In life, Jane Ann never had much use for a halo, but in her violent death she finally earned one. When they found a suspect, everyone relaxed except Hugh MacReedy.
Maybe he should have stayed out of it, but MacReedy owed a big debt to the patsy they were sending to the electric chair in a week. And he would have stayed out of it, if he’d known what his chances were of coming out alive …
On the surface, they seem like three very different people: Danny Bronson, a cunning ex-con struggling to go straight; his brother, Lee, a former Gridiron star turned college professor; and Johnny Keefler, a crooked parole officer who lives for revenge. But they all grew up in the same corner of town, a grim little slum known as ‘The Sink’, where life is cheap and might makes right.
And a story that’s just as dark unfolds when their paths cross as men – at the intersection of brutal violence, illicit liaisons, a ‘foolproof’ scam and the intoxicating allure of cold, hard cash.
Sam Glidden owed all his success to the opportunities he’d received from Thomas McGann, president of the Harrison Corporation. But now McGann was dead, and Mike Dean, a wildly flamboyant business speculator, was looking to add the Harrison Corporation to his long list of conquests.
McGann’s spoiled offspring, Tommy and Louise, saw the chance to make instant big bucks by selling out their shares. But Sam Glidden couldn’t stand to see everything he’d worked for gobbled up by a barracuda like Mike Dean. So he wangled an invitation to the sand-and-surf soiree Dean planned for Louise and Tommy in the Bahamas …
Her name was Cindy, and she was his neighbour’s wife – the woman next door in the kind of suburbia that didn’t make headlines. These were real people, nice people like Cindy and Carl who fought with the desperation of the damned to keep from wanting each other.
Suddenly, though, it was the right time, right place. And there was no room left for pretence. In that moment all innocence drained out of their lives. Two real people, two nice people, became creatures of passion – and guilt.
Jerry Jamison wants out: out of a sloppy marriage, a dull job and the empty suburban rat race. Once Jerry had a beautiful bride and a good salary at her old man’s successful business – that was before his wife turned into a lush. Before the business started to go to pieces. And before the lazy afternoon when Vince Biskay, an old army buddy, rings his doorbell and makes an intriguing proposition. Vince promises to bring excitement into Jerry’s life – and money – but this is a plan that leaves only death and destruction in its wake.
Alex Doyle is a tough man on a tough assignment in Ramona Beach, Florida – the kind of place that doesn’t trust strangers and is policed by a sheriff who echoes the locals’ sentiments with a billy club. But Alex isn’t an outsider, exactly. He grew up in Ramona Beach – until they railroaded him out of town. ‘Can’t trust trash,’ they said.
Alex has never been back, until his employer sends him home to locate a government scientist and get him out alive. Unfortunately for Alex, Ramona Beach has a long memory. Unfortunately for Ramona Beach, so does Alex.
Leo Rice seems like a nice enough guy, but why does he have to choose their beach? He could head ten miles up the Florida strip and everyone could just live happily ever after – no questions asked.
But Leo Rice does ask questions … and suddenly Stebbins’ Marina, an oasis of easy living, hard drinking and free love for its residents, is in jeopardy. And in less than a month, their paradise will be interrupted by twisted emotions, buried hatred – and brutal murder.
American bachelor Miles Drummond, living in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and running out of money, half-heartedly places an ad in a few US newspapers announcing a summer art workshop. Much to his surprise, thirteen students write for details, and arrive in Cuernavaca a few weeks later.
The hotel Miles has rented is crumbling. The VW bus he borrowed is a disaster. The two instructors he hired hate each other on sight. But the students – young and old, single and married, rich and poor – aren’t simply looking for an education. Some are fleeing private anguish. Others are seeking romance. All will find more adventure than they ever dreamed possible.
More than half a century ago, Papa Drovek opened his small grocery store at the junction of two country roads. As he bought more and more land, the roads became highways, and now the Droveks own a complex of hotels, restaurants, a truck stop, a shopping centre and two gas stations.
Papa’s eldest son, Charles, is president of the Crossroads Corporation. His son Leo enjoys his token job, and daughter Joan manages the commercial tenants’ leases. But when younger son Pete’s wife gets restless and lonely, she becomes an easy pawn in a sleazy scheme of robbery and murder. The target? Old Papa Drovek himself.
When Mike Rodenska, a former journalist and recent widower, visits his old friend Troy Jamison in Florida, he’s shocked at what he finds. For despite the parties, the shapely women, the devil-may-care air that surrounds Troy and his friends, Mike can see a life slowly coming apart. The only question is: why?
Putting together the pieces of his friend’s life – and downfall – turns an ordinary visit into a mystery that Mike Rodenska is compelled to solve …
Her employers are the high priests of Las Vegas and she is their handmaiden. Her job is to lead the lambs to the sacrifice, to keep them happy at the tables, where her partners slaughter the suckers. She longs to be free of the entertainers rubbing elbows with thugs at the craps tables, the divorcées hocking their jewels next to all-night marriage chapels, and the little white balls bouncing along the roulette wheels twenty-four hours a day.
But no matter how hard she tries to escape her past, she’s fated to be caught for ever backstage in the sick glitter of the infamous strip with nothing but sand and neon and money, money, everywhere.
Three men and a beautiful girl on a cross-country terror spree – a coast to coast rampage of stealing, kidnapping, rape and killing.
Who were they? Where did they come from? Why did they do it?
With chilling detail, John D. MacDonald unwraps the grotesque inner world of these four young psychopaths, and brings into terrifying focus the random, violent lusts that lie hidden between mischief and madness …