Like a Charm: A Novel in Voicesby Karin Slaughter, Peter Robinson, Denise Mina, Mark Billingham, John Connolly
New York Times bestselling authors including Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Peter Robinson, Laura Lippman, John Connolly, and others, combine their talents to deliver a brilliant tour-de-force in this clever suspense novel that revolves around one object—a charm bracelet—and the harrowing circumstances that plague the unlucky people who come into/em>
New York Times bestselling authors including Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Peter Robinson, Laura Lippman, John Connolly, and others, combine their talents to deliver a brilliant tour-de-force in this clever suspense novel that revolves around one object—a charm bracelet—and the harrowing circumstances that plague the unlucky people who come into contact with it.
Linked by a glittering charm bracelet that brings misfortune to everyone who handles it, Like a Charm is a novel in sixteen chilling parts written by the cream of US and UK crime writers. From nineteenth-century Georgia, where the bracelet is forged in fire, to wartime Leeds, a steam train across Europe, the violent backstreets of 1980s Scotland, present-day London, a Manhattan taxi, the Mojave Desert and back to Georgia, each writer weaves a gripping story of murder, betrayal and intrigue.
A must-have collection for fans of suspense fiction, Like a Charm is a mesmerizing, masterful story that makes for compulsive, just-one-more-chapter reading.
One of the most distinctive suspense releases to come along in years, Like a Charm -- about an accursed bracelet and its many ill-fated owners -- is both a collaborative novel and an anthology that includes stories by some of the biggest names in the crime fiction and mystery genres: Laura Lippman, Mark Billingham, Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, and Peter Robinson, to name a few.
The bracelet's journey begins in the North American wilderness during the 19th century. In Slaughter's "Rootbound," a trapper meets an Indian seductress whose primeval magnetism and mesmerizing gold bracelet lead him to the heights of ecstasy -- and to his ultimate doom. After traveling down the Mississippi and across the Atlantic, an emotionally unstable woman working at a veterinary clinic receives the bracelet as a present from her employer in Lynda La Plante's "The Goblin." But the most harmless of intentions are misunderstood and someone ends up being euthanized. Billingham's "Stroke of Luck" pits a cheating wife and her lover, a neurologist named Alan, against her abusive husband. At a late night rendezvous where Alan is preparing to give his lover an old charm bracelet his late mother once owned, the enraged husband shows up -- but so does a homicidal stalker.
This exceptional and riveting work -- a blend of suspense, mystery, and horror -- is noteworthy not only for its array of exceptional short stories but also for how all those stories, like trinkets on a charm bracelet, link up to create a much larger narrative. Mystery and suspense fans looking for something out of the ordinary should definitely check out this highly unusual -- and highly entertaining -- collaborative work. Paul Goat Allen
The Washington Post
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Read an Excerpt
Like a CharmA Novel in Voices
By Slaughter, Karin
William Morrow & CompanyISBN: 0060583304
Blood Mountain, Georgia, 1803
Macon Orme was so hungry when he found the squirrel caught in the snare trap that he ate it with his bare hands. The hot rush of blood hitting his stomach was like poison, but he swallowed the fatty meat past the gag that wanted to come, the squirrel's razorlike claws cutting into the sides of his face as he gorged himself on the sweet meat of the creature's underbelly.
Satiated, he fell back against a rock, his breathing coming in pants, the lingering taste of the squirrel sticking in the back of his throat like molasses. His stomach made a churning sound, and he put his hand there as if to quiet it. He could feel the blood dripping down his chin and caught it with his sleeve, hoping the dark material of his shirt would not show the mark of his sin.
"I'm sorry," he said, an apology that would never be heard to the man who had set the snare.
Three days had passed since he had stood at the poctaw, the wishing circle of the Elawa. Hallucinations came easily with hunger, and when Macon closed his eyes he was sitting there again. He could smell the smoke from the fire, feel dark hair brushing against his bare arm. The woman had stood before him, half naked and gyrating in some dance that obviously had a religious meaning for her people but in Macon had only brought out burning lust. He squeezed his eyes shut, thinking about being inside her, feeling the gyrations firsthand. So many years had passed since he had lain with a woman without having to pay first. So many years had disappeared into the quagmire of his mountain existence. When he thought of her beneath him, his balls ached with anticipation, even as a cold winter wind snapped through the trees.
Macon stood because he had to. He felt a flash of guilt for breaking his self-imposed fast, but three days without nourishment was a lifetime to a man whose belly was all too familiar with the pains of hunger. Bad fortune had made him go without food before, but it seemed like every time he thought of the woman his body demanded more nourishment than it had ever needed before. If he did not want her so much, he would hate her.
As if they sensed his need, animals seemed to taunt him, running across his path, veering in and out of his line of sight. A deer stood in the forest, eyeing Macon carefully, as if searching his soul. A rabbit followed him for a mile at least, slowly hopping in Macon's footsteps, pausing now and then to clean its face. Most of his life had been spent trapping these beasts in the hundreds: laying snares and steel traps that cut so deep, sometimes there would be an amputated paw waiting instead of a full-size jackrabbit when he checked on his weekly rounds. Other times, he would see the teeth marks in the stubbed end of bone where they had gnawed off their own limb in order to free themselves. These were cunning animals, bent on survival. Macon gave them his respect because he saw in them something he saw in himself. He would survive.
Though he found himself of late wondering what this survival cost him. He had not seen a looking glass in many years, but often Macon would see his own reflection in a stream when he stopped for water. Age had descended harshly. White grew into his beard, and when he thought to comb his fingers through his hair, chunks would come out in his hand, the roots sticking up like tiny fragments of his youth.
There had been a time when vanity had been second nature to Macon Orme. He had oiled his hair and done it proper with the bone comb that had once belonged to his father. Saturdays he had bathed before the weekly dance, where he would hold the neighbor's daughter close to his chest, smell the musky scent of her, dream of pressing his hips into hers. Sundays he had worn a starched collar that chafed his neck, pants that showed a fine crease down the front. He had kept a watch in his pocket on a slender silver chain. Macon Orme had been a farmer, a man concerned with the passage of time. Then the Muscogee came and destroyed the farm. The Indians were merciless. They stole the horses and gave his mother such a fright that she grabbed her chest and fell dead to the ground. They razed the crops and what they could not carry away on horseback they burned. They took it all like it belonged to them.
Macon punched his fist into his thigh. Here he was, fifteen years later, making a fool of himself for some dark-skinned heathen; the same sort of heathen who had birthed the bastards who took his farm. That farm would have been Macon's inheritance. He would have had something to give the neighbor's daughter, something to lure her into letting him press his hips into hers for real. He would have given her a child -- many children. They would have grown old together but for that day when everything had been taken away from him.
And yet he longed for the Indian woman in a way he had never known. He dreamed about her, tasted her in his sleep. Even before he had happened upon their camp three days ago, Macon had felt a tugging at his chest, as if a string had been looped around his heart and something -- someone -- was pulling him toward her. That last night before he found their small settlement, a powerful burning in his chest had awakened him and he had abandoned his camp and stumbled up the hill toward the woman without even knowing why ...Continues...
Excerpted from Like a Charm by Slaughter, Karin Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.
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