Book Excerpt
The Screaming Room
by Thomas O'Callaghan

An excerpt from The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan, published 2007 by Pinnacle.
Book excerpt reprinted with the permission of the publisher.
Copyright © 2007 Thomas O'Callaghan

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BOOK EXCERPT

Prologue

The rain had stopped. The afternoon sun had resumed its assault on rotting corn shocks, casting distorted shadows across the abandoned farm. A pair of cicadas sounded, silencing the chirping of the nearby sparrows, sending them into flight.

In the middle of the field, a sturdy youth stood silently, eyes fixed on a mound of fresh clay.

A rush of cool air stirred wisps of his ripened wheat-colored hair. Bending down, he used a finger to inscribe the name Gus in the collected soil.

A second youth, a female, approached. "Can we go now?" she asked, wearily. "This is our tenth field and there's nothing left of him to bury."

"In a minute."

The girl looked around. "Someone could be watching, you know."

"Just need a minute."

"Well, you'd better make it a quick one."

The youth's eyes lingered on the newly formed grave. With a nod of satisfaction, he uprighted himself. As a smile lit his face, he used the heel of his boot to eradicate their victim's name. "Lovee," he said, "may the bastard rest in peace."

"You mean in pieces. Let's go."

Chapter 1

Cassie turned her head on the pillow as a sudden flash of light woke her.

"What the hell are ya doing?" she hollered. "It's two o'clock in the morning!"

Her brother, Angus, who was sitting up in bed next to her, grinned, his attention riveted to the gleam coming off the three-quarter-inch ball bearing he was holding between his thumb and index finger. The narrow beam of a pencil-thin flashlight had reflected off the ball's chromelike finish and shone directly onto her eyelid.

"I liked you better when you got off pulling wings off flies," she said, hiding her head under the pillow.

Angus, flashlight still directed at the ball bearing, brought his face to within inches of the tiny sphere, watching the reflection of his pupil get bigger and bigger, the closer he got. Hopelessly bored, and somewhat blind, he turned off the flashlight, slid his hand under the covers, and fondled his sister's rump.

"Not tonight, we ain't," she said through clenched teeth. "We got lots to do tomorrow. Get some sleep!"

Angus slid out of bed, slipped into a pair of boxers, and ambled toward the door, opening it. A blast of warm air caressed his body. The sensation aroused him. He glanced over his shoulder. His sister was snoring. He pushed open the screen door, sat on the top step, and glanced upward. It was a cloudless night. The moon, just shy of full, cast shadows on the weeds and tall grass that surrounded home sweet home; a fitting salute, perhaps to what would begin at dawn. The thought of finally executing what they had planned brought on a surge of adrenaline. He wouldn't sleep. Unlike his sister, he'd stay up and wait out the darkness.

A slug, slithering toward him on the surface of the step, caught his attention.

"I can kill ya, little fella. But I won't."

He had the urge to pet the small mollusk but decided instead to dabble his finger in the slime that trailed behind it. He brought it to his lips, applying it as a woman would lipstick.

Women. They fascinated Angus. Every curve. Every smell. Every everything. In his next life, he planned on returning as one. He could feel what they feel. Think as they think. God! Even screw as they screw!

He heard a rustling. It was not the willow tree, which was as limp as he was. No, something was pushing through the grass. A deer perhaps. He hoped so. He liked the sound they made just before dying, after he stalked them and twisted their neck, snapping their cervical vertebrae.

There it was again!

The rustling.

Following the example of the snail, he slithered down the rickety steps and began his pursuit, certain his sister wouldn't start their big day without him.

The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan,
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BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER

John Driscoll has laid the ghosts of his past to rest. He's ready to start over -- both personally and as an NYPD homicide commander. But it seems that a serial killer has other plans for Driscoll.

The victims' bodies are found, brutally mutilated and carefully arranged for the world to see -- on a Ferris wheel; in a dinosaur diorama; on a bridge -- grotesque visions to all except for the depraved killer, who considers them masterpieces. These blood rituals spell out a message to Driscoll. And they are just the beginning ...

Driscoll's investigation will lead him down the darkest of journeys, toward an evil beyond his worst nightmares. In a hellish landscape conceived by the all-too-clever mind of a twisted schemer, Driscoll must play a killer's deadly game. It's up to him to save his city -- or die trying.

The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas O'Callaghan is a native of New York City and a graduate of CUNY. He lives with his wife, Eileen, a stone's throw from the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful Belle Harbor, New York. The author of the acclaimed thriller Bone Thief, he is working on his next book featuring NYPD homicide lieutenant John Driscoll.

The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan,
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BOOK REVIEWS

"Smart, fast paced, an excellent read."

-- PopSyndicate.com

"Screaming Room is another gripping, gruesome read ..."

-- Bookloons.com

"You won't be able to put this book down."

-- BestsellersWorld.com

"The Screaming Room is a taunt fast paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat."

-- FrontStreetReviews.com

"The Screaming Room is a brisk, fast-moving story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime."

-- BellaOnline.com

"O'Callaghan gives us a horrendous and frightening tale of the sick side of life. It is both chilling and heart-rending; a story that grabs you and keeps you right up to the dramatic end. It is a book that is well worth reading."

-- Mainly Mysteries

"The Screaming Room is a highly emotional, spine tingling, scary ride that mystery fans can really enjoy."

-- ArmchairInterviews.com

"The Screaming Room is a fascinating, exciting read."

-- PerfectText.com

"The Screaming Room is a haunting and horrifying story that will pull you in and refuse to let go."

-- NightsandWeekends.com

"Driscoll's investigation will lead him down the darkest of journeys, toward an evil beyond his worst nightmares."

-- Bogies.net

"Wonderfully twisted, with revenge, wickedness and perversion! A hauntingly magnificent yarn!"

-- NewBookReviews.org

"The Screaming Room shows once again that O'Callaghan is adept at mixing touching moments with scenes of horror and pain, making it another enjoyable entry in the series. Let the summer reading begin!"

-- ToxicUniverse.com

"Make plans to be up all night until the last page is turned."

-- BookFetish.org

"If you are looking for a fast paced thriller with edge of your seat impact then look no further, this was a thrilling and engaging read. The author has done an excellent job and has done his research, once you start you will not be able to put this thriller down."

-- Quality Book Reviews

"The Screaming Room is a gripping, albeit dark, drama, filled with enough plot twists and turns to interest any mystery fan. His characters are likeable, and have just enough flaws to be believable."

-- Suite101.com

"Written with a sure understanding of his characters, author Thomas O'Callaghan offers the reader a look at what makes a person turn killer. This is a book you will remember and find yourself looking over your shoulder if you happen to travel alone."

-- NewMysteryReader.com

"Mr. O'Callaghan's second book is surely a hit."

-- Lover of Books

"The Screaming Room rates as one of the best stories I have read ... Add this one to your 'must read' list."

-- RoundtableReviews.com

The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan,
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