Authors: Chandler McGrew
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF
Featured Alternate Selection of the Doubleday Book Club, Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Science Fiction Book Club
“Before you start reading
, lock all the doors and turn on all the lights. Its suspense moves like a bullet train and whispers your darkest fears.”
—Dennis Burges, author of
“McGrew’s creative, addictive novel is one part Rapture drama, one part Lovecraftian horror story and one part blood-soaked chase…. ‘Mysterious’ is a good word to describe this book, which reveals its secrets slowly and in small increments. But McGrew keeps the pacing brisk and eschews overly florid prose, making this a thrilling one-sit read, right down to its explosive, delightfully hokey finale.”
“There are many great horror novelists writing today, including King, Koontz, and Barker, but Chandler McGrew proves with
he is their equal. The protagonists don’t want to be world saviors but when push comes to shove they find the courage to try.”
is a treat for fans of horror, action, theology and mythology, as well as those readers who just like a good book in which they can quickly get lost … a trip into realms some feared would never be explored again.”
“As the lights go out in this tension-packed tale you’ll make sure yours stay on as you read long into the night!”
“McGrew ratchets up the tension and plays on the primal fears that cause most adults to lose sleep…. Intersperses the action and suspense with moments of assured portrayals of character … It will be interesting to see what area McGrew will tackle in his next novel but based on his first two books, he is an author to watch, and read.”
“Unsettling … an engaging read … Fans of Kay Hooper and Linda Howard will readily dig into this fantastic tale.”
is a skillful tale, well-paced and intricately constructed—a good read.”
—Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
sweeps the reader along at an unrelenting pace…. This is a read-it-in-one-sitting book that will have you awake long past midnight, looking at the shadows outside your window.”
“Chandler McGrew has written a masterful work of psychological suspense….
is a fascinating reading experience.”
—I Love a Mystery Newsletter
“This story is a spine-tingling blend of mystery, thriller, and a bit of the paranormal, where a surprise lurks around every corner. The characters are ordinary people dealing with their own private pain, as well as the extraordinary circumstances in which they find themselves.”
—Old Book Barn Gazette
“If you thought
was a good book by Chandler McGrew,
will have you sleeping with the lights on! … Suspense at its best, there are so many plot twists and turns.”
“A taut thriller … Fast paced with plausible characters,
is a top-flight story and bonafide ‘page-turner’!”
“The best opening ten pages I’ve read this year…. This suspense mystery reads like a good martini tastes: ice cold.”
—Contra Costa Times
“This first-time author has crafted a tale that compels the reader to turn page after page. This book has incredible tension and suspense.”
“An engrossing reading experience.”
—Midwest Book Review
“A fast-moving tale of suspense and bloody mayhem.”
“This is a very well-constructed, action-packed novel … a tense and satisfying read.”
—I Love a Mystery Newsletter
“What an unbelievable read! I’m telling you, McGrew could very well be the next Dean Koontz. He’s that good. That’s why we had to pick his book
as the number 1 read!”
, Best Author, 2002
“Chandler McGrew has written one hell of a suspense thriller…. His suspenseful narrative voice is perfection, and he keeps us on the edge of our seats with a bang of an ending!”
Light of my life
Many people contributed to the creation of this
book, and I would especially like to thank all the
deafblind and their families who were without fail
responsive and helpful, asking only that they be treated
fairly and with compassion. Until I began my research
I was regrettably unaware of their silent, dark, but
surprisingly multifaceted world. I would certainly never
have expected to receive a series of very funny deafblind
jokes from a gentleman who e-mailed them to me from his
braille-equipped laptop. Heartfelt thanks. As always
I appreciated the help of Dr. Kevin Finley for his medical
expertise. Finally, of course, I have to give credit to my
faithful agent, Irene Kraas, without whose efforts you
might not be reading this. To my editor,
Caitlin Alexander, whose patience is legend.
And to my wife, Rene, soul mate and friend.
Without a dream to light your way
the world is a very dark place.
—Marion Zimmer Bradley
Sometimes its countenance is death
I’ve smelled decay upon its breath.
Just as night defeats the day
In shadows fierce the demons play
While aloft for those who cannot see
The dragon hums a memory.
by Cooder Reese
ORIN LIVED IN A WORLD
of touch and taste, and strange, wonderful odors that wafted through the darkness of his days and nights. Deaf and blind, and smaller than most thirteen-year-olds, most of his exercise consisted of exploring either the house or the yard, or joining his mother on her weekend errands to Arcos.
Still, he was wirier and stronger than people expected. His fingers were calloused from hours of reading braille and working with the maze of electronic parts and tools he kept neatly organized in plastic bins over the wide folding table that took up one wall of his bedroom. His mother had grown as weary as he had of trying to explain to people how he could repair radios and televisions that he could neither see nor hear.
So the boy spent his days in quiet anonymity, fiddling with transistors and transducers, with solid-state circuits
that no one could fix. No one but him. Even Pastor Ernie was curious just
he repaired them. But the best explanation Pierce could give—spelling it out into Ernie’s palm since it was too complicated for American Sign Language, and Ernie wasn’t that
with the signs, anyway—was that he could
what was broken inside and how the parts were supposed to fit together.
But that morning he wasn’t in his seat at the worktable. Instead he sat on a straight-backed chair beside the open window, resting his fingers on the sill, feeling the warmth of the sun on them, smelling the new-mown grass in the backyard, the rich loamy aroma of the creek down below, phasing out the leftover house odors of cereal, and coffee, and his mother’s shampoo and perfume. Feeling the hairs on his arms tingling as the faintest of breezes stirred the air, he wondered what strange sense of gloom kept him so still. He felt like a rabbit huddling beneath a bush, but he had no idea what danger approached, only that it was coming and he needed to be ready.
Suddenly it seemed as though a cloud had passed the sun, chilling his cheeks, and yet the warmth of the light still lingered on his hands. Twisting his head to one side, as if searching for some errant sound with his deaf ears, he tried to understand what was happening.
Something was terribly wrong.
But not wrong in the way an open door in the night was wrong. It was more like the world he knew had somehow broken. Some part of the universe had turned dangerous and deadly. Shivering, he clutched his shoulders.
He stood slowly, sliding his fingers up to find the top of the window sash and slamming it shut, tripping the latch and wishing that the thin curtains he jerked across it were more than just for show. If sunlight could get through them to warm him in bed, then whatever was coming might be able
to look right through them, too. What good were curtains like that, anyway?
Suddenly he knew that the indefinable something was right on the other side of the glass. He could sense it peering inside, studying him through the gauzy curtains as though he were some kind of specimen. He knew scientists did that to small animals, like bugs, and Pierce had always wondered if the bugs minded. Now he knew. If the bugs were anything at all like him, they experienced the unreasoning terror of
they were in the grip of something so powerful they had absolutely no defense against it.
Against his will he was drawn nearer to the window, parting the curtain again with shaking hands, bending until he was so close that he could feel the coolness of the glass radiating toward his nose even as the refracted sunlight still heated his skin. There really was
on the other side of the pane, inches away from his face. He knew it in the same way he knew when an electronic circuit was broken. He sensed thoughts as though he were reading someone else’s mind, only it was wasn’t a
that made any kind of sense to him. He was filled to bursting with a maelstrom of emotions, and without thinking he lashed out with his fist, shattering the window, the vibration shooting through his arm.
He stood frozen, the jagged edge of the glass pressed against the soft underside of his wrist, as the presence on the other side of the window slowly eked away. It was as though his abrupt release of anger had driven it out of the yard, but he sensed that it had left for some other, unknown, reason.
He felt lightly around the broken pane with the fingers of his other hand, slowly and carefully drawing his fist back out of the shards. Testing with his fingers he discovered that, miraculously, he had not cut himself.
Not even a nick.