The Screaming Room (Lt. John Driscoll, #2) by Thomas O’Callaghan

Published May 1st 2007 by Pinnacle - Paperback - 352 pages - ISBN-13: 9780786018123

Every serial killer has a special place…

John Driscoll has laid the ghosts of his past to rest. He’s ready to start over – both personally and as an NYPD homicide commander. But it seems that a serial killer has other plans for Driscoll.

The victims’ bodies are found, brutally mutilated and carefully arranged for the world to see – grotesque visions to all except for the depraed killer, who considers them masterpieces. These blood rituals spell out a message to Driscoll. And they are just the beginning…

Driscoll’s investigation will lead him down the darkest of journeys, toward an evil beyond his worst nightmares. In a hellish landscape conceived by the all-too-clever mind of a twisted schemer, Driscoll must play a killer’s deadly game. It’s up to him to save his city – or die trying.

**Gruesome, chilling, a killer’s game.

Driscoll has finally made peace with the ghosts of his past and has accepted things he cannot change. And just when it starts getting better, his wife Colette, who was comatose for over six years from an accident that also killed his daughter, takes her last breath. And just when John lays her to rest, a serial killer is loose in New York City, leaving gruesome bodies in the most public places possible.

What begins as a strange case only gets worse, for more bodies are lining up. At first, the only connection to the victims are that they are tourists, all of different nationalities. Stranger yet, each victim was clubbed on the left side of the head hard enough to be fatal, and each has been scalped.

The deeper Driscoll and his team dig, the creepier the case gets. For forensics left behind point to a set of identical twins, male and female. Why? Why kill these seemingly innocent people? The more the team uncovers, the more their realize that these victims aren’t innocent at all.

Angus and Cassie Claxonn are in their late teens, and they are killing in vengeance. Abused by their “so-called” father when they were young, Cassie raped and her face disfigured by him, used as child prostitutes, they’d had enough. First they got rid of their father, then decided to rid the world of those disgusting and vile people like him. And the scalping… being sent to the foster mother who’d taken care of them when they were small, a spiteful note of anger at how she could have let their birth mother take them away from what they knew as a happy home, to a life of absolute terror and misery.

The case is heating up. As the team digs, Driscoll gets closer and closer to Angus and Cassie. A thorn in his side, Malcom Shewster, the father of one of the victims and a pharmaceutical mogul, doesn’t just want the killers found… He wants them dead, just as his daughter is now dead. The one million reward he put in the press is boosted to 3 million, and he wants the killers, bad. The tip hotline number is being observed, not only by the police, but Shewster’s team; he’s determined to get to Angus and Cassie first.

And just when Angus and Cassie are located and surrounded, Driscoll faces a terrible surprise, for Angus wanted something against “Lieutenant Bulldog”, and he found her: Driscoll’s sister, Mary. Angus had kidnapped her, and now plans to use her for his get-away.

But that doesn’t happen. Driscoll always gets his man.

**Fast-paced and twisted, this book will not let you down. Creepy facts that get creepier, you want to feel sorry for the twins and what they went through. But the more the bodies pop up, the more disgusted you get and cheer on the good guys.

Driscoll, although he just lost his wife, knows that she’s better off and no longer suffering. While he’ll always love her, he can put the pain to rest.

Margaret is back on his team. Both know their feelings for the other, and while Driscoll wants to pursue it as much as Margaret does, Margaret is terrified at the thought of a relationship with him. She has ghosts of her own that haunt her, which also screws up her feelings on the case.

Cedric Thomlinson is also back, the third in the trio. He knows he owes Driscoll for the second -chance he’d been given, and he’ll push himself as far as he can go.

Then there’s the mayor of NYC. William “Sully” Reirdon is the typical mayor; another one of those mayors everyone reads who’s let the power behind the title fill his head and boost his ego. Sure, like hounding Driscoll will make solving the case go faster. *eye roll* You’ll love to hate him.

And then there’s Malcom Shewster, the father of one of the victims. Another ego-maniac who believes he’ll get what he’s after, and only makes solving the case more difficult than it needs to be. And just when it looks like he’s about to get his way, Thomlinson spoils his plan, to which Driscoll now owes him hugely. If it hadn’t been for spoiling the plan, Driscoll’s sister would have been dead, right along with the killers.

This story will grip you from beginning to end, and you’ll be itching for the next book!

On a side note, at first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the title. Upon finishing the book, you’d think that The Screaming Room had something to do with the killers and their victims. But upon reflection, I think I figured it out; when we read the flashbacks, the killers are young, placed on a table, in a room in the basement. With the torture that went on, I think that’s where The Screaming Room comes in. While the title still doesn’t do it for me, the story sure as heck did!

Rating: !

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