He has walked through the valley of death and man’s depravity. Now war photographer Mitch Coltrane is trying to escape his memories. A haunting decades-old photograph of a woman pulls him into the mystery of a beautiful starlet during Hollywood’s golden age. But past and present collide. A living woman, eerily like the woman in the photograph, comes into his life. So does a killer—straight from the war hell that Coltrane survived. Deception, double identities, and murderous revenge will shatter his new life, and force Coltrane to perform the ultimate act of courage—not with a camera, but with a gun.
“A sizzling thriller that deftly and powerfully evokes the twisted scope of Los Angeles today. The story grabs you by the short hairs of your soul and your brain and does not let go. It’s a rich and obsessive novel.”
“Fresh, inventive, gripping suspense. Morrell, an absolute matser of the thtiller, plays by his own rules and leaves you dazzled. I’ve been a Morrell fan for years—and now more than ever.”
“A thrilling combination of noir and powerful action.”
—Donald E. Westlake
My riskiest book. My admiration for Hitchcock’s Vertigo led me to structure this novel about a war photographer so that, like a photographic double exposure, it had two plots, one on top of the other. The hero, Mitch Coltrane, takes incriminating pictures of a Bosnia war criminal committing an atrocity. Pursued by the war criminal, Mitch takes refuge in a house that was once owned by a great photographer he admires. There, he discovers photographs from the early thirties, all of which depict the same hypnotically beautiful woman. Mitch becomes so obsessed with those images that he sets out to learn everything possible about the woman and uses that information to help him try to forget his nightmarish memories of the wars he has photographed. The war-criminal plot overlaps with the woman-in-the-photographs plot, just as the past and the present overlap. To research this novel, I took a three-month photography class, spent a lot of time with professional photographers, and interviewed experts in vintage-photography galleries.