At the Phoenix, AZ State Mental Hospital, murderer Anthony Falcone escapes after thirteen years of maliciously being drugged and held with the criminally insane, which he was not. His crime boss father bribed the head of the mental asylum to put and keep him there in order to prevent his son from throwing him to the wolves and cutting a deal with the District Attorney. Anthony’s goal is revenge. Against those who connived to put him there, and those who stopped him from a chance to gain parole from prison, where he really did belong. Anthony blames everyone responsible for the rage that set his life’s path in motion, including an innocent boy who was adopted out as an infant. Woe to all who cross his path.
With the survival of a thirteen-year-old boy in the balance, Paul Meyers, a genealogist veteran who is called The Grave Tracker, is lured into joining the hunt and intent to intercept Anthony and find the unknown boy first with his own unique set of skills. Time is running out…
Chapter One begins thusly: Anthony Falcone had been waiting thirteen years for the opportunity that he now had. He crouched down behind a blue van and carefully scanned the area to make sure none of the guards had spotted him. He tried the doors to several cars before finding an unlocked SUV, and he was in luck with this one. There was a canvas tarp on the floor in the back along with a variety of camping gear, and after crawling in Anthony was able to conceal himself under the tarp quite effectively. Visiting hours at the Arizona State Mental Hospital on the corner of Van Buren and 24th Street were almost over and he wouldn't have long to wait before he would be out the gates. He grew up on the streets of Phoenix and knew places to hide where no one would ever think to look for him, regardless of how many years had passed. He tangibly smelled his impending freedom and felt a rush go to his head. “Calm down,” Tony whispered to himself. “I’ve waited a long time for this chance and I can’t blow it now.”
It was difficult for Tony to restrain his excitement, but he needed to stay motionless in order to avoid being discovered. He knew that if the owner of the SUV didn't come soon, the attendant’s body he had left in the bathroom would be discovered and the gates would automatically be closed the instant the alarms went off. If they caught him, he wouldn’t get another chance like this, and then he would be trapped forever.
Tony struggled to keep his breathing shallow and silent when he heard footsteps approaching the passenger door. The door opened and he felt the SUV’s springs give as someone of substantial weight slid into the driver's seat, click the seat belt on, and start the engine. Loud country music blasted through the speakers as soon as the engine kicked in and, for a split second, Tony panicked as he misinterpreted the music for the hospital sirens starting up. He mindlessly tensed up in readiness to attack the unsuspecting driver when reality kicked in, just in time to avoid disaster. Gradually he relaxed as the SUV began to roll out of the parking lot and toward the gates that led to his freedom.
The vehicle pulled up in front of the guard booth and Tony heard the guard laughing and joking with the driver. He quietly began whispering over and over to himself, “Don’t let them look back here; don’t let them find me.” Sweat trickled into his eyes and he was sure that they could smell his fear.
When the SUV began to move forward once again Tony had to suppress his immense relief. Now all he had to do was to wait for the right opportunity to leave the vehicle without being seen. He didn't want anyone reporting where he was since he knew he had scores to settle before his probable death. If his father didn’t have him killed first, he would kill himself before he allowed anyone to take him back to that horrible place where his father had secured his imprisonment.
Also by Teresa Marotta
"Set in South Carolina, "My Father's Daughter" is an engaging historical novel that takes place in the late 1800s after the expulsion of Native Americans from the eastern shores of the nation. It's the story of Amelia, a young woman who upon the death of her father sets out to find a half-sister she had previously been unaware of. Amelia joins with a trapper who is more hindrance than help. Along the way there are heroes -- and the need for one.