The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Nina Reilly series returns with a bold and gripping new work, a masterful stand-alone that will delight devoted fans - and garner legions of new ones. This haunting and original tale of love, obsession, and the secrets that we keep - especially from ourselves - begins with a sudden, inexplicable vanishing. For ambitious, troubled architect Ray Jackson, the questions start one sultry California summer night when his wife, Leigh, disappears. No phone call, no ransom note, no body to reveal whether she has left of her own accord and is alive, or is dead. Although it's clear they had a passionate, close relationship, Ray Jackson is not looking for his wife. Why Enter Kathleen, old friend of Leigh's, who shows up demanding answers. Ray wants answers, too, but his questions seem strange and shady to Kat. Suspected by his wife's best friend and the police, Ray launches a desperate, alarming search of his own.
This stand-alone novel of suspense from bestseller O'Shaughnessy (Case of Lies and 10 other legal thrillers starring Nina Reilly) has a glamorous setting, Los Angeles's Topanga Canyon, where a once promising architect, Ray Jackson, lives in a house he designed with his furniture-maker wife, Leigh. Unfortunately, despite some good plot twists and pinkish herrings, none of the characters is particularly interesting not Ray, a tightly wound man who spends his time making models of every house he lived in during his tangled childhood; not Leigh, who may have a buried sex life; and especially not Kat and Jackie, two sisters in the real estate trade who used to be close to Leigh growing up. When Leigh disappears without a trace one night, Ray only with the greatest of reluctance (and nudges from Kat and the cops) sifts through secrets old and new for a truth that's as hard to swallow as it is to care about. Perri O'Shaughnessy is the pseudonym of sisters Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Keeper of the Keys by Perri O'Shaughnessy
A white yacht floated deep in smooth water not a hundred feet away, separated from Kat and Jacki by the sheet of glass that made up the back wall of the restaurant. A man in a white cap moved about on deck. Blinding white boats floated at their moorings a long way out under a hot cloudless sky. Kat took off her cotton blazer and nudged off her dressy shoes under the table. Her sister, Jacki, sat across from her, marine-blue eyes hidden by huge sunglasses, lipsticked, wearing a sleeveless blouse that overhung her eight-months-along middle like a steep-eaved roof. "Have a good morning " Jacki asked.
"The usual schizoid Sunday in August. I read the paper in my jammies and enjoyed myself until I made the mistake of returning a business phone call and had this knockdown fight with one very angry owner in La Cienega who thought his house should be worth double my appraisal. Sorry I'm late. I couldn't find legal parking so I'll probably get towed."
"The walk nearly killed me." Jacki lived right here in Marina del Rey, only two blocks away in a loft condo with her husband, Raoul, who taught bioethics and biology at UCLA. Kat couldn't afford this area on one income, so lived several miles south in Hermosa Beach.
"Braggart. I should have had a margarita instead of this latte," Kat said, taking a sip. "Things always go better with tequila."
"You drink too much."
"So do you when you're not pregnant."
"Already the low blows," Jacki said comfortably, offering her a napkin, "and you've only been here" ' she consulted her watch ' "three minutes."
"You started it."
"So I should get the last word."
Kat nodded. "Always end as you start. I remember that from the one creative writing course I took at Long Beach State."
"I ordered a turkey on rye for you, okay "
Kat nodded again, taking the napkin and setting it beside her plate. She made a note to herself to stop for a bottle of wine on the way home. Evenings had been much easier to get through lately, what with this new habit of getting slightly shitfaced every night. Yes, later she would undoubtedly violate the Buddha's Fifth Precept against intoxicants once again this evening, because she didn't seem to have any control over anything anymore, but the main thing was to be on the path and do the best you can at any given moment. She was drinking coffee right now and not hurting anything, not engaged in any sexual misconduct, not stealing, not getting whacked on chardonnay, piling up merit to piss away later tonight.
Jacki had just started her maternity leave, and she was becoming quite irksome now that she didn't have a job on which to expend her prodigious energies. She called Kat a half-dozen times a day.