"The unrivalled master of Maine noir. Menace has never been so seductive."
"The Killing Kind is smart and literate, wise and tender, enthralling and compulsive. A rare thriller indeed."
"A brilliantly terrifying ride."
The Killing Kind
PI Charlie Parker finds ties between the murder of an old friend and a 40-year-old massacre.
Nobody wants to believe that Grace Peltier committed suicide: not Curtis, her father; not former US Senator Jack Mercier; and not private detective Charlie Parker, who has been hired to investigate the circumstances of her death. But when a mass grave in northern Maine reveals the final resting place of the Aroostook Baptists, a religious community that disappeared almost forty years earlier, Parker realizes that their deaths and the violent passing of Grace Peltier are part of the same mystery, one that has its roots in her family history and in the origins of the shadowy organization known as the Fellowship. For before she died, Grace Peltier stole something from the Fellowship: a relic capable of linking it to decades of violence and the slaughter of the Aroostook Baptists. And now someone has been sent to recover it. Lied to, intimidated, and haunted by visions of a small, stray boy, Parker's search for the truth behind Grace's death draws him into a series of increasingly violent confrontations with the Fellowship's enforcer, the demonic arachnophile known as Mr. Pudd. Aided and abetted by the genial killers Angel and Louis, Parker must descend into the depths of a honeycomb world populated by dark angels and lost souls, a world where the ghosts of the dead wait for justice and the unwary are prey for creatures of the worst kind . . . the killing kind.
This is a honeycomb world. It hides a hollow heart.
The truth of nature, wrote the philosopher Democritus, lies in deep mines and caves. The stability of what is seen and felt beneath our feet is an illusion, for this life is not as it seems. Below the surface, there are cracks and fissures and pockets of stale, trapped air; stalagmites and helictites and unmapped dark rivers that flow ever downward. It is a place of caverns and stone waterfalls, a labyrinth of crystal tumors and frozen columns where history becomes future, then becomes now.
For in total blackness, time has no meaning.
The present is imperfectly layered on the past; it does not conform flawlessly at every point. Things fall and die and their decay creates new layers, thickening the surface crust and adding another thin membrane to cover what lies beneath, new worlds resting on the remains of the old. Day upon day, year upon year, century upon century, layers are added and the imperfections multiply. The past never truly dies. It is there, waiting, just before the surface of the now. We stumble into it occasionally, all of us, through remembrance and recall. We summon to mind former lovers, lost children, departed parents, the wonder of a single day when we captured, however briefly, the ineffable, fleeting beauty of the world. These are our memories. We hold them close and call them ours, and we can find them when we need them.
But sometimes that choice is made for us: a piece of the present simply falls away, and the past is exposed like old bone. Afterward, nothing can ever be the same again, and we are forced to reassess the form of what we believed to be true in the light of new revelations about its substance. The truth is revealed by a misstep and the fleeting sense that something beneath our feet rings false. The past bubbles out like molten lava, and our lives turn to ash in its path.
This is a honeycomb world. Our actions echo through its depths.
Down here, dark life exists: microbes and bacteria that draw their energy from chemicals and natural radioactivity, older than the first plant cells that brought color to the world above. Every deep pool is alive with them, every mine shaft, every ice core. They live and die unseen.
But there are other organisms, other beings: creatures that know only hunger, entities that exist purely to hunt and kill. They move ceaselessly through the hidden cavities, their jaws snapping at the endless night. They come to the surface only when they are forced to do so, and all living things flee from their path.
They came for Alison Beck.