Graham Masterton A Terrible Beauty

ISBN 13: 9780743462938

A Terrible Beauty

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9780743462938: A Terrible Beauty

There are things I need to know...

On a farm in southern Ireland, the dismembered bones of eleven women are found in a common grave, buried eight decades ago. Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire is used to bloodshed, but this ivory litter of human remains is unimaginable butchery.

Of other worlds apart from this...

In isolated darkness not far away, an American tourist is at the mercy of a serial killer. His tools are a boning knife, twine, and a doll fashioned from nails and fishhooks. The murder of his victims is second only to the pleasure of their pain.

Darker places inhabited by evil monstrosities...

As an eighty-year-old mystery unfolds, so does a modern-day ritual that's marked Katie Maguire as its next victim. For what happened once in this small picturesque village is happening again. It's more than a series of horrifying crimes. It's tradition.

Take me there.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Graham Masterton has published more than thirty-five horror novels and three short story collections: his debut novel, The Manitou, was an instant bestseller. His more recent critically acclaimed novels include The Chosen Child, Trauma, Spirit, and Prey. He is an Edgar Award and Bram Stoker Award-winner and a World Fantasy Award-nominee. In addition to his prolific fiction career, Masterton is also renowned for his bestselling sex guides, including How to Drive Your Woman Wild in Bed and Wild Sex for New Lovers. Born in Edinburgh in 1946, he lives with his wife Wiescka in a Gothic mansion in Cork, Ireland, where he is currently working on his next horror novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

John had never seen so many hooded crows circling around the farm as he did that wet November morning. His father always used to say that whenever you saw more than seven hooded crows gathered together, they had come to gloat over a human tragedy.

It was tragedy weather, too. Curtains of rain had been trailing across the Nagle Mountains since well before dawn, and the northwest field was so heavy that it had taken him more than three hours to plow it. He was turning the tractor around by the top corner, close to the copse called Iollan's Wood, when he saw Gabriel frantically waving from the gate.

John waved back. Jesus, what did the idiot want now? If you gave Gabriel a job to do, you might just as well do it yourself, because he was always asking what to do next, and was it screws or nails you wanted, and what sort of wood were you after having this made from? John kept on steadily plowing, with big lumps of sticky mud pattering off the wheels, but Gabriel came struggling up the field toward him, still waving, with crows irritably flapping all around him. He was obviously shouting, too, although John couldn't hear him.

As Gabriel came puffing up to him in his raggedy old brown tweeds and gum boots, John switched off the tractor's engine and took off his ear protectors.

"What's wrong now, Gabe? Did you forget which end of the shovel you're supposed to be digging with?"

"There's bones, John! Bones! So many fecking bones you can't even count them!"

John wiped the rain off his face with the back of his hand. "Bones? Where? What kind of bones?"

"Under the floor, John! People's bones! Come and see for yourself! The whole place looks like a fecking graveyard!"

John climbed down from the tractor and ankle-deep into the mud. Close up, Gabriel smelled strongly of stale beer, but John was quite aware that he drank while he worked, even though he went to considerable pains to conceal his cans of Murphy's under a heap of sacking at the back of the barn.

"We was digging the foundations close to the house when the boy says there's something in the ground here, and he digs away with his fingers and out comes this human skull with its eyes full of dirt. Then we were after digging some more and there was four more skulls and bones like you never seen the like of, leg bones and arm bones and finger bones and rib bones."

John strode long-legged down toward the gate. He was tall and dark, with thick black hair and almost Spanish good looks. He had only been back in Ireland for just over a year, and he was still finding it difficult to cope with running a farm. One sunny May morning he had been about to close the door of his apartment on Jones Street in San Francisco when the telephone had rung, and it had been his mother, telling him that his father had suffered a massive stroke. And then, two days later, that his father was dead.

He hadn't intended to come back to Ireland, let alone take over the farm. But his mother had simply assumed that he would, him being the eldest boy, and all his uncles and aunts and cousins had greeted him as if he were head of the Meagher family now. He had flown back to San Francisco to sell his dot.com alternative medicine business and say good-bye to his friends, and here he was, walking through the gate of Meagher's Farm in a steady drizzle, with a beery-breathed Gabriel following close behind him.

"I'd say it was a mass murder," Gabriel panted.

"Well, we'll see."

The farmhouse was a wide green-painted building with a gray slate roof, with six or seven leafless elms standing at its southeastern side like an embarrassed crowd of naked bathers. A sharply sloping driveway led down to the road to Ballyhooly, to the north, and Cork City, eleven miles to the south. John crossed the muddy tarmac courtyard and went around to the north side of the house, where Gabriel and a boy called Finbar had already knocked down a rotten old feed store and were now excavating the foundations for a modernized boiler house.

They had cleared an area twelve feet by twenty. The earth was black and raw and had the sour, distinctive smell of peat. Finbar was standing on the far side of the excavation, mournfully holding a shovel. He was a thin, pasty-faced lad with a closely cropped head, protruding ears, and a soggy gray jumper.

On the ground in front of him, like a scene from Pol Pot's Cambodia, lay four human skulls. Nearer to the damp, cement-rendered wall of the farmhouse, there was a hole which was crowded with muddy human bones.

John hunkered down and stared at the skulls as if he were expecting them to explain themselves.

"God Almighty. These must have been here for a pretty long time. There isn't a scrap of flesh left on any of them."

"An unmarked grave, I'd say," put in Gabriel. "A bunch of fellows who got on the wrong side of the IRA."

"Scared the shite out of me," said Finbar, wiping his nose on his sleeve. "I was digging away and all of a sudden there was this skull grinning up at me like my old uncle Billy."

John picked up a long iron spike and prodded among the bones. He saw a jawbone, and part of a rib cage, and another skull. That made at least five bodies. There was only one thing to do, and that was to call the Garda.

"You don't think your dad knew about this?" asked Gabriel, as John walked back to the house.

"What do you mean? Of course he didn't know."

"Well, he was a great republican, your dad."

John stopped and stared at him. "What are you trying to say?"

"I'm not trying to say nothing, but if certain people wanted a place to hide certain remains that they didn't want nobody to find, your dad might have possibly obliged them, if you see what I mean."

"Oh, come on, Gabriel. My dad wouldn't have allowed bodies to be buried on his property."

"I wouldn't be too sure, John. There was certain stuff buried here once, under the cowshed, for a while."

"You mean guns?"

"I'm just saying that it might be better for all concerned if we forgot what we found here. They're dead and buried already, these fellows, why disturb them? Your dad's dead and buried, too. You don't want people raking over his reputation now, do you?"

John said, "Gabe, these are human beings, for Christ's sake. If we just cover them up, there are going to be five families who will never know where their sons or their husbands went. Can you imagine anything worse than that?"

"Well, I suppose you're right. But it still strikes me as stirring up trouble when there's no particular call to."

John went into the house. It was gloomy inside, and it always smelled of damp at this time of year. He took off his boots and washed his hands in the small cloakroom at the side of the hall. Then he went into the large quarry-tiled kitchen where his mother was baking. She seemed so small these days, with her white hair and her stooped back and her eyes as pale as milk. She was sieving out flour for tea brack.

"Did you finish the plowing, John?" she asked him.

"Not quite. I have to use the telephone."

He hesitated. She looked up and frowned at him. "Is everything all right?"

"Of course, Mam. I have to make a phone call, that's all."

"You were going to ask me something." Oh, she was cute, his mother.

"Ask you something? No. Don't worry about it." If his father really had allowed the IRA to bury bodies on his land, he very much doubted that he would have confided in his mother. What you don't know can't knock on your door in the middle of the night.

He went into the living room with its tapestry-covered furniture and its big redbrick fireplace, where three huge logs were crackling and Lucifer the black Labrador was stretched out on the rug with his legs indecently wide apart. He picked up the old-fashioned black telephone and dialed 112.

"Hallo? I want the Garda. I need to speak to somebody in charge. Yes. Well, this is John Meagher up at Meagher's Farm in Knocknadeenly. We've dug up some bodies."

Copyright © 2003 by Graham Masterton

"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

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Masterton, Graham
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Masterton, Graham
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