As with many writers, I am often asked where I get my inspiration.
In the case of the two sequels I have planned for Two Graves, my inspiration came from the Long Island Serial Killer.
I was in New York, attending a writing conference, not long after they found the first bodies. Naturally, it was in all the news. The first bodies had been found while police searched for a missing woman, Shannan Gilbert, along Ocean Parkway in Long Island. She has still not been found. Instead, police have found 10 bodies – eight women, a young Asian male and a toddler.
Initially the Suffolk County Police department had considered the possibility that there was more than one killer. It was even speculation that one could be a former police officer. The consensus now seems to be a single killer and he has likely been killing for as long as 15 years. However, they do not suspect Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance is related to the Long Island Killer.
Police have only been able to identify five women: Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, Megan Waterman, 22, Maureen Brainer-Barnes, 25 and Jessica Taylor, 20. All of these women worked as escorts, advertising on Craigslist.
Jessica’s head and forearm were found the Gilgo Beach area while her torso had previously been discovered in 2003, in Manorville, over 40 miles away. This seems to be a common MO with this killer, in order to hinder the identification of the victims, police suspect. The killer has even gone as far as surgically removing a tattoo of one victim.
The fact that he has dumped the remains around Long Island suggests he is familiar with the area. Not likely he would be driving around asking for directions with a torso in the trunk.
The addition of Asian male, who died five to ten years ago, is not totally inconsistent with the other victims. A man of small build, he was dressed in women’s clothing, suggesting he might have been involved in the sex trade.
Likewise, the toddler has been linked through DNA to one of the other victims although they were buried four miles apart.
So for a writer of deviant serial killers, what isn’t to be inspired by?
Will you recognize the Long Island Serial Killer when you read Too Many Graves? Not likely but you will know that he inspired me and set the gears in motion.