At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted him. Cody was a basement dog, rescued out of Philly. He had scabs all across his front and hind legs from sleeping on concrete for so long. He’d never been neutered, which made me suspect he’d just been used for breeding. He was a big, powerful, yellow lab with a coat like a lion’s mane. When I first went to meet him, he didn’t know how to act around people. I brought him a few toys, and he ignored them completely. He seemed wild and to be honest, a little scary.
At the time, my daughter was just eight, and tiny, and the night before we brought him home I lay in bed terrified that something would go wrong.
The rescue foundation had taken a picture of him while he was still chained up in the basement, and in it, he was looking up at the camera. I started to wonder what his life had been like, lying down there, listening to the family above, maybe wanting nothing more than to be a part of the pack.
Me and the kids went to get him from the shelter, and I took him over to the car. The kids got in the back seat and I had to heave him into the front seat, because he seemed too confused to understand he was coming with us. Well, I thought. Here goes nothing.
The second the car started moving, he squeezed between the two front seats and forced himself into the back. He laid down across both kids’ laps and they petted him and played with him the entire ride home. That was it. He was our dog after that.
I dressed him up Star Trek shirts and cool bandanas and took him on daily walks and yelled at him to move over when he took up the entire bed. I carried him through the snow when he decided he didn’t like the way the ice felt on his paws and wouldn’t walk any further.
It lasted two years. Two very good years. The vet found the first tumor in his back leg and operated on it. Assuring me it was all gone. It came back six months later, worse than before. Inoperable, they said. Something needs to be done quick, they said.
Putting him down was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It happened two years ago, and I’m still not over it. That day, his last day, he ate like a king. He had steak and ice cream and cookies and anything else I could find. The vet’s office was in the basement of an old converted house. Another basement. I thought I’d rescued him from that, but there we were, back in another one. The last one.
Over time I’ve come to accept that he was probably sick when I got him. And if he wasn’t sick already, it was going to happen soon. His two years with us were the best we could have asked for, and we made the most of them. I’ve tried to tell myself that even though we wound up back in the basement, the difference was, this time he had me with him.
He was my beautiful, brave, dummy. My slobbery best friend. I haven’t gotten a new dog yet. I guess I’m still not over it. Maybe someday. Just not yet.
On July 31st, everyone who registers will be emailed “The Fuming Chamber,” an exclusive short story by Bernard Schaffer, and one lucky winner will receive a Streamlight High Lumen Tactical Flashlight so you can always stay in the light!
From veteran police detective Bernard Schaffer comes a powerful new thriller that crackles with authenticity, page-turning suspense, and spellbinding glimpses into the criminal mind . . .
“It was one thing to fantasize about evil, to reach into the darkness and play with it a little . . .”
Rookie cop Carrie Santero has always been fascinated by serial killers. As a teenager, she wrote a letter to Charles Manson in prison—and received a chilling reply. Then she came face to face with a child murderer in her small Pennsylvania town, an encounter that haunts her to this day. Now, as a detective in training, she finally has her chance to make a difference; to hunt down a psychopathic sadist who embodies the very nature of evil itself.
“. . . but it was something different when it knew your name.”
The killer draws inspiration from the most twisted minds in modern crime. Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Ed Gein. The Green River Killer. As the body count rises, Carrie and her boss, Chief Bill Waylon, realize they’re dealing with an unpredictable “omnikiller” who cannot be profiled. Their only hope is to enlist the help of Jacob Rein, a brilliant but tarnished former detective who has plumbed the darkest recesses of the soul. Who has seen the heart of darkness. And whose insights on evil could lead Carrie to the point of no return.
Praise For The Thief Of All Light
“Bernard Schaffer is the real thing. He writes about cops with the assurance of a seasoned police veteran, and his debut The Thief of All Light launches a stunning series with two of the most original heroes ever—as well as a killer who sets a new standard for lethal danger.” —Lisa Scottoline
“From its first three lines, The Thief of All Light announces itself as a stylish, attention-getting thriller. Its speed and intensity are matched by the most engaging pair of detectives I’ve seen in a long while.” —David Morrell
“Schaffer is the real deal. His writing will knock you out.” —J.A. Konrath
“Schaffer’s experience as a police officer lends verisimilitude to the attitudes and actions of his cast. . . . The character of Jacob bodes well for the sequel.” – Publishers Weekly
“Schaffer’s knowledge of detective work, particularly the toll it takes on those involved in a case, is evident. He dives deeply into the psyche of the officers, the inner angst, frustrations, and doubts; getting into the minds of the criminals they’re trying to catch, and dealing with the guilt and desperation that often results in the process. VERDICT: strong on the emotional struggles of the characters… appeal to fans of Brian Freeman, J.A. ¬Kerley, and Meg Gardiner.” – Library Journal
“Shaffer’s experience as a police officer lends verisimilitude to the attitudes and actions of his cast.”- Publishers Weekly