Book report: Robert Bryndza ‘The stalker in the night’
The Stalker in the Night is the second part of the thriller series with Erika Foster in the lead role. Robert Bryndza is the writer of this series, he was born in Great Britain, but lives and works in Slovakia. When a family doctor is found dead, Erika is called to investigate the case with her team. A few days later, a second victim is found under exactly the same circumstances. But somehow Erika sees no connection between the two victims. And how can she find a perpetrator without a trace?
- Main characters
- Symbols and motifs
- Title statement and book cover
- Structure and perspective / way of telling
- Time and place
- Original title: The Night Stalker
- Title: The stalker in the night
- Author: Robert Bryndza
- Series: Erika Foster (2)
- First print: 2016
- First edition translated into Dutch: 2018
- Translation: Willeke Lempers
- Number of pages: 375
- ISBN: 978 90 225 8322 7
Inspector Erika Foster is called up for the murder of a man. The victim is forty-six-year-old Gregory Munro, who is lying on his bed with a plastic bag over his head. The next day Erika informs her team consisting of Moss and Peterson. She wants them to start working on the following data. The perpetrator entered Gregory’s house, drugged him and then suffocated him. She suspects that the perpetrator knew Gregory Munro, who lived separately from his wife, whom he was married to for four years. They have a child together, Peter.
For now, they only have one possible suspect and that is Gregory’s brother-in-law, Gary Wilmslow. The two men had had multiple clashes, and it was no secret that Gary hated his brother-in-law. And now that Gregory is dead, Gary’s sister inherits his estate. But Gary is unable to commit such a sophisticated murder according to Erika. Chief Marsh, her boss, is asking her not to pin down any further on Gary, who is already under constant surveillance for a pedophile porn case. Because of this they know that his alibi is correct.
The Jack Hart Show host is found in exactly the same way as the first victim, naked on the bed with a bag over his head. And no burglary traces have been found here either. Erika and her team have a second victim, know that the perpetrator visits the house in advance and at Jack Hart they found an earprint on a door, so they know that their perpetrator is a woman. But that’s all they have and that frustrates Erika enormously. Why did the woman target these two men?
The Night Stalker, that’s the name the press gives her, doesn’t want to be a victim anymore. She lost her mother and ended up in a children’s home through an article by Jack Hart. Then she was married to Stan who assaulted her severely. Their doctor Gregory Munro had believed Stan and hadn’t helped her. Now she had made them pay for what they had done to her. But her list of men was not finished yet, so she had to go on.
After the Night Stalker watches an episode of Crimewatch about her murders in which Erika describes her as a dangerous and deeply disturbed woman, Night Stalker looks up all the info she can find about Erika and even calls her to inform her that she is still is not done with the murders.
Erika is upset when she discovers that the Night Stalker has even been in her house. She left a letter with a poem and the wise counsel that Erika should forget her dead husband. Not much later Erika receives a phone call from her friend Isaac, who is completely in a panic. He had gone to his friend Stephen Linley, a thriller writer, and found him dead on his bed with a plastic bag over his head.
The murder of Stephen Linley is not Erika’s case and she learns from her boss that Isaac has been arrested as the prime suspect. They had found traces of him with the victim, the relationship between Isaac and Stephen had not always been perfect, Isaac had first called Erika instead of the police and then he had also been the pathologist for the two other cases, so he now the problems. Erika hopes to help her boyfriend as soon as possible. But Erika is taken off the case, and her enemy Inspector Sparks and his team now get all the information about the two previous murders.
Because Erika has to take a vacation from her boss, she decides to read a book by Stephen. She soon finds the story heavy and dark. Somehow she feels that the Night Stalker killed him because of his misogynist content. But what were her motives for the other two victims? Erika is checking all the facts together with Moss. In the latest murder, it was discovered that the Night Stalker uses a bump key to enter. Erika recalls that among the list of buyers of the plastic bags that the Night Stalker uses, there was a man who also ordered a bump wrench.
Erika visits Keith Hardy with her colleague Peterson, a man in his thirties in a wheelchair, who has made the purchases. At first, he doesn’t want to say anything, but then admits that he knows the culprit as the Night Owl, the woman he’s chatting with. He says that she first wanted to kill her husband, but he herself had died of a heart attack. Her husband loved Stephen Linley’s books, which inspired him to torture his wife. Keith knows a lot about the Night Owl, but nothing that can really help them. He knows she has one more husband on her list before she stops the murders.
Erika wants Keith to meet Night Owl so they can pick her up before the fourth victim falls and prove Isaac is innocent. When Keith makes the proposal on the chat, she immediately bites. Erika informs her boss Marsh, but he is not at all happy that she has not followed his orders. He wants her to take a vacation after all and not interfere with the case, but he does take everything she has arranged with him, which is already good for her.
Erika decides to stay with Keith until they hear something. But when the agreed time has passed for a while, Erika can’t take it anymore and she leaves Keith behind to get some fresh air and food. When she returns, she sees a woman standing in the room next to Keith, who is dead. The woman says her name is Simone, but Erika knows her as the Night Owl or the Night Stalker. Erika gets a bag placed over her head, but doesn’t want to give up. She starts to fight and manages to overpower Simone and save herself.
Erika and her team are told that Marsh is the new Chief of Police and Sparks becomes Superintendent. Erika had hoped for this promotion and is therefore furious when she hears the news from Sparks. She immediately decides to request her transfer.
Inspector Erika Foster
She works in the Homicide and Serious Crimes Department. Moss and Peterson are her partners. Her husband Marc died two years ago in a police raid. Erika is from Slovakia and has a sister, Lenka.
He is Erika’s gay friend. He is a forensic pathologist, so he often works with Erika. Isaac is a handsome man with thick, dark hair and big brown eyes who falls in love with the wrong men in Erika’s eyes.
She is a short, stocky woman with red hair and a colleague of Erika’s. She is married to Celia and together they have a son, Jacob.
Simone is a nurse. She suffers from insomnia and then chats with Duke, whom she met a few years ago and with whom she fell in love. She was married to Stan, who had assaulted and raped her. Her mother was a drug addicted prostitute.
His TV show was broadcast live five mornings a week. Many people loved him, but there were also many who did not like him. He had worked as an investigative journalist for many years. He and his wife Claire had split up after she caught him with one of his associates.
Symbols and motifs
Erika had led the drug raid that had demanded the deaths of Mark and four other colleagues.
Simone is angry because everyone believes Stan. Since she has always been the victim, she thinks it is time for things to change.
Title statement and book cover
The Stalker in the Night is a reference to how the culprit is named in an article in The Sun. The cover shows part of a woman’s face, which could be Erika or the culprit.
Structure and perspective / way of telling
The book is dedicated to Jan, Riky and Lola and consists of 375 pages, divided over 84 chapters and an epilogue. The book provides the perpetrator’s point of view, Estelle Munro (the mother of the first victim), Erika Foster, Simone Matthews, Isaac, Night Owl, Jack Hart, Moss and Chief Marsh, which is written in the third person.
People you trust can disappoint you.
Time and place
The story is set in the present in London and Worthing.
The combination of short chapters, sympathetic characters, clear language, different points of view and no complicated twists and turns ensures that The Stalker in the Night is a thriller that is easy to read and will appeal to many people. This book is the sequel to The Girl in the Ice, but can certainly be read separately. It soon becomes clear who the perpetrator is, since you can read the perpetrator’s position, so people who prefer to try to find out who the perpetrator is themselves will be disappointed. But otherwise, De stalker in the night is a real page turner.