Dana Reed continues to blend her talent for horror with thrilling mystery in Unholy Alliance, published by ArcheBooks Publishing, copyright 2003.
Here we have a novel that begins with definitions of an extremely unsettling subject that many may find severely disgusting, yet they must admit it does exist. Dana Reed also gives a quote from Abraham Lincoln, dated September 6th of 1846. The sinister killer of this book is the worst kind who seduces young women, defiles them, and dissects them, sometimes before they are dead. I of course was literally appalled at the thought (pun intended).
At the start of this terrifying novel we meet a woman by the name of August Summers who is constantly haunted by the ghost of the man whom she had left dead in a North Carolina cabin. He had been her abusive husband known only as W.F. and he comes to her in the terrible dreams she had most every night that where he still demeans her and demands complete servitude, always waking her in a state of fear. Even after his death he had a certain control over her. Abe Lincoln’s quote comes to mind here: “Here is an object more of dread, than ought the grave contains-a human form with reason fled, while wretched life remains.” This quote puzzled me at first until I read a few more chapters and realized the incredible fear that this entrapped woman had felt after killing her domineering and controlling husband; a recourse which she felt to be her only defense against such an angry man.
This tale takes on a new twist when Summers is assigned by her over aggressive boss, Editor Shelly Robins, the task of reporting on the progress of the investigation into the murders of several people who were killed and cut to pieces. Through her network of friends, Shelly Robins convinces her old friend Lieutenant Tom Dietrich to set up a partnership with his newer detective Bobby Beckett and Summers. Bobby’s old partner, Joe Simpson, is out of the job and recovering from a hernia injury he sustained on the job, so Lt. Dietrich decided, withRobins’ constant Beckett was the perfect choice to escort and protect the reporter who was assigned to write a story about one of the most insane murders in the city’s history. This was a decision made after the constant nagging of Robins with whom he shares close friends, insisting they should work together on this. With the two bosses putting pressure on them, Beckett and Summers reluctantly join together, with one goal in mind: catch this killer and bring him to justice!
A pathologist from the Medical Examiner’s office determined the killer had used surgical instruments to remove the body parts so it was logical to assume that the man was trained in the medical universities at some point before the murders and dissections began. This, one of the first places they began investigating, was the beginning of their examination of the people who may be responsible for these hideous crimes. The first thing Summers went after were newspaper articles that mentioned similar crimes. She then called all the reporters who worked the crime scene desks at other papers in the area, coming up with mostly dead ends.
Beckett, in the meantime, began looking at the locations of the crimes trying to recognize some sort of pattern and, when that failed, she tried looking at service people who had been to their homes, common deliverymen, meter readers for gas, water and electric, repairmen, and then even the cable installers. The only thing left was to see if the Medical Examiner could produce evidence that linked to a location, a person’s clothing, car or something of a conclusive nature.
To sum it up August Summers and Bobby Beckett work very hard and with great passion to catch one of the most brutal killers in the history of New York. Dana Reed has brought us one of the most terrifying novels that I have read and enjoyed.
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