In a private suite at a New York hospital, Beatrice "Babe" Vanderwalk Devens awakens from a seven-year coma. The socialite and fashion designer is stunned to learn that her husband, Scottie, was brought to trial twice - and acquitted - for her attempted murder. Across town, the naked, mutilated body of a young man wearing a black leather bondage mask is found in an empty apartment in the Beaux Arts Tower, high atop the Museum of Modern Art.
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For alcoholic former actress Leigh Baker, the moment will always be suspended in time: Seeing her daughter plunge to her death from the terrace of a sixth-floor apartment. Months later, the man responsible is convicted by a jury of his peers. Four years after that, he is out on parole. And one by one, those whose testimony helped put James Delancey away meet violent ends. Manhattan doyenne Oona Aldridge is the first. She is found in the dressing room of a trendy Manhattan boutique, her throat slashed.
The first body is found in a hamper in the woods. Her feet were tied with a leather belt. There are traces of incense on her dismembered body, candle wax on her skin, and strange crumbs on her lips. As more butchered adolescent corpses turn up - the victims of a serial killer whose signature is the communion wafer left in each one's mouth - the evidence leads NYPD lieutenant Vince Cardozo into the sacred and moneyed world of Manhattan's exclusive parishes.
NYPD homicide cop Vince Cardozo must unmask a cunning killer in best-selling author Edward Stewart's powerhouse tale of crime and punishment. When it comes to the dark side of humanity, Vince Cardozo has already seen plenty. But his encounter with cult leader Corey Lyle will challenge even Cardozo. Lyle stands accused of a brutal terrorist bombing and the murder of a Manhattan power couple. His trial transfixes the city - but nothing about the case is what it seems.