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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



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1 Beaverton Mystery- A to Z
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The Night Season

by

The Night Season Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Present day

Technically, the park was closed.

But Laura knew a place where the wire fence was split, and she had let the Aussies through and then climbed over behind them. It looked like a pond. There was, in fact, no place muddier in the winter in Portland, Oregon, than West Delta Dog Park, and that was saying something.

The dogs ran ahead of her in the standing water, splashing it behind them, already matted with wet dirt and dead grass. Occasion­ally they turned to look back at her, their warm breath condensing in the January air.

Laura wiped her nose with the back of her hand. It was a terrible day to be out. Her rain pants were slick with rain, her trail runners were soaked. Shed spent the early morning sandbagging downtown and her back ached. The stress fracture in her foot stung. Stay off it for six weeks, the doctors had said. As if.

The cloud cover hung so low that the tops of the trees seemed to brush it.

She loved this.

The worst weather, body aching. Nothing could keep her in­side. Biking. Running. Walking the dogs. She was out there every day, no matter what. Not like all those poseurs who came out in the summer in their REI sun shirts and ran along the esplanade with their iPods and swinging elbows. Where were they in the dead of winter? At the gym, thats where.

God, Laura hated those people.

Franklin glanced back at her, wagged his stubby tail, barked once, flattened his ears, and took off across the old road to the slough. It was their usual route. Penny, the puppy, stuck closer to Laura, zipping ahead ten feet and then circling back.

Laura heard it then. She had heard it all along, but it had faded to white noise, an ambient sound, like a jet passing overhead.

The Columbia Slough.

She knew it would be high. Theyd had a ton of snow in De­cember. Then it had warmed up and started to rain. That meant snowmelt from the mountains. Lots of it. The storm drains were backed up. The Willamette was near flood stage. The local news was live with it day and night; they were considering evacuating downtown. But that was the Willamette. Miles away.

As Laura rounded the corner, past the trees, where the old con­crete pavilion sat sinking into the slough bank, she was aware of her mouth opening.

In the summer, the slough was still and flat, blanketed by algae so thick it looked solid enough to walk on. That slough was so stagnant that Laura was surprised anything could survive in it. That slough looked like a bucket of water that had been left on the back porch all summer.

This slough was alive. It moved like something angry and afraid, churning fast and high. Whitewater swept along the bank, pulling up debris and washing it downriver. Laura saw a branch get sucked into the water and lost sight of it in an instant as it was swal­lowed by the seething froth.

Franklin was up ahead, nosing along the old concrete pavilion at the sloughs bank. He whined and gave her a look.

She called his name and slapped her thigh. “Lets get out of here,” she said.

He turned to come to her. Hed been a rescue dog. Her hus­band had found him on the Internet. Hed been kept in some barn in Idaho, given little food and no human comfort. It had taken them years to teach him to trust people. And it filled Laura with pride to know that he had turned into such a good dog.

Even with the noise of the slough, hed heard her. Hed turned to come.

And thats when it happened.

Did he slip? Did the slough rise up suddenly and take him? She didnt know.

He was looking right at her, and in a second he was gone.

It took her a moment to move. And then she snapped into ac­tion.

Her dog was not going to die. Not like this. She ran. She didnt think about the stress fracture. The sore back. The raging river. She ran to the edge of the bank, scanning the water for him, as Penny barked fiercely at her heels.

Her heart leapt. She saw him. A glimpse—a wet mound of fur struggling in froth. He was already moving down the river, but he was alive, his black nose just above water.

She had several options.

Maybe if Franklin hadnt been looking her in the eye when it happened she would have considered more of them. She would have called for help, or run alongside the river, or tied a rope around her waist.

She knew what happened to people who went into water after pets.

They died.

But Laura had seen something in Franklins brown eyes. Hed looked right at her.

“Stay,” she said to Penny.

And she plunged into the cold water after him.

Lauras first sensation, in the rushing dirty sludge, was of not being able to breathe. Shed been hit by a car once, on her bike. It was like that. Like having all the air forced out of you by an impact of steel and concrete. Laura forced herself to take a deep breath, filling her lungs, and she tried to orient herself. Her head was above water, her wet braid around her neck. She was already turned around, already ten feet away from Penny, fifteen, twenty. The roar of the slough was unrelenting. Twigs and branches snapped against Lauras face in the current, stinging her skin. Penny stood barking at the shore, pawing at the ground. Until Laura couldnt hear her anymore.

Where was Franklin?

Laura struggled to see him, but at water level all she could see was more water. She was fifty feet away from Penny now. Sixty. She couldnt see. She couldnt see the shore. Just the sky, dark clouds, above her.

Float.

Cold water survival. You lost heat swimming.

Just float.

She took a deep breath and lifted her hands, already numb, foreign, like they belonged to someone else, and she spread her arms and bobbed on her back, and let the current take her.

The current had taken Franklin.

It would take her to him.

Cold water filled her ears. They ached. Her teeth chattered, the sound lost in the roar of the slough. Her clothes felt heavy, filled with water, dragging her down.

And then she heard him.

Laura rolled over and used the last of her strength to fight her way through the current toward the whimper. He was there, caught against the roots of a fallen tree, the water trapping him. He saw her and his ears perked up, and his paws paddled in vain toward her.

She got to him.

She didnt know how.

She got to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He could have fought her. Animals did that. Panicked. But he didnt. He went limp. He went limp into her arms, and she was able to use the tree as leverage and push her heels into the silt at the bottom of the slough, and she managed to somehow inch them both to the muddy riverbank.

She collapsed beside him in the mud, still holding on to him, still not letting him go. Her heart was pounding. They were soaked. Franklin whined and licked her face.

Theyd made it.

She rolled onto her back, almost giddy. They were alive. Shed like to see one of those fair- weather esplanade runners survive some­thing like this.

Franklin shook the water from his mangy coat and Laura turned away, lifting a hand over her face. “Hey, boy,” she said. “Easy.”

He growled, his upper lip tightening. He was looking at some­thing behind her.

“What?” she said.

Franklins eyes narrowed, still focused over Lauras shoulder.

She shivered. Whether it was from cold or fear, she didnt know.

Laura turned around.

In the mud of the bank, partially exposed, was a human skel­eton.

NIGHT SEASON Copyright © 2011 by Chelsea Cain

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312619763
Author:
Cain, Chelsea
Publisher:
Macmillan Audio
Author:
Delaine, Christina
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Subject:
Thrillers/Suspense
Subject:
Thrillers/Crime
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Series Volume:
No. 4
Publication Date:
20110301
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
7 CDs, 9 hours
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Night Season Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Minotaur Books - English 9780312619763 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Night Season definitely kept me up past my bedtime.  If my mom had been in the next room, I would have been under the blankets with a flashlight.  Chelsea Cain deftly depicts the seamier side of the idyllic City of Roses.

"Review" by , "The enveloping floodwaters are every bit as terrifying as the octopus-toting killer...and the river itself takes on a kind of evil persona, a superhuman antagonist of unfathomable power. Who knew it would take the Willamette River to prove that Chelsea Cain doesn't need Gretchen Lowell?"
"Review" by , "Perfect for readers who want to mix true crime history with their contemporary serial killers, as in Lisa Black's Trail of Blood or Michael Harvey's The Third Rail. The pace is as relentless as the floodwaters engulfing Portland. Buy heavily and enjoy recommending this to new Cain fans."
"Review" by , "[T]he story is deftly handled, the suspense is plentiful and Cain's evocation of the gloomy atmosphere and Portland setting is superb....A strong and satisfying, if less extreme, outing from the new queen of serial-killer fiction."
"Synopsis" by , Bestselling author Chelsea Cain launches the next stage of her bestselling series as Portland detective Archie Sheridan works to regain his life and Susan Ward steps in to share the spotlight in this electric thriller from one of today's most talented suspense writers.
"Synopsis" by , With Archie following the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch a killer and possibly regain his life, and Susan Ward close behind, Chelsea Cain, one of today's most talented suspense writers, launches the next installment of her bestselling series with an electric thriller.
"Synopsis" by ,
With Archie following the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch a killer and possibly regain his life, and Susan Ward close behind, Chelsea Cain—one of todays most talented suspense writers—launches the next installment of her bestselling series with an electric thriller.
"Synopsis" by ,

He captured the Beauty Killer, one of the most deranged serial killers in the country. Now, Portland police detective Archie Sheridan faces a different kind of killer—a brutal rain season that has flooded the Willamette River, claiming several lives. As water levels rise, so does the fear. Because some of the victims didnt drown—they were murdered.

The first body contains a rare poison. Three others prove to be murders as well. And with each gruesome discovery the medical examiner uncovers, Archie begins to realize he has not escaped his nightmares—even with his deadliest enemy behind bars. The flood has washed up old skeletons from the past. And a ruthless new serial killer rules the night…

"Synopsis" by ,

With the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Archie Sheridan—a Portland police detective and nearly one of her victims—can finally rest a little easier. Meanwhile, the rest of the city of Portland is in crisis. Heavy rains have flooded the Willamette River, and several people have drowned in the quickly rising waters. Or at least thats what they thought until the medical examiner discovers that the latest victim didnt drown: She was poisoned before she went into the water. Soon after, three of those drownings are also proven to be murders. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case.

Reporter Susan Ward is chasing this story of a new serial killer with gusto, but shes also got another lead to follow for an entirely separate mystery: The flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died more than sixty years ago, the last time Portland flooded this badly, when the water washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least fifteen people.

With Archie following the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch a killer and possibly regain his life, and Susan Ward close behind, Chelsea Cain—one of todays most talented suspense writers—launches the next installment of her bestselling series with an electric thriller.

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