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Outside, the city was clogged with traffic and a million souls fighting their way through another rush hour, preoccupied with bloated mortgage payments and impossible social pressures. Special Agent Daniel Clark stared across the broad maple desk at Frank Montova's dark eyes, set deep behind puffy cheeks, like raisins. The man's neck bulged over a collar two sizes too small. Of the fifty-six domestic FBI field offices, only four were large enough to be helmed by an assistant director in charge, or an ADIC, as opposed to a special agent in charge. LA was one of those four. The running joke was that Montova fit his professional acronym at times.
Heather's words came to him. They're your addiction, Daniel. You live your life in their minds! His straight hair, normally slicked to one side, curled down over one ear. Montova was a respected man—a throwback to the previous generation, preferring a pen and a calendar to a Palm Pilot.
As he liked to put it, the mind was sharper than any brain power a computer could muster. Daniel crossed his legs. I've seen what a compulsive killer can do in the space of seven hours. Don't tell me I don't care about the victims. I care about stopping the killer, not just wandering behind him with a dustpan and filling out Uniform Crime Reports.
I'm saying they're not what drives you. His desk phone beeped twice. This isn't just a job to you, and that makes you a risk to this investigation, even a liability. Your allegiance to protocols—I don't care if you wrote them—is critical. Daniel glanced at the books he'd written. Heather had repeatedly made the same accusation Montova had. The truth of it had cost them their marriage. Montova hung up and pressed another extension.
Closed the door behind her. I hope we can—" "Sit down, Clark," Montova said. To the woman: "Have a seat. Soft brown eyes and a slender body wrapped in a dark business suit. Black heels. Blonde hair that hung just past her shoulders.
But it was the way she looked at him that caught Daniel's attention. Like she knew more than he might assume she did. He followed her back to the guest chairs and sat. Montova eyed them both and spoke when neither offered comment. She knew the fourteenth victim, Amber Riley, and has since become quite familiar with the case.
We'd like to reassign her to you. But why not with a local? There were at least five qualified pathologists at the LA field office. He glanced over at her.
Skirt tight against one toned leg crossed over the other. Not exactly the dress of a field agent. She starts now. And I've changed my mind.
I'm granting your request. Assuming, that is, you don't object to working through Lori. She'll remain on the case but shadow you in all respects. Working within these new parameters you suggested, of course. Who do you suggest I turn the case over to?
The man was competent and nearly as familiar with the case as Daniel was. Maria Stencho, a twenty-three-year-old tasked with cleaning the church.
Her body was bruised and blistered, and traces of a previously unknown bacteria similar to Streptococcus pneumoniae were found in her blood. SP is normally associated with meningitis, which infects the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can kill a host within hours in a manner consistent with Maria Stencho's death. No signs of struggle, no evidence of blunt-force trauma. No evidence of harm caused by any weapon.
According to the local medical examiner, cause of death was acute encephalitis, most closely associated with symptoms consistent with ICD, code A, meningoencephalitis. The lab work detailed leukocytes in the cerebrospinal fluid after a lumbar tap, and confirmed that the disease was present and in full effect at the time of death.
It was first assumed that Stencho died from a form of meningitis. Shall I go on? But Montova held up his hand. A Mormon, age twenty, female. This time in the basement of an LDS church.
Nearly identical set of circumstances except this time the name EVE was painted in red on the cement wall next to the body.
Lab came up with the same results in the spinal fluid, and the local coroner found evidence of the same intracranial pressure, as well as advanced infection of the meninges. She died of brain pressure leading to cerebral hemorrhage.
A new victim has been found every new moon—the killer evidently likes the dark. All fifteen have been female, between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four. She was unique, he'd give her that much. Her eyes sparkled with an infectious mystery.
If he wasn't mistaken, in her late thirties. Stride indicates a height of six-six, and indentation puts him between and Different white vans were recovered near two of the sites.
Hair and skin cell samples from each identify the killer as Caucasian, blood type B-positive, male. Hair indicates he is in his forties. There were no latent prints. No saliva, blood, semen, or any other fluid that could be traced to any other source than the victim. The killer's not a secretor. He's effectively either a newcomer or a ghost. Then she went on delivering the data with practiced precision.
Which in turn suggests he's a professional. His killing is organized, patterned, premeditated, and clearly religiously motivated.
He's killing with motives that are consistent with a classic psychopathic profile—he knows right from wrong, and he chooses wrong. He will continue until he is captured or killed. His profile indicates that he will likely never be taken alive. Nothing else is known about Eve. An even more fascinating case. Then she smiled. My mother always told me that men who think they know themselves are only stuck-up versions of those who don't.
His phone rang and he took the call. He nodded curtly and dropped the receiver back in its cradle. They found an entrance to an unmarked cave nearby. Local enforcement is setting up a perimeter, but they've been told to stay out of the scene until you arrive. Ice crept through his veins. Daniel stood and crossed the room in three long steps. He grabbed the doorknob and was halfway through before Montova's voice stopped him.
Eleven o'clock, the note had said. Information you will kill for. The bar at the Emerald Dive. Which was why she was here for the first time since the divorce.
Her friend, Raquel Graham, one of the better defense attorneys in Santa Monica, sat at the bar next to her, rocking subtly to the rhythmic tune blaring over the Emerald Dive's sound system.
The new music, she called it. As opposed to the old music, which had filled the radio waves when she and Raquel were tearing up Santa Monica in their twenties. They all liked the new music, they just didn't know the names of the bands. Or the songs, for that matter. Nothing as sensible as Red Hot Chili Peppers, which made a clear, definitive statement. What did names like Sky Block Streak say?
Probably more than she cared to know. The Emerald Dive catered to the professional downtown crowd— 18 ADAM smart-dressed lawyers and such, half of whom Heather recognized from the major firms around town. Another two years and her name would join Jerry Biggs and Kurt Kofford on the stationery. Assuming she stuck around. Honestly, she doubted she would.
The last year had ruined her for run-of-the-mill litigation. Raquel tossed her dark hair, took another sip from the Tom Collins in front of her, and eyed Simon—a prosecutor from Los Angeles—as he crossed the room headed for the bathroom. They'd been dating a full month, something of a record for Raquel, who was thirty-nine and had yet to settle into any semblance of a permanent relationship.
She tended to approach men the way she approached cases: moving from one to the next, always hoping for the next big payday. Raquel offered up a whimsical smile. She nodded at a blond man across the bar, engrossed in a conversation with a friend.
Jake Mackenzie, whom they both knew by reputation as an up-and-comer. You always did like blonds. You're only thirty-seven, babe, and any guy in this place can see you put the rest of the competition to shame. Raquel set her drink down. The clock! You've been divorced—" "Please, not the divorce talk again," Heather said. Forget the divorce already. You left that egotistical maniac almost two years ago for good reason. But no, you won't let go, will you? No, we shall be called Heather Clark because we were once married to a god named Daniel Clark.
Why did you leave him? What do you see? You know what I see? The smartest defense attorney in Southern California, who's so wrapped in the sad past that she's forgotten how to live for the future. The fact that she happens to have a body that looks as tempting in a tank top and holey jeans as it does in a business suit only makes her misplaced desperation more tragic. The cover has a blue tint with "Adam" in white letters and a red border at the top signifying itself as the Christian retail version.
Backstory[ edit ] The story is interspersed with the story of a brother and sister, Alex and Jessica Price, who are kidnapped from their home in Their kidnappers, Alice and Cyril, are insane fanatics dedicated to a religion called Eve's Holy Coven. After living in Alice's shack for over sixteen years, the siblings finally escape. They slowly begin to adapt to the real world, though Alex suffers severe psychological damage from his time with Alice. After failing to become a priest, Alex falls into depression and awakes in the middle of the night, screaming in terror.
Jessica who shares an apartment with him begins to fear for her brother's sanity after he brutally attacks her fiance', Bruce. Shortly after this, Alex disappears and is never heard from again. For the past 16 months he has been stalking a killer called Eve who kills a young woman during every new moon using a deadly new strain of meningitis injected into the brain.
His obsession with the serial killer causes his wife to divorce him. On the eve of the killer's sixteenth murder, Daniel and his new partner, pathologist Lori Ames, manage to extract Eve's victim before she has succumb to the disease.
However, Eve intercepts them, killing Daniel with a bullet to the head and reclaiming his victim. In a frantic attempt to save Daniel, Lori manages to resuscitate after he has been clinically dead for almost a half-hour. Despite escaping with his life, Daniel now experiences amnesia and cannot remember seeing the killer's face; also, he now suffers from spastic episodes of fear every hour or so.
Still determined to find Eve, Daniel convinces Lori to drug him into having a second near-death experience , which he believes will trigger his memory of the night he saw Eve's face. She hesitantly agrees, and injects him with drugs that trick his brain into thinking he is dead.