Since her husband Eddie's tragic death in a boating accident eight months ago, thirty-four-year-old Alice Glendenning has struggled to maintain a normal life for her two children, Ashley and Jamie. To help make ends meet while she waits for the insurance company to pay up, Alice takes a job as a real estate agent. The commissions have been nonexistent, but she does make a new friend, Charlie Hobbs, when she is sent in to try to buy his waterfront land for a developer.
Things have been tough for Alice, but they quickly become a nightmare when Ashley and Jamie don't come home on the school bus one day, and Alice gets a phone call from a woman claiming to have her children. When the kidnapper calls again and asks for a ransom identical to the amount Alice is due from the insurance agency for Eddie's accident, Alice forgoes contacting the police and instead calls Charlie for help. But as all sorts of people scheme to get their hands on her money, Alice wonders whether anyone can be trusted in her fight for everything she holds dear.
From the master of the suspense novel comes another gripping tale of mystery, money, and mayhem. Ed McBain skillfully weaves together his elegant plot and compelling characters, once again.
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Simon & Schuster
December 21, 2006
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Excerpt from Alice in Jeopardy by Ed McBain
When the same nightmare awakens her, she sits bolt upright in the middle of the bed.
Where am I? she thinks.
And blinks at the bedside clock.
She is instantly wide awake.
"Kids!" she yells. "Jamie! Ashley! Up! We're late! Up, guys!"
She hears grumbling down the hall. Ashley's voice. Jamie hasn't spoken for almost eight months now.
"Guys, are you up?" she shouts.
"Yes, Mom!" Ashley calls.
Ten years old, the elder of the two. Her eyes and her hair brown, like Alice's. Eight-year-old Jamie favors his father. Blond hair and blue eyes. She can never look into those eyes without recalling that terrible day.
She shakes off the nightmare and gets out of bed.
* * *
In the shower, she realizes she set the alarm's wakeup time, but neglected to slide the ON-OFF switch to the right. Hurrying to lather, she drops the soap, the heavy bar falling onto the little toe of her left foot. Yelping in pain, it feels as if someone has hit her with a hammer she yells, "Damn it to hell!" and bends down to recover the slippery bar. Her butt hits the HOT-COLD lever on the tiled wall. The water turns instantly ice cold. She straightens in surprise, drops the soap again, missing her foot this time, and backs away from the icy stream, thinking None of this would be happening if Eddie were still alive.
But Eddie is not still alive, she thinks, Eddie is dead, and almost bursts into tears.
She reaches through the slanting curtain of frigid water, and turns off the shower.