With her trademark electrifying storytelling and razor-sharp tension, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell proves once again why she is one of today's top masters of suspense -- in a riveting tale of dark family secrets ready to explode with the devastating force of a Southwestern earthquake.
The powerful Quintrell family of New Mexico has spent decades in the public eye. Now the recent death of the clan's patriarch, a former U.S. senator, has placed his son, Governor Josh Quintrell, squarely in the spotlight as he prepares his run for the highest political office in the land. It is not a good time to be rattling skeletons in the family's closets.
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May 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Always Time to Die by Elizabeth Lowell
Two men squinted against the wind and stared down at the Quintrell family graveyard. It lay a few hundred yards below and six hundred feet away from the base of the long, ragged ridge where they stood. A white wrought-iron fence enclosed the graveyard, as though death could be kept away from the living by such a simple thing.
At the edge of the valley, pinons grew black against a thin veneer of snow. Cottonwood branches along the valley creek had been stripped by winter to their thin, pale skin. In the black-and-white landscape, a ragged rectangle and a nearby tarp-covered mound of loose red dirt looked out of place. Three ravens squatted on the tarp like guests waiting to be served. A polished casket hovered astride the newly dug grave, ready to be lowered at a signal from the minister.
The first of the funeral procession drove up and stopped outside the ornate white fence. There wouldn't be many cars, because the graveside service was limited to clergy and immediate members of the Senator's family. The public service had been yesterday, in Santa Fe, complete with a media circus where the famous and the merely notorious exchanged Cheshire cat grins and firm handshakes and careful lies while the smell of dying flowers overwhelmed the stately cathedral.
Automatically Daniel Duran looked over his shoulder, checking that his silhouette was still invisible from below, lost against a tall pine. It was. So was his father's.