PROLOGUE

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New York, Spring of 2008

As night throws its dark veil over Manhattan’s skyline, I know I’ll be out there again, taking another life. Murdering used to be the only way to stop my hands from shaking and to quiet the agonizing itch inside my chest. But now, I no longer feel a sense of accomplishment, or even a fragment of that inner silence I used to call peace

    Doctors say psychopaths are cold-blooded creatures, incapable of feeling compassion or empathy. Well, I’ve proved them right time and time again. But life is ironic, I’ve always said. And what could be more ironic than a serial killer falling in love?

It happened to me, and my obsession with her has since led me into strange territory. 

I know very little about love or how to deal with it. I recognize, however, the craving that comes along with it, because craving has always been familiar to me.

My name is Tristan Donovan and I have been depopulating the human race since I was a teenager. Had I ever been caught, a psychiatrist would have said in my defense that my abusive father had contributed to my fractured environment, and my schizophrenic mother had passed on her wayward genes. But it’s actually chance that puts the pieces of our lives’ puzzle together.  Thus, had anyone else been in my shoes, that poor soul might have become what I am today. 

As a criminal attorney myself, I learned that most murderers were once harmless individuals who – due to an unrelated combination of unfortunate variables – slipped over to reside somewhere between their own dark world and yours. And we are out there, in the ordinary places you frequent, charming you with pleasantries to gain your trust. Some enjoy the hunt and find pleasure in the kill. Others have a purpose, and killing is simply a means to an end. 

I definitely belong to the second group. I am the reason many people never returned home. But I never thought of myself as a serial killer until I began selecting important victims whose deaths made headlines. For the past eight years, I have been featured in the news as a menace that preys on the powerful and wealthy, yet no one has a clue who I am. 

Due to the impeccable crime scenes I leave behind, the press and the FBI refer to me as The Ghost. Indeed, I am feared like a mystical creature that surges from the depths to devour the living. The most incredible part of all is that I’m often accompanied by acquaintances when they first read the headlines, “The Ghost Strikes Again!” 

They share their fear and indignation with me and I pretend to sympathize.

Serial killer? I still don’t like the term. It brings to mind old movies about losers who live in basements and drive beat up vans. At the age of 38, I am a reclusive millionaire, retired early from a successful career to enjoy my fortune. My playground is a dreamland of mansions, yachts and private jets. I socialize with celebrities, make sizable donations to charities, and sleep with women who wake up safely the next morning. 

I would describe myself as an actor who has mastered the art of murdering. By wearing my “mask of sanity,” I’ve been able to commit my crimes throughout the years and continue to be the model citizen and the good friend. I am the man any woman would aspire to date or at least spend a night in bed with. Any woman, except for one – the one who changed everything.

This story is about her.

About the man she chose over me.

And about my obsession with destroying their love.

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