"Astonishing" (New York Times Book Review) suspense master Jeffery Deaver brings back investigative agent Kathryn Dance (The Sleeping Doll) in a timely and chilling bestseller.
Roadside crosses are appearing along the highways of the Monterey Peninsula, not as memorials to past accidents but as markers for fatalities yet to come . . . and someone, armed with information gleaned from careless and all-too-personal blog postings, intends to carry out those killings. Kathryn Dance and her C.B.I. team know when the attacks will take place, but who will be the victims? Her body language expertise leads her to a recent fatal car crash, and to the driver, Travis Brigham, a gaming-obsessed teen who’s become the target of vicious cyberbullies. And when Travis disappears, Kathryn must lead a furious manhunt in the elusive world of bloggers and social networking, where nothing is as it seems. . . .
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Jeffery Deaver’s most recent #1 international bestseller is Carte Blanche, the new James Bond novel that brought Ian Fleming’s Agent 007 firmly into the modern age. After revealing his lifelong admiration for Fleming’s novels while accepting the Crime Writer’s Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for his thriller Garden of Beasts, Deaver was approached by the estate of Ian Fleming to write the next Bond thriller. It debuted on bestseller lists around the world.
The author of two collections of short stories and 28 previous suspense novels, Deaver is best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme thrillers, most notably The Bone Collector, which was made into a feature starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. His many awards include the Novel of the Year at the International Thriller Writers’ Awards in 2009 for his standalone novel The Bodies Left Behind. The latest entries in the Lincoln Rhyme series are The Cold Moon, The Broken Window, and The Burning Wire.
Deaver has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony Award and a Gumshoe Award. He was recently short-listed for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Best International Author. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. He lives in North Carolina.
For further information, visit www.jefferydeaver.com.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
M O N D A Y
OUT OF PLACE.
The California Highway Patrol trooper, young with bristly yellow hair beneath his crisp hat, squinted through the windshield of his Crown Victoria Police Interceptor as he cruised south along Highway 1 in Monterey. Dunes to the right, modest commercial sprawl to the left.
Something was out of place. What?
Heading home at 5:00 p.m. after his tour had ended, he surveyed the road. The trooper didn'twrite a lot of tickets here, leaving that to the county deputies -- professional courtesy -- but he occasionally lit up somebody in a German or Italian car if he was in a mood, and this was the route he often took home at this time of day, so he knew the highway pretty well.
There...that was it. Something colorful, a quarter mile ahead, sat by the side of the road at the base of one of the hills of sand that cut off the view of Monterey Bay.
What could it be?
He hit his light bar -- protocol -- and pulled over onto the right shoulder. He parked with the hood of the Ford pointed leftward toward traffic, so a rear-ender would shove the car away from, not over, him, and climbed out. Stuck in the sand just beyond the shoulder was a cross -- a roadside memorial. It was about eighteen inches high and homemade, cobbled together out of dark, broken-off branches, bound with wire like florists use. Dark red roses lay in a splashy bouquet at the base. A cardboard disk was in the center, the date of the accident written on it in blue ink. There were no names on the front or back.
Officially these memorials to traffic accident victims were discouraged, since people were occasionally injured, even killed, planting a cross or leaving flowers or stuffed animals.
Usually the memorials were tasteful and poignant. This one was spooky.
What was odd, though, was that he couldn't remember any accidents along here. In fact this was one of the safest stretches of Highway 1 in California. The roadway becomes an obstacle course south of Carmel, like that spot of a really sad accident several weeks ago: two girls killed coming back from a graduation party. But here, the highway was three lanes and mostly straight, with occasional lazy bends through the old Fort Ord grounds, now a college, and the shopping districts.
The trooper thought about removing the cross, but the mourners might return to leave another one and endanger themselves again. Best just to leave it. Out of curiosity he'd check with his sergeant in the morning and find out what had happened. He walked back to his car, tossed his hat on the seat and rubbed his crew cut. He pulled back into traffic, his mind no longer on roadside accidents. He was thinking about what his wife would be making for supper, about taking the kids to the pool afterward.
And when was his brother coming to town? He looked at the date window on his watch. He frowned. Was that right? A glance at his cell phone confirmed that, yes, today was June 25.
That was curious. Whoever had left the roadside cross had made a mistake. He remembered that the date crudely written on the cardboard disk was June 26, Tuesday, tomorrow.
Maybe the poor mourners who'd left the memorial had been so upset they'd jotted the date down wrong.
Then the images of the eerie cross faded, though they didn'tvanish completely and, as the officer headed down the highway home, he drove a bit more carefully.
Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey Deaver
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