From New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning author Peter Robinson comes this brilliant novel of suspense—a thrilling tale of family secrets and past evils that have spread from one generation to another and wreaked havoc on an unsuspecting town.
One phone call from a concerned neighbor has inadvertently led police to Terence Payne, the elusive serial killer known only as "Chameleon." Now Payne is in custody, perhaps dying, and a long nightmare appears to be over at last. But is it?
For Alan Banks – currently head of the local police force – too many questions remain unanswered at the chamber of horrors the press will dub the "House of Payne." Because the darkness has not yet lifted, the casualties are still mounting...and there are still monsters loose in the world.
Showcasing the dark forces of human nature, master of suspense Peter Robinson is at the height of his storytelling powers in a novel that will leave readers guessing until the final page.
About the Author
One of the world’s most popular and acclaimed writers, Peter Robinson is the best-selling, award-winning author of the DCI Banks series; he has also written two short-story collections and three stand-alone novels, which combined have sold more than ten million copies around the world. Among his many honors and prizes are the Edgar Award, the CWA (UK) Dagger in the Library Award, and the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Martin Beck Award.
Read an Excerpt
Maggie Forrest wasn’t sleeping well, so it didn’t surprise her when the voices woke her shortly before four o’clock one morning in early May, even though she had made sure before she went to bed that all the windows in the house were shut fast.
If it hadn’t been the voices, it would have been something else: a car door slamming as someone set off for an early shift; the first train rattling across the bridge; the neighbour’s dog; old wood creaking somewhere in the house; the fridge clicking on and off; a pan or a glass shifting on the draining board. Or perhaps one of the noises of the night, the kind that made her wake in a cold sweat with a thudding heart and gasp for breath as if she were drowning, not sleeping: the man she called Mr. Bones clicking up and down The Hill with his cane; the scratching at the front door; the tortured child screaming in the distance.
Or a nightmare.
She was just too jumpy these days, she told herself, trying to laugh it off. But there they were again. Definitely voices. One loud and masculine.
Maggie got out of bed and padded over to the window. The street called The Hill ran up the northern slope of the broad valley, and where Maggie lived, about halfway up, just above the railway bridge, the houses on the eastern side of the street stood atop a twenty-foot rise that sloped down to the pavement in a profusion of shrubs and small trees. Sometimes the undergrowth and foliage seemed so thick she could hardly find her way along the path to the pavement.
Maggie’s bedroom window looked over the houses on the western side of The Hill and beyond, a patchwork landscape of housing estates, arterial roads, warehouses, factory chimneys and fields stretching through Bradford and Halifax all the way to the Pennines. Some days, Maggie would sit for hours and look at the view, thinking about the odd chain of events that had brought her here. Now, though, in the predawn light, the distant necklaces and clusters of amber streetlights took on a ghostly aspect, as if the city weren’t quite real yet.
Maggie stood at her window and looked across the street. She could swear there was a hall light on directly opposite, in Lucy’s house, and when she heard the voice again, she suddenly felt all her premonitions had been true.
It was Terry’s voice, and he was shouting at Lucy. She couldn’t hear what he was saying. Then she heard a scream, the sound of glass breaking and a thud.
Maggie dragged herself out of her paralysis, and with trembling hands she picked up the bedside telephone and dialed 999.
What People are Saying About This
“One of today’s most accomplished practitioners of detective fiction.”
“The novels of Peter Robinson are chilling, evocative, deeply nuanced works of art.”