If Charlie Stone hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid, she would have died.
But in the random way the world sometimes works, the seventeen year-old did drink several big tumblers full of Goofy Grape generously mixed with vodka, courtesy of her new best friend Holly Palmer. As a result, she just happened to be in the utilitarian bathroom off the Palmers’ basement rec room, hugging the porcelain throne when the ?rst scream penetrated her consciousness.
Even muf?ed by ?oors and walls and who knew what else, it was loud and shrill and urgent enough to penetrate the haze of misery she was lost in.
“Holly?” Charlie called, lifting her head, which felt like it weighed a ton and pounded unmercifully.
Okay, her voice was weak. Probably Holly hadn’t heard her. Probably the scream was nothing, Holly’s little brothers ?ghting or something. Seeing that it was around two a.m., though, shouldn’t the eleven- and thirteen-year-olds have been asleep? Charlie had no idea: she knew nothing about tweenie boys. God, she should have followed her instinct and just said no to the booze. But as the new girl in Hampton High School’s senior class, Charlie hadn’t felt like she was in a position to refuse. From the first day of school, when they’d found out they were sharing a locker, sweet, popular Holly had taken Charlie under her wing, introduced her around. For that, Charlie was grateful. The veteran of seven high schools in just over three years, Charlie knew from bitter experience that there were a lot more mean girls out there than nice ones.
A late August Friday night in this small North Carolina beach town meant the movies. Four of them had gone together. The other two had moms who were reliable about picking their daughters up after. When Charlie’s mom hadn’t shown (typical), Holly had invited her to spend the night. They’d wound up sneaking out to meet Holly’s boyfriend, Garrett—a total hottie, who had to work till midnight, which was past Holly’s curfew—and go for a ride in his car. Since he’d had a friend with him—James, not quite as hot as Garrett, but still— it had actually worked out pretty well, except for the whole toxic Kool-Aid thing.
They’d driven to the shore, plopped down in the sand, and shared the concoction Garrett had mixed for them while they talked and watched the waves.
The good news was, Charlie might actually have gotten a bead on landing her own boyfriend. The bad news was, as soon as Garrett had dropped them off and they’d crept back down to the basement where supposedly they’d been watching TV all along, Charlie had had to rush straight to the bathroom. She’d been in there for what felt like forever, being sick as a parrot.
She’d be lucky if Holly ever invited her over again.
The second scream de?nitely did not come from one of the boys. High-pitched and shattering, it smashed through the ordinary sounds of the babbling TV and humming air-conditioning and thumping dryer in the next room like an axe through Jell-O. The fear in it was enough to make the hair stand up on the back of Charlie’s neck. Until it abruptly cut off, she forgot to breathe. The ensuing silence pulsated with . . . something. Tension, maybe. An electric kind of heaviness. Shooting to her feet, she swiped her long brown hair back from her face with one hand and headed for the door. Knees weak, battling a disorienting attack of the woozies along with the worst taste ever in her mouth, she grabbed the cold-from-the-air-conditioning brass knob. “Teach you to ignore me . . .” The words were followed by the sharp sound of a blow.
Copyright © 2012 by Karen Robards
New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards’ The Last Victim launches a new paranormal romantic thriller series about a woman with extraordinary powers held in the grip of her terrifying past….
Madmen and how they think have earned criminal pathologist Dr. Charlotte Stone a lauded reputation. But no one knows the real reason Charlie is obsessed with the criminal mind. When just sixteen she watched in horror as a serial killer butchered the family of her best friend, Holly, whose body was found on a seaside boardwalk one week later. Because of the information Charlie gave the police, the Boardwalk Killer went underground and the killings stopped, although the carnage left Charlie with eerie visions that haunt her to this day. Now, fifteen years later, FBI agent Tony Bartoli reports the family of a missing teenage girl has been slaughtered in a manner eerily reminiscent of the Boardwalk Killer. Is he back?
Bartoli, a man hard to resist in more ways than one, knows Charlie’s potent psychic gifts are of the utmost necessity even as he intuits her professional demeanor belies a world of hurt. And he’s right. For Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not. And she sees death coming…for her.
Hardcover Book : 384 pages
Publisher: Ballantine/Delrey Books ( August 07, 2012 )
Item #: 13-598159
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.76inches
Product Weight: 12.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Twists and turns; ups and downs. The Last Victim was a very well written, suspenseful novel that was hard to put down. When you think you have it figured out, guess again. Can't wait for the sequel of this one!
Reviewer: Robert C
Good book. When I got to the final page I thought ok so now what? Then I read Karen's note saying look for the next book for more .....don't want to ruin it for those who haven't read it so I will leave it there. Is there a date for the sequel? soon I hope
I could not put this book down. Ms Robards got her humor back that has been missing the last few years in her books. I have not enjoyed one of her books this much since Bait. Excellent read, can't wait for the next installment in August 2013.
This story was a great read, and very well written. No loopholes, lots of suspense.
I enjoy reading Karen Robards. This one was kinda different but had me laughing nonetheless. I would recommend it to my friends. I can't wait to read the follow up book to this to see what happens.