The Reckoning – John Grisham

On a cold morning in early October of 1946, Pete Banning awoke before sunrise and had no thoughts of going back to sleep. For a long time he lay in the center of his bed, stared at the dark ceiling, and asked himself for the thousandth time if he had the courage. Finally, as the […]

The Real Michael Swann – Bryan Reardon

I can see her every day. I close my eyes and she appears out of the darkness, a brightness that I simply don’t deserve. I can still picture her on that day. She wore a white tank top and capri pants, although it took me months to remember that is what they are called. She […]

The Quiet Girls – J.M. Hewitt

They were there, where they’d said they would be, in front of Café Rouge. Pinpricks in the distance, but it was them all right. They were unmissable. Eleven-year-old Melanie Wilson slowed her pace, all eagerness at meeting them vanishing in a second, fear in its place. Because these girls were the big-shots of the school, […]

The Pursuit – Janet Evanovich

Nicolas Fox, infamous con artist and thief, woke up in a coffin. His ability to stay calm was partially due to the lingering effects of the tranquilizer shot he’d been given eighteen hours earlier, in Honolulu. It was also due to his belief that if his abductors had really wanted him dead, he would already […]

The Pupil – Dawn Goodwin

This is it, Katherine. One more day, then it’s back to reality tomorrow. Come on, you’ve got this. My pale hands gripped the basin as I stared, unimpressed, at my reflection in the mirror. I’d pulled my long, dark hair into a low ponytail in an attempt at professional chic, but instead it accentuated my […]

The Punch Escrow – Tal M. Klein

TELEPORTATION KILLED THE MONA LISA. More specifically, a solar storm during the teleportation of da Vinci’s masterpiece was to blame. It happened on April 15, 2109. The painting was being teleported from Rome to New York City for an art exhibition when a huge flare erupted from the Sun, sending something called a coronal mass […]

The Perfectionists – Sara Shepard

ON A SUNNY THURSDAY MORNING , Parker Duvall fought her way through the crowded halls of Beacon Heights High, a school that handed out MacBooks like they were, well, apples, and boasted the highest average SAT scores in all of Washington State. Overhead, a maroon-and-white banner read CONGRATULATIONS, BEACON HIGH! VOTED BEST HIGH SCHOOL IN […]

The Perfect Wife – J.P. Delaney

You’re having that dream again, the one where you and Tim are in Jaipur for Diwali. Everywhere you look, every doorway and window, there are lanterns and candles, firecrackers and fairy lights. Courtyards have become flickering pools of flame, their entrances surrounded by intricate designs of colored rice paste. Drums and cymbals throb and sizzle. […]

The Perfect Wife – Blake Pierce

Jessie Hunt, exhausted and sweaty, dropped the last of the packing boxes on the dining room carpet. She could already feel her muscles starting to cramp up and knew she was going to be in serious pain tomorrow. But as she looked over at Kyle, she couldn’t help but smile. They were officially moved in. […]

The Perfect Son – Lauren North

here is a snippet of time, oh so short, when the morphine in my system begins to fade, but the pain is still fuzzy. Fuzzy enough for me to be certain of four things: ONE—I’m in the hospital. TWO—I’ve been stabbed. THREE—You’re alive. FOUR—Jamie is missing. Five minutes, is my guess. Five minutes where my […]

The Perfect Smile – Blake Pierce

For about the fourth time in the last hour, the same thought passed through Jessie Hunt’s head. I hate this place. “This place” was an official WITSEC safe house. Though she despised being in the sterile tract home with US Marshals always around, she couldn’t really argue that it wasn’t necessary. After all, it had […]

The Perfect Mother – Aimee Molloy

Joshua. I wake, feverish. The skylight above me pulses with rain, and I spider my fingers across the sheets, remembering I’m alone. I close my eyes and find my way back to sleep, until I’m woken again, engulfed by a deep, sudden pain. I’ve been waking with a sick feeling every morning since he left, […]

The Perfect Lie – Blake Pierce

Jessie almost had him. The suspect was about ten yards ahead of her. They were both running on the sand, which felt surprisingly cold under her bare feet. The beach was virtually empty and she wondered when her backup would arrive. The suspect was bigger than her and if he turned around, she might have […]

The Perfect House – Blake Pierce

Eliza Longworth took a long sip of her coffee as she looked out over the Pacific Ocean, marveling at the view only steps from her bedroom. Sometimes she had to remind herself just how lucky she was. Her friend of twenty-five years, Penelope Wooten, sat in the adjoining chaise lounge on the patio overlooking Los […]

The Perfect Friend – Barbara Copperthwaite

From my first breath, I was destined to be a freak. The signs were there in my childhood, concerns as I grew up, narrowing down to a vanishing point of the here and now, where everyone in the room is staring, waiting for me to speak. An awkward cough here, the clearing of a throat […]

The Perfect Family – Shalini Boland

Strange – I don’t remember seeing the front door open when I came down earlier. I peer outside, frown and push it closed with a click. ‘Girls! Come on, get your shoes on, we’re going to be late!’ Moments later, my ten-year-old daughter Eva bounds down the stairs, her caramel hair tied back off her […]

The Perfect Block – Blake Pierce

Splinters from the wooden arms of the chair dug into Jessica Thurman’s forearms, which were tied to the chair by a coarse rope. The skin on her arms was raw and bleeding in several places from her constant attempts to yank herself free. Jessica was strong for a six-year-old. But not strong enough to break […]

The Patient – Steena Holmes

How do I admit this? Disclose that I’ve held this secret out of fear? I think about the words I need to say, unsure that I can voice them. Admit my shame, my failures, my . . . suspicions. I look at myself in the car mirror, barely recognizing the woman who stares back. I […]

The Passengers – John Marrs

By the time the front door closed, the car was parked outside Claire Arden’s home, waiting for her. She lingered inside the porch, rereading the notes she had made on her phone until she heard the faint beep-beep-beep of the alarm as the house secured itself. She gave a furtive glance across the suburban estate, […]

The Paris Spy – Susan Elia MacNeal

Only a single small sparrow, hiding in the high branches of the green chestnut trees, dared to pierce the Avenue Foch’s eerie silence with her chirps and trills. Even though it was afternoon, there was no traffic on Baron Haussmann’s grand Neoclassical thoroughfare, which linked the Arc de Triomphe to the Bois de Boulogne. The […]

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