The Messiah Prophecy Murders : Book II: A Severe Mercy
If Quentin Tarantino and Fyodor Dostoyevsky were to meet on a street in old St. Petersburg and agree to collaborate on a story, the Messiah Prophecy Murders is the story they would write: Deep in war-torn Poland in September 1939, a Red Army soldier, about to execute a wounded Polish officer, is brought to a trembling halt when he recognizes the officer as a boyhood friend's father, who had been deeply generous to his own father when he was in desperate need of help to feed his impoverished family. With the recollection of the father's acts of kindness, the soldier hesitates, fires a round harmlessly into the ground, and whispers to the officer to lie still so that nearby soldiers who heard the shot will think their comrade did his duty and finished off the enemy officer. The consequences of that act of mercy then caromed through time and space and the lives of the combatants and their progeny to land in a courtroom in Newport, Rhode Island in a trial for murder in which the Polish officer's son, Piotr Zaborski, has been framed and betrayed by the soldier's son, Nicolay Speshnev, both of whom are naturalized U.S. citizens after having immigrated from Poland in their teens nearly thirty years earlier. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the posh resort community of Newport was convulsed by the slayings of the stunningly beautiful daughters of three of its ultra-wealthy Summer Colony families. The features of the murders and the evidence found at each of the crime scenes, most notably a handwritten prophecy of Christ's Second Coming, strongly suggest that the killer is driven by depraved religious compulsions and obsessions. Suspicion falls heavily on Zaborski who, years earlier while a novice at a nearby Benedictine monastery, was expelled from the monastery for mysterious reasons. Since his expulsion, he has become a fixture on the streets of Newport, known for his often homeless, destitute, and eccentric existence; for his ostentatious and frequent public displays of intense religiosity and aggressive Pro Life advocacy; and for his irrepressible habit of endlessly and seemingly aimlessly roaming the streets of Newport at all hours of the day and night dressed in filthy dumpster clothing embellished by an ever-present, outsized monk's rosary and crucifix draped conspicuously around his neck. In the heated, nearly hysterical atmosphere of Newport in the weeks after the murders, the unsubstantiated accusations and inchoate suspicions directed at Zaborski harden into the conviction that he is the killer when law enforcement leaks to the media the text of the crime scene prophecies and the reports of forensic experts concluding that the prophecies were written in Zaborski's hand. With public opinion howling for Zaborski's neck and with the summer tourist season fast approaching, the city fathers mount a campaign of their own to pressure law enforcement into arresting Zaborski in the hope that with his arrest, Newport will be able to return to its customary celebratory and pleasure-seeking ways with crowded sun-dappled beaches, packed hotels, and boisterous bars and restaurants. The hope proves illusory, however, as the murder and mayhem continue even after Zaborski's arrest and incarceration pending trial. From his perch as the maitre d' of one of Newport's poshest waterfront restaurants, the psychopathic but Armani-sleek and charismatic Speshnev resumes his bloody siege of Newport which keeps the resort community in the grip of a crippling fear and dread. Despite the further acts of violence while Zaborski is incarcerated the state relentlessly pursues its indictment against him. Eventually, it is only through the tenacious investigative efforts of Zaborski's pro-bono but celebrated Boston defense counsel Anthony Caro and Caro's local Newport co-counsel and love interest ,Maura Boyle, that the long ago events in Poland are unearthed. That all leads to the evidence that wins Zaborski's acquittal at trial and to the arrest of Speshnev for the murders.