First line: "The first thing the hunter saw was the shadow, a long silhouette stamped on milk-blue snow, rising near a copse of maples halfway across the field."
A killer who seems to have the ability to vanish baffles Philadelphia detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, and the city’s residents live in constant fear as more victims are discovered, virtually under the department’s nose. But instead of magical powers, Luther Wade has the city under the city.
Born and raised in the Delaware Valley State Hospital, a hospital for the criminally insane, Luther lived an unorthodox life. When the hospital closed, Luther remained, trolling the passageways below Philadelphia and carrying out the nightmarishly evil dreams of one of Europe’s deadliest serial killers.
A mute child found wandering in the street in the middle of the night carries with her a vital clue to the case, as well as a link between the past and the present. Byrne and Balzano have to race to put the clues together and find this mad man before he can wreak more havoc on Philly.
With a plot as eerie and contorted as the catacombs Luther Wade inhabits, The Stolen Ones is a thriller fan’s delight. This is a book readers stay up late to finish, but with all the lights on in the house.
Thrillers tend to be less about mystery and more about the race to stop someone or something. Byrne and Balzano do indeed race to stop Wade, and the reader knows Wade is the murderer, but Montanari has still steeped his story in the devious mystery of the hospital, enhancing the suspense.
Part thriller, part mystery, part horror, The Stolen Ones is a completely great story.
The Stolen Ones is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780316244701) from Mulholland Books and as an unabridged audio, narrated by William Hope, from Hachette Audio.