance. That is why I'm betting that, at the very least, we can get a partial on the oil dipstick."
"Well, that's an interesting theory," Frank said. "I'll pop the hood."
Smith took a pair of latex gloves from his left coat pocket and put them on. Raising the hood, he took time to admire the engine. A car enthusiast himself, he found the V-8 engine beautiful, a classic by any means. With his gloved hand, he reached for the oil dipstick.
At that very moment, his life forever changed.
The hood slammed down on his arm with incredible force just above the elbow. He tried lifting the hood with his right hand, but the hood only increased in pressure.
"Frank, get the fuck over here — and help get this shit off of me!" Smith yelled.
Frank was in shock and took a couple of seconds to react. He called for two nearby officers to assist him. The strength of the three men was not enough to stop the grisly advance of the hood. It was then that they all heard the gruesome sound of the hood crushing Smith's arm. The sound of breaking bones was brutal and wet.
When the others realized the futility of lifting the hood, they let go in fear of losing their fingers. The younger of the officers quietly snuck away and vomited against the building.
"Hey, dipshit," Frank yelled. "Call an ambulance right now!"
"Yes, sir," the officer said as he wiped vomit from his chin.
Smith's arm was completely severed as the hood closed shut. He pulled away, leaving a mass of torn flesh protruding from the hood. The car's lights and engine suddenly came to life, as if delighted by what had just happened. Smith's arm was further mutilated by the engine's belts and fans.
An officer wrapped Smith's left arm in a tourniquet and applied pressure to the wound.'
Smith was in complete shock.
The car released a deafening horn blast as the windshield wipers began operating, splattering blood all over Smith, Frank, and the officer in a horrific display of gore.
Then, as suddenly as it started, it ended. The car's engine stopped, the headlights went dim, the horn silenced, and the windshield wipers turned off. All that was left was the smell of oil, blood, and burned flesh.
Smith was delirious. "What the fuck happened?" he screamed as he was rolled into the ambulance. "What the hell happened, Frank?"
The paramedics opened the hood to retrieve the arm, but there was nothing left to retrieve. On the way to Smithtown Hospital, one question repeated in Smith's head: Is there a connection between the cannibal case and what just happened?CHAPTER 2
THE RETURN OF THE DETECTIVE
Recovering from his severed arm was physically and mentally painful. He had contemplated suicide almost every day in the two months since being maimed. The case that had taken so much of him had now taken his career. The department let Smith stay on as a crime scene advisor, but he was stripped of both his detective badge and weapon.
Smith now had one motive in life: vengeance. He was going to find Tim Bowman, torture him to death, and burn the car that injured him until it was no more. Smith leaned against a chain-link fence with the left sleeve of his coat rolled up and pinned just above where his elbow used to be. He once had a sleeve tattoo of a dragon fighting a knight on that arm, but now only the dragon remained.
His right hand gently gripped a silver flask, filled to the top with whiskey, which he covertly sipped under his jacket. Smith was waiting for the start of the quarterly public police auction and had his eye on a very particular item. Today the Suffolk County Police Department was auctioning a 1970 blue Cadillac DeVille.
Smith was not the only attendee at the auction with the intention of buying the Cadillac DeVille. Most of the county was already aware of the car's previous owner and gruesome history. Even the police at the station wanted nothing to do with the vehicle after experiencing strange activity surrounding the automobile. Cops at the impound yard would frequently report spontaneous horn blasts, light flashes, and engine revving from the DeVille.
It was as if the car was calling out to them.
The police department deliberately undercut the value just to get the damn thing out of the yard.
Billy Wilhelm, on the other hand, had no idea about the Cadillac's questionable past. Billy was six feet tall and built like a running back. His face was peppered with acne. To Billy, the Cadillac was a classic. He wanted it for his collection, which was substantial even for a rich, only child from the Hamptons.
Billy's father was a New York state senator who was an expert at selling political favors and extorting business owners as well as fellow politicians. His years in politics had taught him how to earn a fortune on the side.
Because of this, Billy was spoiled rotten. His father had bought him a horse when he was twelve years old. By the time he turned fourteen, he had grown tired of the creature. Billy poisoned its water with bleach and chlorine. The animal immediately became sick and died two days later.
Billy was used to having anything he wanted, and when he was tired of his new toys, he would discard them to the side — except for his car collection. When his father asked him what he wanted for his birthday, Billy already knew. He asked for the Cadillac. Billy had fallen in love with the car when he first saw its picture in Newsdays advertisement for the auction, and he was determined to own it at any price.
As Billy took his front-row seat at the event, he noticed a one-armed man not-too-discretely sipping from a flask, an expression of rage on his face.
The auction began with some jewelry and furniture. It was almost an hour before the auction began its bidding on motor vehicles. The last item on the list was the coveted car.
"Finally, we have a 1970 blue Cadillac DeVille, almost in mint condition. The bidding will now start at $10,000," the auctioneer announced nervously, knowing the Cadillac's dreadful history.
Smith raised his hand and shouted, "I'll give you $10,000."
"Ten thousand to the man against the fence. Can I get $11,000 for this beautiful Cadillac DeVille?" the auctioneer asked.
"I bid $15,000," Billy shouted from the first row.
"I have $15,000 from the boy in the first row. Will anyone give me $16,000 for this classic automobile?" the auctioneer asked
Smith nervously raised his hand, knowing he was coming close to spending more than he could afford.
"I have $16,000," announced the auctioneer, not expecting a bidding war for such a morbid item.
Billy bid $20,000. Smith only had $20,000 to his name, but he was willing to do anything to get his hands on that car and destroy it.
"Twenty-one," Smith bid knowing he could not cover it.
"Fifty thousand dollars," Billy said before the auctioneer could even respond. He turned around to give Smith a sarcastic smile.
The auctioneer shook his head in amazement, "Fifty-thousand. Can I get $51,000?"
Smith's head was spinning and he felt like vomiting. All his plans for revenge on the car were slipping through his fingers.
"Going once," announced the auctioneer. "Going twice ... sold to the young man with the green polo shirt."
"You can't do this!" Smith bellowed. "That car is mine! It took my arm — and my life!"
The auction ended with Smith getting thrown out by security and the keys of the Cadillac firmly in the hands of Billy Wilhelm.CHAPTER 3
Silly was cruising around town, excited to be behind ; the wheel of his new toy. He decided to pick up two of his best friends. Billy had known Phil and Miller since middle school. Both of their fathers were managers at Northrop Grumman, and their salaries paled in comparison to his father's. It made Billy feel good to hang out with those who were less rich than he was.
They decided to get some Pabst Blue Ribbon from a local gas station. Always needing to be the center of attention, Billy immediately chugged down the first can before pulling out of the gas station.
"Hey, Billy? You sure we should be doing this?" Miller asked from the backseat.
"Relax. You know who my dad is. We can get away with anything short of murder, especially on my birthday!" Billy yelled.
"What? No murder?" Phil asked as Billy smashed the Cadillac into three garbage cans.
"I hope you did that on purpose. You can't be that drunk yet," Miller said nervously.
"I've had eight beers. I'll be however drunk as I want to be! And as for murder, the night is still young." Billy laughed and swerved into another trash can.
Miller reached over and fastened his seat belt.
"You got the baseball bat, Phil?" Billy asked.
Phil leaned out the passenger window and said, "Batter up."
Billy and Phil smashed every mailbox on Fury Drive. Billy then swung around at the end of the block and vandalized the other side of the street.
"Home run!" Miller shouted excitedly from the backseat as he passed his companions fresh beers from the cooler.
"Atta boy, Miller. You're finally loosening up!" Phil hooted.
By midnight, the trio was getting tired. They sat in silence and sipped their beers as Billy broke every speed limit on the island.
"I'm bored. Let's do something exciting," Billy mumbled as he took a chug.
"Like you said, how about we murder someone," Phil said quietly.
"Are you serious?" Miller asked with surprise.
"You know what? That doesn't sound like a bad idea," Billy replied. "I mean, not actual murder, but let's scare the shit out of someone."
"Who?" Phil asked.
"One of those bums that are always hanging around Centereach Plaza — let's terrify one of them," Billy replied.
And so the plan came together. Billy pulled up to the plaza with his lights off. They could see at least three bums, and two were leaning over a fire in a barrel to keep warm. One was passed out in the middle of the parking lot with an empty bottle of what appeared to be whiskey in his hand.
"That one, Phil," Billy said. "The one out in the open should make an easy target. We're going to speed up toward him and stop just short of him. I guarantee we'll scare the shit out of him — drunk or not. I bet he even pisses his pants," Billy said with a sadistic grin.
"Then, depending on how he reacts, we can beat him with the baseball bat. You never know. Some people just can't take a joke," Phil said with a laugh.
Billy carefully lined up his car a hundred yards away from the unconscious homeless man. The three of them smiled with drunken anticipation. Without warning, Billy turned on his lights and revved his engine.
The man did not move an inch or open his eyes.
With lightning quickness, Billy accelerated toward the man. Pedal to the metal.
"Get him!" Phil and Miller yelled from the backseat.
When he was about ten yards from the man, Billy jammed on the brakes. To his surprise, the brakes did nothing. It felt like the car sped up.
"I can't stop!" Billy screamed as they passed the point of no return.
At that moment, the man opened his eyes and saw his impending doom. He actually didn't look too surprised and almost seemed to welcome his fate.
The boys felt a thud underneath the car and were briefly lifted into the air.
Billy watched the stick shift move into reverse. The car backed up until the right rear tire rested on the homeless man's head. The DeVille then peeled out, spewing chunks of hair, flesh, and brain. Eventually, even his teeth were being thrown up like little pieces of popcorn.
Miller opened the door and couldn't recognize anything human. All he saw were splotches of whites, pinks, and reds under the tire where a human head had been.
"Holy shit. You killed him!" Miller shouted.
"I was just trying to scare him," Billy screamed. "The brakes failed."
"Then why did you put it in reverse?" Phil yelled.
"I don't know. I mean I didn't. The car reversed itself."
"Let's get the fuck out of here," Miller said, trying to keep a calmer head. "The two bums by the barrel must have seen everything."
Excerpted from Car-Nivore by Jamie Boot, Aaron Colon. Copyright © 2016 Aaron Colon, Jamie Boot. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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