A priest is found decapitated in his church, his head replaced by that of a dog. The case is assigned to Robert Hunter and his junior partner Carlos Garcia from the Homicide Special Section of the LAPD. They soon figure out that the priest died in the way he feared the most. How could the killer know that? And what's the meaning of the "3" painted on the priest's back with blood from a pregnant woman? Is he the third victim of the killer?
I enjoyed The Executioner. It's a well-written page turner with interesting main characters – Robert Hunter and Carlos Garcia – that remains thrilling until the end. The author is very creative coming up with gruesome ways for the killer to torture and kill his victims. I was glad it wasn't a movie...
Quotes from the book
"It doesn't matter how rich you are, what you've accomplished, who you know or what hopes you have. In the end the same thing will happen to all of us – we'll all die."
"Weren't we supposed to have today off?" [...] "We're Homicide Special, Carlos. [...] Words like, day off, pay rise, holiday and vacation don't apply to us."
"[...] apparently it isn't a pretty sight. See those two over there?" He pointed to two pale-faced police officers standing to the left of the church. "They were first response. I heard it took 'em less than twenty seconds to come running out puking their guts all over the place."
"The blood splatters, the dog's head shoved down the priest's neck... It looks like the killer is trying to get a message out." - "Yeah, and the message is I'm a fucking psycho."
"You think the killer drank the priest's blood?"
"We all want recognition for things we've done. Many killers enjoy watching the drama of the aftermath of their actions unfold. They're very proud of their work."
"I don't believe the priest was knocked unconscious." [...] "Why not?" Garcia asked. "It would've made things a lot simpler for the killer." - "This killer isn't after easy or simple. You saw the brutality of the crime scene. Sadistic killers rarely show compassion. Killing an unconscious victim would've given him no satisfaction. This killer wanted the victim's fear. I bet he was looking straight into Father Fabian's eyes when he delivered the fatal blow."
The headache that had started at the house in Malibu had intensified on the way home. It now felt as if a rat had woken up inside his skull, panicked and tried to scratch its way out through his eyes.
"She suffered a lot from the skin and subsequent flesh burns, but what the killer was really doing was roasting her alive. [...] If you put someone in front of an intense fire for long enough without allowing them to move, without giving them water, consequently their internal organs will start to cook."
"Her blood literally boiled."
"The killer drank some of the priest's blood and now it looks like he ate some of Amanda Reilly's flesh."
"He wants to make sure we know these two victims are his. He doesn't want their murders attributed to someone else. He's a proud killer."
"Are you asking me to lie to the chief of police, Robert?" - "No, captain, just to manipulate the truth for a day or two."
But what was causing Captain Blake to shiver wasn't the tube shoved deep down the man's throat. It was the two hundred and fifty ten-milliliter syringes filled with blood that had been plunged all over the man's body.
"Are you telling me that the killer literally sucked the life out of the victim?" the captain asked. "Ten milliliters at a time", the doctor confirmed.
The sight of the two blood-filled syringes plunged into the man's open eyes were starting to churn Captain Blake's stomach.
"The killer chained him to the wall and locked him in his basement, but not before retrieving a large wasps' nest from a wooden box and exploding it on the floor next to him. He was stung over five hundred times."
"And suddenly I wanted more than their lives and their fears. Torturing and killing them alone didn't satisfy me. I needed to taste their blood and savor their flesh. It made me feel... powerfully different. You should try it sometime, detective. It's a high like no other. Literally consuming your enemy – very addictive."