Fresh Meat: Night Terrors by Dennis Palumbo

Night Terrors by Dennis Palumbo
Night Terrors by Dennis Palumbo
Night Terrors by Dennis Palumbo is the third novel in the series featuring Pittsburgh-based psychotherapist Daniel Rinaldi (available May 7, 2013).

Once again, psychotherapist Daniel Rinaldi has been called in to consult with the police. This time it’s in Wheeling, West Virginia, where a guy has killed a local businessman, but will only lead detectives to the body if Rinaldi rides along. No sooner does he get back from Wheeling than FBI agent Alcott shows up, reluctantly asking for Rinaldi’s help with retired agent Lyle Barnes, whose years as a profiler have apparently taken their toll. To complicate matters, Barnes might be on a hit list related to the case of a small-time serial killer with a lone, angry fan. And, oh yeah, he has no intention of sitting around a hotel room like a sap when he can’t even get a decent night’s sleep.

Now, Rinaldi’s a likeable guy for the most part. He may have a hero complex and get himself into more trouble than his cop friends and enemies would like. Well, “enemies” might be a slight misnomer since about the only ones who don’t seem to think he’s charming are the stressed-out cops and agents who don’t care for “shrinks.”

He’s friends with former patients, even his ex-girlfriend and her new fiancé. He gets along with his family. He has a nice house, a thriving business, and he keeps himself in shape. He even goes out of his way to talk to the mother of the killer he feels is guilty, mostly to assuage her concerns. In other words, aside from his apparent need to chase after shooters and rogue agents, Rinaldi is perfect boyfriend material. And he’s sort of available, ladies.

“Fine lookin’ woman, that Lowrey. Totally buffed. Epic tits.”

“Funny, that’s the same thing she says about you.”

“Bite me. But I mean it, I envy you, Rinaldi.”

“Afraid there’s nothing to envy. We’re just friends.”

“Uh-huh.” A bleary-eyed conspiratorial look. “Just make sure you tell your ol’ buddy Dave all about it when you close the deal.”

“Right, you’ll be the first one I call.”

I was getting pissed off now. It wasn’t just the boozy familiarity. It was the casual way he spoke about Eleanor Lowrey. Though we’d only seen each other for drinks a few times since the summer—busy schedules, some family issues on her part, the usual contemporary approach-avoidance dance—I felt a pang of disloyalty allowing Parnelli to speak crudely about her.

Even drunk, this notion managed to penetrate his thick Italian skull. He tried to get to his feet.

“Hey, Danny, c’mon…Don’t get your shorts in a twist. I like Lowrey. Really. Great cop. Helluva girl.”

He’s patient and understanding with Lowrey, who has feelings for him, feelings for her ex-girlfriend, and feelings of guilt and responsibility related to the family issues.

Then again, there is that hero complex. Might be a little hard on a relationship to know he can’t stop himself from chasing killers through warehouses and alleys whenever the opportunity presents itself.

It wasn’t merely guilt. It also flew in the face of my own self-concept. Over time, belief in yourself and your actions becomes habit. A hard one to break, especially when you’ve allowed yourself to be seen as someone who usually comes through. Once you believe in your skills, your own convictions. Your own publicity.

Is that what I’d been doing the past few years, involving myself in these police cases? Making promises I couldn’t keep? Turning my desire to help those suffering from trauma into some absurd pseudo-heroics? Mere ego disguised as courage, narcissism disguised as compassion?

Probably not questions I could ever answer. Not for sure, anyway. No matter how hard I explored my own motives. As the Buddhists say, “The eye cannot see itself.”

And, he can be a bit of a smartass. In fact, he’s not above a petty dig now and then.

Biegler scratched his chin. “By ‘significantly involved,’ he means you’ve been shot at. On two separate occasions. Not to mention all the goddamn cuts and bruises. Whatever. How valuable that makes your so-called input is open to dispute.”

Eleanor gave me a sympathetic look, but I pretended I hadn’t seen it. Kept my eyes on Biegler.

“You know, Lieutenant, as much as I normally enjoy trading insults with you, I’m not really in the mood right now. A good person was killed just hours ago, right in front of me. A person who was constantly assured by the people in this room—including me—that she’d be safe. Protected.”

“Yeah, I know. So?”

“So let me just say, from the bottom of my heart, go fuck yourself.”

Bristling, Biegler got to his feet. Fists pressing down on the table, knuckles going white. “Listen, you arrogant piece of—”

“Lieutenant!” Alcott had risen, too, squaring his big shoulders. “Shut the hell up! I don’t care what your beef is with him, this isn’t the time or the place.”

Still fuming, Biegler whirled to face Alcott. “Since when did you start kissing Rinaldi’s ass?”

“Since the Director ordered me to cooperate with him. To include him in the investigation.”

“But he’s a goddamn civilian—!”

“Paid consultant,” I corrected him, turning to Alcott. “Though I don’t think the lieutenant has ever gotten over it. I swear, he brings it up every time we’re in the same room. In my clinical opinion, it’s becoming an obsession.”

On the other hand, maybe there is a good reason he’s single. If you’d like to spend some time with him, Night Terrors is Rinaldi’s third adventure.

See more coverage of new releases with our Fresh Meat series.

This Sweepstakes has ended. Check out our feature page for current opportunities!

To enter for a chance to win one 3-book set of the Daniel Rinaldi novels Night Terrors, Mirror Image, and Fever Dream, signed by Dennis Palumbo, make sure you’re logged in as a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) May 4, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 9:59 a.m. ET on May 11, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

Neliza Drew is a tofu-eating teacher and erratic reader with a soft spot for crime fiction. She lives in the heat and humidity of southern Florida with three cats and her adorable hubby. She listens to way too much music, writes often, and spends too much time on Twitter (@nelizadrew).

Read all posts by Neliza Drew on Criminal Element.


  1. Jody Darden

    I enjoy psychological thrillers. This sound promising.

  2. Gordon Bingham

    Looking good!

  3. Katherine Marion

    This is a new author for me. Looks promising.

  4. Joan Coussoule

    They seem to be

    like the kind of story lines that I like.

  5. shannon Baas

    Looks like a good book.

  6. Bob Keck

    I’m in the mood for a compelling psychological drama. Thanks for including me in your giveaway.

  7. Starr Greenwell

    I would love to win these.

  8. Juli Lear

    This series is new to me. It looks like a good one!

  9. Niki ZD

    Oooh, this looks like a good read 🙂

  10. Vicky Boackle

    i would love to read this.

  11. jason fiske

    Love reading these types of books.

  12. Bob Alexander

    Pittsburgh n’at !

  13. L L

    Nice excerpt

  14. Karen Hester

    New series for me – looks promising

  15. Loren Palmer

    my kind of reading, thanx 4 choosing me

  16. em kaplan

    book club woud love them..

  17. cheryl wong

    looks like a good read

  18. runner

    Groovy time!

  19. Jeanne Agee

    I love to read these type books

  20. kathleen eddy

    This looks really good.

  21. Dan Carr

    Looks Good!

  22. Mike Rogers

    Thanks for the chance.

  23. Jeffrey Tretin

    Can’t imagine putting it down!

  24. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]Definitely a page turner, would love to win![/b]

  25. Patricia Nicklas

    A new author for me that I’d like to read.

  26. Saundra K. Warren

    I like this!

  27. Dorothy Newmark

    This is a new author for me. Love psychological novels!

  28. Maureen Wynn

    I’m looking for a new series, and this one looks good!

  29. Joanne Mielczarski

    I’m ready to read.

  30. Kelley Tackett

    If Thomas Perry recommends this book then I am reading it for sure!

  31. Pam Howell

    Looks like a good read. Thanks!

  32. Deanna Stillings

    Sounds good to me, count me in!

  33. Jean Delaney

    a three for win Nice

  34. Carol Reiley

    A promising thriller title engages my
    curiosity immediately. Wow, I would
    love to win this one! Thanks for the chance.

  35. Max Cage

    Looks very promising!

  36. Ann Stolinsky

    thanks for the opportunity to win. This sounds like a great read.

  37. Tina Branco

    Would love to read this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  38. Pat Murphy

    Would love to read. Wheeling is only 15 minutues from my home. Count me in .

  39. Rosemary Simm

    Psychological thrillers are my regular genre of reading and I’m always amazed at how many ways an author can create gruesome murder and instill fear in the reader. Night Terrors is on my list and I would love to win the set and read these in the order they were written. Why, oh why have I missed this author, Dennis Palumbo????

  40. Karl Stenger

    I would love copies of these books especially since they are signed

  41. vicki wurgler

    I’d love to win the signed copies

  42. Anna Mills

    Hats off to her choice of crime location! Even more intriguing.

  43. Don Gentry

    Excellent books, and I can’t wait for each Email !

  44. Patty

    I just looked these books up on B & N to check the prices & see if they have e-books. But winning these would be so much better!

  45. Jennifer Beers

    Looks like it will be a great read!

  46. Jackie Wisherd

    I would love to read this book to report on at my Mystery Book club.

  47. Tricha Leary

    sounds good

  48. Sharon Shumway

    This book sounds like a delicious thriller. Suspense is my favorite. Reading a great book gets me out of my life for a while and that’s a good thing. I would love to win this set so I could start from the beginning. Thanks to Dennis Palumbo for writing good books. They really make a difference in my life

  49. Deborah Dumm

    Looks like a great book!

  50. ravensfan

    Hmm…looks interesting. Would love to win this.

  51. Bruce Hamilton

    I really enjoy this series

  52. Joyce Delaney

    This is a brand new author for me. I’d like to try his books.

  53. Andrew Kuligowski

    You had me at “Pittsburgh” – a white collar investigator (at least I assume a psychotherapist would qualify as such) in a blue collar community.

  54. pat Baker

    would love to have a chance to read a new author.

  55. Steven Wilber

    This looks good. Count me in…

  56. Suzanne Rorhus

    Sounds cool!

  57. Linda Kish

    I would love to win these books.

  58. Marie driscoll

    Sounds good.

  59. Taylor Duncan


  60. Susan Pertierra

    I’ll have to read the other books about Rinaldi if I win.

  61. Rose Milligan

    Fun title. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  62. Barbara Bibel

    Very intriguing. I want to read it.

  63. Karen Terry

    I love mysteries. Sounds real good.

  64. MaryC

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  65. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like a good read!

  66. theresa norris

    I’d love to read this.

  67. Anne Muller

    Sounds like a good read I can share with my dad.

  68. christopher harner

    thanks for the chance

  69. Joyce Mitchell

    Would love to win – thanks for the chance.

  70. Jacki Robertson

    Looks like a great set of books!

  71. Mimi

    Give it up for my home state WV :)!!!!!

  72. Melissa Dials

    Give it up for my home state WV :)!!!!

  73. susan beamon

    Three books at once, and thriller mysteries, one of my favorite flavors of book. Count me in on this drawing.

  74. Vernon Luckert

    Would love to win this!

  75. Marsha Gertzog

    My kind of guy and my kind of book!

  76. Phyllis Sinclair

    Sound good to me.

  77. Patrice Gottfried

    Have read one other book by this author and loved it! Would love to win this one.

  78. Holly Kennedy

    These all sound fantastic. Hope I win.

  79. Arun Kumar

    Very Interesting.

  80. Karen Martin

    I enjoy reading a book that takes a lot of thought and this one sounds like it would keep me interested.

  81. David Vinther

    sounds like a good one

  82. Cindi Hoppes

    This definitely would not be a boring book…
    Many thanks, Cindi

  83. mosaix

    I don’t need a psychotherapist but I need this book! Yes!


    They sound like good reads and I would love to win them.

  85. Karen Koziczkowski

    A 3 Book set giveaway. Love it. A story about a psychotherapist, working with police and the FBI… Intrigue all the time!

  86. Tiffany Duncan

    This looks good.

  87. Joshua Atkins

    Pittsburgh is my home town and I’d love to read these! Thanks for the giveaway.

  88. jim brissette

    Pittsburgh has always had a special place in my heart as a long-time Pirates fan!

  89. Patrick Coleman

    This sounds like a winner!

  90. Doris C. Losey

    Read the first in the series and would like to read the other 2.

  91. vikki p

    Would like to read not that I have nothing to watch on TV at night.

  92. Debbie Lucas

    need some thrilling lit

  93. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  94. Kris Kaminski

    allways need some good reads.

  95. Anita Yancey

    Sounds like a really good book. I love the setting. Thanks for this chance.

  96. Marisa Young

    Exciting book – can’t wait to read.

  97. Karen Upson Dodge

    Ok, I’m hooked. Don’t leave me hanging. I HAVE to read the rest! I would LOVE the chance to win copies of Rinaldi’s books signed by Palumbo! I could review them and share them with my friends! Thank You and best wishes for much success!

  98. Melissa Keith

    [b]I’ve been to Wheeling, WV. Nothing exciting then….until now. [/b]
    [b]It would be nice to have Daniel as a shrink. I know he’d have plenty to talk about. ;-)[/b]
    [b]Send ME the 3 book set. Thanks![/b]

  99. pegni

    love, love, love what I read so far! I’m tired of reading the same old thing. This is fresh and new. Thanks!

  100. Patricia Fultz

    Always interested in reading new authors (to me). Thanks for the opportunity.

  101. Don Hornbaker

    I would really enjoy these books!

  102. Joe Hauser

    Very nice!

  103. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  104. Rebecca Peters

    I want to read!

  105. Kari Flores

    I love psychological thriller, this looks like a great book!

  106. Jeane Howell

    Since I have not read any of this writer’s books, I think it would be a good read for me from the description.

  107. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  108. cassandra mccann

    I would love to own this

  109. CherylMc

    good read

  110. Kimberly Hilbert

    I love reading books in which Pittsburgh is featured. He’s on my list to read.

  111. Lori Myers

    Sounds like a good book!

  112. Ed Nemmers























  113. Susan Smith

    Sounds great

  114. Susan Smith

    Sounds great

  115. Buddy Garrett

    It sounds very interesting. Thanks.

  116. Michael Lee Smith

    Would love this book

  117. Heather Cowley

    This would make my summer! Three beach reads all at once!

  118. Brenda Elsner

    Sounds like an awesome book.

  119. Tim Moss

    Looks interesting.

  120. Sheree Algie

    Sounds like a great book, would love to win

  121. Sand Lopez

    Sounds like a good one!

  122. Beth Talmage

    Three books–what a great way to get to know an interesting character.

  123. Cassandra Marquez


  124. Daniel Vice

    This looks great

  125. Donna Dorothy

    This looks so impossibly thrilling! Can’t wait to read it!

  126. Susan Smoaks

    thanks for the chance to win!

  127. Carol Gowett

    This series looks interesting.

  128. LeAnn Knott

    This looks very good, a little out of my norm, but about time I read some different books.

  129. Aaron Polish

    Oh, you know I gotta read this. It looks that good.

  130. Debra Kidle

    This sounds so interesting would love to read!

  131. David Kidle

    Looks great!

  132. Kat Emerick

    Looks like another awesome book!

  133. Gwen Stackler

    “You know, Lieutenant, as much as I normally enjoy trading insults with you, I’m not really in the mood right now. A good person was killed just hours ago, right in front of me. A person who was constantly assured by the people in this room—including me—that she’d be safe. Protected.”
    “Yeah, I know. So?”
    “So let me just say, from the bottom of my heart, go fuck yourself.”

    That was where I was sold. He may have a God comples, but there is nothing wrong with reminding the cops what their job really is…to protect and serve.

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