A Novel of Suspense
Ballantine Books, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780345492432, 397pp.
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
A teenage runaway’s body is found in the basement of a rancid tenement building in the desolate, dangerous North Philly district dubbed the Badlands. The inexplicable cause of death: drowning. Months later, this dormant homicide case stirs back to life. A confession to the bizarre murder sends Philadelphia police detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano rushing to make an arrest. But what they find will chill these hardened veterans to the bone. As the body count grows, a terrifying design literally takes shape. Pieces of a gruesome puzzle are being set into place by a madman using the city as his game board. His playthings are the innocent, and his opponents–and pawns–are Byrne and Balzano, who must, before time runs out, decipher the truth about a shadowy house of horrors and its elusive master.
“A satisfying puzzle and unexpected twists.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Stunning . . . outstanding, truly memorable . . . Montanari seems poised to take his place on the top ranks of the mystery field.”—Booklist, starred review