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Authors: Carlene Thompson

Last Whisper

BOOK: Last Whisper
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Last Whisper
Carlene Thompson
USA (2006)

Brooke Yeager's childhood ended the night she crept downstairs to
find her mother lying in a pool of blood. Standing over Anne's shattered
body, a gun aimed right at the terrified little girl, was Brooke's
stepfather, Zachary Tavell.

Luck saved Brooke that night; and in the years since, she's managed
to build a good life in Charleston, West Virginia, secure in the
knowledge that Zach is behind bars. Until the night another woman is
murdered - a woman who looked just like Brooke- and the news reaches
Brooke that Zach Tavell has escaped from prison.

As the police search for Tavell, Brooke is shaken by a string of
gruesome deaths and disturbing messages linked to her mother's murder.
Everyone she has ever cared about is in danger. And soon it's clear that
the nightmare that began fifteen years ago won't be over until Brooke
comes face to face with a monstrous evil that's closer, and more
cunning, than she ever imagined.



“Turns and twists make you change your mind about who the killer is and the ending is a real shocker. Get this one quick.”

—Rendezvous Reviews

“A great mystery with thrilling intrigue. Thompson knows how to write gripping suspense and keep readers enthralled throughout.”

—Fresh Fiction

“A chilling murder mystery with lots of twists, turns, and unexpected curves . . . one of the best romantic mysteries I have read . . . a great book that you don’t want to miss.”

—Romance Junkies

“A page-turner that will leave you on the edge of your seat . . . another wonderful thriller from Carlene Thompson . . . a must-read.”

—A Romance Review

“An intriguing tale told in a wonderfully fresh voice. Thompson has a truly unique style that blends beautiful prose with compelling plots . . . this novel reads like lightning—and has the same effect on the reader . . . Thompson has created sharp, smart characters with motives that drive the story along. They are enough to keep the story moving at a quick pace. Her voice has a sense of rhythm and a rustic beauty that lingers in the reader’s memory.”

—Romance Divas

“An action-filled read with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end! This story is highly detailed with an array of in-depth characters that are smart, funny, and engaging.”

—Fallen Angel Reviews


“A gripping suspense filled with romance. Ms. Thompson has the reader solving the mystery early in the novel, then changing that opinion every few chapters. [An] excellent novel.”

—Rendezvous Reviews

“With engaging characters and intriguing motives, Thompson has created a smart, gripping tale of revenge, anger, and obsession.”

—Romantic Times BOOKclub

If She Should Die
is a riveting whodunit!”

—The Road to Romance

“In the tradition of Tami Hoag or Mary Higgins Clark, Thompson has created a gripping page-turner. The storyline is engaging and the characters’ lives are multi-dimensional. This is literally a book the reader will be unable to put down.”

—Old Book Barn Gazette


“Loaded with mystery and suspense . . . Mary Higgins Clark fans, take note.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Gripped me from the first page and held on through its completely unexpected climax. Lock your doors, make sure there’s no one behind you, and pick up
Black for Remembrance

—William Katz, author of
Double Wedding

“Bizarre, terrifying . . . an inventive and forceful psychological thriller.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Thompson’s style is richly bleak, her sense of morality complex . . . Thompson is a mistress of the thriller parvenu.”



“This story will keep readers up well into the night.”

—Huntress Book Reviews


Don’t Close Your Eyes
has all the gothic sensibilities of a Victoria Holt novel, combined with the riveting modern suspense of Sharyn McCrumb’s
The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
. Don’t close your eyes—and don’t miss this one.”

—Meagan McKinney, author of
In the Dark

“An exciting romantic suspense novel that will thrill readers with the subplots of a who-done-it and a legendary resident ghost seen only by children. These themes cleverly tie back to the main story line centering on the relationships between Natalie and Nick, and Natalie and the killer. Carlene Thompson fools the audience into thinking they know the murderer early on in the book. The reviewer suggests finishing this terrific tale in one sitting to ascertain how accurate are the reader’s deductive skills in pinpointing the true villain.”

—Midwest Book Review


“[A] blood-chilling . . . tale of vengeance, madness, and murder.”

—Romantic Times


“Thompson . . . has crafted a lively, entertaining read . . . skillfully ratchet[ing] up the tension with each successive chapter.”

—Charleston Daily Mail



Share No Secrets

If She Should Die

Black for Remembrance

Since You’ve Been Gone

Don’t Close Your Eyes

In the Event of My Death

Tonight You’re Mine

The Way You Look Tonight



If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”



This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.


Copyright © 2006 by Carlene Thompson.

Cover photo © Shirley Green

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

ISBN: 0-312-93728-8
EAN: 9780312-93728-7

Printed in the United States of America

St. Martin’s Paperbacks edition / September 2006

St. Martin’s Paperbacks are published by St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

In loving memory of Vera Gladys Biggs

A gracious lady



Brooke Yeager flopped over on her back, put her hand on her upset stomach, and looked up at the stars on her bedroom ceiling, their iridescent paint catching the glow from the night-light that helped ward off her intense fear of the dark. Her mother had painted the stars on Brooke’s ceiling six months ago. When her grandmother Greta had first viewed them, she’d clucked her tongue and declared she’d never seen such nonsense in an eleven-year-old girl’s room. But Brooke had noticed the twitch of a smile on her grandmother’s round face.

After her many years in the United States,
Greta had not lost the German accent Brooke loved, especially when she told bedtime stories. Brooke wished she could hear one of those stories now, but Greta had visited less and less during the last two years after her former daughter-in-law, Brooke’s mother, had married Zachary Tavell.

Brooke rolled on her side and pulled her knees to her
stomach. She didn’t blame her grandmother for not wanting to be around Zach. He was always polite, but Brooke felt his coldness toward both her and Greta. Brooke thought maybe he was jealous of her father, who had been handsome, full of joy, and had lots of friends. Zach was quiet, only knew a couple of guys Brooke didn’t like, and seemed to live in a world that included only him and Brooke’s mother. How different Daddy had been! Brooke still missed him terribly, even though he’d died three whole years ago of cancer.

At the time of his death, Brooke had believed her beautiful, gentle mother, Anne, might die, too. Anne didn’t eat, didn’t sleep, and cried all the time. Brooke adored her girlish mother who seemed more like a sister than a parent, and she’d been frightened of losing her, too. Finally, Greta had convinced her daughter-in-law to go to a doctor, who gave Anne a bunch of pills that seemed to make her feel lots better. Then, almost before Brooke realized what was happening, her mother started dating Zachary, who had a tiny photography store where he took their picture at Christmas, and a couple of months later, Zach and Anne had gotten married. Brooke had been surprised, and not too happy, but Zach was fairly nice to her and he made her mother laugh again. At least for a while.

But eighteen months after their marriage, Zach had changed. He watched television most of the time, ignored Brooke, drank beer and whiskey almost constantly, and started bickering with Anne. Their squabbles were small and few at first, then grew louder and more frequent. Lately the arguments had become downright scary, close to physical on Zach’s part, and Brooke had grown afraid of what might happen.

The fight this evening had been extra bad. Zach had thrown a glass figurine against the wall, cursed at Anne, then slammed out of the house. Anne had yelled that she was going to divorce him. Anne never yelled, but tonight her voice had been ragged with grief and anger. That’s when Brooke’s stomach had begun to hurt. She was supposed to go to her friend’s for a sleepover, but Brooke had made up an excuse
not to go. She had wanted to stay home and comfort her mother, but the more Anne cried and ranted, the more helpless Brooke had felt and the worse her stomach ached. Finally, defeated and queasy, she had retreated to her bed. With a tearstained face, Brooke’s mother had whispered, “Good night, my angel,” but even Mommy’s affection didn’t make her feel much better than she had an hour ago.

Suddenly, Brooke wondered if she might be dying like Daddy, and as much as she missed him and thought she might see him again in Heaven, or
, as
called it, she wasn’t ready to die. “Please don’t let me die, God,” Brooke whispered. “I need to stay to take care of Mommy.”

Suddenly, music began playing downstairs. Brooke jerked in surprise, then relaxed when she heard “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young. Her father had loved the song, played it almost every day, and often called Brooke
Cinnamon Girl. Neil Young was singing about running in the night and chasing the moonlight. Right now Brooke wished she could run in the night and chase the moonlight with Daddy. She wished she and Daddy and Mommy were all running far away from this small, dark house Brooke had come to hate. The fantasy was so pleasant, Brooke began to feel easier. A tiny hope grew within her that maybe this evening would improve. Maybe Zach would come home—sober—and he and Mommy would kiss and make up and tomorrow would be a brighter day.

BOOK: Last Whisper
6.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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