Dedication This is for any and all who have loved and failed or failed to love. To those we never saw and should have and to those we saw and never could have.
May you know the difference and correct it before it's too late.
Elliot Stappler has been in love . . .with Holly Simons Towler for twenty-three years, since the first time he saw her in high school.
Holly didn't know he existed then and she doesn't know he loves her now. Nor does she know the extremes to which he is willing to go.
She did not marry Elliot. She forgot all about Elliot as high school turned into college, as college turned into the rest of her life. She grew up, married and settled into a comfortable lifestyle with her husband, Peter Towler.
She is an author, he is a builder of luxury homes. They have a house in a beautiful area of a Philadelphia suburb, three wonderful kids and a shaggy dog named Stella. They are still happily married, still in love with each other after more than ten years of marriage.
Elliot spent his childhood afraid and abused. He watched his sister die at his father's hands. Elliot was next in line and the beatings became more excruciating as he got older. He watched his mother, always the pathetic victim, submit to Louis. He struggled to hide the family secrets.
His mother instructed him to find someone to love and protect as she could not, someone who would return that love and protection. He listened. She ingrained those precious words into Elliot's young mind as she wiped away his tears and tended to his battered, wounded body. It got branded into his brain; protect. Love. Protect and love.
Elliot obeyed. Elliot found someone to love and protect. Elliot found Holly. He protected her. He waited until the right moment each time, studied and watched, until Holly would have just enough time to grieve and then to see just him. Just Elliot. He'd be waiting and then, he'd love her forever and protect her forever, just as he promised all those years ago. Elliot kept his promise. He eliminated all obstacles that arose to prevent fulfillment of his goal.
There's only one problem. Elliot's idea of protection and elimination is murder.
Richard Gardner is the tenacious detective who is on Elliot's trail, a trail so cold that it's been closed for decades. Richard has to peel away layer after layer of the system that allowed Elliot and his sister to slip through the cracks. As one murder victim after another finally leads Richard to Holly's door, they both realize that there is more happening here than a simple high school crush.
They cross the procedural lines of legality to learn the truth, but neither Holly or Richard, nor Holly's new boyfriend Michael, are aware of, or ready for, what Elliot becomes. And therein lies the true horror, the true nature of Elliot's psychosis and dementia. How could they have known the extent of damage that was the result of the abuse Elliot suffered as a child, or of the deadly results that would ensue? How could they have known when Elliot hid so well the secrets of this ture nature and that of his father's abuse? As he sinks deeper and deeper into his obsession with Holly, they become aware of just how dangerous he really is--and how much danger they risk to stop him. Love and protection is a wonderful promise . . .
Unless your name is Elliot Stappler. Then it's just murder.
Reviews for Reason To Kill:
Stephanie: "You won't want to put the book down until its final, gripping chapter."
Shake: "I discovered this author by accident, and now can't wait to read rest of her books."
Hope: "Ms. Rubin uses her gift of the English language to weave human feelings, behaviours and basic animal instincts to create a masterful story."
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