<i>Wolf on a String</i>: New Excerpt Wolf on a String: New Excerpt Benjamin Black A mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense. Discount: <i>Rogue</i> by Mark Sullivan Discount: Rogue by Mark Sullivan Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99 through 6/5! <i>Only the Dead Know Brooklyn</i>: New Excerpt Only the Dead Know Brooklyn: New Excerpt Chris Vola A tale about a vampire who must choose between immortality, love, and revenge. Discount: <i>Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Into the Fire</i> Discount: Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Into the Fire Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99 through 6/5!
From The Blog
May 26, 2017
Putting My Hard Work to Work
L. F. Robertson
May 25, 2017
Page to Screen: Nightmare Alley
Brian Greene
May 18, 2017
Discovering a Sister in Crime: Eleanor T. Bland
Stephane Dunn
May 16, 2017
Q&A with Court Merrigan, Author of The Broken Country
David Cranmer and Court Merrigan
May 15, 2017
Adventures in Research, Part I: Time of Departure
Douglas Schofield
Showing posts tagged: Excerpt click to see more stuff tagged with Excerpt
Sat
May 27 2017 10:04am
Excerpt

Wolf on a String: New Excerpt

Benjamin Black

Wolf on a String by Benjamin BlackWolf on a String by Benjamin Black is an historical crime novel that delivers both a mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense (available June 6, 2017).

Christian Stern, an ambitious young scholar and alchemist, arrives in Prague in the bitter winter of 1599, intent on making his fortune at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, the eccentric Rudolf II. The night of his arrival, drunk and lost, Christian stumbles upon the body of a young woman in Golden Lane, an alley hard by Rudolf’s great castle. Dressed in a velvet gown, wearing a large gold medallion around her neck, the woman is clearly well-born—or was, for her throat has been slashed.

A lesser man would smell danger, but Christian is determined to follow his fortunes wherever they may lead. He quickly finds himself entangled in the machinations of several ruthless courtiers, and before long he comes to the attention of the Emperor himself. Rudolf, deciding that Christian is that rare thing—a person he can trust—sets him the task of solving the mystery of the woman’s murder. But Christian soon realizes that he has blundered into the midst of a power struggle that threatens to subvert the throne itself. And as he gets ever nearer to the truth of what happened that night in Golden Lane, he finally sees that his own life is in grave danger.

[Read an excerpt from Wolf on a String...]

Fri
May 26 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn: New Excerpt

Chris Vola

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris VolaOnly the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris Vola is a tale about a vampire who must choose between love, revenge, and immortality (available May 30, 2017).

Why not make yourself an “Only the Dead Drink Brooklyns” cocktail to sip while reading? 

Ryan Driggs has lived in Brooklyn for 128 years, 96 of them as one of the last members of a tribe of blood-eating immortals who have called the borough home since before colonial times. Besides the occasional hard-to-control thirst, his life in the twenty-first century is uneventful, until he meets Jennifer, a human from Manhattan with whom he falls in love.

Unable to leave Brooklyn without reverting back to his original, cancer-stricken human state, Ryan knows he must tell Jennifer who and what he really is. But before he can find the words, she is kidnapped by a tribe of Manhattan vampires—and Ryan discovers that, for a reason unknown to him, he is a target too. After contacting the oldest member of his tribe, a former slave named Frank Lafayette, and after an attempt on their lives that leaves two of Frank’s employees dead, Ryan realizes he’s been thrust into a world that is more dangerous than anything he’d imagined.

As he travels to Manhattan to rescue Jennifer, forsaking his immortality, he gets caught up in a roller coaster of violence, lies, manipulation, and a power struggle that stretches back thousands of years. In a world where conspiracies are more than just theories and where he is the key to an ancient secret, Ryan must decide to fight or forsake both of the species he’s called his own.

[Read an excerpt from Only the Dead Know Brooklyn...]

Thu
May 25 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Killing for You: New Excerpt

Keith Elliot Greenberg

Killing for You by Keith Elliot GreenbergKilling For You by Keith Elliot Greenberg is a shocking, authoritative account of a brutal double murder (available May 30, 2017).

A KILLER PLOT
Twenty-six-year-old actor Daniel Wozniak was unemployed, facing eviction, and deep in debt for his upcoming wedding. So he devised a diabolical plan: He asked his neighbor Sam Herr, a young war veteran, to help him move some things into the attic of an empty theater. There, Wozniak shot Herr twice in the head before taking his ATM card and cell phone. Hours later, Wozniak performed on stage with his fiancée in a local production of the musical Nine, convinced that he had gotten away with murder…

A DRAMATIC LAST ACT
Wozniak dismembered his victim’s body and hid the pieces. Then he lured Herr’s college friend Juri “Julie” Kibuishi to Herr’s apartment and shot her twice in the head. The police immediately declared Herr a prime suspect—just as Wozniak had planned. But when Herr was declared missing, and his ATM withdrawals led authorities to Wozniak at his bachelor party, the actor was forced to play the role of a lifetime in a shocking murder investigation that would be his greatest—and final—performance…

[Read an excerpt from Killing for You...]

Wed
May 24 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Blood of Tyrants: New Excerpt

Ken Shufeldt

Blood of Tyrants by Ken ShufeldtBlood of Tyrants by Ken Shufeldt is a gripping political thriller that explores the devastating effects that unlimited political funding, if permitted, could produce (available May 30, 2017).

Backed by a secretive Super PAC, Richard Wilkes, an old money Virginia businessman, upsets the incumbent to win the Presidency. His term begins smoothly enough—until ISIS launches horrific terrorist attacks on American soil.

In way over his head, the President refuses to take action, paving the way for the terrorists to use a stolen Pakistani nuke to incinerate almost a million Americans. Fed up with his incompetence, multi-billionaire Walter Jefferson leads several high ranking military leaders and a band of patriots in a bloody coup.

After eliminating President Wilkes and almost everyone on the Presidential succession list, Jefferson proclaims himself Chancellor and begins moving “undesirables” into internment camps. He then orders the military to invade Canada and Mexico in a desperate attempt to wipe out the ISIS contingents hiding there, and to build a buffer zone around the country. There are catastrophic losses on all sides. There’s only one hope for the United States now: the last survivor on the Presidential succession list, the Secretary of State.

[Read an excerpt from Blood of Tyrants...]

Tue
May 23 2017 2:00pm
Excerpt

Becoming Bonnie: New Excerpt

Jenni L. Walsh

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh is a debut historical novel and the untold story of how the wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

Just in time for the anniversary of the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde on May 23, 1934, comes the debut historical novel Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh! Read an exciting excerpt below and make sure to sign in and comment at the bottom for a chance to win your very own copy!

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her, and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school, and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, he embraces it―perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling―she tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. But her life―like her country―is headed for a crash.

Bonnie Parker is about to meet Clyde Barrow.

[Read an excerpt from Becoming Bonnie...]

Tue
May 23 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Come Sundown: New Excerpt

Nora Roberts

Come Sundown by New York Times-bestselling author Nora Roberts is a novel of suspense, family ties, and twisted passions (available May 30, 2017).

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

[Read an excerpt from Come Sundown...]

Mon
May 22 2017 10:09am
Excerpt

Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Dark Zone: New Excerpt

George Galdorisi and Jeff Rovin

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Dark Zone by George Galdorisi, Jeff RovinIn Dark Zone, a race-to-the-finish thriller in the New York Times-bestselling Tom Clancy's Op-Center series, the brutal murder of an undercover agent reveals a plot to incite a full-fledged war between Russia and Ukraine (available May 30, 2017).

Former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Douglas Flannery meets with an old friend and former spy near New York’s South Street Seaport. She is seeking his help to thwart a Russian plan to overrun her native Ukraine, but those for whom she is working propose an infinitely more dangerous scheme, one that could draw in NATO forces and possibly ignite World War III. Moments later, as she jogs along the East River, her throat is slashed.

Within hours, Op-Center learns of the killing and alarm bells go off. Director Chase Williams and his team have been following events as Ukraine, her NATO allies, and Russia rapidly deploy forces in a dangerous game of brinksmanship. But the secret that Flannery has learned threatens to take the looming battle to a whole new and very lethal level. Using cutting edge techniques of cyber warfare and spycraft, Op-Center must respond to the rapidly unfolding crisis before the U.S. is forced to take sides in a conflict that could change history.

[Read an excerpt from Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Dark Zone...]

Fri
May 19 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

The Fact of a Body: Audio Excerpt

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich's The Fact of a Body audiobook is an intellectual and emotional thriller that offers listeners a different kind of murder mystery. Drawing on parallels between Marzano-Lesnevich's long-buried family secrets and the story of a man accused of murder, this author-narrated audiobook tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth.

Listen to an exclusive audio excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Fact of a Body, and then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win an unabridged audiobook CD copy!

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes—the moment she hears him speak of his crimes—she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

[Listen to an excerpt from The Fact of a Body...]

Thu
May 18 2017 10:02am
Excerpt

The Fact of a Body: New Excerpt

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-LesnevichThe Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed—but about how we grapple with our own personal histories (available May 16, 2017).

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes—the moment she hears him speak of his crimes—she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

[Read an excerpt from The Fact of a Body...]

Wed
May 17 2017 1:00pm
Excerpt

Price of Duty: New Excerpt

Dale Brown

Price of Duty by Dale Brown is the 21st book in the Patrick McLanahan series, where the U.S. and its Western allies come under a diabolical Russian cyber warfare attack in this action-packed military techno-thriller.

In a top-secret location deep in the Ural Mountains, Russian President Gennadiy Gryzlov has built his nation’s most dangerous weapon since the atomic bomb—a fearsome tool to gain superiority in Russia’s long-running battle with the West. From inside Perun Aerie—an intricate network of underground tunnels and chambers that is the heart of the Russian cyber warfare program—he is launching a carefully plotted series of attacks on an unsuspecting U.S. and its European allies.

The first strike targets Warsaw, Poland, where Russian malware wipes out the records of nearly every Polish bank account, imploding the country’s financial system and panicking the rest of Europe. When Stacy Anne Barbeau, the besieged American president, fails to effectively combat the Russian threat, Brad McLanahan, on some well-earned R&R with his new Polish girlfriend, Major Nadia Rozek, is called back to duty.

As the Russians’ deadly tactics escalate—including full-scale assaults on Europe’s power grid and the remote hijacking of a commercial airliner that kills hundreds of civilians—McLanahan and his Scion team kick into gear, arming themselves with the most advanced technological weaponry for the epic struggle ahead. A patriot in the mold of his father, the late general Patrick McLanahan, Brad knows firsthand the price of freedom.

With the world’s fate hanging in the balance, will Scion succeed in turning back Gryzlov before he can realize his terrifying ambition to conquer the globe? And what will the toll of victory be?

[Read an excerpt from Price of Duty...]

Wed
May 17 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

You Were Here: New Excerpt

Gian Sardar

You Were Here by Gian Sardar is a suspenseful debut novel about a woman haunted by nightmares and her grandmother's role in a doomed love triangle almost seventy years before.

What if the past is never buried?

Death, accidental and early, has always been Abby Walters's preoccupation. Now thirty-three and eager to settle down with her commitment-shy boyfriend, a recurring dream from her past returns: a paralyzing nightmare of being buried alive, the taste of dirt in her mouth cloying and real. But this time the dream reveals a name from her family's past. Looking for answers, Abby returns home to small-town Minnesota for the first time in fourteen years, where she reconnects with her high school crush, now a police detective on the trail of a violent criminal.

When Abby tries on her grandmother's mesmerizing diamond ring, a ring she always dreamed would be hers, she discovers a cryptic note long hidden beneath the box's velvet lining. What secret was her grandmother hiding? And could this be the key to what's haunting Abby? As she begins to uncover the traces of a love triangle gone shockingly wrong nearly seventy years before, we, too, see that the layers of our lives may echo a past we’ve never known.

[Read an excerpt from You Were Here...]

Tue
May 16 2017 2:00pm

Cover Reveal: Watch Me by Jody Gehrman

Intense obsession... Illicit attraction... Watch Me by Jody Gehrman presents a world where what you desire may be the most dangerous thing of all (available January 23, 2018).

Enjoy Crminal Element's exclusive sneak peek below!

SAM

There’s a key turning in your door. Adrenaline shoots through my body so fast I get a head rush.

For a second, my impulse is to stand my ground. I long to greet you and welcome you in and cook for you and ask about your day and massage the kinks from your taut shoulders and scold Emily for jumping onto your lap when it’s your turn to be petted, to be loved.

[Read the full excerpt from Watch Me...]

Tue
May 16 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Perish the Day: New Excerpt

John Farrow

Perish the Day: A Storm Murders Mystery by John FarrowPerish the Day by John Farrow is the 3rd book in the Storm Murders Trilogy (available May 23, 2017).

A co-ed is found murdered on campus, her body scarcely touched. The killer paid meticulous attention to the aesthetics of his crime. Coincidentally (or not), a college custodian is also found dead.

While an epic rainstorm assails the Holyoake, New Hampshire campus, overflowing rivers and taking down power lines, a third crime scene is revealed: a professor, formerly a spy, has been shot dead in his home. A mysterious note is found that warned him to run.

Each victim is connected to the Dowbiggin School of International Relations, yet none seems connected to the other. The dead student was a close friend of Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars’s niece, so he puts his nose in; when internecine battles between police departments create a rift, he covertly slips into the crevice so he can be involved in the investigation.

Coming up against campus secrets, Émile Cinq-Mars must uncover the links between disparate groups quickly before the next victim is selected for an elaborate initiation into murder.

[Read an excerpt from Perish the Day...]

Mon
May 15 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

G-Man: New Excerpt

Stephen Hunter

G-Man by Stephen Hunter is the latest installment in the bestselling Bob Lee Swagger series, which finds Bob uncovering his family’s secret tommy gun war with 1930s gangsters like John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson (available May 16, 2017).

1934. The depths of the Depression were marked by an epidemic of bank robberies and the swashbuckling, Tommy-gun-toting outlaws who became household names. John Dillinger. Bonnie and Clyde. Pretty Boy Floyd. Hunting them down was the new U.S. Division of Investigation—soon to become the FBI—which was determined to nab the most dangerous gangster this country has ever produced, a man so violent he scared Al Capone and was booted from the Chicago Mob—Lester Gillis, better known as Baby Face Nelson. To stop him, the Bureau recruited the most talented gunman of the time—Charles Swagger, World War I hero and sheriff of Polk County, Arkansas.

Eighty years later, Charles’s grandson Bob Lee Swagger has finally decided to sell the family homestead, but when the developers begin to tear down the house, they uncover a strongbox hidden in the foundation. Enclosed is an array of memorabilia dating back to 1934—a much-corroded federal lawman’s badge, a .45 automatic preserved in cosmoline, a mysterious gun part, and a cryptic diagram—all belonging to Charles Swagger. Fascinated and puzzled by these newly discovered artifacts, Bob is determined to find out what happened to his grandfather, who died before Bob was born, and why his own father, whom he worshipped, never spoke of Charles. But as he investigates further, Bob learns that someone is following him, that someone is sharing his obsession with finding out what Charles Swagger really left behind.

[Read an excerpt from G-Man...]

Sat
May 13 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Two Lost Boys: New Excerpt

L. F. Robertson

Two Lost Boys by L. F. Robertson is a debut novel and a legal thriller that deals with the controversial subject of the death penalty (available May 16, 2017). 

Janet Moodie has spent years as a death row appeals attorney. Overworked and recently widowed, she’s had her fill of hopeless cases, and is determined that this will be her last. Her client is Marion ‘Andy’ Hardy, convicted along with his brother Emory of the rape and murder of two women. But Emory received a life sentence while Andy got the death penalty, labeled the ringleader despite his low IQ and Emory’s dominant personality.

Convinced that Andy’s previous lawyers missed mitigating evidence that would have kept him off death row, Janet investigates Andy’s past. She discovers a sordid and damaged upbringing, a series of errors on the part of his previous counsel, and most worrying of all, the possibility that there is far more to the murders than was first thought. Andy may be guilty, but does he deserve to die?

[Read an excerpt from Two Lost Boys...]

Fri
May 12 2017 1:00pm
Excerpt

The Run-Out Groove: New Excerpt

Andrew Cartmel

The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel is the 2nd book in the Vinyl Detective series.

Read an excerpt from The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel, and then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win BOTH Vinyl Detective mysteries!

His first adventure consisted of the search for a rare record; his second the search for a lost child. Specifically the child of Valerian, lead singer of a great rock band of the 1960s, who hanged herself in mysterious circumstances after the boy’s abduction.

Along the way, the Vinyl Detective finds himself marked for death, at the wrong end of a shotgun, and unknowingly dosed with LSD as a prelude to being burned alive. And then there’s the grave robbing…

[Read an excerpt from The Run-Out Groove...]

Fri
May 12 2017 10:01am
Excerpt

The Love Interest: New Excerpt

Cale Dietrich

The Love Interest by Cale DietrichThe Love Interest by Cale Dietrich is a debut novel and an enthralling YA spy thriller (available May 16, 2017).

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

[Read an excerpt from The Love Interest...]

Thu
May 11 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Tower Down: New Excerpt

David Hagberg

Tower Down by David HagbergTower Down by David Hagberg is the 21st book in the Kirk McGarvey series (available May 16, 2017).

A freelance killer, code-named Al-Nassar, “the Eagle,” blows the supports on a pencil tower in Manhattan and sends it crashing down. Hundreds of people are killed, both the multi-billionaires inside and the innocent bystanders on the street more than one thousand feet below. It's like 9/11 all over again, only this time, no airplanes are involved.

Retired CIA assassin Kirk McGarvey believes that someone in the Saudi Arabian government, feeling the internal pinch of sharply declining oil revenues and the escalating costs in money and manpower of defending its borders against ISIS, is behind the attack. The Saudis hope to awaken America's will and military might against ISIS.

But no one in the White House or even in the CIA wants to believe that more Americans are going to die. Only McGarvey, his partner Pete Boylan, and his long time friend, the computer genius odd-duck Otto Rencke, believe that another attack on a Manhattan skyscraper is imminent.

The trio embarks on a mission to find the Eagle and stop him before he strikes again. They’re hot on his trail—but the clock is ticking.

[Read an excerpt from Tower Down...]

Wed
May 10 2017 5:15pm
Excerpt

Shallow Grave: A Polis Books Twist

Alex Segura and Dave White

Acclaimed crime writers Alex Segura and Dave White pair up their series' characters—Pete Fernandez and Jackson Donne—in a thrilling crossover crime short story, Shallow Grave.

What’s better than one great PI story? Well, how about two great PIs in the same story?

Polis Books thinks so. Today marks the release of Shallow Grave, a short story co-written by two acclaimed crime writers—Dave White and Alex Segura­—and featuring their respective series characters, Jackson Donne and Pete Fernandez, in an unexpected and compelling crossover.

Similar to last year’s Bad Beat—which saw Fernandez pair up with Ash McKenna, the protagonist of writer Rob Hart’s series of PI novels—Shallow Grave throws Fernandez and Donne onto the same case, with one major twist: Donne, as readers of the series know, is serving time in prison when Fernandez meets him.

[Read an excerpt from Shallow Grave and get the whole short story for free!]

Wed
May 10 2017 2:00pm
Excerpt

The Finishing School: New Excerpt

Joanna Goodman

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman is a suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, in which a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.

How far would you go to uncover the truth?

One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée.

Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.

[Read an excerpt from The Finishing School...]