Publisher: The Penguin Group
22 Chapters: 624 Pages
I. Murder Book Summary
NYPSD’s lead homicide detective, Eve Dallas has encountered every kind murder imaginable. She’s seen a limo driver shot through the neck with a crossbow, and a prostitute slashed and mutilated “Jack the Ripper” style.
It takes a lot to get past her stoic demeanor. And yet, standing in the middle of the slaughterhouse that used to be the “On the Rocks” club, even Dallas is dismayed.
These victims are not just murdered. They are massacred. There are corpses with skulls and faces smashed in. Some of the victims have had their eyes gouged out and their throats cut.
The club itself is a shamble of broken furniture and glass, with blood and gore everywhere. The place looks like a riot had taken place inside its walls.
Most puzzling to Dallas and her loyal partner, Detective Delia Peabody is that the victims appear to have slaughtered each other. But why? What’s even stranger is that the patrons of “On the Rocks” knew and worked with each other in the surrounding lower East Side neighborhood.
In fact, many of the victims knew their party companions intimately. For example Marcie Snyder was enjoying an after work “happy hour” with her boyfriend, her BFF, and another male friend. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, Marcie stabs her boyfriend in the eye with a dinner fork. Then all hell breaks loose as bottles and chairs begin to fly through the air as patrons begin hacking and murdering their companions and the club staff.
The few survivors who can communicate say that they attacked their fellow patrons because they felt that they were being attacked by THEM. All of the survivors report that before the attacks they began suffering from a splitting headache, followed by extreme feelings of anger. A few moments later they saw their companions turn into “monsters” before their very eyes. What???
During the course of the ensuing investigation, the dead, and survivors were found to have traces of a combination of chemicals in their body cavities (nasal, mouth, and throat). The skin was also found to have traces of this unknown substance. It is suspected that this lethal cocktail was the cause of the feelings of rage and the hallucinations that preceded the violence.
It is believed that the deadly substance was deliberately released into the air and the unsuspecting victims breathed it in.
And this begs the question…why would anyone willfully release a toxic substance into a room filled with innocent people?
Was this an act of terrorism? If so then why has no group or an individual claimed credit for the act?
Does the killer know these club patrons? Does he or she have some kind of personal gripe against them?
It is the opinion of NYPSD resident psychologist Dr. Charlotte Mira that the perpetrator is someone who enjoys playing God and loves manipulating others. This person or persons has an intimate knowledge of the club, its employees, and of course, it’s patrons.
Money and sexual gain would not be an issue for this kind of killer.
Are we talking about some kind of religious cult?
Complicating the issue is the fact that this particular club belongs to Dallas’ mega-wealthy husband, Roarke. Is there a connection here? Perhaps this is some kind of vendetta against Roarke.
While Eve and her NYPSD crew ponder over these possibilities, the unthinkable occurs.
There’s another incident, this time at the Café’ West restaurant. Lydia McMeara is having lunch with her friends and co-workers Cellie and Brenda. Suddenly, for no apparently reason, she’s overwhelmed with feelings of jealousy and rage against her friends. She’s also feeling the mother of migraines coming on.
She gets up and stomps out of the Café’ West in fury. Once outside she begins feeling better, but her friends and the rest of the restaurant’s patrons are not so lucky.
Forty-four people are dead and the scene looks like a war zone.
All of the patrons work in the same downtown Manhattan area and most know each other.
At this point Eve Dallas hasn’t a clue as to who’s responsible for these horrible murders. But she does know one thing: if she doesn’t figure this murder mystery out pretty soon, more “happy” party goers will die.
Murder Book Judgment:
I’ve been reading J.D. Robb’s work since the first of the series, “Naked in Death”.
She always manages to weave today’s headlines into tomorrow’s reality. That just goes to show you that no matter how far our technology advances, we humans still remain basically the same.
Selfishness, greed and insanity still plague the ultra-modern world of the mid twenty-first century.
Normally I do not like it when authors clue us in on the identity of the killer(s) before the end. I like figuring things out for myself, if possible. The second half of this book deals with the investigation that finally brings the known killer to justice. So there is no big mystery in this thriller.
But, Robb gives us a big surprise toward the very end. She pulled a big one out of the hat and I can honestly say I didn’t see this one coming. Good for her!