Born of the twisted faith of a teenage boy in a backwoods Georgia church, a new addiction is carried to the brutal streets of Chicago. In a dark alley, on a steamy June night, the fifth victim of a serial killer rises from the dead as its first initiate. Unable to resist her dark new desire, trapped by her own body and perverse yearning, she is alive but not alive, dead but not undead-- forced by the raging call inside to spread the deadrush. Across a landscape of urban violence, the contagion passes from hand to hand, flesh to flesh, predator to prey. One by one, its unwilling victims return to live again-- only to discover a craving that is not to be denied. Soon they learn the terrible truth of their rebirth: there is no life after death... only hunger.
Yvonne gives an overview of the book:
June -- Chicago, Illinois
FRIDAY -- LATE
Summer in the city and a different, bigger kind of heat, a
different soul to the soaring mercury: the never-silent sounds
of traffic a few blocks away, a horn's sharp blaring, the abrupt
hissing of air brakes cutting through the sticky air as a CTA bus
stops for a solitary night traveler. The same stars shine in the
midwestern sky, of course, as are suspended over a small Georgia
church nearly a thousand miles east, yet here they seem more
remote, purposely distanced from this swarming, dirty knot of
humanity. In the night hours, voices rise in anger above the
blare of a television from an open window, while soft laughter
floats from another in the same building along with the sound of
silverware scraping against a plate. Here and there the thick
layer of heat battles the hum of old air conditioners and window
fans. In the alley behind a small, shabby house on Newport
Street, a pocket of darkness waits for daylight or the shine of
headlights to reveal its brutal secret.
"Definitely number four." Detective Jude Ewing grimaced and
turned away from the woman's corpse, the skin of his face
lightening then darkening in the revolving blue lights of the
police cars crowded into the alley. He jabbed a finger at the
uniformed officer closest to him. "Why isn't Amasa here yet?
Get the ME's office on the radio and find out. I want to get
this over with and get the body out of here." He raised his head
and scanned the backs of the houses and small apartment buildings
lining the alley; he could see at least two dozen people leaning
out of windows and gathering on back porches, drawn by the lights
and the noise and the presence of the police. Farther down where
the alley met the street, a patrol car had parked lengthwise to
block access and the two cops were already arguing with an
ensemble of reporters who'd picked up the call on their scanners.
"And for Christ's sake, will someone please cover her up before
one of those photographers manages a picture?"
"We've got her purse." Jude turned at the sound of his
partner's voice and Detective Sandra Wilfred held up her
forefinger; from it dangled a small canvas tote. The zipper
along the top of the cream-colored bag was still closed. "Never
opened, so we can forget robbery-- but we knew that anyway.
Might as well dig in and find out who gets the bad news." A few
moments later she pulled out a vinyl wallet and flipped it open;
as expected, the victim's cash and credit cards were still
inside. Sandra peered at the driver's license. "Delta Arvel,"
she read. Her gaze met Jude's and she answered his unspoken
question. "She was twenty-eight. Youngest yet."
"Shit," Jude muttered.
"Here we go. This says to notify her mother." Jude
dutifully reached for the card, but Sandra held up a hand. "You
did the last one, and this is only a block away. I'll take a
uniform with me and you stay here and wait for Amasa."
Jude glanced back toward the body and almost gave in to the
urge to bellow at the nearest uniformed cop; still no one had
covered the woman and Delta Arvel's bared legs were twisted up
against her torso at an impossible angle. Her driver's license
had shown a lovely young woman with dark, shoulder-length hair.
Now her battered face, bruised neck and one outflung arm rested
outside the shadows of a gangway between a ratty wooden garage
and an apartment building; perhaps her rapist murderer had
decided that finishing the job of hiding his victim's body had
been too much trouble. The blaring stereo of a car on Newport
flung the words of an old Harry Belafonte song through the spaces
between the houses as it passed, something about women being
smarter than men. Detective Ewing shook his head; not this time.
Only a block away.
Sandra slipped the wallet back into the purse and walked
off, leaving Jude to again scan the people milling around the
crime scene and sneaking horrified peeks at the body. Cops
mostly, though there were two paramedics from some independent
service that had seen the blue bubble lights and edged their way
in. They'd probably hoped for someone to save, a bill to send
tomorrow and a few more bucks in the company till. Again: not
Twenty-eight years old, and a single block had made all the
difference in her life.
Ewing cussed angrily under his breath, then let his temper
go for a moment. The crash of the trash bin as he kicked it
still didn't get him a fucking sheet to cover the body.
Yvonne Navarro lives and works in the high desert of Southeastern Arizona, in a climate that’s supposed to be warm. Alas, leftover cold from Chicago seems to have followed her there, at least in the winters, and global warming is screwing up the rest of the year. Her novels...