Day 54, Chapter 54
At the end of Chapter 53 – which I just didn’t feel like writing about yesterday, forgive me – Lindsay makes a call to the associate publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle, Henry Tyler, whom she knows from a previous case. Apparently, in The 6th Target, Lindsay helped find his kidnapped daughter, so he, in turn, owes her a favor. The favor is, of course, to not run the Lipstick Killer’s letter of demands in the paper – or at least to give the cops a few extra days to work before they do run it. Tyler’s also the guy who’s going to pay the $2 million demand – a fact that Lindsay has a hard time comprehending.
I was startled to hear Henry Tyler say he was going to pay off the killer and even more surprised at his conclusion: that the Lipstick Killer’s spree had been about the money all along.
Lindsay’s first foray into actual free thought leads her to a sensible conclusion: paying this guy will never guarantee that he will stop killing people. Why would he? If you’re the sort of person who kills women and children in broad daylight with a silenced pistol, are you really going to be convinced by a pile of cash to stop? Tyler agrees, sort of, and expects that Lindsay will find a way to stop the killer if they set up this ransom exchange.
My headache had gone molten right between my eyes. I was a cop, nothing more. I couldn’t see through walls or into the mind of a psycho. While it was flattering that Henry Tyler thought I could stop the Lipstick Killer, it was obvious the murderer was smart – too smart to fall for your basic van full of cops waiting for him to pick up a briefcase of money.
Well, alright. Good effort anyway, Detective, I guess we’ll just quit then? Can you imagine if this was really the way the police operated? “Ah well, he’s clearly smarter than us, so, screw this crimestoppin’ junk.”
On another note – this is something that’s been bothering me for a while now – as I type these excerpts from the book into these posts I’ve noticed that Patterson always tends to drop demonstrative adjectives from sentences, which makes me CRAZY. For example, in the excerpt above, he writes, “While it was flattering…it was obvious the murderer was smart” rather than, “it was obvious that the murderer was smart.” To me it just feels too choppy, like the sentence is missing a word just for the sake of economical writing. (Keep it short, Jim, you don’t want to run out of paper.) Maybe this is just a matter of minor grammatical differences, but I hate it and it makes me want to punch Patterson’s smug, lazy-writin’ face. But I digress.
The worst-case scenario was the one that seemed the most likely: Killer get the cash. Killer gets away. Killer continues to kill. And he inspires terrorism all over the country. There weren’t enough cops in America to cover an epidemic of sickos killing for money.
Okay, what would you suggest, Detective? This seems to be our only lead in this case.
“Duhhhhhh. I dunno. More sex scenes to distract from the plot?”
Go to Day 55.