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The Fleshing

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The Fleshing

Authored by Walter Jarvis


What if you could live forever? Would you do so if you knew that first you had to die yourself? Or that other people would have to die at your hands so you could maintain your immortality?

Would you be willing to become a monster that feeds off the living by making love to them, knowing eventually your love-making will destroy them? You would, if you were one of the Chosen, a secret and select group of immortals under the sway of Andre Van Dorn, who has discovered a serum that blocks the aging process—but at a terrible price.

Van Dorn has only one rule for those in his circle: the secrecy of the Chosen is inviolable. Anyone who breaks this rule by resuming contact with people from their past life must be destroyed. And not only the perpetrator, but those closest to him as well.

When Jack Cavenaugh rescues his old business partner and friend Phillip Lassiter from a mugging on a deserted Manhattan street, he breaks Van Dorn’s first commandment by wanting to find out what happened to his wife and children. Lassiter agrees, but can’t get over the knowledge that Cavenaugh has come back from the dead. He attended Cavenugh’s funeral 20 years ago, believing him dead and buried all this time.

That simple request begins a gradual descent into horror that engulfs two families. It is not enough for Cavenaugh to learn a few details, reluctantly relayed to him by Lassiter. He decides he must go to the West Coast to see them in the flesh. Against the advice of Madelaine Cray, a former lover, Cavenaugh goes anyway, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to horrific deaths, the shredding of family relationships, a loss of faith, and the pursuit of an immortality that is as destructive to those who seek it as it is greedily guarded by its possessors.

After arriving in Los Angeles, Cavenaugh begins to intrude on the lives of his family in sinister ways, shadowing them from a distance, putting together more and more details about their personal lives. He learns that his only daughter Susan was so damaged by his infidelities that she has become an inhabitant of a netherworld of adult videos and couple-swapping parties. He son Mark, acting as a kind of counterpoint to Cavenaugh, has become an Episcopal priest in Orange County.

Neither of Cavenaugh’s children has had any contact with each other for years, and only Mark is close to his mother Mary, who still lives in the huge, isolated family home in Pasadena. “My life ended with your father’s death,” she tells him at one point.

Helplessly drawn into these dysfunctional relationships are Lassiter and his own family: his wife Elizabeth, whose long-ago affair with Cavenaugh permanently marred their marriage; and his daughter Jennifer, young, pretty, struggling to break away from brutally possessive boyfriend and perversely vulnerable to Jack Cavenaugh’s ageless charms.

Just as Madelaine had warned, Van Dorn comes to Los Angeles in pursuit, dragging her along with him. They camp at a Hollywood hotel and enlist the aid of Harry Nivens, a bell boy with aspirations of being an actor, first to lure victims into their reach, and then to help them track down Cavenaugh.

Their pursuit carries them across a sun-drenched Southern California landscape of strip clubs and Pasadena estates, of quiet Orange County neighborhoods and Hollywood street corners where hookers prowl, to a final confrontation in the High Desert, where Cavenaugh dares to bargain with his mentor Van Dorn and his former lover Madelaine Cray for the formula that has given them all life after death.

It is here that Lassiter must make a final stand to protect the daughter he loves. She has become the object of Cavenaugh’s all-consuming desire, and he is willing to risk everything, even her immortal soul, to ensure that she remains by his side forever.

Publication Date:
0615767966 / 9780615767963
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.5" x 8.5"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Fiction / Thrillers

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