A House Divided [NOOK Book]

Overview

Keith Lafleur, Louisiana's largest and greediest building contractor, thinks he's cut the deal of a lifetime. The huge old, two-story, clapboard house is his for the taking as long as he can move it to a new location. It's too big to move as it is, but Lafleur's solution is simple: divide it in half. He has no idea, though, that by splitting the house he'll be dividing a family---one long dead.

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A House Divided

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Overview

Keith Lafleur, Louisiana's largest and greediest building contractor, thinks he's cut the deal of a lifetime. The huge old, two-story, clapboard house is his for the taking as long as he can move it to a new location. It's too big to move as it is, but Lafleur's solution is simple: divide it in half. He has no idea, though, that by splitting the house he'll be dividing a family---one long dead.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Equal parts Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rice, and Stephen King -- with a generous helping of jambalaya and crawfish pie -- Louisiana-born-and-bred horror maven Deborah LeBlanc's A House Divided is a supernatural thriller about a greedy building contractor who, after dividing and moving an old house, stirs up spirits better left undisturbed.

When Keith Lafleur discovers that he can obtain a majestic old farmhouse for free -- all he has to do is move it -- he jumps at the opportunity. But the spot where he wants to place it is too small, so he splits the house in half and creates two separate buildings. After renovations, one house is rented by friends Laura Toups and Tawana Batiste, who open a salon on the first floor and live above the shop with Tawana's mentally challenged cousin, Moweez. Matt Daigle rents the second structure, turning the ground floor into a café and living upstairs with his eight-year old son, Seth. But when unexplainable calamities start occurring -- Lafleur becomes afflicted with necrotic lesions, Seth is tormented by children's voices, Moweez begins drawing horrific premonitions, etc. -- the inhabitants of the house divided must get to the bottom of the ghostly mystery before it's too late…

With just three novels under her belt (Family Inheritance, Grave Intent, and A House Divided), LeBlanc has already amassed a huge cult following. This can be attributed not only to her ultra-smooth and richly descriptive writing style but also to her unique blend of sardonic wit and Lovecraftian nightmare. Her stories are not only frightening, they're great fun in a macabre sort of way. In A House Divided, for example, she portrays Lafleur not only as a repulsive villain but also as a kind of comedic cautionary example. Gruesome, creepy and chock-full of jaw-dropping plot twists, this novel is, above all else, wildly entertaining. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
A two-story clapboard house-split and turned into separate structures by greedy Louisiana contractor Keith Lafleur-stands at the center of this creepy Southern ghost story. One side houses Laura Toups, her sassy African-American friend Tawana Batiste, Tawana's mentally challenged cousin and their salon, the Beauty Box. Matt Daigle and his young son live on the other side, above the diner Matt runs. A series of haunting events-including bumps in the night, hundreds of dead birds on the lawn and a yard-spanning spider web-lead the residents to uncover the house's secret history and Lafleur to murderous insanity. LeBlanc (Grave Intent) uses the haunted house plot to underscore the virtues of the two nontraditional families, giving her campfire story depth, and rounds out the enterprise with convincing dialogue and cinematic snapshots of Southern life. Though she leaves some loose ends, opting out with a well-placed "[t]here was a lot no one would ever know for sure," her emphasis on characters and their relationships make this an affecting spook story. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
D Simms
It’s now official; Deborah LeBlanc has become a master not only of good spooky ghost stories, but at crafting great characters to fill them---The Cajun Creep-Out Queen has struck again!
M West
A House Divided is a solid haunted house thriller that grips readers from the first moment . . . The haunting action-packed story line never slows down . . .
W D
A House Divided is a solid haunted house thriller that grips readers from the first moment . . . The haunting action-packed story line never slows down . . .
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940011163395
  • Publisher: Deborah LeBlanc
  • Publication date: 11/18/2010
  • Sold by: Smashwords
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 162,448
  • File size: 657 KB

Meet the Author

Award-winning and best-selling author, Deborah LeBlanc, is a business owner, a licensed death scene investigator, and has been an active paranormal investigator for over fifteen years. She served four years as president of the Horror Writers Association, eight years as president of the Writers Guild of Acadiana, and is the current Mystery Writers of America Southwest Chapter president. Deborah is also the founder of the LeBlanc Literacy Challenge, an annual, national campaign designed to encourage more people to read and Literacy Inc., a non-profit organization with a mission to fight illiteracy in America's teens.


For more information, visit deborahleblanc.com and literacyinc.com


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Read an Excerpt



A House Divided



By Deborah LeBlanc


Dorchester Publishing


Copyright © 2006

Deborah LeBlanc

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8439-5730-1



Chapter One


The blood didn't bother him.

The screaming did. That shrill, mortified cry, almost human in
nature, pained him like sugar melting into a rotted tooth.

Grimacing, Keith Lafleur scraped the sole of his right work
boot against the lip of the porch, and what remained of the
field mouse plopped to the ground. He hadn't meant to kill it,
but the damn rodent had startled him by darting out from under
one of the hay bales stacked on the porch.

After toeing loose straw over the small fan of blood and mouse
innards, Keith checked his watch, then leaned against one of
the six columns that supported the roof. Overall, the outside
of the house was in better shape than he had expected. It was
just ugly as hell. The paint coating the two stories of
cypress siding was severely chipped and had faded to a pale
pink. One small dormer sat in the center of a fifty-five foot,
gabled roof. It looked like a misplaced doghouse. Throw in the
twisted, wrought iron railings that fronted the upstairs
balcony, and you had the architectural malaise of New Orleans
French Quarter meets Rural Plantation meets Conventional
Nightmare.

Keith let out an impatient sigh and watched the hefty flow of
traffic moving along the two-lane highway in front of the
house. Across the highway sat a neighborhood,its houses an
eclectic mix of clapboards and bricks, old and new, so typical
of a growing, south Louisiana farm town. In the yard directly
ahead, an elderly woman with wispy white hair and a large,
prominently hooked nose worked a small garden. Every few
seconds, Keith saw her throw a glance his way. He was
considering flipping the old broad the finger so she'd take
her curiosity elsewhere when a car pulled into the graveled
driveway and parked behind his pickup.

"About damn time," Keith muttered, and stepped off the porch.

A woman got out of the car and hurried over to Keith with one
hand extended. "Mr. Lafleur?"

Keith nodded, suddenly too smitten to speak. He'd been
expecting Ed Bailey, the short, balding acquisitions manager
for Costless Drugs, and here he was staring into the eyes of a
goddess instead. The woman couldn't have been older than
thirty, with short, tousled blond hair and eyes the color of
toasted wheat. A taupe-colored suit hugged the curves of her
slender body perfectly.

"I'm Patricia Egan, Mr. Bailey's assistant," she said, her
words ensconced in a sweet Mississippi drawl. "Unfortunately,
something came up at the home office in Jackson, and Mr.
Bailey wasn't able to get away. He sent me here with the
paperwork instead. I hope you don't mind."

Mind? Hell, if anything Keith figured he should send the man a
bottle of Scotch in appreciation. "Not at all," he said, and
reluctantly let go of her hand.

"And I do apologize for being late," Patricia said. "My flight
got into Lafayette on schedule, but I had one heck of a time
finding Crowley, especially this address." A blush painted her
cheeks. "I'm afraid I've always been a bit directionally
challenged."

Keith didn't know if the helpless Southern belle tone in her
voice was an act or the real deal. Either way it was working
its charm all the way down to his groin.

"If you'd like, when we're done here, I can lead you back to
the airport." He nodded toward his pickup. "All you'd have to
do is follow that truck."

Patricia flashed him a smile, and her eyes took on a
mischievous sparkle. "Thank you, but I'm afraid I don't fly
out until early tomorrow morning. I'm staying in Lafayette
tonight-a hotel right next to the airport."

Keith held back a groan. Could it get more perfect? "Then I'll
lead you back to the hotel."

She tilted her head as though sizing him up, the smile never
leaving her face. "I'd appreciate that."

Keith barely heard her. His attention had locked on her full,
coral-shaded lips. He wondered what they would feel like
pressed against his, what they would look like moaning his
name. His imagination was about to carry her lips below his
belt when another vehicle pulled onto the property. A white
pickup truck with LAFLEUR CONSTRUCTION INC. signs on the
doors.

"Shit," Keith muttered under his breath. Of all the rotten
timing.

"One of your men?" Patricia asked.

"My lead foreman, Jeff Mabry," Keith said as he watched the
man's long-legged stride quickly close the distance between
his truck and the goddess.

"Sorry I'm late," Jeff said when he reached them. He held out
a hand to Patricia. "Ma'am."

Keith gave a quick round of introductions, then suggested they
examine the inside of the house before they lost anymore
sunlight. Being it was three on an October afternoon, he
hadn't actually lied. Dusk normally fell around five. But the
truth really didn't have anything to do with lost sunlight.
Keith didn't want Jeff touching Patricia, not even in a
handshake. She was his prize, his newly found goddess, and he
wanted to keep it that way-at least through tonight anyway.

Agreeing that they should get to the inspection, Patricia
pulled a key out of her skirt pocket and led the way to the
house.

"Now, Mr. Lafleur, Mr. Bailey did tell you that Costless is on
a tight construction schedule and will need the house moved by
the end of next week, right?"

"Yes, he did," Keith said, moving past Jeff so he could walk
beside her. A breeze carried her scent toward him, and he
inhaled deeply. She smelled like a magnolia tree in full
bloom.

Jeff climbed onto the porch. "Only one week to move this
thing? No way that's gonna happen. This house has gotta be
what-forty-three, forty-four hundred square feet under roof?
It's going to take us a week just to get the permits."

Keith threw him a scowl. "I've already taken care of the
permits."

Jeff frowned and looked like he was about to say something
else, then thought better of it.

"Here we go," Patricia said, as she stuck the key into the
lock. She turned it right, then left, then right again. "I
wonder if the lock's rusted."

Keith moved closer, placing a hand over hers. The touch of her
skin sent an electrical shock throughout his body. It took a
second or two for words to form in his brain. "Let me try. The
door looks like it's off center."

Patricia's cheeks turned the color of overripe peaches, and
she slowly moved her hand out from under his.

Hoping his erection wasn't too noticeable, at least to Jeff,
Keith grabbed the doorknob, pulled up hard, then turned the
key in the lock. It opened on the first try. He pushed the
door open and stepped inside.

"Whew," Patricia said, fanning a hand in front of her face.
"Mr. Bailey warned me the house was in bad shape, but I didn't
expect it to be this bad."

Keith walked past the foyer. Hay was stacked three bales high
in the living room and dining room, and he spotted a pile of
dried cow dung near an archway. The oak plank floors had more
scratches than an abused roller rink, and it was littered with
chicken droppings. Most of the wallpaper had been stripped
from the walls, and what little remained had faded so badly,
Keith couldn't make out the original color. "Looks like
someone's been using it for a barn."

"My word!" Patricia cupped a hand over her nose and mouth. "If
you don't mind, Mr. Lafleur, I'll wait for you outside. The
smell in here is a bit much for me."

"No problem," Keith said, hating to see her leave his side.
"We shouldn't be long."

Patricia waved a hand over her head as she made a quick exit.
"Take your time."

No sooner had she made it down the steps than Jeff pointed a
finger at Keith. "You wanna tell me what's going on here?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Keith said. "And get
your goddamn finger out of my face."

"I saw you all up in that woman's space."

"Yeah, so?"

Jeff's eyes narrowed. "What about Barbara? Remember her? Your
wife-my sister?"

"Hey, it's not like I was banging the woman or anything."

"No, but you want to. Don't think I didn't notice that little
touchy feely game you were playing with her by the door. I
swear, man, if you hurt my sister again-"

"Back off." Keith pushed past him. "I was only looking, and
I'm not hurting any-goddamn-body by looking."

Keith stormed off toward what he assumed would be the kitchen,
then came to an abrupt halt just inside the entrance. "Whoa!"

Jeff appeared beside him. "What?"

"Gas, man, can't you smell it?"

Jeff gave a tentative sniff. "I don't smell anything."

Keith coughed, his lungs beginning to burn as they filled with
fumes. He held a hand over his nose and mouth. "Your sinuses
have got to be packed with shit if you can't smell it. We've
got to get out of here, out to the truck, call utilities."

Jeff shot him a perplexed look, then went into the kitchen and
circled the worn checkerboard tiled floor. "Man, they don't
even have a stove in here, and the gas lines are capped with
like two inches of dust on them." He pointed to a four-foot
nook cut out of the counter space near the front of the room.
"Check it out for yourself."

Feeling light-headed and a bit nauseous, Keith went over to
the nook and examined the gas lines. They were capped, just as
Jeff said. Scanning the room for another possible leak source,
Keith spotted a wall heater near the walk-in pantry, one
identical to the heaters he'd seen in the other rooms. He
walked over to it, ran a finger through the layer of dust
coating the grill, then leaned in and sniffed. No gas. Keith
frowned and sniffed again. Not only was there no gas leaking
from the heater, he no longer smelled gas period.

"Well?" Jeff asked.

"Nothing. It's gone now."

Jeff let out a harrumph that clearly said, "I told you so."

"Shut the hell up," Keith said, irritated and still feeling
nauseous.

"I didn't say anything."

"Then get that shit-eating grin off your face." Keith headed
out of the room. "And get your thumb out your ass and help me
check upstairs."

"Why are you bothering with this dump anyway?" Jeff asked,
trailing behind him.

"'Cause it's free, that's why."

"Nothing's ever free. It's gonna cost you a ton just to move
this monster from Crowley to Windham. That's forty damn miles.
You're talking police escorts, runners, utility crews to
manage power and telephone lines, and that's not even touching
what it'll cost you to renovate the place. Besides, where are
you going to put it?"

"First Street." Keith squinted against a headache forming
between his eyes. The clomping of their boots on the hardwood
floors sent a hollow echo throughout the house, which pained
his ears. He felt pressure building behind his eardrums as if
he were gaining altitude.

"Where on First?" Jeff asked, coming to a stop at the
stairway. "All you've got are two, one hundred foot lots, and
they're not even next to each other. This house won't fit on
one lot."

"It'll fit if I cut the house in half." Keith signaled for
Jeff to keep moving.

"But you'll cut into the load bearing walls if you do that,"
Jeff said. "It'll collapse."

"Not if we put temporary stud walls up to replace them-will
you just get the hell upstairs already?"

Jeff glanced up the flight of narrow stairs. "Man, look at the
friggin' spider webs up there."

Keith peered around him. Silvery threads ran in thick
circular, crisscrossing swatches from the middle of the
stairway all the way up to the darkened landing. "So? Just
knock them down on your way up."

"You knock them down on the way up," Jeff said, stepping back.

"Quit being a pussy."

"Hey, there could be brown recluses hiding up there. One bite
from those bad boys and you wind up with some flesh-eating
disease. No thanks. You can call me a pussy, but you can't
call me stupid."

"Aw, just get the hell outta the way," Keith said, and headed
up the stairs. When he hit the second step, the pressure in
his ears intensified. He gritted his teeth, grabbed the
banister for balance, and forced himself forward.

Swatting cobwebs out of the way, Keith kept one eye peeled for
creepy crawlers and the other on his footing. Halfway up the
staircase, the pain in his ears became so severe he thought he
might vomit at any moment. He glanced over his shoulder and
saw Jeff on his heels. Judging from his wide-eyed expression,
the only thing bothering the guy was his fear of spiders.

When Keith finally reached the landing, he was drenched in
sweat. He motioned to Jeff with a shaky hand. "Go check out
the rooms down that end of the hall. I'll get the ones back
here."

"What am I looking for?"

"Offsets, stuff like that. Anything we might have to sure up
for the move."

"Yeah, all right, but let's make this quick," Jeff said,
heading off at a brisk pace. "I can barely see up here it's so
dark."

When Jeff hooked a left into one of the bedrooms, Keith leaned
against a wall to catch his breath. He thought about Patricia
Egan waiting for him outside and tried to will himself into
feeling better. No way did he want to miss out on that
golden-haired opportunity. But even imagining Patricia's
slender legs wrapped around his waist didn't take his mind off
the pain. If anything, it made it worse.

With a groan, Keith pushed away from the wall and trudged down
the south end of the hall. Jeff had been right. It was darker
up here. A heavier dark, like a thunderhead had parked itself
right over the house. He did a quick survey of the bathroom
and two bedrooms, noting the gray soot that coated most of
windows and walls. The soot appeared thicker in the last room,
which was trimmed in Mother Goose wallpaper. He ran a finger
along the doorjamb of a closet, and it came away black.

As he studied the soot, rubbing it between thumb and finger,
Keith felt a whisper of movement across the back of his neck.
Jeff's rant about brown recluse spiders flashed in his mind,
and Keith slapped a hand over the spot, imagining the worse.
When he checked his hand for blood, all he saw was more soot.
Much more than had been on his thumb only a moment ago.

Keith backed out of the room, wiping his hand across the seat
of his Dockers. Before he made it into the hallway, a tickling
sensation ran across his left cheek. He frantically brushed at
it, fully expecting to see a fat arachnid flung to the floor.

Nothing fell from his cheek.

Nearly panting now, Keith stumbled out of the room, the pain
in his ears unbearable. He saw Jeff walking toward him from the
other end of the hall. His mouth was moving, his hands
animated, but all Keith heard was a muffled sound, like so
many words spoken under water. He raised his hands to cup them
over his ears, hoping it would relieve some of the pressure,
and noticed that soot covered both his palms.

Jeff's gestures grew frantic, his muffled words now one
continuous hum. He jabbed an insistent finger in the air,
pointing at something overhead.

"What?" Keith called, then cried out when the sound of his own
voice seemed to split his eardrum.

More pointing, pointing, stabbing at something overhead-above
him, above his head.

Ignoring the soot and pressing his palms to his ears, Keith
looked up toward the shadowed ceiling, where Jeff indicated.
In the same moment his eye caught movement, Keith felt
something fat and solid drop onto his forehead.

The sting came so hot and fast, it rendered him immobile. The
pain in his ears vanished. In fact, Keith felt nothing at
all-save for the wire thin legs that fluttered against his
right eye.

(Continues...)





Excerpted from A House Divided
by Deborah LeBlanc
Copyright © 2006 by Deborah LeBlanc.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    One house that will never be a home again,

    This was my first time reading Deborah LeBlanc but it certainly won't be my last. It's so refreshing to find a writer who makes all the hard work that goes into writing seem so effortless. Everything in this novel flows of the pages and can really be read in one day if one has time. When I read that as a kid Deborah wanted to read every book in her local library I knew I would like her and I was right. She's a writer who loves to read and that shows in her work. <BR/><BR/>The story itself is very original and convincing, with the hazy, warm bayou atmosphere and authentic accents written in. Deborah created a world that lured me in, made me care about each character and then made me fear for them when I remembered that this in deed is a horror book. Things start of enigmatic enough in late sixties when a whole family perishes under someone's hands in a grand house, located in Windham, Louisiana. Fast forward to the future and the house is suddenly no longer empty, but divided in half for the move into new location by Keith Lafleur, a greedy building contractor. What he doesn't know is the ways this one job will change him and the town forever. New people move into each half, single father with a young son, Matt and Seth open a café while across the yard Laura, Tawana and Angelica run a beauty shop in the other renovated half. Things go smoothly until one day something happens and their lives are turned upside down. Dead birds appear on their front yards, huge spider web with a sneaky spider biting and infecting people appears and then someone changes into a monster. I read mesmerized at what would happen next and enjoyed the creepy house tale about different people that were somehow connected through the old split up house. The past was directing the future and it was up to those who were brave and who had big hearts to save everyone from madness that swept the whole town. <BR/><BR/>Very enjoyable and quick read, great for Indian summer nights with a snack in one hand and book in the other and I agree with some reviewers that there were jokes and scares written in so well that it made for a great combo. Little comic relief here and there is not a bad thing. <BR/><BR/>- Kasia S.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    solid haunted house thriller

    In Crowly, Louisiana, avaricious building contractor Keith LaFleur and assistant acquisitions manager for Costless Drugs Patricia Egan meet to discuss moving a vast building. Keith explains to his brother-in-law and lead foreman Jeff Mabry who soon arrives that to accomplish the request in a week they will need to cut the building in half, move it in two parts, and then put back together. Keith and Jeff enter the edifice, but the contractor smells gas which his foreman does not. Next Keith feels something crawling on him, but nothing is there until something bites him. Other incidents follow. --- Once the house is divided, Laura Toups opens a beauty salon near Matt Daigle¿s Tin Cup establishment. They are attracted to one another and she likes his preadolescent son. However they will soon be caught up with the inexplicable events of the LaFleur project that become a little more dangerous with each ensuing episode. Unbeknownst to them, is the Devillier family tragedies. Meanwhile Keith, acting increasingly bizarre, dismisses claims that Morgan, the ghostly mother, is trying to prevent her building from being split as no one will separate her from her children even as a more mundane culprit is also at work. --- A HOUSE DIVIDED is a solid haunted house thriller that grips readers from the first moment that Keith sniffs gas and Jeff standing next to him does not. The haunting action-packed story line never slows down from that initial occurrence as it plays out on two complex levels. Though Keith displays no redeeming qualities, fans will enjoy this tense thriller because readers will empathize with most of the key cast members including Morgan. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Great read.

    This was my second book by Le Blanc. She has become one of my fave authors now. Currently reading Morbid Curiosity. Grave Intent was first. All of them kept me flipping pages. I intend to read all of her books. Great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Glad I found this author

    Long review short.......great read. Fun, interesting and smart. I am glad I have four more of her books to read. You should too!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Good fast read

    Quick read and entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Suspense just doesn't slow down.

    The gruesome effects of messing with someone else's home are really chilling. Can't imagine the goo. Then there's the little love attraction. Not bad and not interrupting the story line. But...hold your breath it isn't over yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    ridiculousky Incredibly entertaining!

    Thid

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Surprisingly good

    I expected to be let down, as I so often am, but not this time. It wasn't scary but that didn't bother me because it was interesting. About 550 pages long, mild violence a little swearing and a slight supernatural element. It hints at romance but doesn't make you sit through it. I enjoyed it and think you will too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Disappointing!!

    Not worth the time it takes to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    one of the best books I have read in a very long time. It kept y

    one of the best books I have read in a very long time. It kept your interest all throughout the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

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    Posted February 3, 2013

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    Posted November 11, 2009

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