The Stolen Ones (July 2013)
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For one hundred years, the Delaware Valley State Hospital at Cold River was known as a warehouse for the criminally insane. Two decades ago, it closed its doors forever. But a man named Luther never left. To this day he roams the catacombs beneath the abandoned hospital, waiting and watching.
On a late winter day a businessman is found brutally murdered in a Philadelphia park. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano get the case.
They soon discover a two-year-old girl wandering the streets in the middle of the night, a little girl who does not speak. In her hands -- a key piece of evidence that may be linked to a series of murders committed halfway around the world. As the detectives investigate, and more bodies are found, they're drawn closer and closer to the doors of Luther's devious maze, to Die Traumkaufleute -- The Dream Merchants -- and the dark secrets of Cold River.
"In Montanari’s gripping seventh Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano mystery (after 2012’s The Killing Room), the two Philadelphia detectives investigate the murder of Robert Freitag, whose past links him to the city’s now-closed psychiatric hospital, Cold River, and to the asylum’s most infamous figure, Dr. Godehard Kirsch. In Kirsch’s macabre experiments with dream therapy, patients were implanted with the memories of an Estonian serial killer, Eduard Olev Kross, leading Balzano and Byrne to suspect that one of Kirsch’s patients is now recreating Kross’s murders. Meanwhile, Rachel Anne Gray, an ambitious real-estate agent, searches the catacombs of the city for her younger sister, who she believes was kidnapped by a “raggedy man” dozens of years ago. The atmosphere slides from the thrilling to the gothic in the final chapters, as Cold River offers up the last of its secrets. The abuses of the psychiatric care system that Montanari exposes are as chilling as the novel’s violent crimes." - Publishers Weekly
"The latest Balzano and Byrne mystery is full of surprises and dark shadows . . . fans of this tightly written series will definitely enjoy this one." - Booklist
"The quintessential estranged serial killer novel . . . plot-driven and compelling with hints of horror and parapsychology, this thriller is less of a whodunit and more of an exploration of character and motive." - Library Journal
"You'll be holding your breath as this nerve-shredding nightmare escalates." - Evening Telegraph
"A writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties . . . one of the best in the business." - Thomas H. Cook
"The Stolen Ones presents a fascinating and outlandishly evil scenario and Montanari does a brilliant job of milking it for every ounce of gripping, gothic horror … claustrophobic catacombs stalked by a haunted, hunted, homicidal maniac and body bags full of mystifying clues that seem to lead nowhere until the final, explosive showdown reveals all. Few contemporary crime writers can deliver psycho thrillers with such power, panache and pitch perfect pacing." - Guardian
"With complex plotting at breakneck pacing, THE STOLEN ONES gets you guessing right from the start and then twists and turns relentlessly." - The Book Report Network
Read about the US edition, now available from Mulholland Books.