Playing in the Dark
David Rivera, Jr.
Strebor (Atria), Feb 2008, $13.00
His brothers all failed and had to leave Sodom as part of their bet. Bereft believes he learned from their mistakes and now knows how to tempt Lot so he falls from grace in spite of this man’s goodness. He sexually toys with Lot’s two daughters, believing they will provide insight into winning his wager. However, before he can complete his quest, the Angels of God attack the city leaving him buried in its ruins.
Thousands of years later, NYPD Detective Chemah Rivers accompanies his live in lover Michelle Thomas to Israel where she will receive controversial treatment not allowed in the States that might enable her to regain her vision. The blind stand up comedienne has hopes and fears while Chemah worries about her, his daughter Tatsuya from his ex-wife and his son Hero from a third woman. Local police inspector Yankow asks Chemah to look at five corpses arranged like an upside down cross with the rest of the evidence making less sense as a clothes model is killed with her bare hands and a deadly military martial arts instructor is a victim as well. He offers his help before returning to New York with Michelle, who needs additional treatments. Chemah is unaware that Bereft has returned and stalks him as the demon sees a Lot like Goodness in the cop. As people die on the plane and in the city, someone looking like his former wife kidnaps his daughter.
The third Chemah Rivers suspense thriller (see HARLEM’S DRAGON and STREET SWEEPER; neither read by me) is a fascinating tale that deftly takes a biblical serial killing demon and places it inside a modern day New York police procedural. Chemah is fabulous as he struggles to be there for Michelle whose fears over seeing and not seeing begin to overwhelm their relationship until the bigger crisis involving his daughter occurs. However, Bereft owns the tale as he hops bodies with a touch and leaves his calling card of arranged broken bones behind in his path of mayhem and destruction.