Therapist Melanie Snow is driving to her office when her Honda is struck by a dark-colored van and sent spinning into a ditch, where it catches fire. The driver never stops. A passerby pulls Melanie from the car just seconds before it explodes.
Waking from the coma nine days later, she is devastated to find she is blind.
As Melanie struggles to cope with her new reality, life as a blind woman, her fragile state of mind is further threatened by a madman who is stalking and strangling disabled women. The first two victims were mentally challenged and Detective Matt O’Leary, who carries a torch for Melanie, (even though Melanie is engaged to someone else) tells himself she is not the killer’s targeted prey. But then a woman who lost a leg to cancer is murdered, and another physically disabled woman is stalked. Even with a whole town in terror, Melanie refuses to live her life in fear and reopens her practice in the basement of her home. She has a living to earn.
And Detective Matt O’Leary must find a way to keep Melanie safe until the monster is caught. But how? Her door is now open to the public and the killer can just walk through anytime he chooses.
And he does.
Nowhere To Hide:
Eppie Winner ~ Best Thriller - 1992
SHE DARED TO CHALLENGE A MERCILESS KILLER
Raised in an atmosphere of violence and unpredictability, Ellen and Gail Morgan have banded together, survivors of a booze-fertilized battleground, forming a fierce united front against an often cold and uncaring world. When their parents are killed in a car crash, Ellen becomes the mother figure for Gail.
When fifteen years later Gail is brutally raped and murdered in her shabby New York basement apartment, practically on the eve of her big breakthrough as a singer, Ellen is inconsolable. Rage at her younger sister's murder has nearly consumed her. So when her work as a psychologist wins her an appearance on the evening news, Ellen seizes the moment. Staring straight into the camera, she challenges the killer to come out of hiding: "Why don't you come after me? I'll be waiting for you."
Phone calls flood the station, but all leads go nowhere. The police investigation seems doomed to failure. Then it happens: a note, written in red ink, slipped under the windshield wipers of her car, 'YOU'RE IT.' Ellen has stirred the monster in his lair … and the hunter has become the hunted!
Excerpt from NOWHERE TO HIDE:
It was nice to be alone. As she brushed her hair, Gail launched into her favorite fantasy of buying her sister a white Ferrari. Ellen's birthday was coming up in May; she'd have the car delivered right up to her door, a big red bow tied on the antenna ... dream on, girl she told herself, grinning at her reflection in the mirror.
Tiger padded into the room just then, winding his sleek, warm body around her bare ankles, purring like an old washing machine.
I owe her so much, Tiger, Gail said, reaching down to stroke the cat's soft, glossy fur. If it wasn't for...
Suddenly, Tiger's back arched under her hand and he hissed. Gail's heart leapt in her breast and her hand drew back as if burned. "What the...?" But Tiger, fur standing on end, had already fled the room. Gail turned in her chair just in time to see his electrified, retreating tail...
Then she caught a movement from the corner of her eye. Turning, she froze at the sight of the closet door slowly opening.
August 6, 1979
The closet door was at the top of the stairs at the end of the hall. To get to it he had to pass by two doors, one on either side, both now partly open. He could hear talking, very low. Farther away, the sound of running away. In three quick strides he was past the doors and inside the closet. He knew he was smiling. He felt excited the way he always did when he got past them. Even if anyone had got a glimpse of him, it wouldn't really matter. He was invisible. The invisible man.
The secret door was to his right, just behind the wide rack of musty-smelling winter coats in varying sizes. He ducked beneath them, and opening the door, let himself into the narrow, cave-like space.
The space separating the inside and outside walls went nearly the whole way round the third floor, stopping abruptly at the wall of the stairwell where he had to turn around and go back the way he had come. Once, this space had been used for storage - old bed springs, broken chairs, trunks - but the doors, except for the one in the closet which he had come upon quite by luck, and through which he had come again and again, had long since been replaced by sheetrock and papered over with rose-patterned wallpaper.
It was pitch black in front of him and all around him, like he was all alone in the world. He had his flashlight, but didn't turn it on. He knew the way. Besides, it might shine through someplace.
As he made his way along the darkened corridor, breathing the stale, hot air, his progress slowed by the long, heavy skirt he wore, he had to stoop. At seventeen, though narrow-shouldered, he was nearly six feet tall.
Sweat was trickling down between his shoulder- blades, and under the wig, his head felt squirmy, so he took the wig off and stuffed it into his pants pocket, under the skirt.
And then he was there. He could see the thin beam of light shining through, projecting a tiny star on the wall. It was coming through the place where two Sundays ago, when they were all at Chapel, he had made a peephole. He'd made it by simply pounding a nail through, then drawing it cleanly back out so that there would be nothing detectible on the other side - no more than a black dot.
A giggle floated through to him and the smile froze on his face, his fists clenching involuntarily. No, it can't be me they're laughing at. They can't see me. They don't know I'm here. I'm invisible, remember? Calming himself, he slowly brought his face to the wall.
Eight narrow, iron-framed beds faced him, each covered by a thin, grey blanket with a faded red stripe across the top and bottom. Twelve beds in all, but the two at either end were cut from his view. A few religious pictures hung above the beds. The one facing him said 'Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me'. It had a picture of a lamb on it. Only three of the beds were occupied. It was still early. Some of the girls were probably downstairs watching their alloted hour of T.V. Others would still be doing kitchen duty. At least one troublemaker would be doing 'quiet time'. He grinned.
He understood now that the laughter he'd heard had come from one of the two girls sitting on the edge of the bed flipping through a teen idol magazine. He'd caught a look at the cover - some weirdo with a green punk hairdo and a guitar slung around his neck. The two sluts, heads together, were still at it, giggling, whispering, low and secretive. He felt a hot surge of hatred course through his veins. He wished SHE would walk in on them right now. He knew what they were doing. They were talking about who they liked, who they thought was 'cute', who they would let do it. They were thinking and talking about that.
Two beds over, a fat girl with short brown hair that looked as if someone (guess who? Ha-ha) had cut it around a bowl, lay on her back with her hands behind her head, staring at the ceiling. A jagged scar travelled from a spot between her eyebrows right up into her hairline. He could tell she'd been crying; her raisin eyes were all red and puffy, practically disappearing in her moon face. They cried a lot in here. Mostly in the middle of the night when they thought no one could hear. It always excited him hearing their soft muffled sobs. Sometimes, though, it just made him mad like it did when they laughed. Then he wanted to fix it so they didn't make any sound at all.
His gaze wandered back to the girl who had first caught his attention, the one who sat under the lamb picture, and who he'd wanted to save for last. She was sitting cross-legged on the bed, a writing tablet balanced on her knees, her long, pale hair fallen forward, though some damply dark ends curled against her neck. He watched as she scribbled a few lines, then frowning, looked over what she had written. She would chew on her yellow pencil, then write some more, the pencil making whispery sounds on the paper. He watched her for a long time, taking in the flushed, shiny cheeks that made him think, as had the darkly damp curls, that she might just have stepped out of the bath. Yes, he remembered hearing the water running. He liked to see them when they just got out of the bath - all that damp flowing hair, pinkly scrubbed skin, soft necks. Sometimes they changed into their flannel nightgowns right there on the edge of their beds, right there in front of him - though of course they didn't know that.
That was the best part. Them not knowing. It didn't matter that they dressed so hurriedly and so slickly that he often didn't get to see much. Though occasionally there was a flash of white shoulder, a curve of breast.
I'm watching you, he thought, and had to stifle a giggle of his own.
And then she raised her head and those clear blue eyes were staring right at him, stabbing fear into his heart. He couldn't move.
She was frowning, not in the way she did when she was thinking of what to write, but with her head cocked to one side, as if she were listening for something. A terrible thought struck him. What if he hadn't just almost laughed, but actually done it, right out loud? Adrenaline pumping crazily through his body, he backed slowly away from the peephole. Standing perfectly still with his back against the wall, he waited. When after several minutes there were no screams, no sudden cries of alarm to alert the other girls - and HER, especially HER - he began to relax. His heartbeat returned to normal; once more he brought his eye to the hole. She was back to writing. Of course she was.
He smiled to himself.
He hadn't laughed out loud, after all. And she hadn't seen him. Of course she hadn't. His gaze slid down to her breasts, their shapes round and firm as little apples under the flannel nightgown.
But you will, he thought. You will.
My Review: June 19, 2013 ~ Review Copy ~
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First I would like to thank the author Joan Hall Hovey for giving me this book for review. Ellen and her younger sister Gail have survived alcoholic parents and Gail is on the verge of her singing career taking off. They are getting ready to spend Christmas together when on the eve of Gail's flight home she is brutally raped and murdered. Ellen has lost everyone, their parents, her husband who died young of a heart attack and now her sister. She is so distraught she goes on TV for an interview and challenges the killer to come after her. The psychopath takes up the gauntlet and leaves a note on her car telling her she is it. This book kept me hooked to find out what would happen next, I really enjoyed the suspense. The main characters were well written. Ellen is very strong, and also one tracked minded to the point of taking a chance with her life to get her sisters killer to come after her. Her best friend Myra has been through her own trauma in her childhood and wanted to help her friend, but Ellen wouldn't let her. There is also a little romance in the book.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In addition to her critically acclaimed novels, Joan Hall Hovey's articles and short stories have appeared in such diverse publications as The Toronto Star, Atlantic Advocate, Seek, Home Life Magazine, Mystery Scene, The New Brunswick Reader, Fredericton Gleaner, New Freeman and Kings County Record. Her short story Dark Reunion was selected for the anthology investigating Women, Published by Simon & Pierre.
Ms. Hovey has held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries in her area, including New Brunswick Community College, and taught a course in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. For a number of years, she has been a tutor with Winghill School, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.
She is a member of the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick, past regional Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
Praise for Joan Hall Hovey’s Books
“…suspense that puts her right up there with the likes of Sandford and Patterson..." Ingrid Taylor for Small Press Review
"...Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King come to mind, but JOAN HALL HOVEY is in a Class by herself!…"
J.D. Michael Phelps, Author of My Fugitive, David Janssen
"…CANADIAN MISTRESS OF SUSPENSE…The author has a remarkable ability to turn up the heat on the suspense… great characterizations and dialogue…" James Anderson, author of Deadline
"...a gripping style that wrings emotions from everyday settings. Oh and by the way ...is your door locked?" Linda Hersey - Fredericton Gleaner
"...will keep readers holding their breath until the very end..." inthelibraryreview, Melissa Parcel
"This one is a chiller - you won't be able to put it down - guaranteed!"- Rendezvous Magazine
"If you are looking for the suspense thriller of the year-look no further…you will find it in Nowhere To Hide..." Jewel Dartt Midnight Scribe Reviews