The Complete Novel


By Michael Morley

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All five parts of the chilling serial killer thriller, now in one volume, for fans of James Patterson, David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, and Harlan Coban.

A madman is on the rampage in the Los Angeles streets. The City of Angels has become The City of Fear.
And everyone from the Oval Office down wants a quick result. The heat is on Jake Mottram, head of the FBI’s new Spree Killer Unit, and psychological profiler Angie Holmes to find the madman responsible.

Until now, they’ve been great together.
Both at work and in bed. But a killer is about to come between them, in ways that could cost them far more than their careers. Will they survive the spree about to come?

Spree Life and death in LA – like you’ve never seen it before.


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Part 1

Strawberry Fields Massacre


LA Athletic Club, LA

Psychological profiler Dr. Angie Holmes was sprinting.

Not jogging.

Not running.

Flat-out sprinting.

The kind of bust-your-lungs, sweat-yourself-ugly exertion that only happened when she needed to exorcise the ugliest of demons.

The former Californian track star was twenty-eight, but when she was mad or stressed, the years rolled back and she ran like she was seventeen.

Today she was fired up enough to smash a personal best.

Two things were driving her crazy.

First off, the man in her life, FBI Special Supervisory Agent Jake Mottram, had left a message on her phone saying he loved her. In itself, not a bad thing. Except he only said those words at a time like this. As he strapped on a Kevlar vest and went gun-to-gun with a Spree.

Sprees were the worst.

A special breed of killer who appeared out of the blue and slaughtered indiscriminately. No rhyme or reason. And since Sandy Hook, Santa Monica and the other public shootings, Jake had been the man in charge of catching the worst of the worst.

The Bureau set up the SKU, the Spree Killer Unit, under direct orders from the White House. Since then, it seemed like Jake worked at least a case a month.

Angie broke her stride and put her hands to the back of her head. A bunch of shoulder-length auburn hair had flopped out of its tie band. She fumbled it back in and regained her rhythm. Stretched tense muscles. Stepped up the pace. Felt her heart hammer against her ribs.

All was becoming good.

Adrenaline masked the worry.

She glanced at her wrist as the white line slid toward her Nikes.



She could go faster. Faster meant more pain in the body and less in the head. It was a good trade.

Angie breathed deeply. Filled her lungs. Lengthened her stride.

Jake should take a desk job.

The thought came up like a hurdle. He was ten years older than her, the right age for his ass to polish an office chair.

He'd be safe.

She'd stop worrying. They could settle down. Not that he'd ever mentioned doing that. Three years together and not one hint of the M word. In fact, not even the E word. But no worries, they were solid. Of that, she was sure.

Thinking about him threw up a picture of the Spree he was hunting. Corrie Chandler. Former soldier. Former security guard. More bull than man. Now out of work and out of his mind.

A bad combination.

One day after he got laid off, his drunk of a wife walked out on him.

Corrie walked after her.

Shot her in the back.

Pumped a hole through the head of a neighbor who stood gawping while gardening the patch of dirt that divided their homes.

Then Corrie got in his old Jeep and disappeared.

After twelve hours of eluding the LAPD, he'd been found by Jake and his team. Hence why Angie was wearing out the track of her local club.

The lap line came into view. She checked her wrist again.


Christ, she was feeling old. She should be able to bust that five-minute mark. And Jake sure as hell should know it was time he quit the fieldwork and drove a desk. That way he could look after her.

Her and the baby she'd just found out she was carrying.

That was the second thing she was worrying about. That and the fact she hadn't yet found the right moment to tell him.


Griffith Park, LA

It looked like a convention of hard-asses. Top marksmen from the LAPD and FBI gathered outside the gates of one of America's biggest urban parks. All getting their respective shit together.

Gun checks. Body armor checks. Comms checks.

Check, check, check.

That was what these guys did in the downtime. The nervous, laugh-too-loudly time. The last guaranteed moments of your lifetime before stepping into the crosshairs of a crazy with a gun.

Up in the cornflower blue California sky, two helicopters hummed and circled like mating dragonflies. Beneath them, staring out at three thousand acres of forests, lawns and trails, were the operational heads of SWAT and SKU.

Thirty-eight-year-old FBI Special Agent Jake Mottram stood six five and two hundred pounds. Connor Pryce, the thirty-two-year-old, newly appointed LAPD commander, was seven inches shorter and fifty pounds lighter. Little and large, both licensed to end their mutual problem with deadly force.

As a former soldier, Mottram knew only too well the value of studying the terrain as closely as the psychology of the enemy inhabiting it. He and Pryce had halted their squads at the edge of the Ferndell side of Griffith, a Jurassic Park patch of dense greenery with towering trees and jungle-thick foliage.

The FBI man used field glasses to stare through the gnarled oaks and leafy undergrowth at a famous building way off in the distance.

The place Corrie Chandler had holed up.

He let the glasses fall from his pale blue eyes and thump on their strings against his broad chest. "Seems ironic."

"What does?" Pryce felt edgy and had started to pace.

"Us, observing an observatory." He pointed into the distance. "Mr. Crazy over there is most probably staring right back at us through a free-standing scope, or even that big Zeiss thing that can watch fleas crap on Mars."

The cop didn't answer. He was worrying about the press and how they'd crucify him if this didn't end quickly and without any more loss of innocent life.

Jake was relaxed but focused. Totally at home in an environment where shots were likely to be fired at him. He looked around and took in the beauty of the park. "I came here some time back with my girlfriend. We did all the tourist shit. Used scopes to find the Hollywood sign. Rode white horses down a wooded trail." He turned to the smaller man. "You ever been inside the Observatory?"

Pryce had found a thumbnail to chew. "No. Saw it in Terminator Salvation. I think it was even in The Simpsons."

"Man, I love that show. I remember now, they called it the Springfield. I can picture parts of the layout but not all of it. I've got one of our techies pulling together film clips to add to the schematics so everyone knows the place inside out before we go in there."

Pryce had gotten to worrying about the Spree's background. "Chandler was military, right?"


"Was he a marksman?"

"No. Just a grunt. But he was in a top outfit."


"Tenth Mountain."

"That infantry?"

"And some. As well as mountains, they're specialists in Arctic survival. Real tough mothers. You can lock these guys naked in an icebox and they'll ask you for sunscreen."

Pryce arched an eyebrow. "Great."

Jake studied the cop. He was too uptight for a guy of his rank. "Did you come up through SWAT or through admin?"

"SWAT." Pryce brushed off the insinuation. He took a second and then decided to come clean. "Only arrived a year ago, though. I'm what I believe the squad call the 'smart' guy."

Jake laughed. He knew what the phrase meant. Pryce was a desk jockey. University-educated and fast-tracked to senior command. During an armed raid, he would be the last in and first out. Five years from now, if he lived that long, he'd probably be in the running for chief.

A young agent appeared at their sides. Jenny Dickson blanked the cop and spoke to her boss. "We've got feeds from the mini-drones, sir. Looks like at least five dead on the observation terrace."

"Fuck!" Pryce put his hands to his temples as though an explosion had gone off.

Jake's voice stayed measured. "Were the fatalities in the east or west of the building, Jenny?"

"The east, sir. And we think there's a further fatality just by the entrance for wheelchairs, at the back of the Planetarium."

He raised his field glasses and studied the white building in the distance. The sun was high and would be casting long shadows for at least another two hours. This was no time to be running an assault. "We got any eyes and ears in there yet?"

"Ears, yes. We've got dishes up on all points of the compass. Our only eyes are the drones."

Pryce consoled himself out loud. "At least we got the public clear."

"Only coz he let us," added Jake. "I guess he emptied his anger when he let off that magazine out on the terrace. It gave everyone else a chance to run."

Pryce squinted up into the sky. "That a news copter up there?"

Jake swung the glasses to the blue. "Yeah. Fox's eye in the sky." He dropped them to his chest again. "Jenny, get someone to tell the station to shift that bird before I ask the military to do it for them. Have our press people tell the channel heads I don't want pictures of us onscreen. Anyone blows you off on that, tell them I said they best book themselves a hospital bed."

"Sir." The young agent scurried back to the truck.

Pryce's cellphone rang. He patted down the jacket of his blue suit until he found it. "Hello?"

Jake watched him again. He was sweating and it wasn't down to the heat of the day. Only time and experience would take nerves like that away. He remembered the first time he'd shot someone. It had been in Afghanistan. A sniper covering a strip of road that wasn't worth jack shit to anyone had killed two members of a three-man unit patrolling it. Jake had been the third. He'd spent the next four hours in the baking sun hunting down that asshole. Then, when he got the jump and it came to pulling the trigger, he'd hesitated. Only for a split second. But long enough for his enemy to spot him and almost get a shot away.

Jake Mottram never flinched again.

By the time he left the army, he'd killed thirty-two people in five different locations.

Pryce finished his call and slid the phone back in his jacket. There was a smile on his face. "Chandler's made contact. He's on a line from inside the Griffith."


LA Athletic Club, LA

Angie showered and toweled dry. She slipped on her brown skirt suit and mentally reran her "routine" appointment that morning with Bureau doctor Suzie Janner.

The profiler had completed her annual physical and had mentioned—more in passing than anything—that she'd been "feeling out of sorts."

Doctors being doctors, Suzie inevitably ran a list of questions about stress, diet and alcohol.

Then she got to pregnancy.

"Pregnancy?" Angie had almost laughed her ass off. "There's more chance of Jake being pregnant than me. I've been on the pill since I was fifteen and never missed taking one."

"No contraceptive—except abstinence—is one hundred percent effective." She handed over a testing kit. "Now go pee."

Ten minutes and a whole seismic shift in the world later, Angie returned with a blue stick and accepted she was "with child."

Fortunately, Suzie Janner was more than her doctor. She was seven years older than Angie but they were friends. Members of the same female business groups. They'd even cowritten papers together. In short, she knew her well enough to ask the big question: "How do you feel about the news?"

Angie stared into space, as though the answer was an elusive star lost in a cloudy night sky.


"I don't know. I really don't know." She'd finally looked at her friend. "Is that pathetic? I mean, what do people usually say?"

"Usually?" Suzie had smiled reassuringly. "There's no such thing as usually. If the pregnancy hasn't been planned, then the reaction is often the same as yours."

Angie nodded sadly. "I feel bad."

"Bad how? Sick bad?"

"No. Screwed up in my head bad. Guilty bad."


"Yeah. Not getting pregnant is kind of thought of as the woman's job…"

Suzie shot her a stern look of disapproval.

"And I feel bad about feeling confused. I mean, I should either be overjoyed, right? Or"—she struggled to complete her thought—"or I guess we should be talking termination."

"We shouldn't be talking anything. Not yet. You should just be absorbing the news. Getting used to it. Thinking about what it means to you—not only in the next months and years, but also for the rest of your lifetime."

"You mean I should think like a psychologist, not a shell-shocked lunatic?"

Suzie laughed. "Something like that. There's really no mad rush. Take your time. Get used to the idea, then decide. You're what—twenty-seven?"

"Twenty-eight. Twenty-nine in a month."

"Still young. You ever thought about being a mother? Just before thirty is a good age."

"Hell, no!" Angie responded more strongly than she'd meant to. Of course she'd thought about it. But not long enough to get used to the idea. "Suzie, you know my background." She slid her gaze to the thick file on the desk. "It's all in those notes. Parenthood is not something I was cut out for."

"That's nonsense. You're the shrink, not me. You know that having an abusive father doesn't mean you're going to be abusive yourself. You're not some poor, weak-willed waif, caught in a deprived and unbreakable circle. You're one tough lady who's kicked ass all her life."

"I know all that. It's just that, being a mom"—saying the words out loud shocked Angie—"being a mom will open doors to rooms I had shut. Locked and nailed up for good. Living through a new childhood might make me live through my own, and I don't want that."

"Motherhood might be the greatest thing that ever happened to you. It was for me."

"Was it?" She sounded skeptical.

"Absolutely." She eyed a silver-framed photo of a gap-toothed blond girl on her desk. "I'd die for Bethan. She's just everything." She enjoyed the thought of her daughter before she moved on. "You won't have to give anything up, Angie. You've got a great career—and a great guy from what I hear. Now, if you want it, you can be a great mom as well." She smiled warmly. "Most people would say that's game, set and match. But listen, it's really all down to what you want. Don't let me, Jake or anyone pressure you."

"Jeez, I haven't even got round to thinking about Jake."

"How do you imagine he'll take it?"

She widened her eyes and shrugged. "God knows. He's as much a screwup as I am. No parents. Orphanage and army raised—and you know what that means."

"Emotionally locked in."

"Hard as marble, stubborn as a mule."

Suzie felt obliged to bring some balance. "He's also a war veteran. Purple Heart hero. Decorated by the freakin' president. I mean, what kid wouldn't want him as Pop and you as Mom?"

Angie scratched at her neck until she felt raw. A nervous habit since childhood. "Do you have to tell McDonald about this?"

Suzie looked sympathetic. "I can't keep it out of the report, and the assistant director is certain to read it. But I can hold back the file for a few days." She tipped her head to a mountain of paperwork. "It needn't get put through until all that's cleared."


The physician sensed it was time to change the subject. She picked up the results of the medical. "Aside from the pregnancy, you're in great shape. Blood tests are good. Heart and lungs of a teenager. Protein count and cholesterol better than fine. You get a clean bill of health from me, Doctor Holmes."

"Thank you, Doctor Janner." Angie stood and pinned on a smile. "Anything I can't do, given the development?"

"Development?" The word made her smile. She pulled a stack of leaflets out of a tray. "Read and digest. Main thing is don't smoke and you don't, so no problem there. Oh, and cut out the alcohol. All of it."


Suzie hiked an eyebrow. "Yeah, that one hurt me, too."

Angie took the leaflets and slid them into her purse. "Can I run?"

"No problem. Watch the weights, though. Technically, even that's okay at this stage. I just suggest you be sensible."

"Sensible would have been not getting knocked up." She glanced at her watch and then looked up with bravery in her eyes. "I'm gonna go tell Jake straightaway."

"Best of luck."

All that had been some hours back.

Only Jake hadn't been around to tell.

His cell had been turned off.

Never a good sign.

When she'd called his unit, they'd told her exactly where he was and she'd felt sick to the pit of her stomach.

A Spree.

The thought had made her dizzy. For an hour, she'd sat and watched the news in her office, and then she'd headed to the track.

Only it hadn't made things better like it normally did.

And now she was at her wits' end.

Angie Holmes, seven weeks pregnant, stared at herself in the locker room mirror. She smoothed her skirt and turned sideward.

There was nothing to see.

But she felt something. Not a stirring inside her body, but something in her soul. Something she'd never felt before.


Griffith Park, LA

"I'm going to kill every motherfucking one of you." Corrie Chandler screamed the threat down the phone. He stood, shaking, inside an office in the Observatory. Blue veins on his neck twitched like baby snakes. "I mean it, man, I'm gonna take down any cocksucking one of you who tries to come in here."

Jake listened impassively on a speakerphone in the armored command truck. He didn't interrupt. Didn't hang up. Nor did he try to reason with Chandler or talk him down.

"You listening to me, cop? I am not fooling."

"I'm not a cop." Jake calmly stressed the last three letters, just enough to separate himself from the perceived "enemy." "I'm ex-army, Corrie, just like you are."

"Then you're friggin' nothing. Coz that's what I am." There was a whole book of grievances bound in those few words. "That's how this freakin' country sees me."

"Not true, buddy. Not those who served. They get you. They understand every blunderfuck moment you're living through." He stopped and waited for a rant.

It didn't come.

It meant Jake had his attention. There might yet be a way to end this without more bloodshed. He shut his eyes and pictured the scene. "I'm thinking, Corrie, that right now you've got the phone trapped between your ear and neck and you're wondering how the fuck you ended up in this shit. My bet is there's a weapon cradled in your hands and the safety's off. You're probably pressed tight to a wall, squinting out the window, getting twitchy every time the light changes or a bird flies by." He stopped again. Waited for a contradiction that didn't come, then added, "They're gonna come for you, Corrie. Hell, you know that. You're high up, looking down on everyone, like King Gun on a hill. But you know the routine, don't you, buddy? Snipers rule the day. Commandos rule the night. Come the blackness they'll slither in there and bring you down."

Jake let the words sink in and listened hard.

Through the black silence of cyberspace, Chandler's shallow breaths broke cover. They came out one by one. Surrendered all his hopes.

"How long did you serve, Corrie?"

The breaths ran back and hid. Made space for an easy answer. It came in a sad and reflective voice. "Three years, one month, two days."

"Notes I've got said you were Tenth Mountain. Man, that's a hell of a unit."

"Sure is. Had some good brothers there. Some bad sonsofbitches, too. And you?"

"Marines, then MARSOC, best part of a decade."

Chandler blew out a long sigh of admiration. "Brother, you must have faced some motherfucking times in special-ops command."

Jake laughed. "I did, but sometimes it seems a whole world tougher out here than it was in the service. You know what I mean?"

There was a pause, then came the answer, creaking with pain and emotion. "Yeah, I sure do, man. However Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition it was in there, it's doubly FUBAR out here."

The chat was easy now. Two vets at a bar downing beers. Buddies in the making. "So why'd you quit, Corrie? You were doing damned good with a bang stick in your hand."

A pained laugh rolled down the line.

"I pulled your sheets," added Jake. "You were A-okay, man. I would have been more than proud to have served with you."

"I quit because of a whole lot of shit, but mostly coz the woman I loved asked me. Said she missed me." He put on a sarcastic emphasis. "Wanted me home. Anyways, I came out and me and Carlyann got married. Took a job working security. Working freaking see-cure-it-eey."

"No shame in that, my friend. I've done a shift or ten myself."

"That's what I kept telling myself. Said at least it was a job. Something to build on. Only nothing got built. Just the opposite. Everything fell apart and turned to shit."


Jake nodded.

Chandler was still venting about the bad old days. "Carlyann—she started wanting more. Had some fancy friends with good jobs. Said I should work hard—like her sister's husband, Ralph. Fucking Ralph. You know what Ralph does for a living? I'll tell you. He's a proctologist. You know what that is? A frigging ass doctor." Chandler laughed. The kind of laugh that was only an octave away from a hysterical cry. "Then I get laid off. Chopped like liver. Guess how the bastards done it?" Anger started to boil in his voice again. "I'll tell you. They sent me a text. You believe that?"

Jake actually couldn't. "No, man, I can't."

"A freaking text. Then the bitch walked out. One-time 'love of my life' said she was gonna find herself 'a real man.' One who could provide for her." He waited for Jake to coax out more of his vitriol.

The FBI man stayed silent.

"You still listenin'?"

"I feel for you, Corrie. More bad luck in a couple of years than most folk get in a lifetime. Seems like everyone's taken a shit on you and now you're down and out in the sewer." Jake let silence lap down the line, then made his play. "You want me to come and get you out of there? No other fuckers. Just me."

Jake listened for the shallow breaths.

None came.


"I'm thinking on things."

Jake knew he couldn't let the guy dwell on it. Crazy minds quickly went back to crazy thoughts. "I got to press you, man. Your war's over. Best I can do is come in and walk you out of there without anyone else getting hurt."

The silence fattened out. Bloated so much it seemed like it'd burst.

"Come on, Corrie, it's decision time. You don't want SWAT on you. That's no way for grunts like you and me to sign off. No dignity. No courage. And here's the rub, some of those guys you might shoot are ex-army, too. Done their time like us. A few of them are even moonlighting security jobs to make ends meet."

"I don't want to kill no one else." There was remorse in the voice. The adrenaline had worn off. He was starting to think straight.

"That's good, Corrie. I'm glad you said that."

Jake's big fear was that Chandler's mood could swing like a teeter-totter. Tilt one way and he'll kill himself. Tilt to the other and he'll go out all guns blazing. Somehow he had to keep him stable. "Give me a couple of minutes, then I'm going to come in the front door, Corrie. It'll be just me. There'll be no gun in my hand and I'm hoping none in yours."


FBI Field Office, LA

Angie took her worries and confusion back to her desk.

She sat in a trance opposite her long-suffering research assistant, a gorgeous geek she'd picked as an intern back at Quantico. Now she and "Chips" were more like brother and sister than colleagues.

The smart young man had been christened Oscar Edgar Chipstone. But, to his great relief, no one had called him that since kindergarten. Not even his mom and pop, the misguided English teachers who'd thought Oscar, as in Wilde, and Edgar, as in Poe, were cool names to give a kid in a roughneck neighborhood full of Johns and Bobs.

The tall, thin, lank-haired twenty-four-year-old was predestined to earn the Chips moniker because of his passion for computing and all things technological.

He was dressed today in the blue jeans and the matching sneakers he always wore. The only thing that visibly changed with Chips was his T-shirts. He had a vast closet of plain Ts, all bearing different slogans he'd made up. Angie's favorite this week had been IS GOD A CHICKEN OR AN EGG?

"You okay, Doc?" He looked at her in a way that said he knew she wasn't.

As the words fogged across the room, she realized she'd been staring absentmindedly his way. "Yeah, I'm good."

"You worrying about Agent Mottram?"

"Guess so. How about you go buy us espresso and ice cream?" It was her panacea for all ills. She pulled her purse from beneath the desk. "As bitter and sweet as you can get."

He dragged his FBI sweatshirt off the back of the chair. "Whatcha want, chocolate brownie, tutti-frutti, minty chip?"

She handed over a twenty. "Sounds good."


"The lot. I'm comfort eating."

"Gotcha." He squeezed out a wink and vamoosed.

Angie turned to the work on her desk and tried to forget everything else. A few days back she'd been called by cops in West LA about a serial rape. They'd finally got round to sending the papers they'd promised.

The file was phonebook thick. Four women, all Caucasian, all over sixty-five, raped in or near their homes. The work of a true sicko. One she feared would end up as a killer.


On Sale
Jul 29, 2014
Page Count
400 pages

Michael Morley

About the Author

Michael Morley lives in the U.K. and has had two bestselling thrillers there, Spider and Viper. He is also the producer and director of some of the hardest-hitting crime shows on British television including The Cook Report, Murder in Mind, The Hunt for Baby Abbie, and A Shred of Evidence. These shows have not only broken boundaries but have also won several major awards.

He has three sons and lives a hundred miles north of London in the heart of the English Countryside with his family, eleven ducks, a few squirrels, a flock of Canada geese, and a fat heron. Spree is his first serialized novel.

Learn more about this author