The Dead Place
Pinnacle, Sep 2008, $6.99
The Corbins were a happy family until eight months ago when someone broke into Kate’s studio and raped her. The previously outgoing woman becomes withdrawn hiding in her own world. Their fifteen year old daughter Gracie began to see spoiled wealthy twenty-five year old Damian. Realizing something drastic must be done to remove Katie from the scene of the trauma and to get Gracie away from the too old for her rotten Damian, the family patriarch Ian accepts the position of dean at the University of Wickfield.
Ian begins to lose patience with his wife who remains a recluse even in their new location, refusing to go out at all even in support of his new role, and keeps checking thelocks especially on her studio. She is extremely upset that young women from the school are vanishing with their corpses turning up weeks after their disappearance is reported. Kate thinks her odd duck neighbor is the killer, but the police clear him. She feels ashamed as she jumped to conclusions when she saw him do strange things. When Gracie vanishes, Ian assumes she ran off to be with Damian, but Kate thinks otherwise. Although she might humiliate herself again, Kate goes to confront the persons she believes abducted her daughter and if not stopped will say goodnight Gracie permanently.
A bit over the top of a roller coaster, THE DEAD PLACE has more twists and spins than a tilt a whirl and is as frightening as a fun house as the killer is obviously a psychopath, who delights in torture yet hides in public acceptable normalcy. That comparison to the frightened heroine who is considered ironically by many of those same people to be a neurotic crazy makes the tale. Some of the scenes involving the torture of the victims are graphic, but that adds to the tension of the cops and ultimately Kate stopping the culprit from snatching the next victim. The killer is accepted as normal while the mom has no credibility so no one believes her. Rebecca Drake provides a strong thriller with her deep look at gullibility.