About the Book
A THRILLER THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN – FOR FANS OF TANIA CARVER AND M. J. ARLIDGE.
Back in Berlin, Jan’s neighbour is discovered with a bloody message left on her forehead.
As Jan searches for answers about what happened to Laura, he is thrown into a nightmare of madness and murder.
An exhilarating and merciless psychological thriller from the author of The Cut.
Thirty-first of October 1977 had been the day to end all days. The day his most fervent wish had been fulfilled. Even though wishes were never fulfilled. You didn’t just get what you wanted. It was a cast-iron rule.
That day, he’d broken the rule.
He’d always hated dressing up, even as a little boy, and he’d hated just as much the occasions when you had to do it, like carnival, for instance, when every arsehole and his mother went wandering around in a costume and make-up.
Thirty-first of October 1977 had been just such a day: Halloween.
That Halloween came from America and that according to ‘Buck’, alias Bernhard Stelzer, running around like a zombie was the latest craze hadn’t made it any better. Frankly, staying at home seemed by far the best course of action. Only one argument spoke against it, and that argument was named Jenny. Jenny, the unattainable. She was seventeen and had firm round breasts, a pink tongue so sharp he couldn’t bring himself to think about it and hips that mesmerised him. It was no exaggeration to say that he literally lost his mind when he stole furtive glances at the middle of her body, no matter the angle, from the side, from behind or from the front. He could do it for hours, just watching her and pining.
And naturally Jenny was attending Buck Stelzer’s Halloween party too – Buck, the son of a surgeon, Dr Stelzer, who made such a packet out of his patients that it made you dizzy to think of it. A surgeon. That was a good job. Slicing people up and getting paid for it. Apparently Dr Stelzer had perfected his slicing in the USA, which meant he could charge more than his colleagues. And since his son had nothing better to do than throw his father’s cash around, he soon had his nickname: Buck, like the American one-dollar bill.
So now Buck had invited people to a Halloween party – in costume. And Jenny would be there. Not that Buck had invited him; he never got invitations like that. But if he showed up in costume, nobody would recognise him. He’d be a ghost among ghosts. And if nobody recognised him, then nobody would throw him out.
That left only one question: what costume?
He didn’t have one.
He ransacked the house, nervous, and sick with jealousy at the thought that he might get there too late, all because of a stupid costume – that the others would already be there, ogling Jenny on the dance floor.
He started turning every room in the house upside down. His father’s study, the kitchen, the wardrobe in the bedroom, the tool room in the basement, the hobby room, which was being renovated. His gaze fell on the freshly glued strips of wallpaper in the hobby room, with the striking pattern. On the pasting table lay a cut-off piece. The idea came to him at that very moment, and suddenly it all seemed like a string of pearls on a necklace: shimmering and brilliant.
He took the knife and followed the pattern of the wallpaper until he had templates for the various symmetrical curves and jagged lines. Then he hurried into the bathroom and tied back his black, straw-like strands of hair which he hated, smoothing them down with gel. Taking all his mother’s black make-up sticks, he tried them out on his hand.
The eyeliner was the best.
With a steady hand he copied the wallpaper pattern onto his face. He’d always been able to paint, but doing a mirror-image was harder and one of the lines slipped. Still, that was the only mistake. After twenty minutes he lowered the eyeliner, which he’d had to sharpen several times, and gazed into the mirror.
In front of him stood an unfamiliar man with the face of a – well, of what? A demon? A voodoo priest? He hardly recognised himself, yet suddenly he liked it. It wasn’t just a disguise; it was better than that. He was better. He was someone else.
He was gripped by a strange arousal. At first he wasn’t sure what it was, and he didn’t waste any further thought on it. The party took priority. Jenny took priority. He was about to leave when it occurred to him that the make-up might run. Grabbing a can of hairspray, he closed his eyes, held his breath and sprayed a fine mist over his face to fix the colour, just as he’d always done with his pencil sketches. Finally he took a pair of white trousers out of his wardrobe. No white shirt, though; only his father had those. In normal circumstances he’d never have dared open his father’s wardrobe. But today everything was different.
He pulled on the white shirt, tucked it tight around him, and set off.
Marc Raabe owns and runs a television production company. He lives with his family in Cologne. Cut, Marc Raabe’s first thriller, sold over 60,000 copies in Germany and was sold into five territories.