BOOKISH FRIDAY: EXCERPTING “THE EXIT”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is one of my new acquisitions from an author I’ve enjoyed:  The Exit, by Helen FitzGerald.

 

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Beginning:  I didn’t get the job because I didn’t look happy enough.   The manager, a twenty-seven-year-old with a lingering acne problem, didn’t admit that exactly.  He said I lacked drive.  When he asked me where I saw myself in five years, I couldn’t say McDonald’s.  ‘I’d love to live in Costa Rica for a while,’ was my answer.

***

Friday 56 (%):  (Narrator – Rose, 82)

It wasn’t a feeling, the disease, that’s the thing.  It was a lack of it.  A lack of everything.  It was like writing about a shapeless shadow.

***

Blurb:  23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace
contains many secrets.

One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?

As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late?

***

What do you think?  Are you drawn to this one?  Intrigued?  I know that I am, having previously enjoyed another book by the author (The Cry).

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BOOKISH FRIDAYS: EXCERPTING “THE BLUE BATH”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today I’m featuring a book I plan to read soon:  The Blue Bath, by Mary Waters-Sayer.

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

Entering the front hall, Kat saw it coming, but could not stop it.  The swift and silent arc of the sledgehammer came to its own abrupt end as it smashed through the smooth plaster wall.  She squeezed her eyes shut, momentarily stunned by the force and the sound of the impact.  In the loud silence that followed, Kat peered through the dust swirling in the sunlight and stepped closer, her shoes crunching on bits of atomized plaster.

***

56%:  Opening her closet, Kat was surprised to find that one of her gowns had been steamed and left out, as well as shoes and accessories to go with it.  The housekeeper must have done it that morning.  There beside the long jade-green dress was a neat list—gown, jewelry, shoes, bag—in her own handwriting.

***

Synopsis: Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.

When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.

Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat’s lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and the blurb pique your curiosity?  What are you sharing?  Please come by with your thoughts and links.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: EXCERPTING “BE FRANK WITH ME”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a new book to my stacks:  Be Frank With Me, by Julia Claiborne Johnson, an  infectious novel that combines the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue) – February 2010

Because the station wagon blew up in the fire, Frank and I took the bus to the hospital.  When I told him we’d get there in less than half the time in a taxi, Frank said, “I only ride in taxis with my mother.  You are not my mother, Alice.”

***

56:  “I’m good with computers.”

“Good with computers.  That’s all that matters now, isn’t it?”  The funny thing was that she seemed more pleased than angry.  “The car keys are on the hook by the door.  Bring Frank home right away if he bites anyone or pulls his hair out or bangs his head against anything.”

***

Synopsis:  Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.

As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless “only-in-Hollywood” moments, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

***

Does this one sound tempting?  Would you grab it and start reading?  I have heard such good things about it that I couldn’t resist downloading it.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

My choice today is one of my newer books:  The Girl in the Red Coat, by Kate Hamer.

 

 

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Beginning:  I dream about Carmel often.  In my dreams, she’s always walking backwards.

The day she was born there was snow on the ground.  A silvery light arced through the window as I held her in my arms.

As she grew up I nicknamed her ‘my little hedge child.’  I couldn’t imagine her living anywhere but the countryside.  Her thick curly hair stood out like a spray of breaking glass, or a dandelion head.

(A few extra sentences, necessary to convey the thoughts).

***

56:  (Carmel) I stare into the dark, being like a cat, and I start seeing some black hills.  It looks like countryside with not even a single house.  ‘I thought you lived in London,’ I say.

***

Synopsis:  Newly single mom Beth has one constant, gnawing worry: that her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day go missing.

And then one day, it happens: On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local outdoor festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone.

Shattered, Beth sets herself on the grim and lonely mission to find her daughter, keeping on relentlessly even as the authorities tell her that Carmel may be gone for good.

Carmel, meanwhile, is on a strange and harrowing journey of her own—to a totally unexpected place that requires her to live by her wits, while trying desperately to keep in her head, at all times, a vision of her mother …

Alternating between Beth’s story and Carmel’s, and written in gripping prose that won’t let go, The Girl in the Red Coat—like Emma Donoghue’s Room and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans—is an utterly immersive story that’s impossible to put down . . . and impossible to forget.

***

What do you think?  Does this story grab you?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s spotlight is shining on a book that has been hiding on Pippa since August 2014:  The Next Time You See Me, by Holly Goddard Jones.

 

 

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Beginning:  Emily Houchens watched as Christopher Shelton, who sat in a desk two rows up and one over from her own, leaned back and smoothly slid his notebook over his shoulder, so that the boy sitting behind him could read what was written there.  This second boy, Monty, began to quake with suppressed laughter.  The notebook retracted; an open hand took its place, waiting expectantly, and Monty softly gave him five:  Good one.

***

56:  Nancy’s was a dance hall.  It was a Quonset hut the size of a roller rink and similar to a roller rink in design:  The dance floor was a broad oblong of polished oak with a DJ’s station positioned right in the center.  To the right of the dance floor was a long bar and two levels of seating, floor and deck, and this was where you could usually find a decent crowd of drinkers on Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes hundreds of them, their cigarette smoke curling toward the ceiling where it hung, trapped, like a storm cloud.

***

Synopsis:  Hailed as “an astoundingly good novel” by Gillian Flynn, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl, and winner of the 2014 Kentucky Literary Award, The Next Time You See Me is a gripping tale of mystery, desperation, and redemption.

When a small Southern town’s most fiery single woman is found dead in the woods, it’s not just her secrets that threaten to surface. There’s Ronnie’s sister, Susanna, a dutiful but dissatisfied schoolteacher, mother, and wife; Tony, a failed baseball star turned detective; Emily, a socially awkward thirteen-year-old with a dark secret; and Wyatt, a factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves.

Connected in ways they cannot begin to imagine, their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie, but all of their secret selves. Praised as “immensely satisfying and skillful” by Kate Atkinson, author of New York Times bestseller Life After Life, The Next Time You See Me is a debut novel not to be missed.

***

What do you think?  Should I bring this one out of hiding and keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE PRICE OF SALT”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is from an author that is new to me, Patricia Highsmith, whose book The Price of Salt OR Carol was a movie I saw over the holidays.

 

 

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Beginning:  The lunch hour in the coworkers’ cafeteria at Frankenberg’s had reached its peak.

There was no room left at any of the long tables, and more and more people were arriving to wait back of the wooden barricades by the cash register.  People who had already got their trays of food wandered about between the tables in search of a spot they could squeeze into, or a place that somebody was about to leave, but there was no place.

***

56:  Carol stood up, and slapped something twice in her palm, as she had slapped the gloves in her palm in the store.  The telephone screamed again, and Therese was sure Carol was going to throw whatever it was she held in her hand, throw it across the room against the wall.  But Carol only turned and laid the thing down quietly, and left the room.

***

Blurb:  A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover.
Author Patricia Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym, The Price of Salt was heralded as “the novel of a love society forbids.” Highsmith’s sensitive treatment of fully realized characters who defy stereotypes about homosexuality marks a departure from previous lesbian pulp fiction. Erotic, eloquent, and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one’s nature. The book is also the basis of the acclaimed 2015 film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Come on by and share…

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BROOKLYN”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

My featured book today is a recent addition to Pippa, my Kindle:  Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin.

 

 

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Beginning:  Eilis Lacey, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work.  She watched Rose crossing the street from sunlight into shade, carrying the new leather handbag that she had bought in Clerys in Dublin in the sale.

***

56:  Mrs. Kehoe, who owned the house, was from Wexford town and loved to talk to her about home, about Sunday trips to Curracloe and Rosslare Strand, or hurling matches, or the shops along the Main Street in Wexford town, or characters she remembered.

***

Synopsis:   Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

By far Tóibín’s most instantly engaging and emotionally resonant novel, Brooklyn will make readers fall in love with his gorgeous writing and spellbinding characters.

***

I am eager to read this one…and I also want to see the movie.  What do you think?  Have you read it?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GOOD LIAR”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s spotlight is shining on an ARC I have just started reading, from Amazon Vine.  The Good Liar, by Nicholas Searles, is an epic narrative of sin, salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out.

 

 

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Beginning:  It is, Roy thinks, perfect.  Kismet, serendipity, destiny, happenstance; call it what you will.  All of these things rolled into one.  He is not sure he believes in fate, or whether he believes in anything but the very present.  Then again, life has treated him well generally.

***

56:  Gerald wraps a delicate hand around the coffee pot, flexing his long fingers, and evidently finds the coffee is still warm enough to pour himself a second cup.

“Of course,” he says eventually with a small smile, “this could simply be a rather unsubtle ruse on your part to divert our session and disguise a certain lack of progress.”

***

Synopsis:  Spinning a page-turning story of literary suspense that begins in the present and unwinds back more than half a century, this unforgettable debut channels the haunting allure of Atonement as its masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals unravels to a shocking conclusion.

Veteran con artist Roy spots an obvious easy mark when he meets Betty, a wealthy widow, online. In no time at all, he’s moved into Betty’s lovely cottage and is preparing to accompany her on a romantic trip to Europe. Betty’s grandson disapproves of their blossoming relationship, but Roy is sure this scheme will be a success. He knows what he’s doing.

As this remarkable feat of storytelling weaves together Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also unwinds their pasts. Dancing across almost a century, decades that encompass unthinkable cruelty, extraordinary resilience, and remarkable kindness,The Good Liar is an epic narrative of sin, salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out.

***

What do you think?  Have you read it?  Do you want to read it?  I am still trying to decide the answer to those questions, as I take on the opening chapters.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “A LONG TIME GONE”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is a book by a long time favorite author, Karen White:  A Long Time Gone, which I’ve had on Pippa since August 2014.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  (Vivien Walker Moise)

Indian Mound, Mississippi

April 2013

I was born in the same bed that my mama was born in, and her mama before her, and even further back than anybody alive could still remember.  It was as if the black wood of the bedposts were meant to root us Walker women to this place of flat fields and fertile soil carved from the great Mississippi.  But like the levees built to control the mighty river, it never held us for long.

***

56:  My fingers sought out the wire-and-bead ring I wore on my right hand, and I felt my lips turn upward.  “She’s so creative, with this wonderful inquisitive mind.  Always wanting to know how things are made….”

***

Synopsis:  “We Walker women were born screaming into this world, the beginning of a lifelong quest to find what would quiet us. But whatever drove us away was never stronger than the pull of what brought us back….”

When Vivien Walker left her home in the Mississippi Delta, she swore never to go back, as generations of the women in her family had. But in the spring, nine years to the day since she’d left, that’s exactly what happens—Vivien returns, fleeing from a broken marriage and her lost dreams for children.

What she hopes to find is solace with “Bootsie,” her dear grandmother who raised her, a Walker woman with a knack for making everything all right. But instead she finds that her grandmother has died and that her estranged mother is drifting further away from her memories. Now Vivien is forced into the unexpected role of caretaker, challenging her personal quest to find the girl she herself once was.

But for Vivien things change in ways she cannot imagine when a violent storm reveals the remains of a long-dead woman buried near the Walker home, not far from the cypress swamp that is soon to give up its ghosts. Vivien knows there is now only one way to rediscover herself—by uncovering the secrets of her family and breaking the cycle of loss that has haunted them for generations.

***

I have been wanting to read this one for a long while…now I hope to begin the New Year by bringing out all the hidden treasures on Pippa, my Kindle.

What do you think?  What are you sharing?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SECRET SISTERS”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is the latest by Jayne Ann Krentz:  Secret Sisters.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  (Cooper Island, eighteen years earlier….)

He stood in the shadows of the kitchen and tried to decide which girl he wanted.  An hour ago they had both fallen asleep in front of the television.  Now they slept the way only the young could sleep—deeply, soundly.

***

56:  Whatever they’d had back at the start of their marriage had long since evaporated.  But they were forever bound by their two sons.  Xavier and Travis had inherited so many of their father’s gifts—his striking looks, his blue eyes, and his talent for mesmerizing an audience.

***

Synopsis:  Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.

They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother’s hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn’t be bothering them anymore…ever. Still their lives would never be the same.

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother’s mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts…and wants.

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack’s brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth….

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts capture you?  Make you want to read more?  I know that I can’t wait to find out every tidbit and every secret.

***