A brutal crime. A dogged detective. And 34 years of unreasonable doubt.
It's 1978 and horror director George A. Romero is gearing up to shoot his zombie cult classic Dawn of the Dead just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On Halloween night, a 12-year-old girl dressed as Olivia Newton-John's character from Grease is slashed to death in a brutal crime. Her blood-soaked corpse is found on the back patio of an unhappy steelworker's home on the outskirts of the city. But as imperfect as they both are, the girl's estranged parents seem incapable of this level of violence.
The shocking case ignites a war within the police department, pitting old-school detective Sal Flores against college-educated upstart Finbarr Mulcahy. Forced to work together, the two detectives follow a trail of evidence to a special-effects guru working on the Dawn of the Dead production. Did this makeup man's obsession with bloody violence veer from make-believe into murder? A key piece of evidence tied to the zombie movie set seems to clinch the case.
But Mulcahy isn't so sure. And the uncertainty nags at him for the next 34 years. Until the veteran detective, now in the late stages of cancer, decides to revisit the case one last time. The detective is joined by a young protege in the department who lost a limb in the Iraq war. Along with Mulcahy's beautiful nurse, they pursue the real killer in hopes of unraveling more than three decades of mystery. All before Mulcahy takes the final secrets to his own grave.
Told in chapters that alternate between past and present, this mystery will leave you guessing until the very end. It's a battle against bureaucracy, a stone-cold killer's unmerciful evil - and mortality itself. You won't be able to stop listening until Mulcahy discovers the final twist hidden at the heart of this case. It was his first case. Now, it will be his last. The only question is, can Mulcahy uncover the truth in time?
©2012 John C. Luciew (P)2013 John C. Luciew