Oliver Stark: 88 Killer

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Oliver Stark 88 Killer
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    88 Killer
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88 Killer: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Three unconnected crimes are about to be linked in the most chilling way imaginable. The abduction of a teenage girl, heading towards a bus stop. A woman shot, point-blank during a brutal robbery. A young man tortured, his body found wrapped in barbed wire. With nothing to indicate that the three are connected, NYPD detective Tom Harper and psychologist Denise Levene must look beyond the surface to find a killer's true motivation. And they believe that they have found a murderer conditioned to hate and willing to go to any lengths to make his victims suffer. The killer has nothing to lose. Harper and Levene have one chance to catch him. Sometimes hate is just the beginning…

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Oliver Stark


To my family

Hate isn’t only a feeling. Sometimes it’s an inheritance.

‘Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.’

Ernest Hemingway, April 1936


Forest Park, Queens, New York

February 26, 5.14 p.m.

Abigail Goldenberg crossed Park Lane South as the delivery truck pulled out of a side street. The truck hit the brakes. Abby heard the loud squeal of tyres and jerked herself to a halt half-way across the street. She looked up at the driver, grimaced an apology and then felt her pulse start to hammer in her chest like an aftershock.

Inside the cab, two guys with long hair and baseball caps cursed and gesticulated. Some crude joke passed between them. Abby watched as their anger turned to lewd laughter. Then the window rolled down. ‘If you want to be laid on your back, just climb on board, baby.’

Abby was sixteen and beautiful. She’d learned to deal with unwanted attention both politely and assertively. Smiling sweetly, she raised a middle finger and told them to swivel.

Abby then ran across the rest of the street and headed down towards Forest Park. She glanced behind her. These guys sometimes came back around for a second bite. She saw the truck disappear into the distance and was reassured.

She walked fast, scanning the edge of the woods, and soon spotted the broken wire fence. She had done most of the damage herself ever since she’d found the short cut. She jumped over the wire and pulled herself up the bank, holding on to a young sapling.

Abby could have walked the long way round to the bus stop on Myrtle Avenue. Reason told her that it was the right thing to do. It was getting late, the light was fading and there were rain clouds overhead. Sure, she should have stuck to the sidewalks, surrounded by passing traffic in the safe orange glow of the street lights, but since when did Abby follow reason? Reason was something to be kept for when you were older and bored with life’s experiences.

The clincher, though, was that the long route added twenty minutes on to her journey, and twenty minutes was way too long for an impatient girl trying to go see her favorite band in Manhattan and get home before her daddy found out.

Abby’s secret trip to Manhattan had required subterfuge. It helped that her father, an academic who could tell whether you’d stolen a line in your essay from some Internet article on the causes of the Second World War at a hundred paces, still couldn’t use a cell phone without help.

Sitting in her bedroom, she had called the house phone from her cell. She ran to answer it herself, down in the living room, right next to where Daddy was sitting.

There was no one on the line, of course, and Abby loved to act the whole conversation from beginning to end. She had held the phone close to her ear and listened for a moment. ‘Hi, Suse, babe, how’s things?’

Abby spoke, paused and spoke again, all the time watching her daddy’s reaction. She played out a whole urgent scenario within his hearing. Suse had a test, was desperate for help, the only person in the world who could help her was Abby and the only person who could let Abby out was Daddy, so the fate of Suse all rested on his shoulders. Abby then stared across the living room wide-eyed, sweet and smiling.

Daddy had said yes. Of course.

Abby headed into the woods until the traffic was just a distant hum, and it was so dark that the uninitiated would have had trouble finding their way out again. She didn’t care about that, though. She’d tramped the short cut so often that she could’ve done it blindfolded and backwards.

Abby was a free spirit like her mother, who had been living in New Jersey for the past twelve years with a succession of rich men. It wasn’t a quality her father admired but it was one he knew he had to live with. Abby ran wild at times, but she wasn’t entirely stupid — she always carried what she called her ‘Brooklyn dating kit’: a charged cell, a rape alarm and a canister of pepper spray.

She pushed on until she reached a small clearing by a hollow tree. She checked her messages, took off her school bag that she’d packed with revision textbooks, and pushed it inside the tree trunk. Her jumper came off next, in one swift movement, to reveal a faded black T-shirt emblazoned with a grainy image of The Cramps. Next, she kicked off her shoes, pulled off her old jeans and rolled down a short red tartan skirt that she’d hidden from her father by twisting it up above her hips.

She placed her school clothes inside a plastic bag, put on a pair of old pink sneakers, let down her ponytail and ruffled her hair. Now she was ready for the gig and anything else life was going to throw in her path. If it wasn’t an adventure, what was the point?

The rain started as she was trying to apply dark lines of kohl around each eye, which was never easy in the dark. She had hoped she’d have made it to the tunnel on Myrtle before the deluge. No such luck. A clap of thunder was followed by a sudden cloudburst.

She put her make-up back in her small canvas shoulder bag and started to run for the bus. The dense green canopy held back the worst of the rain, but the drops that got through hit her bare arms and legs.

After a few yards of running, she ran out of steam and slowed her pace. The woods were dark in every direction and she was alone, creeping through the undergrowth. She looked up towards the path ahead. Something flickered in the dark and she paused momentarily. There was something in the woods — a light, a flashlight or something. She felt very alert all of a sudden, with every nerve and muscle taut. Her eyes watched the light. It moved left and right and then started to move towards her, like a Cyclops’s eye.

Abby darted behind a tree. When she looked ahead again, the light had gone, but her skin was covered in goose bumps.

She listened out. There was nothing but the sound of water dripping from the high leaves. Her breathing was shallow and her body was tingling with adrenalin. She looked at her cell phone. Should she call someone? Who would she call? What would she say? She couldn’t call her father. She couldn’t call anyone. Maybe she should just turn back.

She stood still as the cold air and rain started to make her shake. No, she was too far into the woods and she was only five minutes from Myrtle. Maybe the light was just a car turning on the road. Yes, that must be it. She let her mind be reassured.

Abby walked with a slight shiver, her head jerking about in every direction. She felt underdressed. She took ten quick steps, and then heard a noise off to her right. She stopped, panting but trying to make no sound. What was it? An animal? Her mind started to grow fears. Suddenly everything seemed alien and frightening and able to swallow her up. She shouldn’t have left the sidewalk. She wanted to whimper like a lost child, but told herself to be strong.

‘It’s nothing, Abby,’ she said aloud to herself. ‘You’re a hundred yards from the street.’ She started to walk again. Could someone have followed her into the woods from Park Lane South? Could someone be stalking the woods? To her right, about ten meters ahead, a twig snapped. It was a definite noise, not some figment of her imagination. Abby crouched down and listened.

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