Andrew C. Brooks (A.C. Brooks) works in internet technology in California. When he’s not training for an Ironman competition, he writes. He has published a short story, extensive blog materials (www.andhesays.com), and technical writings (www.smartthings.com). His college-connected psychological mystery with R.R. Brooks is one of several novels of humor and adventure he has written.
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At age eight, Dave Austin witnesses his brother’s savage murder in rural Norwich, New York, but amnesia suppresses the memory, and the killer escapes. Locals suspect an itinerant, a pedophile, or a disturbed friend maddened by psychedelic mushrooms.
When Dave starts college, pressures at Princeton and alcohol elicit dreams, each one revealing a bit of memory. Then come visions as Dave senses the killer return. Images of teenagers killed where his brother died precipitate a crisis, and David returns to Norwich to find his dead brother’s friend, a disturbed witness who knows something. Dave’s appearance alarms his psychiatrist, the officers who hadn’t solved the case, and especially the killer, who knows he should not have let the young Dave escape.
Now the killer must correct his mistake. When a crazy farmer invites Dave to learn the killer’s name in the Clown Forest at midnight, how can he resist? He may learn what he needs to identify the murderer—if he gets the truth, and survives.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
As if it wasn’t enough to have nightmares, he suddenly realized these were more than just bad dreams…
Dave read the story twice, feeling dread. He should feel distant, uninvolved. The crime didn’t happen on campus or in the town of Princeton. Not even in Norwich. He didn’t know the victim. It was unfortunate and heinous, but what did that have to do with him?
Dave jerked, his body shaking. Two puzzle pieces fit together—his fear and the carnival killing. He feared the carnival murder because it was like his brother’s and Carter’s—the same modus operandi. Repeat criminals tended to do things the same way, picking the same types of victims, the same locations, the same way of entering. Didn’t Ted Bundy pick similar girls?
Didn’t Son of Sam, Dave Berkowitz, choose the same locations where lovers parked? Didn’t Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, prefer strangulation? If it was the same MO, could it be the same killer?
Dave re-read the paragraph on how the carnival worker had died. The phrasing about repeated blows to the face, even after the victim was surely dead, was exactly what had been written about his brother’s death.
One other detail finally hit him. Shocked, he realized he’d dreamed about the carnival murder on the same night it happened.
He’d gone to sleep before midnight and the kid was killed just after midnight. It wasn’t precognition he was afflicted with. It was co-cognition.