Mystery/Crime, 250 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud
In The Most Toys, acclaimed crime-fiction author & former psychiatric nurse, Matthew Malekos joins forces with the British serial killer, Dennis Nilsen, to produce the third novel in the Dr Karen Laos series, which tells the ongoing story of the fictional forensic pathologist first seen in Peroxide Homicide and thereafter in Snow Wasted.
The Most Toys finds Dr Laos attending a conference on missing people in the heart of central London when she is contacted by private investigator and ex-cop, Sean Hilt, who is seeking her expertise and assistance to help solve a large number of cases of missing young adults. The more involved in the investigation she becomes, the more apparent it is that the missing people she is trying to help locate all share a common history of petty crime and involvement with prison and social services. Dr Laos soon identifies a disturbing trade in human body parts and shortly after her suspicions are raised that a necrophiliac serial killer is on the loose, she too finds herself subject to the potentially disastrous actions of one the novel's key antagonists.
Desmond Nickleton had spent the last hour prising open the wooden floorboards that comprised the surface of a corner of a dining room area on the lower ground floor of his large family house. The room itself measured an impressive forty-nine by fory-five feet; a rare commodity in modern day London, all the more so when Nickleton reminded himself that he lived alone and, rather than grow and adapt to the space of his living area, he had somehow managed to make the house adapt to him. There had been times during his work over the past couple of years that he had not been able to make his mind up about whether or not to keep the corpses of those he had murdered. On such rare occasions where he found himself unable to make up his mind, he had decided to simply place the bodies into what he called his "storage area."
Although not as special as the small audience of reanimated corpses he kept in the theatre upstairs, these were victims of which he had felt unable to completely let go. The agreement he had come to with Benjamin Turnbull was such that a brown A5 sized envelope would frequently drop onto his doormat; in it would be the names, descriptions, and a photograph of those Turnbull wanted disposed.
Nickleton would sit for several hours studying the photographs of those that had to be killed.
He would look carefully at their facial features and body shape, and judge his physiological reaction to what he saw. If he felt excited when he looked at the photographs, he would place them aside on a small pile that told him these were his to do with as he pleased. If, however, he felt no physiological reaction from a photograph, he would place it into another pile, and later that day outsource the work to anonymous others.
Other than a few items of antiquated furniture, Nickleton's dining room was relatively sparse-on the surface at least-and he was therefore able to remove several floorboards in the southern corner of the room easily. He reached his hands into the gaping space and pulled out several well-sealed bags. In them he had placed various remains of more than half a dozen bodies he had been unsure about what to do with. He hated this stage of his work; disposing permanently the remains he knew he could have enjoyed and preserved had his workload not been so demanding.
In order to make sure the bodies fitted neatly underneath the floorboards into the two foot deep foundations, he had dismembered them, usually separating the torso from the lower half of the victims' bodies, but sometimes had dismembered them into three sections, depending on need. He found keeping two or three whole sections intact easier to store. The last time he had conducted such a clear-out was exactly a year previously.
On this occasion, Desmond Nickleton wanted to try his hand at a new "fad" he had read about in a national newspaper. He needn't tell his paymaster about this; it would be an additional self-bonus for the enterprising nature of the work he was completing. He would dispose of the majority of body parts that took up a great deal of space beneath his floorboards. On this occasion, however, he would keep one bag of mixed body parts for himself.