His eyes panned each photo. The torture was unimaginable and drawn out over a period of days. As he had done many times during his career, McKenna tried to enter the mind of the animal that would do this. It wasn’t for money―no ransom had been demanded. It wasn’t a political or mob rubout. This was sheer sadism.
Whenever McKenna tried to understand a killer, he had special tools at his command that most police officers lacked: he had been a trained killer himself.
He had been a Marine sniper in Afghanistan nine years ago. He knew what it was like to go after a specific target and kill it, not just in self-defense, but as part of another motive, a greater purpose, he had told himself. He had often contemplated the degrees of separation between himself and the men he now pursued as a lawman. So had his ex-wife.
After returning from Afghanistan, he drank heavily to hold at bay the blown up bodies that kept coming back at night. His marriage, held together by the daughter they both loved, was slipping away fast. When his wife got full custody of Brittany, he just got worse. He was banging in sick once a week when he was told to attend counseling or risk his career. It was a solid year before he stopped drinking. He was learning new concepts like relapse and solitude. At least in war, there was the unwavering loyalty of your comrades. Here, you were on your own. He immersed himself in police work for the next few years, making a few feeble attempts to connect with Brittany. But by the time he had straightened himself out on the job, he had neglected his only daughter. When he spoke with her last Christmas, he could tell she couldn’t wait to get off the phone, that she was just talking to him out of politeness or pity. When he hung up, he wished he hadn’t called. How do you make up for an eight year gap? You don’t.
His eyes dropped back to the photos. These were the sort of images that made it easy to forget his own troubles.
In his gut he knew one thing: The killer who did this to Kirsten Schrodinger also took Olivia Wallen.
Title: The Schwarzschild Radius
Author: Gustavo Florentin
Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony. As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.
Gustavo Florentin was born in Queens, New York and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York. He spent a decade in the defense industry working on the F-14 fighter jet and classified electronics projects. After the fall of the Soviet Union, many thought America wouldn’t need weapons anymore, so while others waited for the peace dividend, he moved on to the financial sector in New York where he is currently a network engineer. His passions include violin, travel to exotic places and exploring worldwide conspiracies. He lives in New Jersey where he is working on his third novel. His thriller, In the Talons of the Condor, won the following awards:
WUACADEMIA–Prix d’Or Best Novel
The Verb First Chapter Contest–First Prize
Mount Arrowsmith Best Novel 4th place
The Writing Show–Second Prize best first chapter of a novel.
Second Prize–16th Annual International Latino Book Awards
Publisher website: http://curiosityquills.com/books/the-schwarzschild-radius/