Claire Hayden has no idea that her world is about to be shattered: at the conclusion of her husband's fortieth birthday party, he is found murdered, his throat cut with a weapon that hasn't been used since World War II. He has no enemies, but the mysterious Ian Marshall, an aquaintance of her husband's, seems to know something. Someone has been killing this way for decades. Someone whose crimes go back to WWII. As Claire and Ian team up to find the killer, Ian makes a shocking revelation: the murderer may be someone Claire has known all her life. "The Chase" is a fast-paced thriller with Brenda Joyce's trademark pacing, plotting, sensuality, and characterization.
A wealthy San Francisco do-gooder finds herself enmeshed in a mystery dating back to WWII in this romantic suspense novel by New York Times bestseller Joyce (House of Dreams, etc.). Claire Hayden leads a privileged and pampered life rescuing stray animals and hosting charity events. But beneath the perfect facade, Claire's marriage is falling apart. In a last ditch effort to save their relationship, she throws her husband, David, a 40th birthday party. During the party, Claire meets Ian Marshall, one of her husband's associates, and senses some tension between the two. When the party is over, Claire goes in search of her husband and finds him outside, with his throat cut. The police quickly link David's death to another murder as both victims were killed with a thumb knife a weapon that hasn't been used since World War II. Claire tracks down the elusive Ian Marshall and after much prompting learns that David was blackmailing WWII spy Lionel Elgin and was planning to turn him over to Ian, a Holocaust research center investigator. Claire insists on joining Ian in his search for Elgin. The two travel to England to trace Elgin's roots and to speak with his remaining family. It soon becomes clear that Ian believes Claire's father, Jean-Lon Ducasse, or Jean-Lon's best friend, William Duke, to be Elgin. Claire refuses to believe his theory, but as she and Ian piece together Elgin's history and fall for one another in the process, Claire fears that she may have been raised by a killer. Joyce skillfully weaves together past and present to create an amazing story of intrigue, wartime passion and thrilling twists and turns. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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St. Martin's Press
July 11, 2003
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Excerpt from The Chase by Brenda Joyce
There was trouble in paradise and there had been for some time.
Claire turned onto Leavenworth, her grip tightening on the steering wheel. She had been married for ten years; she had known David for almost fifteen. When had they begun to drift apart? How had it happened, when once they had been so happy?
Did it even matter?
David had told her just that morning that she was going to far too much trouble for his fortieth birthday. He had made it clear he was in no mood for a big bash with a hundred guests. And he had refused to even look at her, focusing instead on the task of knotting his Hermýs tie.
Claire knew she had been blocking out just how badly damaged her marriage was. She had thrown herself into her work at the Humane Society, where she was a director, and into all of her charities, especially the two for which she was chairwoman. She had always been an overachiever, and it was easy to put in sixty, seventy, even eighty hours a week on all of her projects. In fact, she was frequently solicited by new organizations begging her to join them. These days she had to turn everyone down, as she was stretched so thin. The best she could do was to offer up her valuable mailing lists.
David was a lawyer and had switched firms recently. He, too, worked like a dog. Perhaps this was one of their problems; somehow, they had become immersed in their separate career paths, losing the connection they once had.
Last night they had attended the same fund-raiser, a black-tie dinner and dance. Claire doubted they had exchanged more than a dozen words all evening. He had his social circle, and she had hers. He had also drunk too much.
Maybe this was her fault. Last night she had actually been working -- she was desperate to raise another million dollars for the Summer Rescue Kids program. Maybe she was a failure as a wife.