Former crime reporter Clay Burton has no idea what the message means. The anonymous note reads like one of the clues from his book of solve-it-yourself mysteries based on real cases he covered for the newspaper. Clay shrugs it off as a prank by an overzealous fan, but then more clues arrive in the mail—a series of bizarre puzzles, each one more clever and devious than the last. Solving the riddles leads Clay to the remote lake house of a woman with a dark family history. Is she the “dead girlfriend” from the note, or has Clay been drawn into a twisted game devised by a brilliant psychopath? With his marriage, his sanity, and maybe even his life on the line, Clay must use his reporter’s skills and instincts to track down his faceless tormentor before the final deadly gambit is played.
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Some people say When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Will Deacon says, When life gives you lemons, throw those lemons back at life as hard as you can, and if life ends up with bumps on its head and lemon juice in its eye, it really can’t complain because it’s the one that gave you those stupid lemons in the first place.
Former private detective Will Deacon is jobless, aimless, and hasn’t traveled more than two blocks from his Atlanta condo in nearly a year—but he’s never been happier. A survivor of countless failed careers and one and a half failed marriages, Will is perfectly content to stay holed up at home with only a cat named Socrates for company. But that blissful life comes to an end when the son of an old friend commits suicide. The pampered, popular teen had no reason to kill himself, so Will is dragged out of retirement to find the answer. As he delves into the boy’s hidden lifestyle, Will finds himself up against a sleek young drug dealer, two frightening hoodlums, and the head of the Southern Mafia. When the evidence points to murder instead of suicide, Will is caught in a whirlwind of shocking discoveries and dark family secrets as he tries to solve the most important case of his career.
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Take the last sharp turn on a crooked road and you might find yourself face to face with a desperate killer, or a clever con man, or a restless spirit whose face is eerily familiar. In the tradition of The Twilight Zone, the 12 stories in this collection all share one common trait; each one ends with a delicious, unexpected twist.
In “The Woman Upstairs,” a claustrophobic housewife uses extreme measures to escape from both a cramped apartment and a confining marriage. “The Sorrow Business” tells how a devious reporter suffers the consequences after hounding a murder victim’s family for an interview. And in “Deep in the Roaring Fork,” a man lost in the backwoods of Colorado stumbles across a lonely tavern whose bartender knows far too many details about his life—and about his death. Includes 7 stories previously published in mystery magazines like Over My Dead Body and Unreality as well as 5 brand new stories.
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