Excerpt: 'The Neighbor'

Summer reading roundup - The Neighbor

Jason and Sandra Jones appear to have a normal life with their 4-year-old daughter. When Sandra disappears without a trace one day, Sgt. Dect. D.D. Warren is called in on the case in Lisa Gardner's 11th thriller, "The Neighbor."

Her husband becomes an immediate suspect because he's stonewalling investigators and seems to have destroyed evidence. As Warren keeps digging, he discovers that the couple's life was far from perfect.

Read an excerpt of the book below and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.

Chapter One

I've always wondered what people felt in the final few hours of their lives. Did they know something terrible was about to occur? Sense imminent tragedy, hold their loved ones close? Or is it one of those things that simply happens? The mother of four, tucking her kids into bed, worrying about the morning car pool, the laundry she still hasn't done, and the funny noise the furnace is making again, only to catch an eerie creak coming from down the hall. Or the teenage girl, dreaming about her Saturday shopping date with her BFF, only to open her eyes and discover she's no longer alone in her room. Or the father, bolting awake, thinking, What the fuck? right before the hammer catches him between the eyes.

In the last six hours of the world as I know it, I feed Ree dinner. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, topped with pieces of turkey dog. I slice up an apple. She eats the crisp white flesh, leaving behind curving half-smiles of red peel. I tell her the skin holds all the nutrients. She rolls her eyes—four going on fourteen. We already fight over clothing—she likes short skirts, her father and I prefer long dresses, she wants a bikini, we insist she wear a one-piece. I figure it's only a matter of weeks before she demands the keys to the car.

Afterward Ree wants to go "treasure hunting" in the attic. I tell her it's bath time. Shower, actually. We share the old claw-foot tub in the upstairs bath, as we've been doing since she was a baby. Ree lathers up two Barbies and one princess rubber duckie. I lather up her. By the time we're done, we both smell like lavender and the entire black-and-white checkered bathroom is smothered with steam.

I like the post-shower ritual. We wrap up in giant towels, then make a beeline down the chilly hallway to the Big Bed in Jason's and my room, where we lie down, side by side, arms cocooned, but toes sticking out, lightly touching. Our orange tabby cat, Mr. Smith, jumps on the bed, and peers down at us with his big golden eyes, long tail twitching.

"What was your favorite part of today?" I ask my daughter.

Ree crinkles her nose. "I don't remember."

Mr. Smith moves away from us, finding a nice comfy spot by the headboard, and begins to groom. He knows what's coming next.

"My favorite part was coming home from school and getting a big hug." I'm a teacher. It's Wednesday. Wednesday I get home around four, Jason departs at five. Ree is used to the drill by now. Daddy is daytime, Mommy is nighttime. We didn't want strangers raising our child and we've gotten our wish.

"Can I watch a movie?" Ree asks. Is always asking. She'd live with the DVD player if we let her.

"No movie," I answer lightly. "Tell me about school."

"A short movie," she counters. Then offers, triumphantly, "Veggie Tales!"

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