Read Carnage: Short Story Online

Authors: John Lutz

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery, #Retail, #Short Story, #Thrillers

Carnage: Short Story

Highest Praise for
John Lutz




“John Lutz knows how to make you shiver.”

—Harlan Coben


“Lutz offers up a heart-pounding roller coaster
of a tale.”

—Jeffery Deaver


“John Lutz is one of the masters of the police novel.”

—Ridley Pearson


“John Lutz is a major talent.”

—John Lescroart


“I’ve been a fan for years.”

—T. Jefferson Parker


“John Lutz just keeps getting better and better.”

—Tony Hillerman


“Lutz ranks with such vintage masters
of big-city murder
as Lawrence Block and Ed McBain.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


“Lutz is among the best.”

San Diego Union


“Lutz knows how to seize and hold the
reader’s imagination.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer


“It’s easy to see why he’s won an Edgar
and two Shamuses.”

Publishers Weekly






“One of the top ten mystery novels of 2013.”

The Strand Magazine






“Grisly murders seen through the eyes of killer
and victim; crime scenes from which clues slowly
accumulate; a determined killer . . . compelling.”



“One of the ten best books of the year.”

The Strand Magazine






“Wow, oh wow, oh wow . . . that’s as simple as I can put it.
You gotta read this one.”

True Crime Book Reviews




Mister X


“A page-turner to the nail-biting end . . . twisty,
creepy whodunit.”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review)




Urge to Kill


“A solid and compelling winner . . . sharp
characterization, compelling dialogue and graphic
depictions of evil.... Lutz knows how to keep
the pages turning.”




Night Kills



“Lutz’s skill will keep you glued to this thick thriller.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch




In for the Kill



“Shamus and Edgar award–winner Lutz gives us
further proof of his enormous talent . . . an
enthralling page-turner.”

Publishers Weekly




Chill of Night



“The ingenuity of the plot shows that Lutz
is in rare form.”

The New York Times Book Review


“A dazzling tour de force . . . compelling, absorbing.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch




Fear the Night



“A tense, fast-moving novel, a plot-driven page-turner of
the first order . . . a great read!”

Book Page

Darker Than Night



“Readers will believe that they just stepped off a Tilt-A-
Whirl after reading this action-packed police

The Midwest Book Review




Night Victims



“John Lutz knows how to ratchet up the terror. . . . He
propels the story with effective twists and a fast pace.”





The Night Watcher


“Compelling . . . a gritty psychological
thriller.... Lutz draws the reader deep into the
killer’s troubled psyche.”

Publishers Weekly




Final Seconds



“Lutz always delivers the goods, and this is
no exception.”













*Mister X


*Urge to Kill


*Night Kills


*In for the Kill


Chill of Night


Fear the Night


*Darker Than Night


Night Victims


The Night Watcher


The Night Caller


Final Seconds
(with David August)


The Ex


Single White Female




* featuring Frank Quinn




Available from Kensington Publishing Corp. and Pinnacle Books


Kensington Publishing Corp.

All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.

For Marilyn Davis


Florida, two years ago


An hour after killing the girl on her summer vacation, the killer took the coast road north.

To his right the morning sky was dark, with low gray clouds. He was sure that out at sea, rain must be falling. Straight ahead, what he calculated was true north, sunlight lanced through the clouds and lay golden on the winding road. As he drove he reran the murder over and over in his mind, finding new angles, fresh perspectives. It got better each time.

The girl—Taylor Reminger—had been easy prey, a naïve and pliable young woman, especially with a few doctored drinks in her. He’d been so nice to her—oh, he could be a charmer—that they were in her motel room before sundown. His every move was practiced and economical. He’d perfected his routine over the past several years. Within the hour, he’d had her taped tightly and gagged.

That’s when the fun began.

When she’d regained consciousness, Taylor opened her eyes and met the real true him.

He’d been learning with each victim. She had experienced the blade and the flame, and had spent the rest of the night dying in pain, making desperate noises that barely escaped her taped lips and wadded pillow. Her pleas near the end were scarcely recognizable as human.

When, finally, she died, he looked into her eyes and knew he had gotten all of her.

He smiled as he drove. He would remember Taylor. She died well and would stand out in memory among the others. She was special.

Or maybe he was simply getting better.

Directly in front of the car, three pelicans in perfect V formation like aircraft arced across the sky. Surely some kind of omen.

The killer, who carved the letters
in his victims’ foreheads, had come to be known simply as that: “D.O.A.” In his estimation, not enough people had heard of him. So far, he and his relatively few murders (he’d started this latest spate of killings in Miami) were simply local news. This northward jaunt, leaving a bloody string of murders like a comet’s tail, would alert everyone along the eastern seacoast to the danger and terror. New York media would soon come to understand the pattern and path of the murders. No media could cover series killings better than the New York news. They would pursue every tidbit of information as if they were starving wolves, and give it an importance that made legend. The strength of the pack.

The killer tightened his grip on the steering wheel and thought about New York City. All that movement. All those voices. All those people. Jostling each other. Breathing each other’s breath. Terror was contagious and traveled fast among them. Especially the young single women, trying to make New York their own personal big apple.

What a wonderful town.

He’d get there eventually. There was no rush. Let them contemplate his approach.

The road curved, and a brightening reflection lay like a squirming chimera on the gleaming black hood of the rented Chevy. It had been easy enough to use phony documentation to rent the car for a month. Somewhere farther north, he would make sure it was clean of fingerprints or any other identifying factors—perhaps burn the vehicle—then find some other mode of transportation

His plan was simple and as inescapable as fate.

He would kill along the way. All the way to New York City and beyond. “Beyond” was important to the killer, but New York was special to him because of the famous Frank Quinn.

Quinn, or one of his minions, would soon understand the killer’s intent. But understanding it was a long way from being able to stop it.

The morning was heating up, and the killer had the Chevy’s air conditioner on high. He also had the front windows lowered about six inches so he could hear the surf. There hadn’t been much surf on the other coast, the Gulf coast. The waters there were much calmer. That was a shame, because there were indistinct but undeniable messages in the surf. Voices that knew secrets, and shared them.

As well as receiving information indirectly in surprising ways, D.O.A. watched the local and national TV news. And he read the newspapers. Not religiously, but he read them.

That was how he’d learned about Quinn. And how he’d learned even more, in the papers’ morgues of back editions.

Quinn was a former NYPD homicide detective who was justice personified. Or injustice. Depending on where you sat on the scales, and how much weight the justice or injustice upon you moved the needle. Quinn moved the justice scales a great deal. He was a big man, walking with a slight limp from being shot in the leg. One of those rugged types who seemed to get more rugged in middle age, and even when they were well beyond fifty. Which Quinn was. Not a handsome man, and with strong-boned features that were almost thuggish, he nevertheless had a reassuring effect on women. He looked like a guy who could take a punch and come back. Who would, if he was on your side, be there for you no matter what. At some point it usually came as a surprise to those who knew him that he had about him a roughhewn sophistication. Music, Cuban cigars, and Broadway productions were among his obsessions.

Quinn, retired from the NYPD, had opened his own investigative agency: Quinn and Associates Investigations. Or simply Q&A.

His specialty was serial murders.

So was D.O.A.’s.

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