In the foggy pre-dawn light of a September morning, a young woman is abducted as she jogs through the elegant streets of Portland, Maine’s West End. That night, the nude, mutilated body of a teenaged girl is found, dumped in an abandoned scrap yard, brutally raped, her heart surgically cut from her body.
Are the two crimes linked? Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe, head of Portland’s Crimes Against People squad isn’t sure. But in a city where there were only two cases of homicide the entire preceding year, the coincidence of timing seems compelling. And McCabe soon finds himself in a race against time to rescue the missing woman before she too becomes a victim of an evil and deadly conspiracy.
Against the vivid backdrop of Portland’s cobblestone streets and working waterfront, McCabe and his partner, Detective Maggie Savage, pursue a brilliant but morally corrupt killer who believes he alone has the right to decide who shall live and who shall die.
We both married beautiful brunettes. McCabe’s wife, Sandy dumped him to marry a rich investment banker who had “no interest in raising other people’s children.” My wife, Jeanne, though often given good reason to leave me in the lurch, has stuck it out through thick and thin and is still my wife. She is also my best friend, my most attentive reader and a perceptive critic.
Both McCabe and I eventually left New York for Portland, Maine. I arrived in August 2001, shortly before the 9/11 attacks, in search of the right place to begin a new career as a fiction writer. He came to town a year later, to escape a dark secret in his past and to find a safe place to raise his teenage daughter, Casey.
There are other similarities between us. We both love good Scotch whiskey, old movie trivia and the New York Giants. And we both live with and love women who are talented artists.
There are also quite a few differences. McCabe’s a lot braver than me. He’s a better shot. He likes boxing. He doesn’t throw up at autopsies. And he’s far more likely to take risks. McCabe’s favorite Portland bar, Tallulah’s, is, sadly, a figment of my imagination. My favorite Portland bars are all very real.