Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices

Overview

Desire leaves a man destroyed... A young girl's curiosity reveals secrets better left hidden... Jealousy drives a woman mad... An obsession with numbers precipitates a deadly revenge... Ambition leads to a curious exchange... An uncanny likeness changes two lives forever... The hand of fate lies buried in the past... An unforgettable novel in sixteen parts by some of the most prestigious crime writers working today. One bracelet, sixteen charms ... From nineteenth-century Georgia, where the bracelet is forged in ...
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Overview

Desire leaves a man destroyed... A young girl's curiosity reveals secrets better left hidden... Jealousy drives a woman mad... An obsession with numbers precipitates a deadly revenge... Ambition leads to a curious exchange... An uncanny likeness changes two lives forever... The hand of fate lies buried in the past... An unforgettable novel in sixteen parts by some of the most prestigious crime writers working today. One bracelet, sixteen charms ... From nineteenth-century Georgia, where the bracelet is forged in fire, to wartime Leeds, the seedy underside of London's Soho, a Manhattan cab, the frozen cliffs of Nova Scotia, and back to Georgia, each story takes the reader on a gripping journey of murder, betrayal, and intrigue.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
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

Washington Post
“A diverting introduction to fifteen of the more interesting crime writers now at work.”
Patrick Anderson
If this collection is the literary equivalent of Mickey Rooney's "Hey, kids, let's put on a show," it's also a diverting introduction to 15 of the more interesting crime writers now at work.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices, edited by Karin Slaughter (Blindsighted), collects 16 linked tales by an impressive group of British and American crime authors, including Peter Robinson, Fidelis Morgan, Lee Child and Laura Lippman. An unlucky charm bracelet figures in each contribution. Agent, Victoria Sanders. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Washington Post
“A diverting introduction to fifteen of the more interesting crime writers now at work.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060583316
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/3/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 520,202
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is the #1 international bestseller of several novels, including the Grant County series. A long-time resident of Atlanta, she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room.

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Read an Excerpt

Like a Charm

A Novel in Voices
By Slaughter, Karin

William Morrow & Company

ISBN: 0060583304

Rootbound

Karin Slaughter

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.
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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Table of Contents

Rootbound 1
Vanitas 17
Cornelius Jubb 37
Down and dirty 61
The goblin 77
The snake eater by the numbers 113
Stroke of luck 135
Two deaths and a mouthful of worms 159
Favor 177
Plan B 197
The inkpot monkey 217
Acts of corporal charity 229
Not quite U. 247
The things we did to Lamar 267
The Eastlake school 289
The blessing of brokenness 303
Biographies 337
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First Chapter

Like a Charm
A Novel in Voices

Rootbound

Karin Slaughter

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 ...

Like a Charm
A Novel in Voices
. Copyright © by Karin Slaughter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2004

    Great mystery anthology

    This sixteen collection anthology revolves around a charm bracelet that brings misfortune to the holder. The tales are unique yet build off where the previous story left off. Beginning in the Georgia Mountains in 1803, continuing in 1839 and on into the twentieth century, the bracelet moves from one ill-fated soul whose story is unfolded until at the end of the tale, another person holds the bracelet and his .or her story is told in the next chapter.......................................... The fifteen contributors (Karin Slaughter opens and closes the anthology) seem to have enjoyed adding their spin to the book because all the inputs are well written and loaded with action and suspense. The ¿charmed characters¿ surprisingly for the most part come across as genuine regardless of their era and location (the bracelet gets around). LIKE A CHARM is gimmicky, but fans of interconnected short stories will appreciate this delightful thriller that lives up to its title as readers will enjoy this suspenseful interrelated compilation...................... Harriet Klausner

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