Having retired from police life after killing a child in self defence, Max Freeman lives the life of a recluse in the Florida Everglades. A serial child killer is on the loose and Max faces the choice of joining the hunt or being the hunted. Very tense - a book that is hard to put down.
Tonight, in moonlight, the river was lit up like an avenue. When I got the canoe floated in the upstream pool, I braced myself with both hands on the rails at either side, balanced my right foot in the middle, steadied myself in a three-point stance, and pushed off onto quiet water.
I settled into the stern seat and pulled six or seven strokes to get upstream from the falls and then readied myself. The mile from my stilted shack had just been a warm-up. Now I'd get into the heavy work that had become my nightly ritual ....
I tucked my right foot under the seat, propped my leg forward against a rib, and was just pulling my first serious strokes when my eyes picked up a glow ahead in the root tangle of a big cypress.
Trash, I thought, pulling two strokes hard in that direction. Even out here you ran into civilisation's callousness. But the package seemed too tight as I glided closer. Canvas, I could tell now from the cream-color of the cloth.
I took one more stroke and drifted up to what now appeared to be a bundle the size of a small duffel bag. The package was wedged softly into a crook of moss-covered root by the current. I reached out and prodded it with my paddle, loosening the hidden end from the shadows. When it finally slid out onto free water, moonlight caught it and settled on the calm, dead face of a child.
Air from deep in my throat held and then broke like a bubble in my mouth and I heard my own words come out in a whisper:
'Sweet Jesus. Not again.'