Bone Cold

( 170 )


Twenty-three years ago Anna North survived a living nightmare. A madman kidnapped her, cut off her pinkie, then vanished. Today Anna lives in New Orleans, writing dark thrillers under another name. She finally feels safe.

Suddenly Anna's quiet life takes a frightening turn. Letters start to arrive from a disturbed fan. Anna is followed, her apartment broken into. Then a close friend disappears.

Anna turns to homicide detective Quentin Malone, ...

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Bone Cold

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Twenty-three years ago Anna North survived a living nightmare. A madman kidnapped her, cut off her pinkie, then vanished. Today Anna lives in New Orleans, writing dark thrillers under another name. She finally feels safe.

Suddenly Anna's quiet life takes a frightening turn. Letters start to arrive from a disturbed fan. Anna is followed, her apartment broken into. Then a close friend disappears.

Anna turns to homicide detective Quentin Malone, but Malone's more concerned with the recent murders of two women in the French Quarter. But after a third victim is found—a redhead like Anna, her pinkie severed—Malone is forced to acknowledge that Anna is his link to the killer…and could be the next target.

Now Anna must face the horrifying truth—her past has caught up with her. The nightmare has begun again.

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What People Are Saying

Chris Rush
A compelling story packed with authentic detail, Spindler's novel chilled me to the bone!
— (Chris Rush, international private investigator)
Chris Lawton
Spindler has created a story that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats till the very last page.
— (Chris Lawton, United Nations Security Advisor)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778327455
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 366,289
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 11.68 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Erica Spindler
Erica Spindler
Erica Spindler’s bestselling novels include Copycat, Killer Takes All, See Jane Die, In Silence, Dead Run, Bone Cold, All Fall Down and Cause for Alarm. This New York Times bestselling author lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, an advertising executive, and their two sons.
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Read an Excerpt

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

New Orleans, Louisiana

"Timmy! No!"

Anna sat bolt upright in bed, drenched in a cold sweat, Timmy's name, her screams, reverberating off the walls of her bedroom.

With a squeak of terror, she dragged the blankets to her chin. She looked wildly around her. When she'd drifted off, her bedside light had been on—she always slept with a light on. Yet her bedroom was dark. The shadows in the corners mocked her, deep and black. What did those shadows hold for her? What could they hide? Who?

Kurt. He was coming for her. To finish what he'd begun twenty-three years ago. To punish her for escaping. For spoiling his plans.

"Ready or not, here I come."

With a cry, Anna scrambled out of bed. She ran from the bedroom to the bathroom, located down the hallway. She raced to the commode, flipped up the seat, bent and threw up. She heaved until she was empty, until she had nothing left to expel but memories.

She yanked off a length of toilet tissue, wiped her mouth, then dropped the tissue into the commode and flushed. Her right hand hurt. It burned, as if Kurt had just done it. Severed her pinkie finger to send to her parents as a warning.

But he hadn't just done it, she reminded herself. It had happened a lifetime ago. She'd been a child, still Harlow Anastasia Grail, little Hollywood princess.

A lifetime ago. A whole other identity ago.

Turning, Anna crossed to the sink and turned on the faucet. Bending, she splashed the icy-cold water on her face, struggling to shake off the nightmare.

She was safe. In her own apartment. Except for her parents, she'd cut all ties to her past. None of her friends or business associates knew who she was. Not even her publisher or literary agent. She was Anna North now. She had been Anna North for twelve years.

Even if Kurt came looking for her, he wouldn't be able to find her.

Anna muttered an oath and flipped off the water. She snatched the hand towel from the ring and dried her face. Kurt wasn't going to come looking for her. Twenty-three years had passed, for heaven's sake. The FBI had been certain the man she'd known as Kurt posed no further threat to her. They believed he had slipped over the border into Mexico. The discovery of Monica's body in the border town of Baja, California, six days after Harlow's escape had supported that belief.

Disgusted with herself, she tossed the hand towel onto the counter. When was she going to get over this? How many years had to pass before she could sleep without a light on? Before nightmares no longer awakened her, night after night?

If only Kurt had been apprehended. She would be able to forget then. She would be able to go on without worrying, without wondering if he thought of her. Her escape had upset the ransom pickup. Did he curse her for spoiling that? Did he wait for the day he would make her pay for spoiling his opportunity at wealth?

She looked at herself in the mirror, expression fierce. She couldn't control her nightmares, but she could control everything else in her life. She would not spend her days—or nights—dodging shadows.

Anna stalked back to her bedroom, grabbed a pair of shorts from her bureau drawer and slipped them on under her nightshirt. If she couldn't sleep, she might as well work. A new story idea had been kicking around the back of her brain and now seemed as good a time as any to start it. But first, she decided, coffee.

She made her way to the kitchen, passing her office— a desk tucked into a corner of the living room—as she did. She flipped on the computer then moved on, past the front door. Out of habit she stopped to check the dead bolt.

As her fingers closed over the lock, someone pounded on the door. With a small cry, Anna jumped back. "Anna! It's Bill—"

"And Dalton."

"Are you all right?"

Bill Friends and Dalton Ramsey, her neighbors and best friends. Thank goodness.

Hands shaking, she unlocked the door and eased it open. The pair stood in the hallway, expressions anxious. From down the hall she heard the yipping of Judy and Boo, the couple's Heinz 57 mini-mutts. "What in the world…you scared the life out of me."

"We heard you screa—"

"I heard you scream," Bill corrected. "I was on my way back in from—"

"He came and got me." Dalton held up a marble book-end, a miniature of Michelangelo's David. "I brought this. Just in case."

Anna brought a hand to her chest, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. She could picture fifty-something, mild-mannered Dalton winging a chunk of marble at an intruder. "Just in case of what? That my library needed tidying?"

Bill chuckled; Dalton looked irritated. He sniffed. "For protection, of course."

Against the intruder who would have made his escape by the time her friends had gathered their wits about them, selected a weapon and made their way to her door. Thank goodness she had never actually needed saving.

She bit back a laugh. "And I appreciate your concern." She swung the door wider. "Come on in, I'll make coffee to go with the beignets."

"Beignets?" Dalton repeated innocently. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Anna wagged a finger at him. "Nice try, but I smell them. Your punishment for coming to my aid is having to share."

New Orleans's version of a doughnut, beignets were fried squares of dough, liberally dusted with powdered sugar. Like everything New Orleans, they were both decadent and addictive.

And definitely not for those, like Dalton, who professed to be watching their weight.

"He made me do it," Dalton said as they stepped into the apartment. He looked accusingly at Bill. "You know I'd never suggest such indulgences at two in the morning."

"Right." Bill rolled his eyes. "And whose figure suggests a tendency toward.indulgences?"

The other man looked at Anna for support. Bill was ten years Dalton's junior, trim and athletic. "It's not fair. He eats everything and never gains weight. Me, I eat one little thing and—"

"One little thing? Hah! Ask him about the Fig Newtons and barbeque chips?"

"I was having a bad day. I needed a little pick-me-up. So sue me."

Anna linked her arms through her friends' and nudged them toward the kitchen, the adverse effects of her nightmare melting away. The two men never failed to make her laugh. Nor did it ever cease to amaze her that they were a couple. They reminded her of a peacock and a penguin. Bill was outspoken and often outrageous, Dalton a prim businessman whose meticulous manner tended toward fussiness. Yet as different as they were, they had been together for ten years.

"I don't care who's guilty of the idea," she said as they reached the kitchen. "I'm just grateful for it. A 2:00 a.m. beignet-binge is just what I needed."

Truth was, it was their friendship she was grateful for. She'd met the pair her second week in New Orleans. She had answered an ad for a job at a French Quarter florist shop. Although she hadn't had any experience, she'd always had a flair for arranging and had been in need of a job that would allow her the time—and en-ergy—to pursue her dream of being a novelist.

Dalton had turned out to be the owner of the shop; they had hit it off immediately. He had understood her dreams and applauded her for having the guts to pursue them. And unlike the other potential employers she had interviewed with, he had been comfortable with her need to think of her position at The Perfect Rose as a job, not a career.

Dalton had introduced her to Bill and the two men had taken her under their wing. They'd alerted her to an upcoming vacancy in the French Quarter apartment building they not only lived in, but that Dalton owned, and had given her recommendations for everything from dry cleaners to restaurants and hairstylists. As Anna had come to know them better, she had allowed them to take a real interest in her writing: it had been Bill and Dalton who had cheered her up after every rejection and Bill and Dalton who had cheered her on with each success.

She loved them both and would face the devil himself to keep them safe. They, she believed, would do the same for her.

The devil himself. Kurt.

As if reading her mind, Dalton turned to her, aghast. "Good Lord, Anna. We never even asked, are you all right?"

"I'm fine." Anna poured milk into a saucepan and set it on the stove to heat. She retrieved three mugs from a cabinet and a tray of frozen coffee cubes from the freezer. "It was just a bad dream."

Bill helped her out, dropping a cube of the frozen cold-brewed coffee concentrate into each mug. "Not another one? " He gave her a quick hug. "Poor Anna."

"It's those sick stories you write," Dalton offered, artfully arranging the beignets on a plate. "They're giving you nightmares."

"Sick stories? Thanks, Dalton."

"Dark, then," Dalton amended. "Twisted. Scary. Better?"

"Much, thank you." She poured the steaming milk into the mugs, then handed each man his café au lait.

They carried the pastries and coffee to her small, bistro-style table, sat and dug in. Dalton was right. Her novels—thrillers—had been described by reviewers with just such adjectives. Also by ones like compelling and gripping. If only she could sell enough copies to make a living writing them.

Nobody was holding her back but herself. That's what her agent said.

"Such a nice, normal-seeming lady." Bill lowered his voice to a horror-flick drawl. "Where do her stories come from? Experience? Extracurricular activities? What gothic horrors lurk behind her guileless green eyes?"

Anna pretended to laugh. Bill couldn't know how close to the truth his playful teasing had come. She had been witness to the darkest depths of the human spirit. She knew from firsthand experience the human animal's capacity for evil.

That knowledge stole her peace of mind and sometimes, like tonight, her sleep as well. It also fueled her imagination, pouring out of her in dark, twisted tales that pitted good against evil.

"Didn't you know?" she asked, keeping her tone light. "All my research is hands-on. So please, don't look in the trunk of my car, and be sure to lock your door at night." She lowered her voice. "If you know what's good for you."

For a split second, the men simply stared at her. Then they laughed. Dalton spoke first. "Very funny, Anna. Especially since that gay couple gets whacked in your new story idea."

"Speaking of," Bill murmured, brushing at the sprinkling of powdered sugar on the table in front of him, "have you heard anything on the new proposal yet?"

"Not yet, but it's only been a couple weeks. You know how slow publishing can be."

Bill snorted in disgust. He worked in advertising and public relations, most of the time he was going ninety-to-nothing, hair on fire. "They wouldn't last two minutes in my business. Crash and burn, big time."

Anna agreed, then yawned. She brought a hand to her mouth, yawning again.

Dalton glanced at his watch. "Good Lord, look at the time! I had no idea it was so—" He turned toward her, expression horrified. "Heavens, Anna! I forgot to tell you. You got another letter from your little fan. The one who lives across Lake Pontchartrain, in Mandeville. It came today to The Perfect Rose."

For a split second Anna didn't know who Dalton was referring to, then she remembered. A few weeks ago she'd received a fan letter from an eleven-year-old local girl named Minnie. It had come through Anna's agent, in a packet with several others.

Though Anna had been disturbed by the thought that her adult novels had been read by a child, she had been charmed by the letter. Anna had been reminded of the girl she had been before the kidnapping, one who had seen the world as a beautiful place filled with smiling faces.

Minnie had promised that if Anna wrote her back she would be her biggest fan forever. She had drawn hearts and daisies over the back of the envelope and printed the letters S.W.A.K.

Sealed with a kiss.

Anna had been so captivated, she had answered the letter personally.

Dalton dug the envelope out of the pocket of his sweat-suit jacket and held it out. Anna frowned. "You brought it with you? "

Bill rolled his eyes. "He grabbed it right after he selected David from his weapon collection. It was all I could do to stop him from baking muffins."

Dalton sniffed, expression hurt. "I was trying to help. Next time I won't."

"Don't you pay any attention to Bill," Anna murmured, taking the letter and sending Bill a warning glance. "You know what a tease he is. I appreciate you thinking of me."

Bill motioned to the envelope. Like the previous one, the girl had decorated it with hearts, daisies and a big S.W.A.K. "It came directly to The Perfect Rose, Anna. Not through your agent."

"Directly to The Perfect—" Anna realized her mistake and for a heartbeat of time, couldn't breathe. In her zeal to answer the child, she had forgotten caution. She had grabbed a piece of The Perfect Rose's stationery, dashed off a response and dropped it in the mail.

How could she have been so stupid? So careless?

"Open it," Bill urged. "You know you're curious."

She was curious. She loved to hear that a reader enjoyed one of her stories. It was satisfying in a way nothing else in her life was. But a part of her was repelled, too, by this physical connection to strangers, by the knowledge that through her work strangers had an opening into her head and heart.

Her work provided them a way into her life.

She eased the envelope open, slid out the letter and began to read. Bill and Dalton read with her, each peering over a shoulder.

Dear Miss North,

I was so excited when I received your letter! You're my very favorite author in the whole world—honest! My Kitty thinks you're the best, too. She's gold and white with blue eyes. She's my best friend. Our favorite foods are pizza and Chee-tos, but he doesn't let us have them very often. Once, I sneaked a bag and me and Tabitha ate the whole thing. My favorite group is the Backstreet Boys and when he lets me out, I watch Dawson's Creek.

I'm so glad you're going to be my friend. It gets lonely here sometimes. I felt bad though, about what you said about me being too young to read your books. I suppose you're right. And if you don't want me to read them, I won't. I promise. He doesn't know I read them anyway and would be very angry if he found out.

He frightens me sometimes.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 170 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 171 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2011

    rating it a2 might be too high

    The foreward explains tht reader requested the rerelease of this title. Why? It's formulaic. By page three, I had figured out a twist and by page 38, i know who the killer was and the 'twist' in the plot. Don't bother with this title.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2007

    Outstanding and Suspensful

    I absolutely LOVE Spindler and this novel was another awesome read. I have read nearly ALL of her books and this is definitely one of my absolute favorites. This was the first book to introduce the Malone clan and i love the romance that is blended into the book. I stayed up late reading this suspensful mystery. I love all of the twist and turns within the plot line and can't wait for her to write more books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2012

    very definitely a must read

    Loved it and cant wait until I read another of hers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Bone cold

    An absolute page turner

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bone Chilling!

    Winner of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award, BONE COLD is a delicious thriller set in pre-Katrina New Orleans. The opening scene is bone chilling. Thirteen year old Harlow Anastasia Grail and her six year-old friend Timmy have been kidnapped. Their maniacal kidnapper smothers Timmy and snaps off Harlow's pinkie. The teen manages to escape and has transformed into Anna North. She lives in the French Quarter and is a thriller novelist. But after 23 years the safe cocoon that she has spun begins to unravel around her. She receives a package, as do her family, friends, agent, editor, and a Psychologist whose specialty is childhood trauma to watch E! at 3 o'clock the next day. Anna is shocked. Her secret and whereabouts are made public. Her tormentor is still out there and now he knows where she is. Here I come! Anna awakens screaming Timmy's name. Her friends, Dalton and Bill, rush to her side. It is only the beginning. The next five days will be the most terrifying days Anna will experience. Could Kurt be toying with her as a cat does a mouse? She turns to Detective Quentin Malone when she receives a letter from a disturbed fan, but Malone is focused on the murder of a red-headed party girl that was found close to Shannon's - a cop bar.

    Over 500 pages, time flies reading this thriller. I felt I was back in the New Orleans I loved drinking café au lait and munching on beignets at Café De Monde looking over the square at the Cathedral rather than over my shoulder as Anna North must do if she is to survive. Erica Spindler spins a tale of absolute terror that is truly worthy of the du Maurier Award.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Mind Blowing

    Erica has done it again. Bone Cold gets your full attention from page one and keeps it until the end. The story line has you guessing but the end reveals a shocker so unexpecting.

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  • Posted August 5, 2011


    Read it while on my vacation and it had me sitting on the edge of my beach chair. I had to ask the Lord to forgive me because I was reading while my husband was saying Grace, I was so ashamed of myself. Great book, nailbiting intense!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    good story, distracting writing

    I got this as a reduced price book. Good thing. The story was interesting, but a bit "romance novel" predictable. Girl meets guy, connects, great sex, argue, split, make up etc. etc. etc. Also quite distracting how everyone "drew their eyebrows together", "tipped up their chin", "rubbed the heel of their hands into their eyes", "pulled air through their nose to calm themselves" and "cupped faces in palms" at least every chapter. I found myself more looking for those expressions than getting involved in the story.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Great read!

    This is the first mystery and suspense novel, and the first by erica spindler, i have read. I found it intriguing and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldnt put it down. I have read this book numerous times and i still am hooked in the story every time

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    A haunting past

    A great thriller to leave you with chills. Twenty-three years ago, Anna North was kidnapped and had her pinkie severed, then vanished. Now, years later, she's a best-selling author of thrillers in Louisiana under a new name. Her nightmare returned with a vengeance. Someone's been following her, her home broken to, and a close friend disappears She's been receiving disturbing fan mail letters. She requires the help of the NOPD, when Quentin Malone is on the scene, when he discovers two red-haired woman are murdered and have severed pinkies, just like Anna. That chills her to the bone. And now, she has to discover the truth of the past, before she's next.

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    I enjoyed it

    I guess I am thick, I didnt know who the real bad guy was. Entertaining story, and my first from this author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011


    I jumped the gun and ordered this book thinking it was a new release. It's a RE-release of one of her older books. I love all her work but I already read it. Still a good read. Been a while since i read it but the details are coming back to me. Can't return it so I'll "Lend" it to someone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    unpredictable and now my favorite book!

    this book was so good! i had absolutely no idea of the ending! a fantastic read, i definitely recommend it.

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  • Posted January 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Bone Cold - Hot Story

    I am continually searching for new authors and picked this up without knowing anything about it. Great story line and thrilling to the end. Keeps you guessing... Will pick up another book by Spindler soon.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    i loved it

    i couldnt put it down it kept me guessing unil the very end

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    Great book!

    I could not put it down. Keeps you guessing all the way through the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    Thoroughly Enjoyed It!

    I have never read one of Spindler's books but I found this book to be thoroughly entertaining. My one complaint is that I found the ending a little...predictable about halfway through it. BUT still enjoyed all of it!

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  • Posted December 31, 2010

    Keeps you thinking

    This was a good book! Every chapter kept you thinking what was going to happen next.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    False Advertising

    Before I download a ebook I always look at the copyright date; I'm an avid reader for years and often I cant tell if I've read a book until I am a few pages in.
    This copyright says December 2010 as the published date, but the author states it was originally published in 2001 and is being released again. I would not have bought the book if I had known that

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Will Leave You Breathless!!!

    Erica Spindler writes hair raising chillers like nobody's business! Bone Cold was my first Spindler novel & the rest is history.

    I am the first in line to get the latest Spindler novel ~ I am so hooked on Spindler's creepy thrillers, I pre~order her books.

    Psst! I even secretly hope it ships early (as long as it doesn't mess up her sales).

    Bone Cold is an outstanding page turner that will leave you breathless!

    Spindler interlaces so many gripping twists & turns you will find yourself reading deep into the night ~ just triple check the locks.

    What Spindler does flawlessly is plait the pieces together to create a high octane suspense novel that makes sense. No filler to distract you, Spindler delivers incomparable attention grabbing chills that will leave you craving more.

    Bone Cold introduces the intriguing Malone family & kicks off w/ the delicious Quentin. *Sigh*.

    Bone Cold is a compelling novel that chilled me to the bone. Spindler distributes a fast paced, explosive, action infused, creepy read that is an outstanding standout!

    Spindler's characters are an eclectic blend of charm, humor, intrigue, warmth & straight up deranged you just can't stop yourself from wanting to know what exactly makes them tick.

    Spindler doesn't just toss a few procedural terms @ you for the sake of "sounding" good, she really does an extensive amount of research & it is skillfully showcased in her writing.

    Spindler is also proficient when it comes to executing credible details.

    Kudos to Spindler for always making me become part of the story everytime I read one of her captivating novels.

    I just couldn't put Bone Cold down, infact, I inhaled it in one sitting. Spindler's novels are addictive, compelling & highly recommended when you want a spellbinding tale that will curl your toes.

    Bone Cold is an addictive read & definitely one for your keeper shelves!

    Hurry! Grab a copy of Bone Cold!

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