Mad World [A Torrid Special Edition]
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by Pepper Espinoza
Description: Mutilated corpses litter Pomona, California, and Detective Jason Squires is pressured to find a killer who leaves no evidence. His private life is a nightmare as well. Estranged from his wife after the death of their infant son, he finds himself in the grip of growing obsession with young prostitute Daisy Winters. As Jason and the killer dance around each other, Jason is increasingly distracted and frustrated by Daisy, who never loses control in their mercurial, passionate, and violent relationship. When the killer closes in on Jason--first murdering his wife, then targeting Daisy--the detective discovers that his lover doesn't need his protection. Daisy is willing to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her interests, and she will take down anyone who gets in her way...including Jason himself. Mad World is the story of Jason and Daisy. Their lives are tied together forever by an agonizing love and intense passion, and neither will escape the situation unchanged. "Torrid Special Edition" books are longer books, containing very controversial elements, geared to the mainstream reader.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: December 2006
14 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [496 KB]
Reading time: 329-460 min.
"Mad World is a riveting tale full of sex, lies and murder. The characters and the setting was described so well, I felt like I was reading about something that took place in my own city, it was so realistic..."--Coffee Time Reviews
The city hung between night and day in orange heat. Too many bodies crowded into the narrow alley, stepping all over each other, throwing elbows, flashing cameras, and shouting orders. At the center of the chaos, Detectives Jason Squires and Laurel Davidson delicately investigated the dead body for clues. They ignored the crowd and the simmering heat, their attention focused completely on their work.
"Caucasian female with abrasions on her legs and torso. She's missing all her digits ... and half of her face," Jason announced.
"And a few toes, too," Laurel informed him. "Jesus, Jason, can you imagine what his trophy room must look like?"
"Is there a positive ID yet?" a reporter asked, forcing his way through the crowd and almost stepping on the body.
Laurel gently pushed him back. "No, and there probably won't be."
"Who found the body?" the reporter asked before he could be pushed away completely.
"What's your name?" Jason asked.
"Mal Adams, I'm with Channel 5 News."
"Well, Mal Adams, get the fuck out of here. This is a crime scene, in case you failed to notice," Jason snarled. He hated the fucking press at the best of times, and he definitely didn't feel like dealing with them at that time. "Evans! Get these fucks out of here. They're trampling on my evidence."
Unperturbed, Mal Adams looked at Laurel again. "Who found the body?"
Laurel sighed. "A little girl. She was playing back here, and apparently went home covered in blood. Her mother was hysterical when she called 9-1-1."
"Where's the little girl now?"
Jason squatted beside the body and gently lifted her shoulder. Beneath the body, in a dark pool of blood, something sparkled in the dying light. He leaned over and picked it up, examining it carefully.
"Laurel!" Jason snapped. "Look at this."
Laurel left Mal with his unanswered questions and returned to Jason's side. "What is it?"
"A charm ... it looks like she may have been wearing a bracelet."
Laurel produced a small bag from her pocket and opened it. "He never took personal items before."
"Maybe he didn't mean to take this one. It might have fallen off her wrist when he killed her ... or maybe when he transported the body."
"Then how did this one charm get here?"
Jason shrugged. "I guess that's another thing we'll probably never know."
"Maybe ... maybe it's time to call in the Feds," Laurel suggested.
"Fuck, fine with me. I don't give a fuck anymore."
"You don't mean that."
Jason stepped away from the body and peeled the bloodstained gloves off his hands. "I do mean it, Laurel. But the Feds will never come out here. Not nearly enough people have died for anybody to notice. He'd have to start slicing and dicing people who actually matter."
"They do matter," she insisted quietly.
"If you say so." He tapped a pack of cigarettes against his hand and pulled one out. "They're the dregs out here."
"I don't know how you can say that."
"Because it's the truth. If it wasn't the truth, why aren't we getting more help? A serial killer on the loose and there's only two detectives assigned to the case? It's because the people who really matter ... the ones we're really sworn to protect ... aren't in danger right now."
"There'd be more help if we had the bodies," Laurel countered. "And the budget."
"He's right under our fucking noses," Jason muttered.
They both stepped back as the EMTs pulled through the stretcher and lifted the body. They watched silently until she was wheeled away.
"Are you okay?" Laurel finally asked when he reached for a second cigarette.
"Are you sure? You look a little pale. Have you been sleeping?"
"What's with the fucking questions?" Jason growled.
"What's with the fucking attitude?"
Jason sighed and flicked the ashes away. He wasn't in the mood to fight with Laurel, and she would just keep pushing until she got her answer. "It's just been a long day, and the last thing I wanted to hear is that our little friend has struck again. What's this? The second one in as many weeks?"
Laurel put a friendly hand on his arm. "Why don't you go home? I'll take care of the paperwork."
"Jason ... I don't want to be around you when you're like this."
"You're being an asshole," she stated bluntly. "I know you're frustrated and tired. We both are. So go home and have some dinner and get some sleep."
Jason flicked his cigarette indifferently. "Fine."