Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Contributors | November 26, 2014

    Chris Faatz: IMG The Collected Poems of James Laughlin



    Fall has brought us a true gift in the publication of the massive The Collected Poems of James Laughlin, published by New Directions in an... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$9.95
Used Hardcover
Usually ships in 5 to 7 business days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Qty Store Section
1 Remote Warehouse General- General

More copies of this ISBN

The Virgin of Small Plains: A Novel of Suspense

by

The Virgin of Small Plains: A Novel of Suspense Cover

ISBN13: 9780345470997
ISBN10: 0345470990
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $9.95!

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

January 23, 2004

Abby Reynolds braked her truck on the icy highway, startled by what she imagined she saw off to the side of the road. That cant be, she thought, as she squinted into the snow, trying to see more clearly. When the wind blew an opening in the blizzard, Abby realized that it was not a hallucination. It was not an impossible illusion sketched on the early morning air by the gusting snow. It was . . . good grief! . . . it was Nadine Newquist in a bathrobe, surrounded by swirling white, struggling through drifts on the old cemetery road, as if she were determined to visit a particular grave on this particular morning.

My God! It was Nadine: the judges wife, Mitchs mom, Abbys own late mothers lifelong friend. It really was Nadine, a woman who was sixty-three years old and speeding toward early Alzheimers at about the same rate that Abbys pickup truck was sliding sideways on Highway 177.

What the hell was Nadine doing out there?

She was all by herself, in a bathrobe, for Gods sake, in a blizzard . . .

Abby pumped her brakes with a light touch of her foot, didnt slam on them like a fool, but her truck started to spin anyway, going round and round on the two-lane blacktop like a two-ton skater on ice.

She let her steering wheel alone, waiting for it to stop spinning before she touched it again. Coffee sloshed out of her lidless thermal cup in its holder by her knee; the smell of it filled the cab of her truck. She could still taste her last sip of it, along with the fruit and cereal shed had for breakfastall of which was now threatening to come back up her throat.

With a shudder, the truck came out of the spin and started slid- ing sideways again, skidding in a long diagonal across the yellow line into the eastbound lane. A heavy drift of snow slowed it down and changed the direction of the slide, until it was going backward. The skid went on and on, picking up speed as it backed into the crest of a rise, then dropped down again, taking the bottom of Abbys stomach with it. And still the truck stayed on the pavement, hemmed in by snow, avoiding the shoulders, the deep culverts, the barbed wire fencing beyond. People thought Kansas was all flat, but it wasnt, and especially not in the heart of the Flint Hills. The roads in this part of the state were long and straight, but they soared up and plunged down like curved ribbons of hard taffy.

Abby felt a wild hopeful moment of wondering if her truck could somehow manage to slide its way safely all the way back into town on the wrong side of the road. That would be a miracle. As she sat helplessly moving back the way shed come, like a passenger on a roller coaster in reverse, she looked up the highway to the west, hoping not to see headlights coming at her. That way looked clear. In this strange, slow motion, made to feel even more eerie and timeless in the swirling snow, she felt as if she had all the time in the world before whatever was going to happen in the next few moments happened. She felt strangely calm, even curious about the possibility of crashing, but she didnt feel calm about Nadine out there in the snow.

She grabbed her cell phone from the seat beside her.

In the uncanny suspension of time, as her truck drew two long parallel lines in the snow on the highway, Abby realized she might be able to get out of her seat belt, throw open her door, and dive out. But if she did, what if her cell phone broke in her fall, or she hurt herself too badly to call for help? Then nobody would know about Nadine. Mitchs mom could fall out there in the cemetery, be covered by snow, she could die . . .

If I dont jump, Ill crash with the truck.

Nadine . . .

Heart pounding, stomach queasy, no longer feeling calm about anything, Abby gave up the idea of trying to jump to save herself. Instead, she punched in the single digit that called the Sheriffs cell phone. It was on auto-dial, because Rex Shellenberger was as long and close a friend to her as Nadine had been to both of their mothers, as close as Mitch had been to Rex and Abby, once upon a happy time, a long time ago.

“Sheriff Shellenberger,” he said, calm as toast. But it was his recorded message. It went straight from those two words to the beep, wasting no time for people in emergencies.

“Rex! Its Abby! Nadine Newquist is wandering in the snow in the cemetery. Come help me get her out of there and take her home!”

She felt the truck veer left, and then felt it in her back and bottom first as the ride got rough and the rear tires slid onto gravel underneath snow.

Her roller-coaster ride, her trip back through time, was almost over.

Nobody would believe she had traveled so far on ice without crashing, Abby thought as the ride got rougher.

Panicked thoughts flashed through her brain, images without words. Should she call Nadines husband, Tom? No, the judge was a notoriously bad driver in the best of weather, and a veritable menace at the first hint of moisture on the roads. Everybody knew that. Nobody with any sense ever consented to step into a car if Judge Tom Newquist was driving it, especially if it was raining, snowing, or sleeting. Shed only get himor somebody elsekilled if she called him out in this storm.

Frightened, Abby looked out the windshield just before it tilted up toward the sky.

In that split second, she glimpsed Mitchs mom again. Nadines bathrobe was a tiny slash of deep rose on white, a hothouse flower inexplicably set outside on a winters day. Abby knew the robe was expensive, soft and silky to the touch. Shed seen Nadine wearing it a lot lately, because she insisted on spending her days and nights in lingerie. It hardly mattered, since she didnt seem to be able to distinguish night from day anymore. When the judge or the nursing attendants he hired to watch her tried to get her into other clothes, she fought them. Abby knew the robe was made of thin material. The body under it was also thin, with hardly an ounce of fat to protect Nadine from the fierce cold that wrapped around her now.

At sixty miles an hour, Abbys truck hit the far side of the cement culvert with a crash that telescoped the exhaust pipes, flattened half of the metal bed, tore through the transmission, ripped out the gears, and shut the engine off. It was a ten-year-old truck with no air bags. Her seat belt saved her from being thrown into her windshield, but not from being slammed sideways into the window.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Deborah Fochler, August 25, 2007 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
A very good book. One of the best I have read this year. Mystery and love story all in one.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Deborah Fochler, August 25, 2007 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
A extremely good story. Gets you hooked from the very beginning and keeps you guessing until the very end.
A mystery and love story all in one. One of the best books I have read this year.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345470997
Subtitle:
A Novel of Suspense
Author:
Pickard, Nancy
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Cold cases (Criminal investigation)
Subject:
General Fiction
Publication Date:
20060418
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.52x6.40x1.16 in. 1.28 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. The Janissary Tree
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  2. The Deep Blue Alibi (Solomon Vs.... Used Mass Market $4.50
  3. Buzz Cut Used Mass Market $3.50
  4. Transgressions Used Trade Paper $2.95
  5. City of Tiny Lights Used Trade Paper $2.50
  6. The Butter Did It: A Gastronomic... Used Mass Market $1.50

Related Subjects

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

The Virgin of Small Plains: A Novel of Suspense Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345470997 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Some of the leading citizens of Small Plains, Kansas, are determined to keep the truth buried when a long-ago murder resurfaces with devastating and deadly consequences.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.