New York Times Bestseller
When You’re Caught In A Killer’s Web…
Twelve women have vanished, leaving behind no trace or clue—their whereabouts still a mystery after eleven years...
The Only Thing That Can Save You Is…
Amelia Faraday is beautiful, smart, and a walking disaster. Suffering from blackouts, she also suffers from something worse—the feeling that she is personally involved in a series of deaths.
One Last Scream…
Now as a new series of murders begins, and she continues to suffer from blackouts, Amelia is left wondering if she is a cold-blooded killer—or a pawn in a deadly game that’s only just beginning…
Praise for the Novels of Kevin O’Brien
“A fast-paced thriller…O’Brien’s crisp, clear writing, and taut suspense elevate this above similar fare.”
“Another page-turner.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Moses Lake, Washington—1992
She turned the key in the ignition, and nothing happened,
just a hollow click, click, click.
“Oh, shit,” Kristen murmured. She felt a little pang of
dread in her stomach.
The battery wasn’t dead, because the inside dome light had
gone on when she’d climbed into her Ford Probe a minute ago.
Biting her lip, Kristen gave the key another twist. Click,
click, click. Nothing.
It was 11:20 on a chilly October night. Hers was the only
car in the restaurant lot. Kristen had just finished a seven-
hour shift waiting tables at The Friendly Fajita. She’d closed
up the place with Rafael, the perpetually horny 19-year-old
busboy, and he’d just taken off on his rusty old Harley. Kristen
could still hear its engine roaring as he sailed down Broadway. It was the only sound she heard.
There was a phone in the restaurant, and she had a key.
But she and Rafael had already set the alarm. It would go off
if she went back inside, and she could never remember the
code, especially while that shrill incessant alarm was sounding. She’d have to go look for a phone someplace else, and
then call a tow company or a cab. Her boyfriend, Brian, was
out of town at a golf tournament down in San Diego.
“Please, please, please,” she whispered, trying the ignition once again. The car didn’t respond except for that hollow click, click, click.
“Damn it to hell,” she grumbled. Grabbing her purse and
a windbreaker from the passenger seat, Kristen climbed out
of the car and shut the door. She didn’t bother locking it.
She took a long look down the street. Most of the other
businesses along this main drag were closed for the night.
There were a couple of taverns farther down Broadway.
Kristen loathed the idea of hoofing it several blocks along
the roadside. The waist-length windbreaker didn’t quite cover
her stupid waitress uniform. The Friendly Fajita’s owner,
Stan Munch, who was about as Mexican as she was, made
her wear this señorita getup with a white, off-the-shoulder
peasant blouse and a gaudy purple, green, and yellow billowy
skirt over a petticoat, for God’s sake. With her short, blond hair,
green eyes, and pale complexion, she looked like an idiot in
the outfit. But, hell, anyone would appear ridiculous in it. The
thing looked like a Halloween costume.
The Friendly Fajita had been open for four months, and it
was floundering. Moses Lake didn’t need another Mexican
restaurant. Besides, the food was mediocre and overpriced.
And if that wasn’t enough to drive customers away, Stan had
the same two Herb Alpert CDs on a continuous loop for
background authenticity. If Kristen never heard “The Lonely
Bull” again in her life, it would be too soon.
Maybe she could flag down a cop car, or a good Samaritan. Kristen ducked back into the Probe just long enough to
pop the hood and switch on the hazard lights. She figured
that would make it easier for passersby to see that she needed
help. Of course, she was also making it easier for the wrong
person to see that she was stranded.
It suddenly occurred to Kristen that someone might have
sabotaged her car. Just a little sugar in the gas tank—that was
all it took. She’d read that before he started killing, the young
Ted Bundy liked to screw with women’s cars, so he could
later watch them when they were stranded and vulnerable.
He just watched them. It turned him on.
Kristen wondered if someone was looking at her right
now as she stood beside her broken-down car in front of the
darkened restaurant. Maybe he was across the street by the
flower shop. He could be hiding in the shadows behind those
bushes, studying her through a pair of binoculars.
Or maybe he was even closer than that.
She shuddered and rubbed her arms. “Stop it,” Kristen
muttered to herself. “You’re perfectly safe. There aren’t any
serial killers in Moses Lake.”
Still, she reached inside her purse and felt around for the
pepper spray. She wondered if it even worked any more.
She’d bought the little canister over two years ago while a junior at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. She’d majored in graphic design, and planned to move to Seattle. But
Brian got a job as the golf pro at one of Moses Lake’s courses.
It was a big resort town. Kristen had decided to put Seattle
on hold, and stick with Brian for a while. There wasn’t much
need for a graphic artist in Moses Lake. So, here she was,
dressed up like a Mexican peasant girl and stranded outside
The Friendly Fajita at 11:30 on a cold Wednesday night.
Kristen kept the pepper spray clutched in her fist.
One car passed the restaurant, and didn’t even slow down.
She waited, and then gave a tentative wave to an approaching
pickup, but it just whooshed by. Kristen glanced at her wristwatch—only two cars in almost five minutes. Not a good
She noticed a pair of headlights down the road in the distance. Kristen stepped toward the parking lot entrance, and
started waving again, more urgently this time. As the vehicle
came closer, she noticed it was an old, beat-up station wagon
with just one person inside. It looked like a man at the wheel.
He got closer, and she could see him now. He was smiling,
almost as if he’d been expecting to find her there.
A chill raced through her. Kristen stopped waving and
automatically stepped back.
The station wagon turned in to the restaurant parking lot.
Warily, Kristen eyed the man in the car. He was in his late
thirties and might have been very handsome once, but he’d
obviously gone to seed. His face looked a bit bloated and
jowly. The thin brown hair was receding. But his eyes sparkled,
and she might have found his smile sexy if only she weren’t
so stranded and vulnerable. Right now, she didn’t need anyone leering at her.
He rolled down his window. “Looks like you could use
some help.” The way he spoke, it was almost a come-on.