“You don’t have to get your ass in trouble protectin’ somebody who’s not bein’ honest with you.” – Detective Sergeant John McVickers
Too late. The Serial Killer’s Daughter, the latest offering from Heywood Gould, screenwriter of Fort Apache, the Bronx, doesn’t even make it into double digit page numbers before college senior Peter Vogel finds himself in a world of trouble.
When Peter, an English major and teaching assistant, strikes up a deal with beautiful classmate Hannah Seeley to ghostwrite “A” papers for her in exchange for sex he thinks it’s a deal that’s too good to be true. He should have trusted his big head not the little one, because after a brief but intense relationship Hannah disappears without explanation.
Peter finishes out his final semester, graduates, and moves on to a teaching placement job all the while wondering what happened to Hannah. When she suddenly reappears on his doorstep, in a completely different city no less, Peter has no idea the whirlwind of trouble she’s brought with her.
He finds out soon enough, when on their very first night together home invaders descend upon Peter’s apartment. He manages to fend them off, and is initially reassured when the police inform him the attackers have been located…until he learns they are dead in an alley a stone’s throw from Peter’s apartment. That they were known drug users causes the police to believe either Peter or Hannah are involved with drugs, and that the crime was not random. Well, the police were half right anyway.
When Peter and Hannah are the the victims of an attempted car-jacking the very next night, Hannah finally confesses the truth to Peter: she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer and someone has been threatening her. Initially only phone calls and emails, the threats have evolved to attempted physical assaults. The FBI tells her such threats aren’t unusual against family members of high profile criminals, her pastor thinks she’s imagining it in some sort of displaced guilt over her father’s crimes, and the local police are sticking with their “drug feud” angle. If the the person stalking Hannah is going to be stopped, it’s up to Peter and Hannah to figure it out on their own.
Author Heywood Gould has crafted a hell of a thrill ride in The Serial Killer’s Daughter. The action jumps off immediately and never lets up, forcing Peter and Hannah to run from pillar to post in their efforts to both stay alive and figure out who’s behind the attacks. Through it all Gould keeps the pace blistering, the violence visceral, and the actions of Peter and Hannah absolutely believable. Gould also keeps the tension between Peter and Hannah just tight enough that neither Peter nor the reader knows for sure if Hannah has revealed all she knows about what’s going on.
Yet the deeper they get into solving the mystery, the less Peter seems to care about the truth. Instead, he discovers a dark part of himself he never knew existed, and is not entirely sure he’s comfortable with. For her part, Hannah is torn between her desire to have the comfort and sense of safety – real or imagined – that being with Peter brings and her guilt at having dragged him into such a dire situation. Hey, you think your family’s bad? Try being The Serial Killer’s Daughter.
The Serial Killer’s Daughter is available from Nightbird Publishing (ISBN: 978-0981957258).