Friday, March 27, 2009

Kelley Armstrong - Guest Blogger - Day 2

In my last post, I said if I was stuck on a desert island, I might finish a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel of mine. Well, if I did, I’d need to change the main character’s name, because I re-used it for the protagonist of this series. What can I say, I like the name

This is an excerpt from Made to be Broken, my second 100% supernatural-free crime thriller. Nadia Stafford, my ex-cop-turned-hitwoman-and-wilderness-lodge-owner protagonist is investigating the death of her teen mom housekeeping assistant. This excerpt is from later in the novel, but stands alone pretty well. If you’d prefer to start at the beginning, the first three chapters are on my site (http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/) under the Nadia Stafford link.

Again, I’ll draw a name from comments to win a signed book from my backlist. And because it can be hard to comment on an excerpt, you can do that or you can tell me what you think of non-paranormal thrillers in general—prefer them, prefer paranormal, never read them, etc.

Excerpt:

I sat on my bed, hugging my knees, still dressed, watching the hours flip past. I didn’t dare lie down for fear I’d sleep. With sleep would come the nightmares.

I’d woken Jack with them twice last fall and wouldn’t risk it again. I considered sneaking downstairs for a roll of duct tape. I’d done that once, when I’d been desperate, but the off-chance that Jack might catch me made me stop. Sleeping with duct tape over your mouth? Crazy woman behavior.

The nightmares were always the same. I was running though an endless forest, trying in vain to get home, get my dad, save Amy. I hear Drew Aldrich right behind me, getting closer as the forest’s edge stretched ever farther away.

That part never happened—he didn’t chase me; he’d been too busy raping Amy in the cabin. I’d peered around the corner, seen him on her, heard her muffled screams and I’d run. Left her there and run away. Left her to die. Saved myself.
A parade of therapists have tried to tell me otherwise. I’d been going for help, as I’d been taught, and that was the right thing to do. Everyone told me I’d done the smart thing—my father, Amy’s father, even my mother had snapped “Of course, you should have run. Don’t be stupid.”

I’d done what my father and every cop in our family had taught me from the time I was old enough to set foot outside alone. If anything happens, try to get away. Don’t fight unless you absolutely have to. Run for help. Let us look after the rest.

I’d gotten help, but not in time. In the aftermath of Amy’s death, I’d clung to that promise: let us look after the rest. Justice would be done, one way or another. Only it wasn't. Aldrich went free and all those cops who’d made me that promise let him walk away.

And justice for none.

Even as I considered ways to anonymously alert someone to Sammi’s body, I heard the whispers of the past.

Is anyone really surprised?

Oh, I don’t mean Amy brought this on herself, but . . .

Did you see the way she dressed? Only fourteen, flirting with everything in pants. And a cop’s daughter no less. A Stafford. If they couldn’t teach her better, no one could.

Some girls . . .

I’m not saying she brought it on herself . . .

I don’t think Drew ever meant to hurt her. Things just got out of hand.

Now if it had been Nadia . . .

Yes, if it had been Nadia . . . There’s a good girl. So polite. So helpful. A Stafford through and through. But he never touched her. That says something right there, doesn’t it? Amy, with her tight skirts and her makeup . . .

Some girls . . .

Made to be broken.


I could drag Don Riley to Sammi’s grave, show him her body and it wouldn’t change what he—and all of White Rock—thought of her. If there was any investigation, it would be quick, half- hearted at best.

As for Destiny, they’d claim she was somewhere in those woods. No one in White Rock was going to waste investigative efforts finding another Ernst brat. Right now, the only person who cared who killed her was the one who’d discovered her body.

Finding justice for Sammi wouldn’t change what I’d done to Amy. But I could try.

24 comments:

Pamk said...

sounds good. I love suspense books occasionally. Love the paranormals more but every once in a while you just need something different.

Cara said...

Hmmm...tempting. Very tempting. I suppose once I'm finished catching up on Women of the Otherworld, I'll have to pick up a copy of this series.

To be honest, I tend to stick to the paranormal. Why? Because I'm a wimp. I get scared very easily. I'm in the middle of No Humans Involved. I read the first chapter (prologue?) a few days ago right before bed and that gave me nightmares. (Told you I was a wimp.) And though I'm well aware that there are psychopaths in the world, it's so much easier to explain everything away as "paranormal" and thus...could not happen to me. No such luck with non-paranormal books.

But I think I may have to try the Nadia Stafford series. I'll need something to tide me over while I wait for more Otherworld books, once I finish the series.

Cem said...

I've got and read Made To Be Broken and I really love it. I liked it more than the first Nadia book, which I couldn't get in to easily. But I really hope there will be more in this series.

I read a lot more urban fanatasy and paranormal stuff than thrillers or anything else, but I do read them as well. I like stuff that's got an edge to it, characters with something at stake, something to hide, whether it's a past they want to forget or fear of something that could happen that effects them, or something else completely. I like characters I can get lost with. So if a thriller/crime/YA/UF book has that, then I'm normally happy.

Lisa said...

Sounds really good I do read suspense books. Have to admit paranormal are my favorite but I do read straight suspense as well.

Tracy said...

Wow awesome excerpt. But then I love your writing so it's not too surprising. :)

Katie Reus said...

Wow, intense excerpt!! I'm going to be honest, I've never read you before but that excerpt left me wanting more :)

Carolyn Jean said...

I loved Exit Strategy and I'm reading Made To Be Broken right now, and it's great!!!

Wonderful characters, smart details, yummy plottiness.

LesleyW said...

I admit to being a Nadia/Jack shipper.

My favourite quote from the first book is:-

...Jack said, "You saw my note, right? It said 'wait'."
"That was a note? I thought it was a haiku."

Meagan Fowler said...

Usually I read paranormal because so many authors (including Kelley Armstrong) have a great talent for taking us someplace else where our imaginations can flow. Sometimes with suspense the books just feel like real life.

I've read the Nadia duet and I did enjoy them, they are different than any other suspense stories I have read.

You have a way of making your readers care about the characters and the stories and what will become of everything.

seanachi said...

Well now I want to go read that one and I'm still working my way through your paranormals. :adds to list: As a rule I love both paranormal and non paranormal romantic suspense/thrillers. In this excerpt I think you do a great job of bring up that ghost from the past. It's very Freudian. :) Throw in another situation similar to the ghost that haunts the character and hope she can prevail this time.

Renee said...

I love this series, and Nadia's ethical struggles are fascinating. This excerpt was especially powerful. It really brought home the significance of the book title!

Sinful Cinnamon said...

I haven't yet read Made to Be Broken (though it's at the top of my "to read" list) so I didn't want to read the excerpt, just in case. So instead I'll just say that I prefer supernatural thrillers, but I read pretty much anything.

I've heard that you ended this one on a cliffhanger, so I really hope you write more in this series!! :D

Shanna said...

I just started reading Made To Be Broken yesterday. And I just finished reading it....yesterday. lol. I really enjoy the Nadia Stafford series.

Maybe....gasp....more than the Otherworld series. Something about Nadia as a character just sucks me in.

I love reading both paranormal and suspense books. I don't know if I could choose between the two. I am definately hoping that there will be more Nadia to come! Thanks Kelley!

Marg said...

I read Exit Strategy and really enjoyed it! I wasn't sure that a story where the main two characters are hitmen would be one where you could relate to them, but you pulled it off. I am really looking forward to reading Made to be Broken.

Tez Miller said...

I'd love to read your take on post-apocalyptic life, so hopefully you can work it into your schedule soon :-)

nikki said...

I have to say, originally, I was skeptical about Exit Strategy. Having read the Otherworld books, I didn't know if anything mundane was what I was looking for. It was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of Made to be Broken. Especially after reading this and the other chapters on Kelley's website.

Cheryl M. said...

I love Nadia...I love how unapologetic she is about the choices she's made in her life. I'd like to be more like Nadia myself, but without the killing people and stuff, because blood makes me faint, lol.

Lori T said...

Hi Kelley~

These sound great...just more books to be added to my ever growing to be read pile.

DonnaB said...

My copy of this book arrived TODAY from BN.com! Yaaaay!

I love Nadia Stafford and Jack.

PS Did you ever notice how sometimes the "word verification" words actually SPELL something weird? Do you think that's intentional or just random? Hmmmm.

jessewave said...

I love paranormals but that was an awesome excerpt.

Maija P. said...

I don't read suspense books that often. But if I'd decide to read something other than romance, and that other being a thriller book, I'd look for non-paranormal thrillers. I love paranormal romance, but I'd prefer my thriller without this aspect.

Kytaira said...

I'm a paranormal girl when it comes to reading. I prefer to just watch my non-paranormal suspense in TV shows.

Erica said...

Hi again Kelley!

I love paranormal thrillers- it's a good way to escape and think about the "what-ifs..."

Jasmine said...

Love my paranormals. Though I'm a fantasy reader at heart. But then I love a good sex scene too.

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