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Death in the Gilded Cage, A Jake Curtis / Vanessa Malone Mystery

391 pages4 hours


Death in the Gilded Cage is the story of two women. One a ruthless, greedy, determined and known only through her anonymous diary entries. The other Marjorie Withers, the middle aged hostess at The Gilded Cage nightclub. The Diarist teams up with an unnamed partner to achieve their prize, The Gilded Cage nightclub and it's illegal poker games upstairs. No deed is too crazed for the partners to contemplate in their pursuit. Marjorie calls on the PI firm of Jake Curtis and Vanessa Malone as she feels a co-worker and former lover is out to kill her. When the co-worker ends up dead, the PIs drop the case. The Diarist writes almost daily in her diary. She writes she stole an SUV and used it to kill the co-worker clearing the first obstacle blocking their path. The Diarist writes, she murdered the club's floor manager next. She writes her next kill was a total stranger to throw the police off. The Diarist and her partner break into Marjorie's room, attack her, shooting her in the leg, again to throw off the police. The partner takes the gun away to dispose of it only to have it turn up later. Jake and Vanessa, how hired as police consultants, are as baffled as DC police Lieutenant Bob Murdoch. When Marjorie is released from the hospital with a cast on her leg, she turns to Peter Palumbo, The Gilded Cage club owner, for help. Marjorie falls in love with him, even though he is married and they begin a trist. The diarist's next victim is Tim Henderson, the assistant bartender at the club. Three days later the diarists shoots and wounds Henderson's widow and kills Palumbo's wife at Henderson's gravesite. As the murders go on, The Diarist is dubbed The Gilded Cage Killer, and the diary entries of her killings become more and more sexually satisfying as the murders and assaults continue. The Diarist begins to look forward to the next kill more for the sexual satisfaction derived, than growing closer to achieving their prize. The diarist's next kills a club waitress by an overdose of hot heroin and then stabs Palumbo's secretary, Janie Sullivan, in a staged mugging. Thinking the best way to get the police off their backs, the Diarist and her partner plan to kill the police lieutenant and Jake Curtis and Vanessa Malone in a cross fire, but the partner never shows. The Diarist does the shooting alone. Vanessa is shot three times and seriously wounded. Her life balances on the skills of the best surgeon in the hospital, sixteen hours of surgery and a lot of Jake's prayers. Jake is shot twice, in the shoulder and near his hip. Murdoch receives a flesh wound on his upper arm and both are treated and released. After the shooting, The Diarist runs into the nearby subway station and tosses the gun before hopping on a train and escaping. The Diarist, in her writings, dwells on the eroticism of her kill, for she is sure they are dead. She feels erotic sensations as she imagines seeing the victim's skin depress as the bullet, needle point or knife blade pushes against the skin just before piercing through. She needs to kill. She needs the feel the pleasures derived from her kills. The last four murders are not about achieving the prize but about The Diarist achieving her own satisfaction. She kills the club's head bartender, an unsatisfying lover, so she can feel the friction of the knife blade cut across his throat; Michael Penner, when she finds out he spent the night with the new redheaded waitress the night after he spent the night with The Diarist. Renting an abandoned warehouse in a slum neighborhood under an assumed name, the Diarist captures and tortures the red headed waitress to death for spending the night with her man. The Diarist's final kill is the realtor who can identify her as the woman who rented the warehouse. What about the prize? Do they get the prize? Death in the Gilded Cage ends with a twist and a shocking conclusion you won't believe even after you finished reading it.

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