As the violence increases, Owens' intricate web of lies threatens to ensnare the lives of Ryder's family and friends, including his old flame Doctor Stephanie Rowe and RCMP Sergeant Brandon Ryan. Now if Ryder is to survive, he must examine the darkness in his own soul as he walks the killer trail.
Shortlisted for the 2013 Debut Dagger Award by the Crime Writers Association, D.B. Carew's first novel is a gripping thriller that approaches crime with a clinical precision.
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Tuesday, February 7, 4:13 p.m.
He approached James Carrier's body, not so much to ensure he was deadthe gaping hole in the chest pretty much confirmed thatbut because Ray Owens always liked to inspect his handiwork. He had done his job, and he had done it well. He'd studied his targetknew where he lived and worked, what church he attended, even where he bought his cigarettes. Most importantly, he knew James Carrier walked this trail every Tuesday. Ray had waited patiently for the right time, the right shot. Now he congratulated himself on a job well done.
The only blemish on this otherwise perfect job, he thought, was the fucking crows. They cawed in annoying unison, as if to give away his cover. For a moment, he considered using his Remington M24 to shred a few feathers. Nothing ever stops me from enjoying my kill, he scowled. But he lowered his rifle, not wanting to waste bullets on a few pathetic birds. Besides, he knew he wouldn't stop at one; he'd kill them all.
Ray emerged from his cover in the bushes, slapping snow from his clothes as though swatting away flies. He deftly disassembled the rifle, stowing it away in its case, where it would remain in preparation for the next job. He reached into his tattered trenchcoat and pulled out his cell phone to call his client.
"It's done." No response; he didn't expect one. He dropped the phone into his pocket and grabbed a cigarette. He didn't know much about his client, and this suited him just fine. All he needed to know was who, when, where, and how he was getting paid.
Nor did he care about the why when it came to his targets. He remembered his foster mother always asking those stupid why questions: Why, at age ten, had he severed her cherished lovebird's head? Why, at twelve, had he punctured his foster sister's eye with a pellet gun? Why, at fifteen, had he set his principal's car ablaze? His answer was always "Why not?"
Ray didn't waste his time trying to understand his actions. All he knew was that a kill gave him a rush unlike anything else he had ever experienced. Even sex was no match for the euphoria that came from inflicting pain and sorrow on others. He left the whys for others to worry about: the school counselor who had told Ray's foster mother that he had difficulty forming attachments and didn't interact well with others; the child psychologist who had diagnosed Ray with conduct disorder; the head shrink at the Institute of Forensic Psychiatry who had diagnosed him three years ago with antisocial personality disorder. None of it meant squat to Ray. The only thing that mattered was that he'd been able to carve out a nice little niche for himself: Have gun, will kill.
Leaning down, cigarette dangling from his thin lips, he brushed his greasy, thinning hair away from his forehead and drawled, "Are those crows bugging the shit out of you too, J.C.?"
Ray grabbed his riflehis constant companionand began his retreat from the trail. During the hours he'd spent waiting for his target, snow had accumulated around his scraggy body. Now, a sudden snow squall ripped through the woods, ravaging branches like so much dead wood. He wasn't sure where his next job would take him, and for now, he really didn't care. He just wanted to leave this godforsaken place for a warmer, drier spot, where he would wait for his next call.