Monday, October 4, 2010

Excerpt: Not One of Us by D.A. Spruzen

I'm very pleased to be posting an excerpt from the psychological suspense novel Not One of Us,by D.A. Spruzen. Before the enticing first chapter, let me give you the description found at Amazon:

Rose, a widow and mother of three adult children, is a founding member of the Salton Symphony and one of a group of seven volunteers who call themselves the “Symphony Slaves.” As the story opens, she is in the hospital recovering from a concussion after being found unconscious outside her friend Judy’s house. Rose cannot remember how she got there, although she remembers finding Judy bludgeoned to death. This is only the first of several murders that rock the normally dull Salton, a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

Alternate chapters comprise segments of the killer’s journal in which she recalls her childhood and reveals the warped logic that enables her to eliminate those who threaten her hard-won lifestyle. She overcame her destitution with the single-minded ruthlessness that drives her to kill again and again when things go wrong. The journal converges with the narrative as the story progresses and shows the terrible fallout that can result from child abuse; but it also suggests that it is not inevitable—her sister is not a killer, after all. This woman’s intelligence and drive have worked for her and against her.

This psychological suspense, the first of a trilogy, focuses on the characters’ inner lives and the social constraints that bind them. Each Symphony Slave changes as her complacency is shaken by dark events she never imagined could touch a community like Salton. And the way it all ends . . . pleases no one.

Sounds interesting to me! I recently downloaded Not One of Us to my Kindle and have read the first few chapters already, which really knocked my socks off. I can't wait to keep reading more. Okay, I won't hold back anymore.

Here is Chapter One of Not One of Us:

Pansy made her first kill at fourteen, albeit with the best of intentions. But I’m not Pansy anymore. I became someone quite different, despite all the obstacles placed in my path by others, circumstances that forced my hand and made a few more casualties inevitable.

I need to write everything down now—the things I had to do—and try to show the sense of it all. When people read it they will understand that I had no choice and not think so badly of me. After all, I never had anyone to stand up for me, I had to solve my own problems the best way I could. My solutions might be considered somewhat extreme, I know, but I couldn’t lose everything I had always dreamed of and worked for.

I wanted a good life in a normal place doing normal things. I wanted respect. That meant a good job, a good husband, and a nice home in a nice place. I used to look through fancy magazines in the midtown drug stores until they chased me out. I gathered up a dream and held onto it: a white house with a tall fence and big old trees. Lots of green. The only trees where I lived were scraggy and half-dead from car exhaust, so my dream-trees were a vague impression of the kind I had seen in those magazines, hemming wonderful perfect gardens that encircled wonderful perfect houses. I imagined vases of pink and blue flowers posed on polished tabletops—generic flowers like children paint because no one I knew ever had flowers in their home, unless you count dusty plastic ones, and even then I knew better. Drapes and blinds shrouded the windows; no one could spy on me and only the invited could enter. I got all of it but, as everyone knows by now, I didn’t get to keep it. I had a good run, though. Not bad for someone like me. I can’t complain because I did very well considering my starting point—a grungy family living on the roughest street in Hell’s Kitchen. No bite of the Big Apple for us.

A Washington suburb seemed like paradise to me—I could stay the same person for years. Too many people knew me in New York in spite of all the time and money I spent on hairdressers and cosmetics to change my look—red hair in a short pixie cut and Cleopatra eyeliner one year, and a nylon ash-blond wig and false eyelashes (a strange 60’s fashion fad) the next. Each time I changed jobs I changed my look, my apartment, and often my name, too. New everything. I had to keep my life smooth, you see, bumpy rides are not to my liking.

There came a point when I wanted to—had to—get out of New York and I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I burned my old journal long ago—it was too risky to hold onto it once I married. Now I must begin again.

I’ll be long gone by the time you read this. Know that I did my best; suspend judgment until you are done. Don’t bother looking for me.


D. A. Spruzen grew up near London, England, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teaches writing when she’s not seeking her own muse. In another life she was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Her short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, and she is currently hard at work on the next book in the series, Lily Takes the Field. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia with a Jack Russell terrier who doesn’t know he’s old and doesn’t know he’s small.

Want to sample more OR purchase Not One of Us for Kindle? Click HERE.

You can also learn more about D.A. Spruzen and her trilogy by checking out her website, D.A. Spruzen.

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