Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Sixes, A Psychological Thriller by Kate White, Now Available at a Special Price

The Sixes by Kate White

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy. Today, we're pleased to feature the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Harper …

The Sixes by Kate White

A Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Harper

Price: $1.99 (as of 07/01/2014 at 4:00 PM ET).

The Sixes by Kate White, Amazon Kindle format

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Phoebe Hall's Manhattan life is unexpectedly derailed off the fast track when her long-term boyfriend leaves her just as she is accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to pick up the pieces, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.But behind the campus's quiet cafes and looming maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a coed washes up from the nearby river, and soon hidden secrets begin to surface among the students: rumors of past crimes and abuses wrought by a disturbing secret society known as The Sixes.

Determined to find answers and help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues — a quest that soon raises dark memories of her boarding school days. Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she's close to unmasking a killer. But with the truth comes a deeply terrifying revelation: the past can't be outrun … and starting over can be a crime punishable by death.

The Sixes by Kate White

The Case of the Black Pearl by Lin Anderson, a New 1st in Series Title Introducing Patrick de Courvoisier

The Case of the Black Pearl by Lin Anderson

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of this month's new 1st in Series titles, a mystery, thriller or suspense novel that introduces a recurring character (or characters) …

The Case of the Black Pearl by Lin Anderson

A Patrick de Courvoisier Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Severn House

The Case of the Black Pearl by Lin Anderson, Amazon Kindle format

What we know about the character: Enigmatic Englishman Patrick de Courvoisier is known as "Le Limier" or "The Fixer". People come to him with their problems — and he fixes them. For more information about his first case, see a synopsis of the book, below.

Patrick de Courvoisier is content to leave his controversial past behind him and enjoy a more relaxed, hedonistic lifestyle on a converted houseboat in the glamorous French resort of Cannes. However, when Camille Ager asks Patrick to find her sister, Angele Valette, star of the new movie The Black Pearl, Patrick's laidback lifestyle is dealt a terminal blow.

Last seen at the film's lavish launch party on board the luxurious black yacht owned by Russian oligarch Vasily Chapayev, the funds behind the movie and owner of the famous black pearl, Angele seems to have vanished into thin air — and so has the pearl.

As Patrick questions all those involved with the movie, he discovers that this is a case where nothing is as it seems. And when a dead body turns up on his boat, the investigation takes a deeply disturbing new twist.

The Case of the Black Pearl by Lin Anderson

Fifty Shades of Greyhound, A Pampered Pets Mystery by Sparkle Abbey, Now Available at a Special Price

Fifty Shades of Greyhound by Sparkle Abbey

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy. Today, we're pleased to feature the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Bell Bridge Books …

Fifty Shades of Greyhound by Sparkle Abbey

A Pampered Pets Mystery (5th in series)

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

Price: $1.99 (as of 07/01/2014 at 3:00 PM ET).

Fifty Shades of Greyhound by Sparkle Abbey, Amazon Kindle format

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

It was a killer party …

Caro Lamont, Laguna Beach's favorite pet therapist, is thrilled to support the elite fundraising gala for Greys Matter, a SoCal greyhound rescue group. All the guests in the couture-attired crowd are clad in varying shades of grey, the champagne and donations are flowing, and there are fifty gorgeous greyhounds in attendance. But before the evening ends, a stranger in their midst is dead.

Caro sets out to help the rescue group find the identity of the mystery guest but soon finds herself in the doghouse with homicide detective, Judd Malone — oh, and federal agent, John Milner. When there's a second death, Caro is convinced she's on the track of someone who wants a secret to stay buried, but it's a race to see whether Caro can uncover the truth before the killer decides she's next.

Fifty Shades of Greyhound by Sparkle Abbey

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett, New in Bookstores during July 2014

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett

Today's featured new hardcover mystery, suspense, or thriller title scheduled to be published during July 2014 is …

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett

The Tricia Miles, Booktown Series (8th)

Publisher: Berkley Hardcover

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett, Amazon Kindle format  Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett, Nook format  Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett, iTune iBook format  Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett, Kobo format

For a list of more new hardcover titles to be published this month, visit our New Mysteries page for July 2014. For new paperback mysteries, visit The Mystery Bookshelf where a selection of July 2014 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers are shelved.

More about our featured title, below …

Cranky Chamber of Commerce receptionist Betsy Dittmeyer is done reading people the riot act. After she's crushed by a fallen bookcase, the next item to be read is her last will and testament — which is packed with surprises. It soon comes to light that Betsy was hiding volumes of dark secrets behind that perpetual frown of hers — and one of them just might have been a motive for murder.

While Tricia tries to help Angelica — the newly elected Chamber of Commerce president and Betsy's boss — solve the mystery, she discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history that rocks her to her very core. And with her ex-husband and the chief of police vying for her affections, it's doubly hard to focus on who might have buried Betsy in a tomb of tomes.

But as Tricia and Angelica try to read between the lines, they need to watch their step … and make sure the killer doesn't catch them between the stacks.

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, A Hubie Schuze Mystery by J. Michael Orenduff, Now Available at a Special Price

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras by J. Michael Orenduff

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy. Today, we're pleased to feature the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Open Road …

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras by J. Michael Orenduff

A Hubie Schuze Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Open Road

Price: $1.99 (as of 07/01/2014 at 2:00 PM ET).

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras by J. Michael Orenduff, Amazon Kindle format

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Hubie Schuze must solve the case of a $25,000 pot theft — or he could be in deep trouble …

A dealer of ancient Native American pottery, Hubert Schuze has spent years combing the public lands of New Mexico, digging for artwork that would otherwise remain buried. According to the US government, Hubie is a thief — but no act of Congress could stop him from doing what he loves. For decades, Hubie has worn the title of pot thief proudly. Outright burglary, though, is another story.

But an offer of $25,000 to lift a rare pot from a local museum proves too tempting for Hubie to refuse. When he sees how tightly the relic is guarded, he changes his mind, but the pot goes missing anyway. Soon a federal agent suspects that Hubie is the culprit. After things take a turn for the serious, Hubie knows he must find the real thief quickly, or risk cracking something more fragile than any pot — his skull.

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras by J. Michael Orenduff

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell, New on the Mystery Bookshelf during July 2014

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell

New on the Mystery Bookshelf during July 2014 …

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell

The Lily Ivory, Witchcraft Series (6th)

Publisher: Signet

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell, Amazon Kindle format

To see more new paperback titles scheduled to be published this month, visit The Mystery Bookshelf for July 2014. For new hardcover mysteries, visit New Mysteries where for a list of July 2014 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers is provided.

More about our featured title, below …

Lily Ivory hopes to score some great vintage fashions when she buys an antique trunk full of old clothes. But she may have gotten more than she bargained for …

As soon as Lily opens the trunk, she feels strange vibrations emanating from a mysterious velvet cloak. When she tries it on, Lily sees awful visions from the past. And when the antiques dealer who sold her the cape is killed, Lily suspects a supernatural force might be behind his death.

Then Lily's familiar, Oscar the potbellied pig, disappears. Lily will do anything to get him back — including battling the spirit of a powerful witch reaching out from the past. But even with the aid of her grandmother, unmasking a killer and saving Oscar might be more than one well-intentioned sorceress can handle.

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die, A Cameron Flaherty, Local Foods Mystery by Edith Maxwell, Now Available at a Special Price

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die by Edith Maxwell

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy. Today, we're pleased to feature the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Kensington …

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die by Edith Maxwell

A Cameron Flaherty, Local Foods Mystery (3rd in series)

Publisher: Kensington

Price: $1.99 (as of 07/01/2014 at 1:00 PM ET).

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die by Edith Maxwell, Amazon Kindle format

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

It's harvest time in Westbury, Massachusetts. Unfortunately Cameron Flaherty's first foray into the world of organic farming is yielding a bumper crop of locally sourced murder …

Just when Cam's CSA is beginning to flourish, thanks to a colorful group of subscribers led by Lucinda DaSilva, an enthusiastic volunteer who's vowed to eat nothing but locally produced food for one year, murder threatens to spoil her success. Especially since the victim is the man she just fired, handyman Mike Montgomery, stabbed to death by a pitchfork.

To clear her name, Cam will have to weed out some suspects and dig up secrets buried deep beneath the soil of Produce Plus Plus Farm. And she'll have to catch a murderer whose motto seems to be "Eat local. Kill local."

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die by Edith Maxwell

The Maharini's Pearls, A Bess Crawford Mystery Story by Charles Todd, New from Witness Impulse

The Maharini's Pearls by Charles Todd

Every week, Witness Impulse — an imprint of William Morrow — releases new suspense and thriller digital originals, typically priced at just $2.99 each.

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of this week's titles …

The Maharini's Pearls by Charles Todd

A Bess Crawford Mystery Story

Publisher: Witness Impulse

Price: $0.99 (as of 07/01/2014 at 12:30 PM ET).

Here is an extraordinary glimpse into the childhood of the Bess Crawford we know from her service in the Great War.

The Maharini's Pearls by Charles Todd, Amazon Kindle format

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Living with her family in India, young Bess Crawford's curiosity about this exotic country sometimes leads her into trouble …

One day she slips away from the cantonment to visit the famous seer in a nearby village. Before this woman can finish telling her fortune, Bess is summoned back for an afternoon tea with the Maharani, a close friend of her parents'. The seer's last words are a warning about forthcoming danger that Bess takes as the usual patter. But this visit by the Maharani has ominous overtones that mark it as more than a social call. Her husband has political enemies, and she has come to ask Bess's father, Major Crawford, for help.

As the Maharani is leaving, Bess notices that there is something amiss with the royal entourage. Major Crawford must set out after them — but will he be in time?

And what will happen to Bess, and the household left behind, when a vicious assassin circles back to take hostages?

The Maharini's Pearls by Charles Todd

An Excerpt from Elective Procedures by Merry Jones

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of Merry Jones
Elective Procedures
by Merry Jones

We are delighted to welcome back mystery author Merry Jones to Omnimystery News.

Last week we talked with Merry about her new Elle Harrison thriller coming out this month, Elective Procedures (Oceanview Publishing; July 2014 hardcover and ebook formats), and today we're pleased to bring you an excerpt from it (courtesy of Oceanview Publishing).

— ♦ —

Elective Procedures by Merry Jones

December 6, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

DON'T LOOK DOWN. DON'T LOOK DOWN.
  I kept repeating those three words, a singsong mantra to steady myself and get through time, pushing through seconds and minutes until it would be afterward and this nightmare would be over.
  Don't look down.
  But I didn't have to look; I knew what was beneath me. I could picture what was lying six stories down on the concrete beside the kidney-shaped swimming pool, near the mouth of the alligator waterslide. Under the glowing light of sunrise, I imagined a widening crimson puddle. A clump of arms and legs. A shattered bone protruding through flesh. Tangled hair matted into a cracked skull.
  Don't look down, I said again, and I didn't. Instead, I aimed my eyes straight ahead, focusing not on the brick wall in front of me, but on the air surrounding my head. I stared into it, straining to see my aura, looking for stains, for splotches of darkness. Was it possible to see your own aura? Was there even such a thing? If there was, I couldn't see it, saw only inches of emptiness between me and the bricks, and, at the periphery of my vision, the railing. For the briefest moment I had a lapse. I almost turned my head, almost looked down at my hand. Don't look, I chanted. Don't look. Looking would mean moving my head. And if I moved it — if I moved anything at all, I'd disrupt my balance and slip, and then, with a thud, there would be two blobs of bones planted beside the pool.
  A pelican dive-bombed past me, the rush of air nearly knocking me over. I held my breath, holding steady. I called out again, hoping someone would wake up, but no one came. So I told myself to stay steady and think of other things. Other times. I stared at the wall and repeated: Don't look down don't look down don't look down.
  
  
Girls' night was always on Thursday. So that meant it had to have been a Thursday, what, sixteen days ago? A soiled paper napkin had been fluttering along the sidewalk alongside us, dropping to the concrete and lifting off again, escorting Becky and me down South Street on a blustery November evening. I smelled onions frying at Jim's Steaks and the rawness of oncoming night.
  Of course, I didn't dare shiver now. Didn't dare move. I kept still, muscles aching and taut as I concentrated on keeping balanced. Balanced. It sounded like eating a diet of yogurt, vegetables, and whole grains. Maybe if I'd eaten more granola, I'd be better balanced now. Maybe. Or maybe being balanced meant measuring out equal parts and counterparts — like impulsiveness and self-restraint. Sanity and craziness. Working and playing. Sleeping and being awake. Rising and falling. Stop, I scolded myself. Don't think about falling. Just balance.
  I hung on, and there was the paper napkin again, floating beside Becky and me on South Street. Two weeks and two days ago. We were in no hurry. We passed tattoo parlors, coffee shops, pizza places, shoe boutiques, and then Becky stopped beside an orange neon sign: READINGS $10. She peered through the storefront window, then turned to me with an impish smirk.
  I knew that smirk, had seen it before. It had led to singles bars and spa days. All-night department store sales. Weekend cruises, online dating sites. Casinos and Zumba lessons. The smirk was like a neon sign warning: brace yourself.
  "Elle, you up for this?"
  No way. I was barely up for dinner, had come out only under duress. In the months since Charlie's death, I hadn't been doing much of anything. For a few months, I'd dragged myself to work and managed to feign energetic cheeriness for my class of second graders, but by the end of each school day, my face had ached from smiling and my body from pretending. I'd come home content to wallow quietly within the walls of my Fairmount townhouse until, finally, I'd taken a leave of absence so I could spend my days staring at Law and Order reruns. My friends, however, had been relentless. They didn't understand that losing a husband, even a lying-cheating-inheritance-stealing one whom I'd been about to divorce, had taken its toll. They didn't comprehend the grieving process or how long it might take, and Jen had endearingly begun to call me DD, short for Debbie Downer. They insisted that I "move on," which included, but was not limited to, going out with them weekly for "girls' night" dinners.
  That Thursday evening, Becky and I were on the way to one such girls' night with half an hour to spare. When she asked about the fortune-teller, I thought she was joking. The place looked sleazy and dark, and everyone knew that fortune-telling was a scam. But Becky started for the door.
  "I've never had my fortune told, have you?"
  I hadn't, no. And I wasn't about to. I was having enough trouble with the past and present, didn't need to take on the future. I hung back, but she tugged at my sleeve.
  "Come on, Elle. What's the harm? It's only ten bucks. I'll treat — maybe she'll tell me if I'll meet a guy."
  "Really?" Meeting guys had never been a problem for Becky. She was curvy, spunky, short, and soft, and men were drawn to her like sleepyheads to pillows. If anything, she needed help keeping men away.
  "You know what I mean. Not just any guy. The Guy. A keeper. Come on. It'll be fun."
  And so, reluctantly, I'd let Becky drag me through a small entryway into an overheated, dimly lit sitting area separated from the rest of a large rose-colored room by a pair of drooping crimson curtains. Crosses and images of Jesus hung on the walls. A couple of upholstered chairs with flattened-out cushions backed against the window. Beyond them two folding chairs faced a small cloth-covered card table. The place smelled of roasting meat. Somewhere behind the curtains, a baby cried. I couldn't breathe.
  I looked at Becky and stepped back toward the door. "Let's go."
  But a young woman rushed through the curtains, wiping her hands on a dishtowel, yapping at someone over her shoulder in a language I couldn't understand.
  "Welcome, ladies. I am Madam Therese. You'd like readings?" She smiled, glancing from Becky to me. "What kind? Tea leaves? Tarot?"
  Becky shrugged. "I don't know —"
  "It's okay. No problem. I can offer you choices. The cards are twenty dollars. Tea is twenty-five."
  Becky pointed to the window. "But the sign says ten dollars."
  Madam Therese hesitated, shoved her hair off her face with the back of her hand. "Okay, yes. The sign is for short readings. Palms. We can start with it, and then we'll see. You can upgrade.
  You understand? Who will be first?" She'd held her hand out for Becky's money.
  Becky handed her a twenty.
  "Good, this is for two."
  "No — not me." I shook my head, but Madam Therese whisked the cash into her skirt pocket and disappeared behind the curtains.
  "Becky, I'm not doing this —"
  "Relax. It's no big deal."
  "Get your change. She owes you ten dollars."
  Becky put up a hand, refusing to hear more. Behind the curtains, Madam Therese spoke to someone unseen in her foreign tongue. A man grumbled and the baby's wails faded. In a moment, she returned, her hair tied back, revealing dramatic cheekbones and large bangle earrings. The bracelets on her arms jingled when she moved. The scent of jasmine mixed with that of meat.
  "For ten dollars, you get a five-minute reading. After, if you want more, we'll keep going. You pay just a little more, you understand?" Madam Therese smiled and lit a candle, made the sign of the cross. She took a seat, motioned for Becky to sit across from her, reached for her hand.
  I didn't know what to do, so I sat on one of the cushioned chairs, watching the woman study Becky's palm. I felt uneasy, as if I shouldn't be there.
  "You will have three children close together, but not for a while yet," Madam Therese smiled. "At least one boy. I see him shining in your aura." She looked at Becky. "Your lifeline is long, healthy. And your love line is long, also. But so far, you haven't been lucky, I am right?"
  Becky glanced at me, gave an embarrassed giggle.
  "But see, the line gets wider here. More steady. So, not long from now, you will meet a man and fall in love. Not just in love. Deeply in love, you understand me?"
  Deeply in love? I understood her. A raw hollowness gnawed my gut. Why was it that, even though he'd been dead for thirteen months, even though I'd thrown him out and had been in the middle of divorcing him, everything reminded me of Charlie? I turned away, looking out past the neon sign at South Street. And, of course, there we were, Charlie and me, strolling past shops, his arm around my shoulder. Where were we going? Out for coffee? For a drink? I saw him lean over and kiss my forehead, felt the brush of his lips. But abruptly, a delivery truck pulled up, cutting off my view. Wiping the image away.
  Becky turned to me, beaming. "Elle. Did you hear that?"
  Oops. No, I hadn't.
  "I'm getting married soon."
  Really. Should I buy a dress?
  "Actually, I see many men around you. But this man — this special one you are waiting for, he is different. He is not the man you expect. Understand me? He might be — how I should say it? Someone you never thought about loving."
  "Why, is he a criminal? He's not a drug dealer, is he?" She blinked. "Or wait — is he hideous?"
  Madam Therese looked up. Her eyebrows were thick and black. Perfectly symmetrical. "These things I cannot tell you. Only that he is unlike the others." Her gaze returned to Becky's hand. "Also, you will travel very soon. You have plans?"
  Becky shrugged. "No."
  "Well, you will make some. You will go someplace warm. I see water. Maybe someplace by the sea." She released Becky's hand. "You want more reading? Because this was five minutes. For ten more dollars, I can tell you more."
  Becky paused. Was she considering it?
  I interrupted. "Becky, you already gave her twenty. She already has the extra ten."
  "No. That's for you." Becky stood. "Your turn, Elle."
  Madam Therese persisted. "Okay. But when you return from your trip, you will come back to see me again, you understand? I will tell you more." Madam Therese turned to me, gestured for me to join her.
  I didn't move.
  "Go on." Becky took the seat beside me.
  Madam Therese bent her head. Her bracelets jangled when she crossed herself again. She looked at me with tired eyes. "Come. Sit."
  I stood, took a seat at the table.
  Madam Therese took my hand, stared at it. Her brows furrowed and her back stiffened. She met my eyes. Hers were dark and deep, like bottomless holes. "You want to hear the truth? All of it?"
  Despite my doubts about palm reading, my heart lurched. Why was she asking me that? What did she see? "Why not? Is it bad?"
   "Bad? Life isn't good or bad. It's a balance."
  Yes, she'd definitely used that word. Had it been a warning? An omen? Had she said it intentionally?
  I hung onto the railing, tried to stay balanced. To remember everything she'd said. I saw her dark skirt and white sweater, her black eyeliner. Her rings. I smelled the roasting meat and the jasmine. Felt her coarse fingers holding my hand.
  In a jolt, she sat back. "Who has died?" She looked from Becky to me.
  Becky blinked at me.
  "A spirit is with us. It isn't resting."
  Becky's eyes widened. "Oh God, maybe it's Charlie. Her husband died —"
  "Becky, please —"
  "Okay, I understand." Madam Therese touched her forehead, frowned. Concentrated again. "Okay, listen. I will tell you only some, you understand? But not all. What would be the point?"
  Lord. Was it too terrible to say aloud?
  "So." She looked just above my head. "Your aura — the energy that surrounds you. It is stained."
  Becky whispered, "What?"
  My aura was stained? How? I pictured a halo blotched with spilled wine — or with my second graders' colored markers.
  "The stains are blood."
  Oh. Wrong both times.
  "And also darkness." Madam Therese's voice was hoarse, throaty. "I see around you a cloud. A cloud of death — yes."
  What? I felt a chill, said nothing.
  Becky said, "Oh God."
  "This cloud means you must be cautious. The dead — their spirits are drawn to you. Some of them are harmless. But others —" she met my eyes, "surely, you already know this."
  Knew what? Were dead people out to get me? I looked round. Was Charlie there? But Charlie wouldn't hurt me. So was it some other dead person? I saw only Becky and Madam Therese. Nobody else.
  "If you are wise, you will protect yourself."
  From what? The dead? How could I do that?
  "You are stronger than you think. This is why they come to you. You have the gift."
  She let go of my hand. "So, do you have questions for me? Things you want to know?"
  Questions? Seriously? I was surrounded by hostile dead people, death clouds, bloodstains and darkness. What questions could I possibly have? "No. I just came here with my friend."
  "Listen, then: You will also travel, like your friend. You also will meet a man. But be aware: this cloud — the darkness goes where you go. It surrounds you. Be careful because the dead are drawn to this darkness; to them it is a beacon. They will find you. You understand this. You know this to be true." Her tone was matter-of-fact. She let out a breath. "And so, the five-minutes time is up. I am happy to go on, if you want me to."
  Want her to? God no. I let out a breath. "That's okay. I'm good." I wasn't sure what else to say. "Thank you" didn't cover it.
  "Okay, no problem. You will come back to me again. Another day." Madam Therese turned to the curtain, called a name. Stood.
  A lanky man with gelled hair stepped out from behind the curtain. They exchanged words I couldn't understand, and he ushered us to the door in a hurry as if we were bothering him. Or as if we'd brought with us a cloud of death.
  At the time, I'd dismissed the reading. It was hogwash. There was no such thing as a bloodstained aura. And it was absurd to think that the dead were drawn to me.
  But two weeks and two days later, clinging to a balcony six stories above the ground, I reconsidered Madam Therese's predictions. I called out again and grasped the railing, struggled to balance and closed my eyes, reminding myself not to look down at the concrete. Picturing the lifeless body of the woman I'd just failed to save.
  
  
Closing my eyes wasn't the best idea. Charlie showed up again, this time in my den with my kitchen knife in his back. I saw not just Charlie in that terrible moment, but also all the other terrible moments that had ensued — the deaths and the twisted secrets came together in a montage — no, in a stark mosaic. A kaleidoscope made from shards of terrible memories.
  "Elle!"
  I opened my eyes. The kaleidoscope shattered, fell away. The sunrise greeted me, along with Becky, Jen, and Susan frantically reaching across the railing, jabbering and tugging at me. Had they heard me yell for help? When had they gotten there? They pawed at me, nearly knocking me over.
  "Grab her thigh," Jen said.
  "No, wait. I think we should take her arm."
  "Her arm? I've got her thigh. You get her arm."
  "Careful," I managed, but I doubt they heard me.
  My legs were splayed around the brick wall between balconies. My left foot rested tentatively on the railing of ours; my right on the neighbor's. My left arm hugged the wall; my right grasped the edge of the next-door railing. Behind my t-shirt and panty-clad backside, I felt the warmth of dawn and the calm of the ocean. And the pull of open air that extended six stories down.
  Another pelican whooshed by. I glimpsed huge wings, a long beak. I wobbled, dug my fingers into the cement between bricks, closed my eyes again. And saw the face of Madam Therese.
  "Take Susan's hand, dammit."
  "She doesn't hear us. She's pulling an Elle."
  "Now? Are you kidding?"
  "Elle," Susan shouted.
  "I can't take your hand. I can't let go." Even talking seemed to throw me off balance.
  The three of them held onto my left thigh and leg. I glanced down, disobeying my own advice, and saw a man kneeling beside the dead woman, taking her hand. He looked like Charlie. That was crazy. From up here, I had no idea what he looked like. He could have been anyone. Hotel staff gathered. Security officers. A lifeguard looked up, saw me. Pointed. People gaped up at me.
  They looked very tiny.
  Slowly, I tilted my head up, moving my gaze back to the sixth floor. The muscles in my legs twitched. I couldn't stay straddled much longer.
  "What's her name?" I heard a man, a Mexican accent.
  "Elle."
  "Come on, Elle." He wore dark pants and a white short-sleeved shirt, and his beefy arms slipped under mine, around my shoulders. And lifted. I resisted, unwilling to release the railing. But he kept tugging, dragging me up and over, laying me down onto solid tiles of our balcony where I lay still, shivering, catching my breath. Hugging the floor.
  Susan, Becky, and Jen hovered around me. The man knelt, put a hand on my forehead, my wrist. He spoke with Susan. She called him Roberto. A maid stood at the balcony door, bug-eyed. Becky brought a glass of orange juice. When I could stand, Roberto helped me through the sliding doors into our suite. Jen began pelting me with questions. What had I been doing out there? Was I crazy? Why had I been climbing on the balcony? Susan snapped at her, telling her to let me be. Roberto was on a cell phone or maybe a hand radio. Something. Speaking urgent Spanish.
  I sank onto the living room sofa, shivering, watching. Roberto, it turned out, was a security guard. He greeted the police, introduced Sergeant José Perez and Juan Alonso, the hotel's general manager. Susan sat on one side of me. Becky covered me with a blanket and sat on the other. Jen sat on the floor at my legs like a guard dog. And then the questions began.
  
  
"What were you doing out there?" Sergeant Perez sat forward with the weight on his toes, as if about to take off in a sprint.
  I explained that I hadn't been able to sleep. Actually, Becky had been snoring like a chainsaw, but I didn't think that was relevant, didn't mention it. At about five thirty, I'd given up and gone out on our balcony to wait for the sunrise, and I'd heard voices from the balcony adjacent to ours.
  Sergeant Perez interrupted. "They were speaking English?"
  Had they been? "I don't remember."
  "Well, could you understand what they were saying? Do you speak Spanish?" He was brusque.
  "Sergeant, please." Susan intervened. "She doesn't remember. Let her tell us what happened."
  "Excuse me, señora." Perez thrust his chest out. "A woman is dead. Your friend is, at the very least, a witness —"
  "At the very least? What are you implying?" Susan's back straightened.
  Oh Lord. Did he think I'd been involved in the woman's death? Again, I saw Madam Therese. So far, her predictions had come true: Becky and I had both traveled. We'd gone to Mexico with Susan and Jen. We were near the water, as she'd said we'd be. And Becky had met a guy: Chichi, one of the activity directors at the hotel. They'd been virtually inseparable since we'd arrived — Becky hadn't come back to the room until after two a.m. If Madam Therese had been right about all that, maybe she'd also been right about my death cloud and the bloodstains in my aura. I thought of Charlie. Saw him wave.
  Susan was nudging me on one side, Becky on the other. Everyone was staring at me. Damn. I'd missed something.
  "No, she's fine." Susan insisted. "She does this. She wanders off sometimes."
  In fact, my mind did wander off sometimes. My friends called it "pulling an Elle." A shrink had called it a dissociative disorder, usually triggered by stress. Which, right then, I had plenty of.
  "She's fine. Elle?" Susan's elbow hit my rib. "Elle, go on."
  "Maybe she's refusing to answer the questions. Maybe she'd prefer to come to the station." The sergeant stood on his toes.
  Roberto raised his hands. "Por favor, José. We all want the same thing: To hear what happened. Why don't we listen and then ask questions afterward?"
  Sergeant Perez replied harshly in Spanish, no doubt asserting his rank and authority. Roberto backed off, having made his point. The sergeant sat again, still on tiptoe.
  "Go on, Elle." Susan's hand covered mine.
  Where had I stopped? Never mind. I just began again. "I heard a man and a woman talking. They sounded romantic — soft giggling and cooing. After a few minutes, I heard the sliding door open and close. I thought they'd gone inside. Everything was quiet." I looked from face to face. Everyone watched me. Waiting.
  "And then?" Susan prodded.
  "And then a while later, the sliding door opened again. Someone was moving stuff around. It sounded like the deck furniture. There were scraping sounds and thunks. Grunts. I was embarrassed. I thought the couple had come back outside and were, you know."
  Sergeant Perez stared at me. "I know?"
  Apparently he didn't. "I thought they were having rough sex."
  Sergeant Perez cleared his throat. His gaze faltered. "Did you hear voices this time?"
  "A woman said, 'Por favor,' and then there were just grunts. Oh, also a yip. Like this." I made a yip. It sounded shrill.
  The sergeant blinked. "That's all?"
  I nodded, yes, but I wasn't sure. I thought the sliding doors might have slammed shut again. That would be important, wouldn't it? It would mean someone else besides the woman had been there. But I couldn't remember. Didn't mention it.
  "What happened next?"
  Next? "I got up off the lounge chair to see what the ruckus was about." I'd expected to see kinky sex. A woman with a whip. A man in bondage. I felt my face get hot admitting that I'd snooped. "I stood at the wall between the balconies, leaned over the railing and peeked around. And under a pinkish-gold glow of dawn, I saw a woman, dangling from the railing."
  "You saw no one else?" Sergeant Perez frowned.
  "No."
  "So you can't be sure who caused those bangs and scrapes you claim you heard."
  "She claims she heard?" Susan pounced, indignant.
  "Señora, yes. All we have is your friend's word that there were sounds. I want to establish if she knew who caused them. Maybe it was the dead woman herself. Or maybe someone else — perhaps a murderer."
  A murderer who might have slammed the sliding doors as he fled. I tried to remember. Couldn't.
  Susan sputtered.
  Becky gave my arm a squeeze. "Go on, Elle."
  I shivered under the blanket. The inside of my bones felt cold. Go on, Elle. "I tried to help her."
  I hadn't hesitated, hadn't thought it through. My intention had been to leap from our balcony to hers and pull her back up. Good plan, except I hadn't made it. Hadn't gotten all the way across. Instead, I'd climbed onto our railing, straddled the brick wall, and, as I'd taken hold of her railing with my right hand, I'd realized I lacked the height and momentum to swing all the way across. In fact, I'd been stuck halfway, balanced precariously with one foot on each railing. Unable to get to her. Unable to get anywhere.
  I didn't tell them all that. Or about how her violet eyes made contact with mine. How neither of us spoke. How we assessed the situation in silence, measuring the distance between our hands, eyeing my right arm and her left. Calculating the risks. All I told them was, "She took a hand off the railing to reach for me."
  I closed my eyes, trying to avoid the image. But there she was again, reaching. And in an eye blink, swimming through air. Again, I shuddered, felt the thud. Pictured her, face down on the concrete beside the enormous kidney-shaped pool. I thought of her hand, wondered if her lifeline had stopped abruptly in the middle of her palm. Becky put her arm around my shoulder.
  "Did you know this woman?"
  "No."
  "No?"
  "How could she?" Jen bristled. "We only arrived yesterday morning."
  Sergeant Perez raised his eyebrows as if surprised the guard dog could speak. ". And what brings you here? Vacation?"
  "I'm having some work done," Jen smoothed her ash-blonde ponytail. "I brought my friends along — Elle doesn't know anyone here. None of us do."
  "And yet, your friend says she risked her life. She did this for a stranger?"
  "Yes, Sergeant. For a stranger." Susan was on her feet, scolding. "And you're badgering Mrs. Harrison when you should be rewarding her for being a hero and trying to save a life."
  The sergeant stood. "As I've said, señora. A woman is dead. It's a serious matter. The death could not have been an accident. It was either murder or suicide. The information I already have makes me doubtful it was suicide." He paused, eyeing each of us one by one.
  I wanted to dodge his eyes but didn't dare. I needed to act normal. Wouldn't normal mean meeting his eyes? I wasn't sure. What was normal in this circumstance? The circumstance of not having saved a woman, of having let her drop six stories onto cement? Of bringing a bloodstained aura and a dark cloud of death with me to Mexico? Was her death my fault? Was I responsible? Would a person in my position meet the policeman's eyes?
  Again, Charlie appeared, sitting dead on my sofa, and I heard Madam Therese's raspy voice whisper: "The dead are drawn to you. But you already know that."
  I saw the woman's violet eyes, her flailing arms.
  The sergeant was talking. I'd wandered again, missed part of what he'd said.
  "— Phoenix, Arizona. According to hotel records Señora Madison was a guest of the clinic. Her procedures would have been completed this week, as she was due to check out today. So, she was here for plastic surgery. Maybe like you, señora?" He tilted his head at Jen. "The General Manager Juan Alonso tells me that she had a face and neck lift. And he thinks also some work on her lips, is that right, Juan?"
  Juan Alonso stood tall, nodded assent.
  "She told Juan Alonso and others that she felt like new. More beautiful and happy than ever."
  Again, Juan Alonso nodded, said something in Spanish, per- haps her exact words?
  "So. It seems that Claudia Madison was not a woman about to kill herself."
  Nobody said anything.
  "We also know that Señora Madison was paying for her operation and her stay here with cash — cash that she kept in her suite. If the location of this money were known, that would provide a motive."
  "Well, none of us knew her or anything about her." Susan's voice was flat.
  "Maybe. Maybe not." He watched me.
  "Okay, Sergeant Perez." Susan's hands were on her hips. "That's enough. You'd better go before I contact the American consul. I'm a criminal defense attorney, and I know our rights as American citizens. Mrs. Harrison has given you her statement. If you bother her further or make any more insinuations about her role in this matter, I promise you, there will be severe consequences."
  "Relax, señora — I have all the information I need. For now. I will be in touch. In the meantime, please surrender your passports to the hotel manager."
  "What?" Susan demanded. "That's preposterous —"
  "No. It's protocol. Just a formality." He stood at the door with his police officers and Roberto the security guard. They watched while the hotel manager collected our passports, whispering apologies and gracias. Before leaving, Sergeant Perez turned and looked at me. "Be assured, Señora Harrison, we will never be far away. Enjoy your vacation."
  With that, Sergeant Perez nodded, and led his entourage away.

— ♦ —

Merry Jones
Photo provided courtesy of
Merry Jones

Merry Jones has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. "If I don't write," she says, "over time, I get agitated and irritable, as if energy is building up inside and I have to let it out."

A regular contributor to Glamour, her work has been printed in seven languages and numerous magazines.

For the last fifteen years, she has taught writing courses at a variety of institutions, including Temple University and Delaware County Community College. She has appeared on radio and television (local and national), and participates in panel discussions and workshops regularly.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website at MerryJones.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

— ♦ —

Elective Procedures by Merry Jones

Elective Procedures
Merry Jones
An Elle Harrison Mystery

Elle Harrison and her pals Jen, Becky, and Susan travel to Mexico where Jen has arranged cosmetic surgery, after which she will recover in a plush hotel suite. But more is going on at the hotel than tummy tucks. Soon after they arrive, Elle sees the woman in the suite next door fall from her sixth floor balcony. When the room is later occupied by another patient, Elle finds her brutally mutilated body on that same balcony. Police question Elle as the last person to see these women alive.

Their doctor also takes an interest in Elle; a woman staying at the hotel asks Elle to help her fend off a creepy stalker; a veiled woman sneaks into Elle's suite at night, and her late husband, Charlie, reappears (or Elle imagines that he does) when Elle gets pushed under water in the ocean and nearly drowns.

As dangers swirl and intensify, Elle is forced to face her unresolved issues with Charlie, even as she races to find the connections between killings before more patients — including Jen — can be murdered. And before she herself becomes prey.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  Kobo eBook Format

Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday is Today's Fourth Featured Free MystereBook

Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature …

Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

A Maddie Springer Mystery

Publisher: Gemma Halliday

… as today's fourth free mystery ebook. This is a repeat freebie that was last featured on our site on January 08, 2013.

Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday, Amazon Kindle format

This title was listed for free as of July 01, 2014 at 7:15 AM ET. Prices are subject to change without notice. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before completing your transaction.

For a summary of all of today's featured titles, plus any that may have appeared before and are repeat freebies, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

More on today's free book, below.

L.A. shoe designer, Maddie Springer, lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears — along with $20 million in embezzled funds — and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by the LAPD's sexiest cop.

With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300 pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her  …

Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

Snow on the Golden Horn by Walt Breede is Today's Third Featured Free MystereBook

Snow on the Golden Horn by Walt Breede

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature …

Snow on the Golden Horn by Walt Breede

An Alan Llewellyn Mystery

Publisher: Walt Breede

… as today's third free mystery ebook.

Snow on the Golden Horn by Walt Breede, Amazon Kindle format

This title was listed for free as of July 01, 2014 at 7:00 AM ET. Prices are subject to change without notice. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before completing your transaction.

For a summary of all of today's featured titles, plus any that may have appeared before and are repeat freebies, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

More on today's free book, below.

Alan Llewellyn — teacher, sleuth or spy? If you asked him, he'd probably tell you "It depends."

A beautiful young artist is kidnapped and a colleague asks Alan to help find her. What starts as a cold trail heats up rapidly as Alan follows clues leading him to the ancient splendor of Istanbul, the ghosts of Gallipoli and the sun-drenched, decadent splendor of Turkey's Turquoise Coast.

Alan keeps his day job at Augustine Washington High School but confronts crises that are a ton more violent than kid fights in the cafeteria in the terrifying attempt to rescue the beautiful artist from the global grasp of the Russian Mafia.

Snow on the Golden Horn by Walt Breede

Just Run by Chris Culver is Today's Second Featured Free MystereBook

Just Run by Chris Culver

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature …

Just Run by Chris Culver

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Chris Culver

… as today's second free mystery ebook.

Just Run by Chris Culver, Amazon Kindle format

This title was listed for free as of July 01, 2014 at 6:45 AM ET. Prices are subject to change without notice. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before completing your transaction.

For a summary of all of today's featured titles, plus any that may have appeared before and are repeat freebies, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

More on today's free book, below.

Mathematician Renee Carter jokes that she was raised by a hotel maid and a television. It's not far from the truth. She spent most of her childhood following her father from city to city as he played poker in back-alley bars, illegal card rooms and casinos. Those years around poker tables drilled lessons into her that she's never forgotten: always be observant, always be wary, and always watch your opponent. Until now, she's never realized how important those lessons really are.

While investigating a database she isn't supposed to have, she and a colleague discover a pattern no one is supposed to find. Two weeks later, her colleague is murdered in his office. Not knowing whom she can trust, she runs, knowing that her only chance is to unravel a conspiracy that reaches across international lines and deep into the halls of American governance. If she lives, she'll never be the same; if she dies, no one will ever know.

Just Run by Chris Culver

Strangehold by J. M. Gregson is Today's Featured Free MystereBook

Strangehold by J. M. Gregson

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature …

Strangehold by J. M. Gregson

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Endeavour Press

… as today's free mystery ebook.

Strangehold by J. M. Gregson, Amazon Kindle format

This title was listed for free as of July 01, 2014 at 6:30 AM ET. Prices are subject to change without notice. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before completing your transaction.

For a summary of all of today's featured titles, plus any that may have appeared before and are repeat freebies, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

More on today's free book, below.

A young girl is found murdered in a deserted house. She has lain dead for two days, and there are few clues at the scene of the crime to identify her killer. When there is a second murder in the same small community, it becomes obvious that the hunt is for a serial killer, who is certain to kill again. The way the bodies are laid out suggests not only a warped mind — but someone determined to taunt the police.

In the quiet country town of Oldford, a whole community is struck with terror as it waits for the nocturnal killer to strike again. With several suspects, but no motive for the killings, the investigation requires all Superintendent John Lambert insight and expertise. Can he solve the mystery before another innocent girl is murdered? Or will more victims fall prey to the killer's deadly stranglehold?

Strangehold by J. M. Gregson

True Evil by Greg Iles is Today's Kindle Daily Deal

True Evil by Greg Iles

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature True Evil by Greg Iles as today's Kindle Daily Deal.

The deal price of $1.99 is valid only for today, Tuesday, July 01, 2014.

True Evil by Greg Iles

A Suspense Thriller

Publisher: Scribner

Price: $1.99 (as of 07/01/2014 at 5:30 AM ET).

True Evil by Greg Iles, Amazon Kindle format

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

If you wanted to kill your spouse and get away with it, you had to do something truly ingenious: something that wouldn't even be perceived as murder. And that was the service that Andrew Rusk had found a way to provide. Like any quality product, it did not come cheap. Nor did it come quickly. And perhaps most important of all, it was not for those with weak constitutions. Demand was high, of course, but few people were truly suitable clients. It took a deep-rooted hatred to watch your spouse die in agony, knowing that you had brought about that pain. But on the other hand, some people bore up remarkably well.

Dr. Chris Shepard is thirty-six years old, newly married, and well on his way to a perfect life. Or so he believes. But that future is forever cast into doubt the day Special Agent Alexandra Morse walks into his office and drops a bombshell: Dr. Shepard's beautiful new wife is plotting his murder. Shepard is so shocked that he almost throws Agent Morse out of his office. Yet once he is alone, doubt begins to gnaw at him. Paranoia magnifies the small cracks in his marital relationship, and soon he can have no peace unless he knows the truth. When Agent Morse reappears, Chris agrees to act as bait to help her unravel the divorce lawyer's scheme, which may already have cost nine unsuspecting spouses their lives.

At the center of the mystery lies a maddeningly simple question: If these people really were murdered, why can't the FBI prove it? Rigorous autopsies have uncovered no forensic evidence of foul play, and the police believe no crimes have occurred. As Dr. Shepard and Agent Morse struggle against an invisible adversary, Shepard realizes that he's working with a desperate woman. The reason: the killer's last known victim was Alex Morse's sister, who from her deathbed accused her husband of murder and extracted a vow that Alex save her ten-year-old nephew from his father. This has driven Alex to risk both her life and her career to fulfill that vow. But Chris Shepard soon feels desperation of his own. As he probes his wife's hidden past, he is confronted by the probability that the woman he loves wants him dead.

He has adopted her son and given her everything he has to give, and yet somewhere out there, a killer with the brilliance to outwit the top forensic scientists in the world is closing in on him.

True Evil by Greg Iles

Today's Mystery and Suspense Update from Big Fish Games (140701)

Big Fish Games

Here is today's mystery and suspense update from Big Fish Games …

• Our Featured Title is Calavera: Day of the Dead.

• The Daily Deal is Gravely Silent: House of Deadlock, just $2.99 today only!

• The current Catch of the Week is The Beast of Lycan Isle, just $2.99 through Sunday, July 06, 2014 only.

Visit the Omnimystery Entertainment Network for more games of mystery and suspense!

— ♦ —

Calavera: Day of the Dead

Our Featured Title today is Calavera: Day of the Dead

She said yes! Alan was finally going to marry his sweetheart, Catalina. She only had one small request before the wedding, to ask for her father’s blessing. The young couple travels to the small town in Mexico where her father is from, arriving just in time for the annual Day of the Dead celebration. But when he doesn’t meet them at the train station, that’s only the beginning of their problems. Is it just the heat, or did that book talk to you? And that guy is definitely wearing a skeleton mask, right? Cross the border between life and death in this festive Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure game.

A sample version is available to download and play for free for one hour.

Also available for this game:

— ♦ —

Gravely Silent: House of Deadlock

Today's Daily Deal is Gravely Silent: House of Deadlock

Save your sister from the grave! After receiving a troubling phone call from your brother-in-law, you’re off on an adventure! Investigate the troubling scene and discover the truth. Scour gorgeous Hidden Object scenes for valuable clues and unravel the mystery behind your sister’s disappearance.

A sample version is available to download and play for free for one hour. You can purchase this game today only — Tuesday, July 01, 2014 — for $2.99.

Also available for this game:

— ♦ —

The Beast of Lycan Isle

The current Catch of the Week is The Beast of Lycan Isle

Luna has been summoned by Tara, her best friend, to an ancient village on a remote island. Tara needs Luna's expertise on a newly unearthed artifact that might prove the existence of the legendary cult of the Madra Alta or Wolf Man. But when she arrives the locals are acting very strangely, her friend has disappeared, and terrible clues reveal a situation beyond her worst nightmare. She must rely on her fearless wit and trusted allies to find her friend. She must dig deep into the instincts and courage of her own inner animal to defeat the Wolf King himself.

A sample version is available to download and play for free for one hour. You can purchase this game at the special price of $2.99 through Sunday, July 06, 2014.

Also available for this game:

 

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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