The first scene in this book reinforces all of my nightmares about being home alone. You just woke up, you’re hanging out in the kitchen with the water running – maybe doing some dishes, when a strange man suddenly appears behind you and strikes you in the head. You didn’t see him coming, and you’re not sure how he got in. Stephanie Bekker meets her final fate in chapter 1 when Carlo Druze – a facially scared theater actor – sneaks into her house through the garage just like her husband told him to. She’s actually singing when he whacks her over the head and bludgeons her to death. Then he gouges her eyes. Surprisingly, she’s got a boyfriend in the house though. He comes down into the kitchen just in time to see the final blow. Scared shitless, he runs upstairs and hides because Stephanie doesn’t look like she could’ve been helped. Carlo did what he was supposed to do, so he doesn’t follow “Loverboy” up the stairs. As graphic an horrible as that was, the next part really got to me. Loverboy realizes that the killer is gone, and he can’t do anything to help Stephanie, so he wipes away all traces that he was there. He even clears his hair out of the drain. It’s pretty disturbing that he only cares about himself at that point, and does his best not to get caught cheating. Stephanie’s autopsy obviously revealed she recently had sex, and since the cops don’t find any evidence of a man on the scene they nickname him Loverboy.
Stephanie Bekker’s husband is a beautiful man, a hardcore drug addict, and a certified whacko. He “trades” murders with Carlo, and kills the theater manager who was about to fire Carlo. It’s an immediate comparison to Strangers on a Train. This book reinforced that the best way to get away with murder is to trade with someone else and have no connection to your victim. I’m not planning murders any time soon, but just in case…
Everybody knows Stephanie’s husband killed her, but he’s got a pesky out of state alibi. Lucas Davenport is put on the case and actually relishes in the thought of bringing the psycho who killed the two women to his brand of justice. He’s majorly depressed, as his on-again off-again girlfriend left with their daughter after Lucas’ behavior in the last case he became obsessed with. Chasing after a killer who needs to damage the eyes of his victims actually brings Lucas out of his funk a bit. At some point Loverboy writes a letter to the police, and attempts to help them, but Lucas realizes he’s not going to come forward.
We eventually learn that Bekker “sees” the faces of his victims (whether they die by his hands, or by his will) when their eyes aren’t cut. Bekker and Carlo have to dig up a witness that Carlo killed because he forgot to cut the eyes, and he starts “haunting” Bekker. These two are totally screwed up, and totally screwed. What started out as a simple murder swap turns into multiple messy murders that do little to help their collective cause.
Lucas is eventually on their trail, and the good guys win, but again – Lucas isn’t all good. He’s got some shady tricks up his sleeve and he pulls them all out for Carlo and Bekker. The final bit of news is that Lucas has to leave the force. He beat up a pimp back at the beginning of the book, and although the guy deserved it, he was a juvenile. The last reveal is the identity of Loverboy. My jaw actually dropped. Fortunately for Lucas, it looks like his (ex)girlfriend is going to let him be around their daughter again, so things are looking up for Lucas. He’s no longer a cop though, so I’m not really sure where the next books are going to go!