The Next Best Thing by Wiley Brooks
English | 2019 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 595 Kb
The Next Best Thing : The year is 1987 in Malaysia. It’s prime time for young backpackers from around the world to discover the beauties and mysteries of the long-time British colony. It’s hard not to like Joey Jackson. He oozes charm to go with his good looks. Young women are especially taken by him. Right up until he kills them. Ex-CIA officer Mason Ray plans to find him and stop him. For good.
A grieving, angry dad hires Mason to track Joey down. Mason, though, is soon falling apart himself. The ex-CIA officer had committed a horrible act out of revenge years before for the violence death of his fiancé. His barbaric actions didn’t bring his Sylvie back, but it was, as he liked to say, the next best thing. He had killed the “high value target” who ordered the bomb that took her life.
Mason hasn’t thought much about the ugly things he did that day over the years. He did what he had to do and moved on. Something about this case, though, strikes too close to home. He doesn’t see it coming. Images of the innocent lives he took that otherwise beautiful day come rushing back. They jolt him awake most nights and plague his thoughts most days. These problems don’t stop Mason, a first-rate investigator, from doggedly pursuing Joey. Turns out that Joey isn’t even his real name. And he’s far from the young man people think he is.
Joey is a serial killer. All of Joey’s victims are young American women traveling alone in Malaysia. All blonde. All 19 to 22 years old. Joey’s smart. He never kills in the same place twice and he spaces his victims months apart.
One day Joey realizes that his days bedding and killing young women can’t go on forever. Already, he can see small age lines in his face. There will come a time, he is sure, when the young, free-spirited women – girls, really – that his scheme relies on will no longer invite him back to their rooms. Joey decides he needs to do one last big hit that will set him up for life. He had been making enough off the girls’ cash and belongings to live well, but there was no future in it. Joey comes up with a plan to set him up for life. To make it work, he needs to find a slightly older woman with money in the bank back home.
“The driver closed the door and the bus pulled away. The destination sign on the front said Mersing, which explained the backpacking travelers. Mersing is a small fishing port on the lower east coast of Malaysia and the jumping off point for Tioman Island.
“How long you been traveling?” Suzy asked.
“I left home about six months ago,” Amanda said. “Started in India and worked my way east. I’m giving myself a year. At least that was the plan when I left home. Not so sure now. Might be longer.”
“It will be,” Suzy said. “When I left home, I told my folks six months. I couldn’t imagine then that I’d want to be away more than that.”
“How long ago did you leave?”
“Nine months now. And no plan to stop anytime soon. You meet all these people who have been on the road for way longer. I traveled with an Irish guy in Laos who had been traveling for four years. Blows my mind. Four fucking years. Can you believe it?” Amanda shook her head no.
“When I asked him about his plans,” Suzy continued, “he would just say something like, ‘Suze, you have to let go of your American fixation on ‘building’ a life. Life happens, babe. It’s the journey. Just love the journey.’” She said it like a stoner with an Irish accent.”