“Is it normal to have
to manipulate the people in charge just to get anything done?”
Rein set the packet
of papers on the floor behind Carrie’s seat. “To be a detective
means knowing what
people want and using it to your advantage. If you read a person
correctly, you learn
how to exploit them. It’s only natural.”
Rein leaned back and
closed his eyes, resting while he could. “The only
people better at it
than us are the maniacs we chase after.”
Bernard Schaffer, Blood Angel, Kindle Loc. 2958
detective and a manhunter team up against a madman in this “tense, fast, and
excellent” series by the veteran cop and author of An Unsettled Grave (Lee
Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series).
Fifteen years ago, a deranged young man abducted a teenage girl in a parking
lot. He chose her for her innocence. Then he punished her for her beauty. Then
he dowsed her with gasoline and tried to purify her with fire. Det. Jacob Rein
managed to stop the lunatic before it was too late. But now the girl who survived
that horrible ordeal has been found dead of an apparent suicide. Near her body
is a letter from “The Master”—a blood-chilling promise to finish what he
About to be released from the mental facility, The Master has chosen new
objects of his twisted desire—all of whom are dear to Det. Carrie Santero.
Carrie reaches out to Jacob, the one man who understands the depths of The
Master’s psychosis. He knows that the only way to anticipate The Master’s next
move is to enter his delusions, indulge his obsessions, and follow his lead to
the very edge of madness.
Schaffer’s Santero and Rein Thriller series focuses on the crimes of those lost
in criminal psychosis. For me, the book was hard to read because of the
violence wrought on the victims, but there are fans of this genre who will love
this series. Blood Angel is the third in this series released by Kensington
Press on May 26.
What I do love about Schaffer’s series are his characterizations
of the police detectives featured. Their unique personalities come through
during the intense crime scenes they investigate. You will root for them,
hoping they save the lives of targeted people, victims of the deranged.
Please welcome Bernard Schaffer back to WWK. Here’s
a link to his first WWK interview. E. B. Davis
Reading your books is enough to make a normal person
paranoid. What percentage of the population do your perpetrators comprise?
Thank you so much for having me back. I truly appreciate your
I'm not certain of the actual percentage of full-blown serial
homicidal maniacs to the general population. I don't know if anyone actually
knows that. It's much smaller than what you'd see on television or read about
in fictional thrillers. You can't throw a rock without hitting some new kind of
serial killer in those.
Waylon and Rein were partners fifteen years ago.
They usually disagreed, yet they cover each other’s backs years later. Why
would Waylon volunteer to be Rein’s partner when no one else wants to be? Why
does Rein treat Waylon harshly? Do they balance each other?
I think anyone who's ever had a quirky friend or tumultuous
relationship with someone difficult can understand that sometimes, you're just
stuck with certain people. It's especially true in the police world, where you
form deep, long-lasting bonds that go beyond friendship. You share things with
a partner at work as a detective that no one else will ever understand.
Rein talks about two cases: Anton LaVey and Dean
Corll. Are either cases true or did you make them up?
LaVey and Dean Corll were real people. LaVey wasn't a case,
necessarily. He was the founder of the Church of Satan and would routinely
appear on talk shows and scare the bajeezus out of Middle America, but that's
about it. Rein's comments in the book that mainstream Satanism is essentially
an exercise in satire reflect my opinion of it as well.
Dean Corll is a different matter. He was a serial killer.
I thought all cop cars had disabled overhead lights.
such thing as "all cop cars," unfortunately. They're all different
models, brands, years, etc. When it comes to undercover cars, they're just
regular cars that sometimes have a radio or rudimentary lighting installed.
Rein’s behavior can be outrageous. When interviewing
a hysterical mother, whose child has been abducted, he shakes her. How does he
get away with this behavior?
Because in that case, it was necessary. Rein's the kind to get a
result now and deal with the consequences later. In that matter, he needed to
find an abducted girl and the mother was in a state of hysteria. Obviously, he
pays a big price for his behavior throughout the course of his life.
Tucker Pennington is a juvenile who maims and
attempts to kill young women. He’s locked into a psychiatric hospital. Who is
the female doctor with long black hair and green eyes with cat-eyed glasses? Is
she his hallucination?
I think that's best left up to the reader to decide.
Note that when she speaks, there are no quotation marks.
In Blood Angel,
psychiatric criminals are released from hospitals due to budget cuts. What do
you think of prisoners being released due to the Covid-19 virus?
From what I can tell, they are careful in their selection of who
is being released. At least in Pennsylvania, where I live. I can't speak to
what's going on in any other parts of the country, but I know here they are
taking steps to make sure no one is released who is a threat to the community.
What does “Civil Commitment” mean?
It's explained in the book, as far as what it means to the story.
In real life, it's where a person is no longer serving a prison sentence, but
they are too mentally ill to release to the general public.
Bubba and Zeke are gun dealers, who you portray as
right-wing hicks. Carrie stops by their gun shop to ask directions. Bubba shows
her a gun with a laser sight mounted underneath. She shies away from it, but then
later produces a weapon very similar to it. Did she go back and buy it? (I
would have knowing what she knows!)
Well, it's either that or she stole it, I guess. I'm pretty sure
Carrie took a look at what they were up against and decided to go back and get
herself some extra firepower. I agree with you. I would have too.
Two years ago, Carrie and a child were abducted.
Waylon and Rein saved them, but in the process Waylon’s throat was cut, not
enough to kill him, but enough to permanently disable him. How was he treated
by his department? Is this typical?
My work is really just fiction. I don't base it on my career in
law enforcement. There are no hidden messages about real-life incidents.
Most of the abusers/perpetrators were abused as
children. Tucker Pennington is characterized as the son of a wealthy realtor.
Was he abused? Parents or priest?
I subscribe to the Hemingway Iceberg Theory. It's what the author
doesn't tell you that counts. Once a book is released it goes out into the
world and everyone gets to come at it their own way. Some people will see
different things in Tucker's backstory, and in their own way, each of them is
How do Dr. Linda Shelley and Rein meet? Why is Rein
there? What are their professional differences?
They meet in prison while Rein is serving his prison sentence for
events that took place prior to The Thief of All Light.
Why does Linda hold Carrie responsible for what
happened to Rein?
I'd hate to put words in Linda's mouth. She isn't shy about
letting Carrie know.
Statistically, why is the most likely place for a
serial killer to be found is lurking by a Walmart in Florida?
I don't think that's an actual statistic. Just more of a given.
Walmarts tend to be associated with certain crimes just because they're usually
open twenty-four hours, carry a wide variety of merchandise, and people can
park their cars there for extended periods of time. It's probably a matter of
As far as Florida goes, well, if you had to pick a place for crazy
to happen, and there was money on the line, you can't go wrong picking that
were the experiments done on black soldiers at Tuskegee in WWII?
I'm no expert on what occurred there. I have only read the same
material everyone else has. Essentially, the American government experimented
on unwitting African American citizens for forty years.
Is there such a thing as volunteer police? Is that
the situation that just happened in Georgia?
There are multiple agencies who use volunteer police to varying
extents. I have no idea what happened in Georgia beyond what appeared on the
Are judges and DAs exempt from law suits but not
In Pennsylvania that's the case. I'm not sure what laws they have
in other states.
When deer bucks fight and get their antlers
entangled, can they really pop each other’s heads off?
Sure. I think generally it's when one perishes during the fight
but they are still stuck together and the other one has to choose between
staying there and starving to death or finding a way to escape. There are
photographs online if you really want to see. Tread carefully though.
How does particulate matter composed of flour and
sugar cause a flash explosion?
I'm not sure about the exact formula and if I was, I wouldn't say.
For all I know, I'm wrong about the percentage of serial killers out there and
there is some homicidal baker just waiting for that info!
What’s next for Santero and Rein?
Well, Blood Angel is
the third in the series and that will be out in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook
on 5/31/20. It will come out in paperback in the summer of 2021.
At the moment I'm writing a western series for Berkley. The first
one, Face Of A Snake, will be out
next year and we have two more after that.
Honestly, Blood Angel
may be my final thriller. I had a tremendous editor in Michaela Hamilton, and
with her guidance, we created a series where each book improved on the other
and was never in danger of repeating anything.
The Santero and Rein series says everything I ever needed to say
about police work. It reveals the impact of a life spent dealing with the worst
in humanity. It talks about sacrifice and redemption, and in the end, I think
it talks about love.
I'm not sure I'll ever feel the need to come back and elaborate on
what The Thief of All Light, An Unsettled Grave, and Blood Angel, offer. For now, I'm
exploring the old west. After that, who knows? Maybe I'll write a cookbook or medieval
poetry or something.