Author: Eli Carros
Genre: Crime Thriller
Chief Inspector Jack Grayson is hunting a serial killer terrorizing London, a stalker who watches his prey carefully and displays the bodies of his young female victims brazenly. But Grayson has a problem – only one lead and scant evidence – and the body count is rising.
He discovers that an unsolved 18-year-old murder case bears all the hallmarks of the current killings, but he still can’t seem to find a single, obvious suspect, and he is so far unable to outthink a master predator.
Grayson must catch a hunter who knows how to outwit the police – a showman intent on completing his macabre collection. But he’s missing a vital clue, a critical piece of the puzzle. When he finally discovers the killer's identity, he's completely unprepared for the fallout…
She stood waiting as the doors closed with a quiet hiss and the elevator started to descend. He glanced over her, taking in her elegant profile, her smooth alabaster skin, observing the details of her; breasts round and full, encased in a white shirt half a size too small and straining at the buttons, begging to be released. He noted the way her hair piled upon the top of her head, loose tendrils of spun gold escaping and caressing a slim neck. A hair pin edging its way out of the bun, aching to be plucked.
It’s an abomination, unnatural. His mother’s voice in his head again. Would she never shut up?
Fingering the knife in his pocket as the elevator descended, he felt the sharp edge grate the pad of his finger. He clenched his fists, feeling the rage building inside him. How dare this girl taunt him so? The calm of the Brahms sonata being piped through to the elevator’s occupants came in sharp contrast to his raggedly spiking mood. The feeling, rising within him, was irrepressible. The urgency to possess her climbed rapidly, like his blood pressure.
Unaware of his watchfulness, she fumbled around in the depths of her handbag, trying to locate something. The tilt of her lovely face tipped downwards in profile, making him catch his breath. Boldly he stepped forward, pulling the blade out of his pocket and placing one arm around her throat as he came up behind her, restraining her tightly against him. He didn’t hesitate as he drew the blade deftly across the thin skin of her throat, slicing her neck.
The blood spurted violently as the blade bit into her jugular vein, spraying the shiny, mirrored walls. The piped sonata seemed to be slowing down and he felt as if the world had momentarily stopped. Blanched, devoid of colour. The only bright spots – the only things that existed at all – were her and him, and they existed in a lurid blur of light. He held her there, his head bent over her tumble of blonde hair, as she struggled pathetically in his arms, her body weakening with every kick.
He watched as she gasped her last, her mouth opening obscenely, as her fingers scratched at empty air. Drinking her in, he tried to memorise every atom of her, as her body became deadweight in his arms. Finally, in that last second, he felt the serenity that inevitably washed over him each time. A feeling of satisfaction. Of completion. Peace.
I'm a trained journalist, and interned at The Daily Mirror before becoming copywriter and then a crime novelist. I've always loved reading crime, thrillers, and mystery suspense, and am an ardent admirer of authors Steven King, Mark Billingham, Harlan Coben, and Patricia Cornwell.
I'm naturally a strong supporter of causes that promote equality for all. In my spare time I love sailing, camping, hiking, and sketching faces, and detest getting up in the morning without several cups of strong percolated coffee.
We all have a tendency to be obsessed by death, sex, and ourselves. That might sound like a negative assessment but it’s not scary when it’s kept in check by a society that has its heart basically in the right place.
But does ours?
Well, it’s a fact we’re becoming desensitised, to people’s pain, deprivation, and loss. This is in no small part due to the rolling news channels that infiltrate our homes at all hours of the day and night. It’s no longer shocking to see the aftermath of a bomb blast, or the carnage of a terrible train wreck.
Not as shocking as it once was anyway.
There’s something else though, something that may be a bit more disturbing. You might have noticed it, a championing of the winner/ loser approach to life. Our current culture loves winners, but not everyone can be a winner. What is a winner anyway?
We currently define winner as money in the bank, celebrity, good looks, but primarily it’s money in the bank. All those other things are no good if they can’t deliver the goods, and these days the goods are how much you’re worth. Money defines your value now, not character, intelligence, or morality.
Is that a bad thing?
The problem is that you can’t tell what person is like by how much they have in their investment portfolio. They could be quite unpleasant, certainly not the kind of person you’d want to have lunch with, they could even be a psychopath.
It’s not that our society openly champions serial killers, of course we don’t. There is a prurient fascination with death, yes, and with serial killers, but that is actually completely natural because it reinforces what we are not.
Most of us are not deviant killers. We are not psychopaths.
But are we becoming more like them?
Maybe not individually, but as a collective, it’s easier than ever to be a psychopath and thrive in our society. Psychopathic ideals and attitudes are being openly embraced, such as strength and dominance at all costs. Even being seen as a bully isn’t seen to be such a bad thing.
Having the biggest cash pile is seen as the ultimate goal. Our me, me, me culture where it’s considered perfectly okay to consider yourself before everybody else, is encouraging malignant people to become dominant.
We used to band together to collectively tut tut and show our disapproval to anyone who was too “grabby”, who appeared to be too “selfish”. Now we cheer them on, while wondering what we can learn from them.
All this might be fine in a normal person, who isn’t borderline sociopathic or wouldn’t meet the clinical standards for psychopathy. But many people do meet those standards and they’re not even serial killers.
Not killers but they can cause just as much devastation, albeit in a slightly different way.
Why? Because they are malignant dangerous individuals who cause disruption and chaos wherever they go and only ever think of themselves. Do we really want to champion that in our culture?
We better do something then.
Because it’s happening. Everywhere. Look around, and you can smell the value shift.
I wrote my debut crime thriller, The Watcher about a psychopath. I made a study of psychopaths and their character traits, including several infamous serial killers like Charles Manson and Ted Bundy and I found many common threads.
Bundy and Manson both displayed many of the kind of personality traits that are applauded today. Bragging about one’s talent is now seen as “promoting yourself”, while being manipulative is now seen as “smart”.
In my novel, my lead antagonist is a violent and dangerous psychopath who can completely justify harming and hurting his young female victims in the most vicious way because it makes him feel better. Why? He’s a deeply damaged individual with a highly traumatic childhood but that doesn’t go the whole way to explaining why he became what he became. After all, many people have horrendous childhoods and don’t go on to become psychopathic killers.
Mental imbalance is another obvious explanation but I’d like to venture one more. I think that a killer like the one in The Watcher, is also enabled by society. We hide those who do others harm sometimes, or perhaps they find it easy to conceal themselves in our midst. We don’t stand up to bullies, even though we know we should.
Am I wrong? Have we actually become more empathic as a society not less? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject so feel free to comment below with your own opinion.
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