Thursday, 6 August 2015
Release Date:25th June 2015
Genres: Crime / Thriller
4 hours: that’s all they have to stop a killer in his tracks… Perfect for fans of Gregg Hurwitz and P.J. Tracy.
Two things Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell never thought she would do again:
Enter a burning building, and lay eyes on Henry Goll, the man who was trapped inside with her the last time she was in one. So Kat's on high alert when, barely a year after the dust settled around the Grim Reaper killings, both happen on the same day. She's jolted awake at 1 a.m. by a desperate phone call telling her Perry Hollow’s one and only museum—home to all the town’s historical artefacts—has been set on fire. Arriving at the scene, Kat catches just a glimpse of Henry's face among the crowd before she's rushed into the charred building, only to find the museum curator dead…bludgeoned, not burned.
Kat has lived through some tense moments and seen some gruesome crimes, but the next twenty-four hours will be the most dangerous of her life as she and Henry seek out a killer and the motivation behind these terrifying crimes.
Leaving her patrol car, she hurried down the street, finally getting a good look at the blaze. It wasn’t as big as she first thought, but still bad by Perry Hollow standards. It looked to be contained to the front of the building, a three-story Queen Anne with all the frilly trimmings. Fire ate away at the steeply pitched roof and munched swiftly toward the ornate turret in its center. Flames leapt from the front windows and curled in the crisp autumn air, making Kat think of Satan’s fingers beckoning a group of sinners to Hell.
Filling the street in front of the museum were two of the Perry Hollow Fire Department’s three firetrucks. A ladder truck and a standard pumper, they formed a wide V on the lawn. In the center, members of the volunteer squad — all five of them — had already unfurled their hoses and were now blasting away at the blaze. The jets of water rose high into the air, arching over the front lawn before diving into the flames.
The squad’s third truck, trusty Engine 13, was a 1973 Ford used for brush fires. Despite its age, it was the truck that saw the most action. Brush fires were the norm in Perry Hollow. House fires were not, a fact made noticeable by the sheer amount of onlookers standing on the other side of the street. While Kat had overestimated the force of the blaze, she had underestimated the size of the crowd. Half the town, it seemed, was there, huddling together and gazing at the flames.
Carl tried his best to keep them at bay, but they were an unruly lot. The young men and teenage boys in the crowd were especially eager to get closer to the fire. Kat intercepted two boys the same age as her son who had slipped past Carl and made it halfway across the street.
“Where you headed, boys?”
One of them — a freckle-faced kid with a snide smile — answered. “To see if the firemen need our help.”
“They don’t need anything but for you two to keep at a safe distance.”
Kat ushered them back to the curb, yelling to get the attention of the rest of the crowd. “Everyone take a step back and stay there. This isn’t a basketball game, people. Courtside seats are not available.”
She sidled up to Carl, who was visibly relieved to have reinforcements.
“Just in time,” he said, wiping sweat from his perpetually clean-shaven face. “They were starting to overrun me.”
“They’re just excited. There hasn’t been a fire in town since —”
She cut herself off. Not that it mattered. Carl knew what she was going to say anyway. The last major fire in Perry Hollow was at the sawmill the town had been built around. Abandoned for more than a decade, it had gone up in flames a year earlier with Kat and two others still inside. One of them had been Henry Goll, the unexpected co-star of her dream. He and Kat almost died in the blaze. The person with them perished, although that wasn’t such a bad thing, considering that he had been trying to kill them.
Feeling the heat of the current fire on the back of her neck, it dawned on Kat that it was the one-year anniversary of the mill blaze. No wonder Henry had been in her dream. Her brain was trying to remind her that it was now October 31st. Exactly a full year since the great Halloween fire that destroyed a piece of Perry Hollow history.
Kat faced the burning museum. Although she hadn’t been inside it since grade school, seeing yet another part of the town’s past literally go up in flames saddened her. At least she wasn’t trapped inside this time. If there was a silver lining to be found, that would be it.
Another bright spot was the fact that the blaze already seemed to be under control. The fire on the roof had receded, leaving the museum’s grand turret untouched. The flames at the windows, those devilish fingers, had retreated indoors, allowing the firefighters to march closer and focus on the hot spots.
About Todd Ritter
Todd Ritter returns to the beloved town of Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania with Devil's Night, his most poignant, cleverly plotted novel yet.
Todd Ritter was born in rural Pennsylvania to a bank teller mother and a father who dabbled in taxidermy. He grew up among Bambi-esque forests and wide-open fields straight out of the Crop duster scene from North by Northwest. Appropriately, his two biggest influences are Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock.
A journalist for more than 15 years, he began his career as a film critic while attending Penn State University.
Currently, he works at The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest daily newspaper. In the interim, he has interviewed celebrities, covered police standoffs and, yes, even written and edited obituaries.