Touching Evil Summary

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Detective Inspector Dave Creegan is the newest member of London's Organized and Serial Crime Unit (OSC), a fictional rapid-response, elite crime squad modeled on the FBI. Creegan and his partner Detective Inspector Susan Taylor square off against England's most dangerous criminals, including a serial murderer of children, a killer intent on murdering hospital patients and a cyber-criminal who stalks young surfers.

In Part 1, Three children have been abducted. The only clues so far are a daffodil, a yellow Volvo, and the testimony of a deranged psychic who seen their eventual murder "through the clouds." Creegan discovers that the disappearance of the boys and the curious disposition of daffodils recall a similar unsolved incident in Stuttgart, Germany, several years before. It's determined that the owner of the Volvo is pharmaceutical engineer Dr. Ronald Hinks, formerly of Stuttgart, but searches of Hinks' residence and laboratory yield no hard evidence. Locked in a stalemate with Hinks and desperate to find the children, Creegan decides to take matters into his own hands.

In Part 2, Creegan, Taylor and the OSC are called in to investigate the suspicious deaths of three London hospital patients, all killed within hours of each other by a drug that none had been prescribed. Again, the clues are few and enigmatic: each victim sports a patch of bare skin with a faint outline of "Let me go" tattooed upon it--and each was treasted by Dr. Elizabeth Walker, an outspoken advocate of euthanasia. Under questioning from Creegan and Taylor, Walker admits to have partially erased one of the messages, which, she says, actually read "Let me go back." The case painfully reminds Creegan of his own near-death experience, having survived a bullet to the head. Investigating further, Creegan confirms that all three victims had at one time clinically died and were subsequently resuscitated. Certain that he and the killer, like the victims, share in common a "trip to the other side," Creegan sets a trap only to find himself ensnared.

In Part 3, someone has developed a cyberspace site that manipulates young Web users into committing violent crimes. "Amathus," the site's featured gothic fantasy game, coaches players through a series of violent "tests" -- from mutilating horses to homicide. Creegan and Taylor zero in on a group of local college students. Examining the bizarre manner in which the bodies of their victims have been mutilated, Creegan realizes it mirrors a notorious case of 15 years earlier involving a now-incarcerated prostitute, Justine Barber. He suspects that the elusive "Amathus" Webmaster is obsessed with Justine and enlists her support as decoy to catch them. Meanwhile, another member of the OSC team, D.S. Jonathan Kreitman, struggles to face down his own personal demons, and chooses his own brand of justice over the law.