A Dark and Lonely Placeby Edna Buchanan
A Dark and Lonely Place poses the question: can we change our destiny, or must our lives always end the same way? In Miami, Police Detective Sgt. John Ashley hunts a woman linked to a murdered millionaire and finds she is the girl who's haunted his dreams since childhood. A century ago on America's southern frontier, John Ashley's ancestor was wrongly accused
A Dark and Lonely Place poses the question: can we change our destiny, or must our lives always end the same way? In Miami, Police Detective Sgt. John Ashley hunts a woman linked to a murdered millionaire and finds she is the girl who's haunted his dreams since childhood. A century ago on America's southern frontier, John Ashley's ancestor was wrongly accused of murder and goes on the run with his sweetheart. The lovers became the most colorful, compelling, and heartbreaking figures in Florida's violent outlaw history. Can the present-day couple break the tragic cycle imprinted on their DNA? The two stories entwine in this compelling, suspenseful tale of past and present renegade lovers.
"Edna Buchanan's A Dark and Lonely Place is an action-packed South Florida love story that blends fact and fiction, past and present, and ultimately transcends time." - Sherryl Woods, bestselling author of An O'Brien Family Christmas
- Dreamscape Media
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.75(w) x 4.75(h) x 0.35(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
1904, WEST FLORIDA, NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER
Joe Ashley came home late, grim and smelling of whiskey. He woke his wife, Leugenia, and their nine children and told them to quickly pack up whatever they wanted to keep because they had to leave at once and would not be back.
“Was there gunplay?” his wife asked. Her eyes fearful in the lamplight, her voice trembled. “Is anybody dead?”
“No, but a man was shot. He’ll live, but if we don’t leave now, somebody will die.”
She began to pack her best linens in a wooden chest.
The children, still half-asleep and in their nightclothes, began to gather their belongings, except for John, who was sixteen.
“Where are we going?” he asked his father.
“Get your things together, now, son.”
John dressed quickly, carried his guitar and his banjo out onto the front porch, left them on the steps, and broke into a dead run down the dusty road. The dust, white in the moonlight, looked like silk.
His father stepped out and glared after him.
“It’s that girl,” he said bitterly, then moved to go after the boy.
His wife placed her small, worn hand on his forearm and raised her eyes to his. “He just wants to say goodbye, Joe,” she said softly. “You remember how it was.”
He nodded gruffly and caught her in his long arms.
“I got to get busy,” she said after a moment, and gently extricated herself.
“You can’t bring that sideboard,” he said hoarsely, as she turned away. “It’s too big.”
It had belonged to her grandmother.
“We can fit it in the wagon, Joe. Bobby and two of the girls can ride up front with us.”
He nodded and went to harness up the team.
Laura lived a mile and a half away. John arrived breathless, his lungs bursting. The place was dark. He stood beneath her window and whistled three times like a mourning dove, a signal they sometimes used. When there was no response, he found a feed bucket, carried it to her window, stood on it, and scratched the screen three times.
He heard her whisper in the dark. “John?”
“It’s me, Laura . . .”
She was suddenly there, a swift shadow in the dark. He couldn’t make out her face or what she wore but recognized her sweet scent, orange blossoms and roses. At that moment a mockingbird burst into a soaring, full-throated, heartbreaking song in the night. John knew he would never forget the sound or that moment.
“John, what are you—”
The front door burst open with a crash as though kicked by a mule. Laura’s stepfather loped barefoot across the creaky porch in his long johns, brandishing his breech-loading, double-barreled shotgun.
“I got you now, boy!” he shouted. “Freeze right there! Caught you dead to rights climbing into my little girl’s bedroom!”
John stood his ground, heart pounding. He felt no fear. He could die now, he thought, with no regret, outside her window.
“No, sir,” he said boldly. “I did not try to climb into your daughter’s room. I would never do that. I just tried to get her attention, to tell her something important.”
Laura’s mother, in nightclothes and a hairnet, materialized like an apparition on the porch. Laura’s brother, Dewitt, trailed after her. “Mama, what’s happening?”
“Hush, boy!” she told him. “Git yourself back to bed, right now.”
“What could you have to tell our Laura at this time of the night?” her stepfather asked, then racked one into the chamber.
“Daddy,” Laura cried. “Stop! Don’t do anything! Please!”
John turned to her. “Don’t worry, Laura,” he said softly. “We’re leaving tonight. I came to say goodbye. You are my girl, aren’t you?”
“Goodbye? When are you coming back, John?”
He shrugged. “Don’t know, Laura. But I will, I promise. Remember that. I’ll be back!” Out the corner of his eye he saw her stepfather advance.
“Get down from there, you son of a bitch, now!”
“Are you my girl?”
“Sorry, darlin’,” he said. It was the first time he had called her that. He liked the sound of it as he stepped off the feed bucket.
“Git your skinny ass outta here. Now!”
“You’re damn lucky, boy. Last time I came this close to shooting somebody, I did it! Kilt me a Yankee. Git outta here now, afore I shoot you too!”
John stole a fleeting glance at her window then left the way he came. When he arrived home, heartsick and out of breath, the house was empty, his family gone. He and their dog, a bluetick hound that emerged from the woods behind the house, followed the wagon’s tracks for two miles before they caught up with it. His father reached down and with a strong arm lifted both the boy and the dog into the wagon. His mother hugged his neck. “We worried about you, son.”
“No need, Mama. We’re together. Everything’s all right.” To cry in front of his mother would not be a manly thing to do.
Clouds drifted across the moon’s face, darkening the trail ahead. Joe Ashley constantly searched the shadowy road behind them, to see if anyone was following.
John regretted all the things he didn’t say to Laura. Too late now. With a ragged sigh he wrapped his arm around his little brother Bobby who was sitting up, sound asleep.
Is she asleep too? John wondered. Or awake and thinking of me? He knew he’d see her again. But how? And when?
© 2011 Edna Buchanan
Meet the Author
Edna Buchanan worked The Miami Herald police beat for eighteen years, during which she won scores of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for Career Achievement in Journalism. Edna attracted international acclaim for her classic true-crime memoirs, The Corpse Has a Familiar Face and Never Let Them See You Cry. Her first novel of suspense, Nobody Lives Forever, was nominated for an Edgar Award.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I really enjoyed it, a very different story and interesting characters. The only change I would make is, make the transitions between times more clear, it was sometimes confusing due to the same names and places.
In 1904 West Florida, Joe Ashley comes home late informing his wife Leugenia that they and their nine kids must leave immediately as a man was shot and he will be accused. His son John grabs his guitar and banjo before running to see his girlfriend Laura Upthegrove to say goodbye for now. However, John is falsely accused of murder and with Laura at his side flees with much of the state's law enforcement in pursuit. In 2011 Miami Beach, homicide detective John Ashley leads the investigation into the high profile murder of politically connected Indian lawyer Ron Jon Eagle. However, he is stunned when he notices a model Summer Smith at a photo shoot who looks identical to the woman who has haunted his dreams for years; though he has never mentioned his fantasy female to his fiancé cop Tracy Dominguez. He also believes she sort of recognized him too by her reaction. John catches up with his model, but soon is accused of murder and forced on the lam with Laura (Summer's real name) at his side while many of the state's law enforcement pursue. This is an exhilarating thriller as the premise to A Dark and Lonely Place is history repeats the ugly scenarios because humanity fails to truly understand the lessons instead preferring to forget. The two subplots are fascinating with the historical segue based on a real Sunshine State Bonnie and Clyde. Although at times the contemporary plot seems stretched to make it appear identical to what happened to the first John and Laura, readers will enjoy Edna Buchanan's taut thriller. Harriet Klausner
This read like a 5th grade novel. Very predictable. Wooden characters so much in love......please....i just could not buy into the plot. If city police are that corrupt/stupid, we're doomed. Does not make me want to read any further fantasy by this author.
I did not enjoy this book as much as most that I read. I don't believe I would try another of her books again.
buying a half read archived when the blurb said nothing at all again hope for actual page text length genre combos date first published and ratings as to age violence sex language or sybjects that would offend the more sensitive reader like darn silly plots