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Kiss Me, Kill Me: A Novel of Suspense (Lucy Kincaid) Mass Market Paperback – February 22, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
Book 2 of 12 in the Lucy Kincaid Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Allison Brennan is the New York Times bestselling author of many romantic thrillers, including Love Me to Death, Carnal Sin, Original Sin, Sudden Death, Killing Fear, and The Prey. A four-time RITA finalist and Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Brennan enjoys spending her free time reading, playing games, watching high school sports, and researching her novels. A member of Romance Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and International Thriller Writers, Allison Brennan lives in Northern California with her husband, Dan, and their five children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ONE



As the cold wind whipped around her, FBI agent Suzanne Madeaux lifted the corner of the yellow crime-scene tarp covering the dead girl and swore under her breath.

Jane Doe was somewhere between sixteen and twenty, her blond hair streaked with pink highlights. The teenager’s party dress was also pink, and Suzanne absently wondered if she changed her highlights to match her outfit. There was no outward sign of sexual assault or an apparent cause of death. Still, there was no doubt that this was another victim of the killer Suzanne had been tasked to stop.

Jane Doe wore only one shoe.

Dropping the tarp, Suzanne surveyed the scene, trying in vain to keep her long, dark-blond hair out of her face. The relentless wind howled across the cracked, weed-infested parking lot of the abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn. It had also felled a couple of trees nearby; small branches and sticks skittered across the pavement. That wind most likely had destroyed any evidence not inside Jane Doe’s body.

Though the corpse didn’t appear to be intentionally hidden, waist-high weeds and a small building that had once housed a generator or dumpsters concealed her from any passerby’s cursory glance. Suzanne stepped away from the squat structure and looked across the Upper Bay. The tiny Gowanus Bay was to the north, the New Jersey skyline to the west. At night, it would be kind of pretty out here with the city lights across the water, if it weren’t so friggin’ cold.

A plainclothes NYPD cop approached with a half-smile that Suzanne wouldn’t call friendly. “If it ain’t Mad Dog Madeaux. We heard this was one of yours.”

Suzanne rolled her eyes. Even with her eyes closed, she’d recognize Joey Hicks by his grating, intentionally exaggerated New York accent.

“No secret,” she said, making notes to avoid conversation. Hicks wasn’t much older than she. Physically fit, he probably thought he was good-looking, considering the swagger. She supposed he had some appeal, but the cocky “all Feds are assholes” attitude he’d displayed the first time they’d met on a murder case had landed him on Suzanne’s permanent shit list years ago.

She looked around for his supervisor, but didn’t see Vic Panetta. She’d much rather deal with the senior detective, whom she liked. “Who found the body?” Suzanne asked.

“Security guard.”

“What’s his story?”

“Found her on his morning rounds, about five-thirty.”

It was eleven now. “Why hasn’t the body been taken to the morgue?”

“No wagon available. Coroner is on the way. Another hour, they say. NYPD doesn’t got the resources you Feds got.”

She ignored the slight. “What was the guard doing here last night? Does he patrol more than one building?”

“Yeah.” Hicks looked at his notes. Though Su?zanne didn’t like him, he was a decent cop. “He clocked in at four a.m. for a twelve-hour shift. Rotates between vacant properties throughout Sunset Park and around the bay. Says he doesn’t stick to a specific schedule, ’cause vandals watch for that.”

“What about the night guard?”

“Night is either Thompson or Bruzzini. According to the day shift, Bruzzini is a slacker.”

“I need their contact information.” She hesitated. Then—remembering her boss’s command to be more collegial to NYPD—she added, “I appreciate your help.”

“Did Hell freeze over since the last time we worked a case?” Hicks laughed. “I’ll get Panetta; I’m sure he’ll want to at least make a show of fighting for jurisdiction.” He left, still grinning.

Suzanne ignored him. There were no jurisdictional issues—after the third similar murder, an FBI–NYPD task force had been formed. Her supervisor was administratively in charge, and she was the FBI point person on the case. Panetta was the senior ranking NYPD detective.

Tired of her hair flying in her face, Suzanne pulled a N.Y. Mets cap from her pocket and stuffed under it as much of her thick, tangled mess as possible. In her small notepad, she finished writing down her observations and the few facts she knew.

This victim, the fourth, was the first found in Brooklyn. Victim number one, a college freshman, had been killed up in Harlem on a street popular with squatters and the party crowd because every building was boarded up. That had been the eve of Halloween. The second victim had been discovered on the south side of the Bronx, ironically overlooking Rikers Island, on January second. The third victim—the one who brought the attention of the FBI to the serial murders—had been killed in Manhattanville, near Columbia University, eighteen days ago. By the time the task force was put together and evidence shared, for all practical purposes Suzanne had been working the case for less than two weeks.

Besides the one missing shoe and the age of the ?victims—all adult females under twenty-one—two other commonalities stood out: the victims had been suffocated with a plastic bag that the killer took with him, and they’d each been killed near an abandoned building with evidence of a recent party.

Secret or underground parties were nothing new. Some were relatively innocent, with drinking, dance music, and recreational drugs, while others were far wilder. Raves in the United States had started in Brooklyn in the abandoned underground railroad tunnels, and while they still existed, they’d peaked in popularity a while back. The new fad was sex parties with heavy drinking and hard-core drugs. Music and dancing were precursors to multi-partner anonymous sex. Even before these murders, there had been several drug-related deaths associated with sex parties. If the pattern held true, evidence inside this warehouse would show that this Jane Doe had participated in the latter type of party, which Detective Panetta called “extreme raves.”

The press had dubbed the killer the Cinderella Strangler when someone in the know had leaked the missing-shoe detail to the press. It may not have been a cop who had talked—there were dozens of people working any one crime scene—but most likely it had come from inside the NYPD. The press didn’t seem to care that the victims weren’t strangled—they were asphyxiated. The Cinderella Asphyxiator just didn’t sound as good on the eleven o’clock news.

Suzanne had sent a memo to all private security companies in the five boroughs asking them to be more proactive in shutting down the rampant parties at abandoned sites, but it was like a game of whack-a-mole—when authoritie shut down one location, two more sprang up.

Though only two of the first three victims were college students, she’d contacted local colleges and high schools to warn students that there was a killer targeting women at these parties. Unfortunately, Su?zanne suspected that getting through the invincible it-won’t-happen-to-me mentality of young adults was next to impossible. She could almost hear their reasons. We won’t go out alone. We won’t leave with a stranger. We won’t drink too much. Plans for every day of the week, but when it was life or death, Suzanne didn’t understand why they couldn’t party in the relatively safe dorms and frat houses. Those venues had their own problems, but they probably didn’t have a serial killer trolling their halls.

“Suzanne!”

She looked up and waved to Vic Panetta as he strode over. She liked the wiry Italian. He was her exact height, five foot nine, and wore a new wool coat, charcoal gray to match his full head of hair. “Hi, Vic,” she said as he approached. “New coat?”

He deadpanned her. “Christmas present from my wife.”

“Very nice.”

“It cost too much money for a label no one can see,” he grumbled. He gestured at the tarp. “We photographed the area, then put the tarp over the body so we don’t lose any more evidence.”

“Well, the way this wind has been going nonstop for the past couple days, I think we already lost it.”

“You take a look?”

“Briefly.”

“You noted the missing shoe?”

“Duly.”

“Could be under the body.”

“You think?”

“Nah.” He shook his head, then pulled his phone from his coat pocket and read a message. “Good news, coroner is on the way. ETA ten minutes.”

About time, Suzanne thought but didn’t say out loud. “Hicks said you were talking to the security guard who found the body?”

“Yeah, he’s former NYPD—permanent disability, works three days a week. Takes his job seriously. Got an earful about the night shift.”

“Anything I need to know?”

“He suspects Ronald Bruzzini of being bought off. Too much cash in the guy’s wallet, but no proof.”

“Your guy knew about the parties?”

Panetta shook his head. “Not until after the fact, and he doesn’t work nights. He thinks Bruzzini looks the other way. Finds evidence of all kinds of wild parties nearly every week. Hicks and I will follow up on both the night guards, see what shakes out.”

“So you think this was one of your extreme raves?” she teased.

He rolled his eyes and let out an exasperated breath. “And then some. They did some cleaning up inside, but left the garbage on the other side of the building. The wind sent it all over kingdom come. The crime scene unit is working inside and out, but contamination is a huge problem. We’re printing the place, but getting anything usable—”
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Series: Lucy Kincaid (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345511697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345511690
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award winning author of two dozen romantic thrillers and mysteries, and numerous short stories. Most recently, she was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award by Kiss of Death. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in northern California with her husband, five kids, and assorted pets. She's either writing, reading, playing video games, or attending her kids sporting events. Allison writes three series: the Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan romantic thrillers; the Maxine Revere cold case mysteries; and the Moreno & Hart Mysteries (with Laura Griffin.)

Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids and spends all her non-writing time as a sport spectator, chauffeur, and short-order cook for her munchkins. She has a dog, two cats, and a chicken named Gumbo. Allison and her family live in northern California.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 24, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In New York City, FBI Agent Madeaux and NYPD Detective Panetta work together on the Cinderella Strangler case. The Strangler has murdered for the fourth time with the only connections between the victims being they attended sex parties at abandoned locations. The first was in Harlem, the next in the Bronx; the third in Manhattanville; and now Jessica in Brooklyn. All four were asphyxiated with a plastic bag without a struggle as they were high and no apparent sexual assault occurred though a shoe is missing in each case.

In Woodbridge, Virginia, RCK East private investigators Sean Rogan and Patrick Kincaid search for a missing teenager Kirstin Benton; a serial runaway but always returned home after a weekend away; but not this time. Rogan knows he is missing something inside of Kirsten's bedroom so he asks his girlfriend Lucy Kincaid, who is also Patrick's sister, to help. She notices a webcam pointed at the bed. While Patrick objects to his sister seeing his womanizing partner and to her involvement in a case that has to bring back ugly memories (see Love Me To Death), Lucy remains on the search.

As each team works their respective case, they connect when Jessica and Kirsten belong to the Party Girl website. They collide in the warehouse where Jessica died; as Madeaux and Panetta soon learn what Sean already knows. Lucy is a brilliant analyst who finds links no one else notices.

Readers ironically know not only what each team is doing, but the whereabouts of Kirsten in this great fast-paced thriller. Action-packed on both investigative fronts and continues as such even when the three subplots converge, fans will relish Lucy Kincaid's second thriller as the heroine proves time after time she notices what the other professionals fail to see.

Harriet Klausner
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I love this series...I fell in love with Lucy Kincaid from book one, "Love Me to Death".I have read the first 3 ("Kiss Me, Kill Me" was the 2nd) and "If I should Die" 3rd. Each one is better than the last and keeps you going! I am now reading "Silenced" and plan on getting the next in the series "Stalked" soon.
I hope that Ms. Brennan continues to find stories for Lucy and WOW, Sean - I can't wait to see where he and Lucy go!

If you like murder mysteries with a little spice...then you will love this series.
I've not read any other books by Allison Brennan but I would buy one sight unseen due to the wonderful way she creates characters and makes you FEEL with each one. LOVE THIS BOOK...LOVE THIS SERIES! Keep Lucy around for a while!!! PLEASE.
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This book earned every single star. I am an avid Allison Brennan reader. I have been waiting and waiting for Lucy's trilogy to come out. Lucy's character is so unique. Allison Brennan broke the mold with Lucy when we first met her in FEAR NO EVIL. Brennan really created a hook to lure readers into wanting more of Lucy's character and to know more about her. When LOVE ME TO DEATH came out, I was so excited to read it. Don't get me wrong, it was good but not what I had built it up to be. It was because of that I was leery to get KISS ME, KILL ME. This book made everything better. This was the book I was waiting for. I absolutely loved it. It tied Lucy into a current crime that keeps you turning the pages. If you are a fan of Allison Brennan, do not miss this book. My only recommendation is to start it when you have time to read it from start to finish. I can't wait for the 3rd book of the trilogy.
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Well paced with believable characters surrounding the crime. I live near one of the locations, adding to the interest.

Maybe this is just me: the romance novel aspects distract from solid suspense crime writing. I know that the gritty cop with less than optimal personal life is overworked. But, so is the wealthy handsome guy wanting to “ protect her from all this “.
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Lucy Kincaid has had her fair share of hard times over the years. She survived a horrendous kidnapping when she was a teen and more, recently a near miss with a nefarious killer. But she hasn't let these horrific acts prevent her from doing what she wants more than anything - to become an FBI agent. Everything she has done up until this point in her life (interning at the coroner's office and working to trap child predators online) has been for the sole purpose of helping her to become the best possible agent she can be. She wants to follow in the law-enforcement footsteps of the rest of the Kincaid clan. However, she does harbor feelings of dread, dread that the FBI won't accept her because of her past. A past that may make her more of a liability than an asset.

FBI agent Suzanne "Mad Dog" Madeaux and NY police offer Vic Panetta are part of a joint task-force investigating a series of murders in New York. Young girls are found asphyxiated and missing one shoe. The press has dubbed the murderer "The Cinderella Strangler," despite the fact that the victims aren't strangled. It appears that each girl is murdered after a night of drinking, drugging, and random sex at after-hour parties held in abandoned warehouses.

Lucy's boyfriend, the ruggedly handsome Sean Rogan, is investigating the disappearance of Virginia teen Kristen Benton, who is also a distant cousin. Kristen has disappeared at least a half-dozen other times in the past. It was always on the weekend, and she would return home by Sunday night. But here it is Wednesday, and she's still not home. Because she is considered a habitual runaway, the police do not provide much help.
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