The past has come back to haunt P.I. Jack Carpenter, former head of the Broward County Missing Persons Unit. As a young cop he failed to stop the kidnapping of a college coed by a shockingly large assailant—and neither victim nor attacker was ever seen again. But eighteen years later, when his daughter, Jessie, asks him to bird-dog a creep who’s been shadowing her college basketball team, Carpenter’s pursuit of the voyeur leads him smack into another run-in with his old nemesis, who abducts one of Jessie’s teammates. With the assistance of the kidnap victim’s tycoon father and precious little time before the trail goes cold, Jack and his dog, Buster, hit the ground running—following a twisted trail from the ruins of a shuttered mental asylum with an infamous past to the streets of a sinister small town with a ghastly secret.
Just days away from execution, Abb Grimes reaches out to ex-cop Jack Carpenter with a surprising request. Despite the fact that Carpenter was instrumental in putting the notorious serial killer behind bars, the doomed convict now wants Carpenter to find his missing grandson. The cops are convinced that the boy’s father–Abb’s troubled son, Jed–is behind his disappearance, but Jack’s not so sure. And yet, when the evidence in a gruesome murder leads straight to Jed, the question must be asked: Have the unspeakable sins of his father taken root in this disturbed young man? Searching through an underworld of predators, assembling the jagged pieces of a depraved puzzle, Jack Carpenter is desperate to catch a ruthless killer before he strikes again.
Explosive. Pulse-pounding. Heart-racing. From the bestselling author The Wall Street Journal hails as “one terrific writer,” Midnight Rambler is the breakout thriller of the year–a brawny, brainy novel of suspense that pairs James Swain’s trademark smooth-as-silk prose with a plot bigger and bolder than anything he’s done before.
In South Florida, Jack Carpenter is infamous. He’s the cop who busted the notorious serial killer Simon Skell–aka the Midnight Rambler–and sacrificed his badge and marriage in the process. Haunted by the Skell case, Carpenter now works as an abduction specialist in Fort Lauderdale, reuniting families with their missing children.
But the body of one of the Midnight Rambler’s victims has just been uncovered–and forensic evidence suggests Carpenter jailed the wrong man. With Skell just days away from release, the tarnished hero must reopen the case that shattered his life and the lives of eight murdered women.
As waves of heat and rain wash over the steamy streets, Carpenter races against the clock to reaffirm the case against Skell. Yet the deeper he digs, the more he starts to realize that Skell is just one piece in a terrifying puzzle of predation and murder, just one player in a shocking conspiracy that ranges across the state of Florida. And as the relentless Carpenter draws the net tighter, his enemies prepare to spring a devastating final surprise.
From the seaside bar that Jack Carpenter calls home to the glittering tourist kingdom in Orlando to the funky jungle of Coconut Grove, James Swain unleashes a wild ride into the heart of evil–with the Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler” as the throbbing, terrifying soundtrack.