I am very excited to announce that the third and final installment in the C.J./ Cupid “thrillogy” is complete. The Cutting Room will be published in the UK on July 5, 2012. I do not yet have dates for other countries, which must be translated. I also don’t have a date yet for the US.
The title did go through a name change, so if you’ve been checking in with my website periodically, you’ll remember that the title at one point in time was The Redemption List. I have to say, I really love the new title. I think it captures the mood of the book perfectly. Particularly a phrase that is stolen from the book and put on the back cover: You can never erase a life completely. There are always pieces left behind.
I’ll post a chapter or two in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, here’s a peek:
THE CUTTING ROOM
Assistant State Attorney Daria DeBianchi is a veteran prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Despite delicate features and a petite frame, she’s a powerhouse in the courtroom. She’s sacrificed nights, weekends, and a social life to become Division Chief of a demanding trial unit, and she has her sights set on the recently vacated position of Chief of the contentious Sexual Battery Unit. When she’s assigned to prosecute the horrific rape and murder of a pretty University of Miami coed, she knows right away that the case has the potential to generate headlines. And launch careers.
The accused is the handsome playboy heir to a luxury bath and body products company. The evidence is circumstantial, but damning. Working alongside City of Miami homicide detective Manny Alvarez, Daria begins to build her case against Talbot Alastair Lunders—the first order of which will be to make sure that the privileged defendant doesn’t get out of jail before she has a chance to bring him to justice.
When the defendant’s mother approaches her and her lead detective with a video clip she claims was anonymously emailed to her, the case takes a bizarre turn. In the 49 second clip, an unidentified woman, who bears an unsettling resemblance to Daria’s murder victim, appears to be tortured and possibly killed in the same twisted manner as the UM coed. To Abby Lunders, the existence of such a video and the fact that someone has forwarded it to her means only one thing—there’s another murderer at large, perhaps even a serial killer, who police should be looking for instead of focusing on her son and only child. Because according to the date/time stamp on the video, if the two crimes are, in fact, related and were committed by the same perpetrator, it was physically impossible for Talbot Lunders to be the masked assailant in the video.
Unable to walk away from what could be the footage of an actual murder, Manny Alvarez sets out to find the identity of the mystery woman in the video. What he discovers, though, is more than just the name of a murder victim whose brutal homicide has gone unsolved for years…
The connection between the tortured blonde in the video and Miami murder victim Holly Skole is both terrifying and undeniable: both women have been branded with the signature of the same killer. Or, as Manny soon discovers, killers. As the pieces begin to fall into place, the detective realizes that what he is dealing with is beyond moral comprehension: an entire secret network of voyeuristic, cold-blooded predators that like to gather together to watch people die. A snuff club that feeds its members’ twisted fantasies through an encrypted internet connection.
To take down the voyeurs club Manny will need to employ the assistance of one who is a monster himself. A monster who sits on death row waiting for the governor to call his name. William Rupert Bantling—the most notorious serial killer in Miami history—is the only man who knows the actual identities of the clubs’ players. But revealing their names will come at a heavy price: Cupid wants his freedom.
Blackstone’s famous commentary on the presumption of innocence serves as the cornerstone of American jurisprudence: “It is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent suffer.” But Manny Alvarez knows all too well that Bill Bantling is no innocent. He also knows that if Cupid is released back into society, he will kill again. And his first target will most likely be the prosecutor who sent him to death row ten years earlier: former Major Crimes Assistant State Attorney C.J. Townsend. A woman with a haunting past, C.J. has long since left Miami—the breeding ground for too many dark, dark secrets. But as Manny knows all too well, if someone wants to find you badly enough, they will. No matter how good you are at hiding.
United in cause, but surrounded by men and politicians who have their own interests at heart and headlines in sight, both prosecutor and detective will be forced to make the most difficult decision of their careers and answer a question that is not just theoretical fodder: Is it better to let one guilty man go free in order to capture dozens more?
Let go a vicious murderer to catch more murderers. Or execute him and be responsible for the future deaths of countless others. Either way, both Manny and Daria will be held accountable.
Either way, someone is going to die.
Again, thanks for the feedback, kind words and encouragement that so many of you have shot through to me via email! I wish I could write faster. I know it takes me a while to write a thriller, but I hope you see why when you read my books. And I hope they keep you up all night turning pages. With the doors locked and the shades drawn, of course.
All the best,