DEADLY OBSESSION is the new book in the DS Jack Mackinnon series. This book is a prequel to the series.
Here’s the description:
HE WATCHES…HE WAITS…HE STRIKES
A young Polish girl fixated on fame ~ A killer with a deadly obsession
DS Jack Mackinnon has his work cut out trying to track down missing student, Anya Blonski. As Mackinnon follows the trail of obsession to the shady owners of the Star Academy, who thrive on society’s obsession with reality TV shows, he realises the fame they offer comes at a price.
When a second girl goes missing from the same Academy, Mackinnon is forced to consider a serial killer may be stalking the city.
And here’s chapter one:
The man waited on the corner of Queen’s street, outside Oakland’s Furniture Store.
He took a quick glance at his watch and smiled. Only a few more minutes to go.
Dressed like an American tourist, he blended in with the bustling crowds. He wore a pair of beige, baggy cargo trousers, and a faded, blue, loose cotton shirt with the arms rolled up. His Dodgers baseball cap was pulled down low, and wraparound shades hid his eyes. Despite the setting sun, he kept the glasses on. In London, thousands of CCTV cameras recorded the public’s every move, and he didn’t want anyone identifying him from the video footage.
He stepped to his right, moving out of the way, as a customer left the furniture store. He studied his reflection in the shiny store windows, hardly recognizing himself.
The heat from the pavement seeped up through the soles of his shoes, making his feet hot and uncomfortable.
An expensive video camera hung from a thin, grey, nylon cord around his neck. He looked like just another visitor, taking in the historical sights London had to offer.
His video camera was a premium, state-of-the-art Nikon. He slipped the black cap off the upgraded lens. The zoom lens alone cost him over a thousand pounds. But it was worth it. He needed to get the shot right the first time. There would be no second chances. No reruns.
He raised a hand to his shirt pocket, and his fingers gripped the hard square of the spare memory card. That was good. The one in the camera already contained hours of entertainment, and it wouldn’t do to run out of memory today. Not when he had such plans.
He licked his dry lips and closed his eyes. He could hardly bear the anticipation. If only she knew the effect she had on him. But of course, she knew. They all did.
He pointed the video camera at the entrance, so he would be ready when she left the building. His hands trembled so much, the picture in the viewfinder jumped and jerked around. He would have to hold the camera steady with both hands to get a decent recording.
Two women walked past him, city workers dressed in tight skirt suits and the kind of towering shoes that required a desk job. The taller woman glanced at him as she strode past. She tossed her long, brown hair and took a second look, staring at him with obvious curiosity, wondering what he was filming.
The man turned away and pulled out a crumpled packet of Silk Cut cigarettes from his trouser pocket. He didn’t want people watching him. He wanted to fade into the background. He had to look like he was just exploring the city. One of many sightseers London saw every day. Then no one would remember him.
It was important to go unnoticed today because if everything went as arranged…
A red, double-decker bus squealed to a halt at the bus stop in front of him.
The man crushed the cigarette in his fist. No! This was not part of the plan.
He watched as passengers clambered off the bus. One, two, three… They kept coming. No! Now there were too many people around. His plan was ruined. The intricate calculations, the careful consideration of possibilities, working out the timing – all for nothing. How could he concentrate with all these people squeezing up against him?
What if one of them remembered him?
“Yes, officer, there was a man lurking around. Of course, I can give you an accurate description…”
No, no, no. It wouldn’t do at all.
He shot an anxious glance to the doorway on his right. Any moment now, she would walk through that archway. The culmination of weeks of preparation. It should be the perfect moment. A special moment he would remember for months. A memory he could relive, over and over; but all these people were spoiling it.
White-hot rage blistered in his chest. His hands shook as he tried to pluck another cigarette from the packet. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead and down the length of his back. He threw the second cigarette on the floor and stamped on it. What was wrong with him? If he weren’t careful, he would ruin the whole thing. He needed to keep calm and stay in control.
It would be all right. If he could just keep a clear head, he might be able to pull it off. The bus pulled away, behind a transit van that belched out diesel fumes; and the passengers were leaving now, clearing a path for him. How considerate. Everything would work out perfectly. He allowed himself a small smile.
The door opened, and he caught his breath.
There she was. Anya. His star.
Her eyes swept over him, then she looked away.
Oh, she was a good actress, pretending not to know him. Pretending she didn’t know what was about to happen, as if she hadn’t been communicating with him for weeks with those longing looks and secret smiles.
He switched on the video camera, and a blinking red light appeared in the corner of the screen.
How clever of her. She was sending him more signals today. Wasn’t she wearing pink? She picked out that soft, rose-coloured cardigan that clung to all her curves just for him. It was a signal, a sign that she was ready, ripe for the plucking. She was telling him she was willing, telling him it had to be today.
Anya turned and began to walk away.
He felt a flash of fire in his chest. Then he took a breath, dispersing the anger, and smiled. Of course, this was all part of the game. She wanted him to follow her.
He would play along. For now. But soon she would realise that he made the rules.
He hung back for a few moments; then, with his heart pounding, he dropped into step behind her, unable to wipe the smile from his face.
He had waited for this moment for so long. He even dreamed about it. But this was no dream. He clenched and unclenched his fists. This was real.
Her long, fair hair tumbled down her back, swaying from side to side as she walked. She pulled off her pink cardigan and tied it around her tiny waist. She wore a bright blue, short skirt, which showed off her long, dancer’s legs and rose a little higher with each step. He bit the side of his mouth. He was enjoying the game.
He kept his camera focused on her back, zooming in until she filled the frame.
At first, he stayed a safe distance behind her. From experience, he knew surprise was his best weapon. He followed quietly, a few feet behind her, crossing the road when she did.
She turned right into Bakers Lane. It was quieter here. The traffic from the main road was muffled. He heard the distant ring of church bells and the caw of a crow.
He waited for a moment, looking up and down the street, until he was certain they were alone; then he left the camera dangling from his neck and made his approach.
Hearing his footsteps, she whirled around. Her face was white, pinched and scared.
She put a fluttering hand to her chest and let out a little high-pitched giggle. “You scared me. I didn’t realise it was you.”
He smiled back at her, walking closer as his hand closed around the knife in his coat pocket.
“Well, I’d better be getting home,” she said in her delightful accent.
How sweet! She was still playing the game. His thumb pressed lightly against the sharp edge of the knife.
Her baby blue eyes gazed up at him, wide and trusting.
But why shouldn’t she trust him? She knew him, didn’t she? At least, she thought she did.
And after tonight, she would know him better than anyone. And he would know every inch of her.