Returning to the entrancing supernatural territory of her popular novels Dream Man and Son of the Morning, New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard has written a sizzling new novel that is her most daring, exciting, and original yet.In 1985, with much fanfare, a time capsule was buried under the front lawn of a small-town county courthouse, to be reopened in 2085. But just twenty years later, in the dead of night, the capsule is dug up, its contents stolen. That same night, one of the contributors to the capsule is brutally slain in his home-with no sign of forced entry or indication of a struggle. One by one, others who had placed items in the time capsule are murdered.Besides his suspicions about the sudden, mysterious appearance of Nikita Stover, the chief investigator, Knox Davis, has absolutely no leads. And while Nikita's no murderer, she seems to be hiding plenty of secrets.
Famous for his bestselling thrillers re-creating old New York (The Alienist; The Angel of Darkness) and trained as a military historian (The Devil Soldier), Carr leaps into the future for his third novelDand lands with a thud. Set about 25 years ahead, the first-person narrative describes the grim adventures of Gideon Wolfe, a bestselling author who joins forces with a band of outsiders intent on alerting the world to the dangers of excess information untempered by wisdom. By 2023, the Internet has multiplied wildly the ability of power possessors to deceive the general populace, resulting in a globe devastated by ecological blight and filled with near-zombies glued to computer screens. Some groups have escaped this fateDparticularly those living in unwired if disease-ravaged areas of Africa and AsiaDand a few, led by the enormously wealthy and brilliant brother-and-sister team of Malcolm and Larissa Tressalian, have vowed to fight it. These two, with a small crew, bring Gideon aboard their fantastic flying/diving fortress vehicle. They explain that for years they've seeded world-shaking disinformationDfor instance, that Winston Churchill plotted the outbreak of WWI and that St. Paul advocated lying about the life and miracles of Jesus in order to spread the faith. They've planned to reveal these hoaxes as such, to warn about the power of disinformation, but they're stymied by both the cleverness of their own lies and by a new threat that sees one of their hoaxes lead to possible nuclear Armageddon. This book is as much didactic essay as novel, filled with preachy talk. Characters are broad but memorable, and there's some brisk action, but the suspense relies too much on forebodings and cliffhangersDno doubt because the text originally appeared as a serial in Time magazine, from November 1999 to June 2000 (it's been slightly revised for this edition). The prose Carr uses is elaborate, near-VictorianDperhaps a holdover from his other novelsDand ill suits a futuristic tale. As readers navigate it, they won't be quite killing time, but they'll be wounding it for sure. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 13, 2005
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Excerpt from Killing Time by Linda Howard
"Hey, Knox, who dug that hole next to the flagpole "
Knox looked up from the report he was writing. As chief county investigator, he had his own office, though it was small and crowded. Deputy Jason MacFarland was leaning in through the open door, the expression on his freckled face only mildly curious.
"What hole next to the flagpole "
"I'm telling you, there's a hole next to the flagpole. I'd swear it wasn't there yesterday afternoon when my shift was over, but one's there now."
"Huh." Knox rubbed his jaw. He himself hadn't noticed, because he'd parked behind the courthouse when he came in this morning at four-thirty to wade through an ass-deep pile of paperwork. He'd been up all night, and he was so tired he might not have noticed even if he'd walked right by the supposed hole.
Having been sitting at his desk for three hours, he figured he needed to stretch his legs a bit. Grabbing his coffee cup, he refilled it as he passed by the coffeemaker, and he and Deputy MacFarland went out the side door, then walked around the side of the redbrick courthouse building to the front, their rubber-soled shoes quiet on the sidewalk. The new day was showing a cloudless blue sky, and the lush green grass was wet with dew. Colorful banks of spring flowers grew in carefully tended beds, but Knox would have been hard put to name any of them. He knew roses, and daffodils. Everything else was lumped under the general designation of "flowers."
The courthouse opened at eight, and the back parking lot was rapidly filling with employees' cars. The sheriff's department had a separate wing on the right of the courthouse, and the county jail occupied the top two stories of the five-story building. The prisoners used to catcall down to the female employees and visitors to the courthouse, until the county installed slats over the windows that let in air and light but effectively blocked the prisoners' view of the parking lot below.
The flagpole was on the left front corner of the courthouse square; park benches faced the street on both sides of the corner, and there were more of the neat flower beds. Today there wasn't any wind; the flags hung limply. And at the base of the flagpole was a nice-sized hole, about three feet wide and two deep.
Knox and the deputy stayed on the sidewalk; they could easily see from there. A granite slab had been flipped upside down and lay in the grass. The dirt was scattered more than seemed strictly necessary for digging a simple hole. "That was the time capsule," Knox said, and sighed. This was just the kind of shit high school kids would do, but it ate at his time just like any other crime.