Once again the remarkable J.A. Jance-the New York Times bestselling author of Kiss of the Bees and Devil's Claw returns us to a world of desolate beauty and lonely terror in an extraordinary new novel as heartbreaking and real as it is grippingly intense.
Dora Matthews and Jennifer Brady, both thirteen, couldn't be less alike-yet the luck of the draw has made them tent mates at a Girl Scout Memorial Day weekend camping trip at Apache Pass.Dora is a wild child, a pregnant, fatherless waif with a missing junkie mother. Jennifer is the innocent daughter of Joanna Brady, the sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona. In the cool blackness of the high desert night, they slip away at Dora's prodding. What they find on their unauthorized hike will change their lives forever: the body of a murdered Phoenix heiress, abandoned to scavengers and the elements.
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July 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Paradise Lost by J.A. Jance
Connie Haskell had just stepped out of the shower when she heard the phone ringing. Hoping desperately to hear Ron's voice on the phone, she grabbed a towel and raced through the house, leaving a trail of wet footprints on the worn carpeting of the bedroom and hallway. For two weeks she had carried the cordless phone with her wherever she went, but when she had gone to the bathroom to shower that morning, she had forgotten somehow and left the phone sitting beside her empty coffee cup on the kitchen table.
By the time she reached the kitchen, the machine had already picked up the call. "Hello, Mrs. Haskell. This is Ken Wilson at First Bank." The disembodied voice of Connie's private banker echoed eerily across the Saltillo tile in an otherwise silent kitchen. As soon as she heard the caller's voice and knew it wasn't her husband's, Connie didn't bother to pick up the receiver. It was the same thing she had done with all the other calls that had come in during this awful time. She had sat, a virtual prisoner in her own home, waiting for the other shoe to drop. But this call from her banker probably wasn't it.
"I'm calling about your checking account," Ken Wilson continued. "As of this morning, it's seriously overdrawn. I've paid the two outstanding checks that showed up today as well as one from yesterday, but I need you to come in as soon as possible and make a deposit. If you're out of town, please call me so we can make some other arrangement to cover the overdraft. I believe you have my number, but in case you don't, here it is."