Макс Коллинз: No One Will Hear You

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Макс Коллинз No One Will Hear You
  • Название:
    No One Will Hear You
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Thorndike Press
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2011
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4104-3764-8
  • Рейтинг книги:
    3 / 5
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No One Will Hear You: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The first video arrives by email. An unidentifed man. A naked woman. Her scream caught in a freeze-frame. The producers of TV’s Crime Seen! can’t believe what they’re witnessing — an all-out sadist “auditioning” for a starring role in reality television. And if he doesn’t get it, he’ll kill again. To meet the demented demands of the self-proclaimed “Don Juan,” former sheriff and TV host J.C. Harrow has no choice but to spotlight him along with another ruthless maniac who has captivated millions of viewers. Now two killers are locked in a bloodthirsty competition. For fame. For notoriety. For victims.

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Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens

No One Will Hear You

For Paul Bishop — cop, writer, friend

Love means never having

to say you’re sorry.

— ERIC SEGAL

No doubt Jack the Ripper excused himself on the grounds that it was human nature.

— A.A. MILNE

Naked, shivering but not cold, Crystal Haggerty huddled behind bushes.

Sweat streamed through her long, blonde hair, and down her face, stinging her eyes. Her breath came in ragged gasps as she stared back through the darkness, toward the house.

Nothing.

Then she swiftly scanned the woods for any sign of her pursuer.

Nothing.

Shit, she thought, anger at herself spiking through the terror. That usually infallible bullshit detector of hers had failed her big-time, her hunger for a gig, any damn gig, sending her home with a charming indie movie producer...

... who behind closed doors had transformed into a raving psychopath with a butcher knife!

His silhouette appeared on a rise, in the distance, and the lovely blonde saw the outline of that weapon in his right fist — the same blade she’d glimpsed him fondling thanks to the cracked bathroom door, a sight that had sent her on a headlong run through his kitchen, out the back door, and into a sticky California night and moonlit woods.

When they met after that acting class, he’d told her he was a producer — Louis St. James. She did her research and his story rang true, so she accepted his request for dinner.

After that impressively expensive restaurant, she allowed him to drive her to his place on the pretense of looking at a script, not at all surprised when he began kissing her the instant they got inside. She was a big girl and he was a handsome enough guy. An actress and a producer — not exactly a new story.

When he led her into the bedroom, the roses on the nightstand struck her as a little over the top, but what the hell? She fawned over them for him, still hoping he’d haul out a script after she had, well, paid for dinner.

She was naked on the bed, and they were kissing, tangling tongues, before she got a hint of anything off-key. He still had on most of his clothes, but then... some guys were shy. They continued to make out, his hands finding her breasts. She didn’t mind sharing them with him — she’d paid enough for them.

Then when his lips wandered farther south, Crystal decided he wasn’t shy...

“I want to get inside you,” he murmured. “Deep inside you...”

Just when she was ready to let him do that, he backed off — not something she was used to. Still clothed, he excused himself to use the bathroom, leaving her naked and confused.

Crystal never had a guy walk out on her that close to the moment of truth. Not ever. Guys were guys. He’d proved he wasn’t shy, and he sure didn’t seem nervous, so what was his problem? He’d hit the men’s room back at the restaurant, hadn’t he?

Discreetly, Crystal followed him. That was when the cracked door revealed her host standing at the mirror, holding that knife in a troublingly sexual way.

He wanted to get inside her, all right!

The crazy damn thing was: she had played this part before, running through the woods, naked, terrified. Mixed in with her hysteria was the ridiculousness of playing out this cliché, a cliché she had worked so hard to bring reality to as “Naked Female Victim Number Five” in that low-budget embarrassment, Slasher Camp 3: Body Check.

But an actress whose latest performances were chiefly at Hooters in Long Beach took what she could get... like dinner with a producer...

She had almost outwitted the killer in that dumb flick. Hidden behind a tree and leapt out and clouted the clown with a rock. In the movie, though, a rock couldn’t hurt the killer, who was a supernatural freak. St. James, though, was a flesh-and-blood freak.

So she had, in a bizarre B-movie way, lived this scene before... only this time she would survive.

When her pursuer’s silhouette swung in her direction, Crystal ducked even lower behind the bushes. Finally, she peeked out to see him moving to his left, away from her. Then she was up and on the run again.

The hard ground and underbrush tore at her bare feet as she sprinted blindly between trees. In the movie, she had hard-sole slippers on, except in the long shots, and then they’d cleared the brush for her, but these woods were doing her no favors.

She didn’t care.

The pain wasn’t devastating, not at all, and it said she was alive, and that was how she wanted to stay.

Her goal was to get far enough away from the bastard that she could set her trap for him and be waiting when he lumbered past. He knew these woods and she didn’t. But he would never expect her to go from hunted to hunter.

This, she felt, was her best chance.

Maybe her only chance.

Just past a huge-trunk tree, Crystal saw a low-slung overhang of brush she could hide under and, when her pursuer came past that tree, spring out. She scurried into the nest, brambles nicking her, but she didn’t give a damn. Making sure she didn’t make too much noise was a larger concern.

Beneath the overhang, nestled in night, Crystal crouched, animal-like. She could hear him moving through the brush, hear the twigs and leaves crunch — he still had ground to cover. Not close yet. Not yet.

She planned to tackle him, just take him down, maybe make him fall on that knife, or at least get on his back and work her long natural nails over his face and eyes.

Crunching twigs and leaves, louder.

Still not close.

Closer, but not close...

Her mind, like her heart, raced. If she had a weapon, a branch that could be a club, a rock that could be a blunt instrument, like in Slasher Camp, she might do better than just flinging her damn self at him.

But the darkness hampered any search. Like a blind woman, she moved her hands across the ground around her, trying not to make a sound, or much of one.

Then fingers found it and her hand grasped it: an egg-shaped rock that fit her fist as if God had fashioned it for her.

From what she heard, she judged her attacker to be about fifteen yards away. Wouldn’t be long now, and she would have him. Son of a bitch thought he could get her, but she would get him. This time Naked Female Victim Number Five would not die...

She waited, the mushroom of brush protectively over her as she crouched. She held her breath — not a sound — and then St. James strode into view, his back to her.

Perfect!

Crystal leapt out and raised that rock high, and he spun and thrust the butcher knife deep into her abdomen.

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