John Katzenbach, Author . Ballantine $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-345-46481-1

The conceit of this impossible-to-put-down thriller—the story of the hunt for a serial killer-rapist who has concealed himself among a psychiatric asylum's insane—is that it was written in pencil by a madman on the walls of his apartment. More than 20 years ago, Francis Xavier Petrel, nicknamed C-Bird for the seabird his name evokes, was confined against his will in the Western State Hospital, a run-down residential mental health facility that rivals Kesey's Cuckoo's Nest for evil administrators and whacked-out inmates. A shy, frightened 21-year-old who endures a cacophony of disembodied voices, C-Bird is befriended by Peter the Fireman, nicknamed for the church he burned down with a pedophile priest still inside. (C-Bird and Peter appear almost normal amid the hospital's other catatonics, manic-depressives, psychopaths and psychotics.) Then they discover the raped and mutilated body of nurse Short Blond (nicknamed for her hair) stuffed into a storage closet. All evidence points to paranoid-schizophrenic inmate Lanky, who earlier in the day had identified Short Blond as an agent of evil, but Lanky claims the killing was the work of an invisible Angel of Death who committed the crime to save them from some unspecified devilish fate. C-Bird and Peter, knowing that Lanky has been unjustly accused, set out to find the real killer. They are joined by state prosecutor Lucy Kyoto Jones, who believes the killer is the same man who has committed other savage crimes beyond the walls of the hospital. Katzenbach (author of the bestsellers Just Cause and The Analyst ) delivers an uplifting story of justice, friendship, mystery and, above all, the courage of certain men and women who rise up, no matter the circumstances, to defeat evil, no matter the consequences. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 263 pages - 978-1-299-09771-1
Ebook - 978-0-345-47847-4
Hardcover - 803 pages - 978-0-7862-6834-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 576 pages - 978-0-345-46482-8
Hardcover - 540 pages - 978-84-9872-457-8
Hardcover - 720 pages - 978-0-552-16927-1
Hardcover - 978-1-84395-666-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.