CINDY THOMAS SAT in the back seat of a Lincoln Town Car heading toward Book Passage in Corte Madera. It was Saturday afternoon, the first stop on her book tour, and she had every reason to be excited.
It had been a whirlwind since she’d sold the project. Given the hot subject matter, her publisher had accelerated the production schedule to push out finished copies in record time.
Prepublication reviews had been outstanding. Industry buzz had it that her book could hit number one on the New York Times Best Seller list. If that came to pass, it would be an honor and a miracle, but she wasn’t feeling the buzz, not even close.
In the course of writing Evan Burke’s authorized biography, she’d been repeatedly shocked by Burke’s ruthlessness, the pleasure he took in killing. Unable to wall herself off from the sicken‐ ing details of his crimes, Cindy had come to know Evan Burke too well. And that knowledge had changed her.
Cindy held the book in her lap tightly with both hands. She flipped it over to look again at Burke’s photo on the back cover. He looked ordinary: A white man with an unlined face and a full head of hair who could be anywhere from his fifties to his seventies. He’d had work done, too, getting his face sculpted and chemically abraded. That rolled back his age by ten to twenty years. His brown eyes looked kind. But Evan Burke had never felt kindness. He was a psychopath, a serial killer who’d racked up over a hundred murders before he was finally caught in the act.
Injured in a shoot‐out with police, he’d been arrested, hospitalized, and charged with murder in the first degree.
That should have been a full stop, the end of the story, but Evan Burke’s narcissism couldn’t be stopped. While still being treated for his injuries, cuffed and shackled to a hospital bed, he’d asked to see Cindy Thomas, star crime reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle.
The 23rd Midnight
If You Haven’t Read the Women's Murder Club, Start Here
The latest in this “successful and suspenseful” (Entertainment Weekly) series: an attention-seeking copycat is recreating murders by a famous killer from the Women’s Murder Club’s past—with devastating new twists.
Detective Lindsay Boxer put serial killer Evan Burke in jail.
Reporter Cindy Thomas wrote a book that put him on the bestseller list.
An obsessed maniac has turned Burke’s true-crime story into a playbook. And is embellishing it with gruesome touches all his own.
Now Lindsay’s tracking an elusive suspect, and the entire Murder Club is facing destruction.