Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tour Stop | Broken Strings by Nancy Means Wright

Book Title: Broken Strings
Author: Nancy Means Wright
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours


When puppeteer Marion collapses during a performance of Sleeping Beauty, her friend Fay Hubbard promises to carry on. But Fay already has her hands full with three demanding foster children, Apple and Beets, who have a fractious jailbird father—and sixteen-year-old Chance, who has a crush on a much older guy in a band called Ghouls. And now Marion’s husband Cedric seems more interested in a drop-dead-gorgeous French teacher than in any string puppets. And who is the mysterious Skull-man who warns of death if the show goes on with one of Marion’s offbeat endings? When an autopsy reveals that Marion had swallowed a dose of deadly crushed yew—and a friend finds her sister dangling from a rod like a marionette, a shocked Fay goes after the killer.


Chance was swimming: long sweeping strokes, face down in the cold water, arms stretching, stroking back the surface of the water like troubles she’d let go, like the water was a bed sheet. Reach, stretch, stroke, right arm, left, head up to breathe, then down again, down, keep it down as long as you can. Then up it goes to suck in the air, like a life, a will of its own, the breath undoing the death bed as quick as you can make it.

Like her whole seventeen years coming up in the wash of water, the scrap and scrape of competition with other foster kids, each grasping for the same straw, the biggest dessert, the bed with the slats that didn’t break down every night. The schools, sometimes three schools in a single year, new teachers, new caseworkers: Tell me dear, do you like it there? Do the foster parents get along? For if husband and wife didn’t get along, it was bye-bye. She’d taken to storing food and quarters in her closet for the next bus out. And even before the rape, the manual she’d read that said: Teenage girls are sexual assaults waiting to happen. A girl she knew had sued her foster father, accused him of assault, the man’s reputation ruined before they found the girl had lied. A foster boy who shot their foster mother when she sent him to his room without supper.

Her arms were tiring now. How long had she been in the water? Her watch stopped, she didn’t think of that when she jumped in; just wanted to leave that Sammy woman behind, that lying Billy who would go off with a woman and leave Chance without a word. Then something she’d seen in that apartment before she ran, something on the sofa

Fay should know about… She couldn’t think now, couldn’t make sense of it.

She remembered the book they’d read in English class, The Awakening, where the woman takes a lover to escape her oppressive husband. “I give myself where I choose,” she says to herself and then the lover abandons her. In the end she walks out into the lake and swims – and swims. Like Chance, who dropped off the rock into the water and thought of dying but her mind and body wouldn’t let her. Free, free, the woman in the novel thinks, I’m free…. I’m myself, nobody owns me.

Chance looked back, exhausted. She saw the shore far behind her but she swam on. Somewhere back on land a dog barked, a kid shouted.

Free, free. Free, she cried wordlessly when the hands caught her and pulled her up into the boat. “Let go, let me be, leave me!” Free…

But the hands pulled her over the edge and down into the boat.

“We got ourselves a mermaid,” a male voice said.

Nancy Means Wright has published 17 books, including 6 contemporary mysteries from St Martin’s Press and two historical novels featuring 18th-century Mary Wollstonecraft (Perseverance Press). Her two most recent books are the mystery Broken Strings (GMTA publishing) and Walking into the Wild, an historical novel for tweens (LLDreamspell). Her children’s mysteries have received an Agatha Award and Agatha nomination. Nancy lives in Middlebury with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Cassie, for hosting me and my novel-excerpt on your bright and cheerful blog! I love those fuchsia-colored books on your sidebar! Gratefully... (Nancy)