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advance reading copy

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This is an advance reading copy of the uncorrected proofs. Readers are reminded that changes may be made to the copy before publication. All quotations for review must be checked against the fi nal bound book. adult fiction • publication september 2011 978-1-55469-907-0 pb • $9.95 to or der contact:

r aven books

an i m pri nt o f

ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS w w w. r a p i d - r e a d s . c o m • 1 - 8 0 0 - 2 1 0 - 5 2 7 7

Fit To Kill mech ARC.indd 2

JA M ES H EN E G H A N HENEGHAN

brutal serial k iller is murdering women in Vancouver’s West End, leaving their headless bodies to be found in public places. It soon becomes apparent that all his victims are members of the neighborhood fitness center. Sebastian Casey, a reporter with the week ly community newspaper, has just begun to work out at the center. As he gets to know some of the others who use the facility, Casey finds himself drawn into the search for the killer.

FIT TO KILL

Vancouver’s Stanley Park peninsula hunched its granite shoulders against an early November storm. Relentless rain and gale-force winds howled in from the ocean. West Enders knew that something terrible was going to happen. They stayed indoors and waited anxiously.

FIT TO KILL 31/05/11 11:57 AM


advance reading copy

A

This is an advance reading copy of the uncorrected proofs. Readers are reminded that changes may be made to the copy before publication. All quotations for review must be checked against the fi nal bound book. adult fiction • publication september 2011 978-1-55469-907-0 pb • $9.95 to or der contact:

r aven books

an i m pri nt o f

ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS w w w. r a p i d - r e a d s . c o m • 1 - 8 0 0 - 2 1 0 - 5 2 7 7

Fit To Kill mech ARC.indd 2

JA M ES H EN E G H A N HENEGHAN

brutal serial k iller is murdering women in Vancouver’s West End, leaving their headless bodies to be found in public places. It soon becomes apparent that all his victims are members of the neighborhood fitness center. Sebastian Casey, a reporter with the week ly community newspaper, has just begun to work out at the center. As he gets to know some of the others who use the facility, Casey finds himself drawn into the search for the killer.

FIT TO KILL

Vancouver’s Stanley Park peninsula hunched its granite shoulders against an early November storm. Relentless rain and gale-force winds howled in from the ocean. West Enders knew that something terrible was going to happen. They stayed indoors and waited anxiously.

FIT TO KILL 31/05/11 11:57 AM


Advance Reading Copy

fit to kill Ja m es H en e g h a n


For Lucy Copyright © 2011 James Heneghan All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher. Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Advance Reading Copy

To Come First published in the United States, 2011 Library of Congress Control Number: To Come Summary: A journalist finds himself in the midst of the hunt for a brutal serial killer who is murdering women in Vancouver’s West End. (rl 5.0)

Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council®. Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit. Design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by Getty Images orca book publishers orca book publishers po Box 5626, Stn. B po Box 468 Victoria, bc Canada Custer, wa usa v8r 6s4 98240-0468 www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada. 14 13 12 11 • 4 3 2 1


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Ch a p t er O ne

monday, november 6

V

ancouver’s Stanley Park peninsula hunched its granite shoulders against an early November storm. Relentless rain and gale-force winds howled in from the ocean. West Enders knew that something terrible was going to happen. They stayed indoors and waited anxiously. Julie Dagg was an exception. Nothing could make her stay home and miss her workouts. Twenty-five years old, she watched what she ate and kept herself slim and fit with regular workouts. Tuesdays and Thursdays 1


Advance Reading Copy

Ja m e s H e n e g h a n

she practiced yoga and self-defense for two hours at the Tae Kwon Do Academy on Robson Street. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she grunted and sweated through weight training and cardio for an hour at the West End Fitness Center on Denman. Tonight she’d worked mostly with free weights and was now finishing off with twenty minutes of cardio on the stationary bicycle. Life was good. An hour or two each day was all it took. Stay fit, look great, live longer. The gym, almost empty tonight because of the foul weather, would be closing soon, at 10:00 pm. Time to go home. Sauna first, then a quick shower. Her roommate Billie would be waiting for her with a nightcap. A career nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital, Billie was a lot of fun to live with. Before turning in they would watch tv together for a while. Or they might talk again about their plans for next summer’s hiking vacation 2


Advance Reading Copy

Fit t o Kill

in Umbria. It would be Julie’s first trip to Italy. She was looking forward to it. An image from one of Billie’s travel brochures popped into her head. A terraced vineyard under the golden light of an Umbrian sunset. Julie sighed happily. Peeling off her Lycra exercise togs in the changeroom was like shedding a skin. She relaxed in the sauna, then showered and toweled herself dry. She pulled on her warm tracksuit and raincoat and headed out onto a deserted Denman Street, gym bag swinging by her side. She crossed the street, almost blown off her feet in the gusting wind. Traffic lights bounced and screeched on their overhead cables. A man stood well back in the darkness of the Royal Bank doorway watching her. Julie hurried through the rain. Her apartment was only a few blocks away, near Stanley Park. When she reached the mini-park and Pearl’s Restaurant—closed 3


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Ja m e s H e n e g h a n

Mondays—she heard heavy footsteps behind her and quickened her pace. The footsteps came closer. She turned her head and saw a man in a dark raincoat. She dropped her gym bag and ran. The man ran after her. Heart thumping with fear, she whirled around as he reached out to grab her. She ducked her head and moved into him fast. Hard kick. Knee in his crotch. Like the Tae Kwon Do Academy had taught her. He bent, gasping with pain. But he recovered before Julie could jab her apartment key in his eye. With a cry, he hurled himself at her, looping an arm around her neck and cutting off her air. She kicked and struggled. But it was no good—he was too strong. He dragged her into the bushes of the mini-park. Terrified, heart bursting, Julie was forced down onto the ground. She couldn’t cry out or scream, for the arm locked round her neck was like an iron bar. He wound 4


Advance Reading Copy

Fit t o Kill

something—duct tape—around her head, sealing her mouth shut. Then he jerked her arms behind her back and snapped handcuffs onto her wrists. She could hardly breathe. He ripped away her clothing and pressed her body into the wet earth and dead leaves. Then he heaved and gasped above her and spilled words in her ears. All she knew before she died was the sound of his voice, the scream of the wind and the cold wet earth.

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Fit To Kill  

Part of the Rapid Reads series

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