Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

4.2 30
by Phillip Margolin
     
 

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Seventeen-year-old Ashley Spencer learned what true horror was the night a serial killer invaded her home and brutally murdered her father and her best friend. But the terror did not end there . . .

A year after the unspeakable events, Ashley is still trying to piece together what is left of her life. But the nightmare is reawakened

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Overview

Seventeen-year-old Ashley Spencer learned what true horror was the night a serial killer invaded her home and brutally murdered her father and her best friend. But the terror did not end there . . .

A year after the unspeakable events, Ashley is still trying to piece together what is left of her life. But the nightmare is reawakened at the elite private school that had appeared to be a safe haven for Ashley and her mother, Terri, when a new book called Sleeping Beauty hits the national bestseller lists—a shattering true account of the crimes that ripped Ashley’s world apart.

And now Ashley must run for her life again.

Editorial Reviews

Lisa Scottoline
“Phillip Margolin [is] one of those rare authors who can create a genuinely surprising ending.”
Tess Gerritsen
“Phillip Margolin knows how to pack in the thrills ... SLEEPING BEAUTY will keep you guessing until its shocking end.”
Harlan Coben
“SLEEPING BEAUTY will keep you awake all night. Phillip Margolin has done it again!”
Perri O'Shaughnessy
“Phillip Margolin plays delicious tricks on his readers, dashing expectations, twisting the knife deeper, making the suspense really hurt.”
Fort Myers News-Press
“Margolin delivers a nifty sleight of hand....Don’t assume anything in this well-crafted chiller.”
Toronto Sun
“Intricately plotted, tense and suspenseful … With unexpected twists and turns, the story moves to an explosive climax.”
Albany Times Union
“Even the most skeptical reader might be surprised to learn who is responsible for the mayhem.”
Booklist
“Margolin pulls off a genuinely surprising ending.”
Memphis Commercial Appeal
“Skillfully plotted … maintains the suspense … one of [Margolin’s] best.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Sends chills up the spine.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Compelling....Thrills and chills in a satisfying way [that] keeps you awake and guessing.”
BookPage
“Clever and diabolical....A must for suspense fans.”
Publishers Weekly
The criminal at the heart of bestseller Margolin's unsatisfying 10th thriller is particularly heinous. Late one night in Portland, Ore., he assaults teenager Ashley Spencer, rapes and kills Ashley's friend Tanya, a sleepover guest, and stabs Ashley's father to death. Ashley miraculously escapes, but her brush with terror is far from over. A few months later, just as she and her mother, Terri (out of town on the night of the attack), are beginning to re-engage with the world, the killer strikes again, murdering Terri and leaving another woman, Casey Van Meter, in a coma on the grounds of Ashley's new school, the exclusive Oregon Academy. Ashley doesn't witness the crime, but she sees Joshua Maxfield, the school's writer-in-residence, at the scene, clutching a bloody knife. Wondering why her quiet, loving family has been targeted by this madman, she goes into hiding in Europe, returning to Portland years later to bear witness when Maxfield is finally apprehended and tried. But is he guilty? And what was the motive for this crime spree? The search for answers generates a modicum of suspense, but the book never really commands much interest, thanks to clumsy plotting and even clumsier prose. Much of the story is revealed in flashbacks, framed by scenes from a reading in a Seattle bookstore given by Casey's twin brother, Miles Van Meter, who has written a bestselling true-crime book about the case and his comatose sister (and yes, it's as contrived as it sounds). Margolin (The Ties That Bind, etc.) has imagined a particularly lurid and sensational crime, but he fails to realize virtually any of its inherent dramatic potential. (Apr. 2) Forecast: The publisher is making a big promotional push, including a 14-city author tour, that should ensure placement on bestseller lists. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ashley Spencer's life is shattered when a killer enters her home one night, brutally stabs her father to death, and rapes and murders her best friend. In an attempt to help her regain some stability, her mother enrolls Ashley in the prestigious Oregon Academy. Ashley's mother seeks diversion by taking a creative writing class from former best-selling author Joshua Maxfield, who startles her by reading a chapter from a work in progress that mirrors the murder of her husband. The twists and turns of the plot keep the suspense ratcheted up to an excruciating level. Using the law and an insider's knowledge of the writer's life, Margolin has created another sure winner. His first novel, Gone but Not Forgotten, has long been one of the hallmark novels dealing with serial killers and their motivation. In this work, Margolin has brought new life to that subgenre. This is for jaded readers who believe that there is nothing new and fresh in the mystery field. For all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/04.]-Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A pulse-lowering thriller about writers who write about what they know. The prolific Margolin (Ties That Bind, 2003, etc.) devotes his latest to a subject he knows well: author tours. Writer Miles van Meter is out promoting Sleeping Beauty, his true-crime bestseller about convicted serial killer Joshua Maxfield. According to van Meter's account, Maxfield broke into the Portland, Oregon, home of Norman Spencer, murdering Spencer, then raping and murdering Tanya Jones, a high-school student spending the night with Spencer's daughter Ashley, who escapes harm. Also spared is Ashley's mother, Terri, away on assignment as a news reporter. To rebuild Ashley's life, Terri suggests that the girl accept a soccer scholarship that Oregon Academy has offered. Terri also signs up at the Academy for the creative writing workshop taught by Joshua Maxfield. Maxfield alarms Terri when he reads to the class a story of murder that parallels the crime committed in her home. Certain that Maxfield wrote the piece from personal experience, Terri alerts Academy dean Casey van Meter (Miles's sister). Jogging across campus one night, Ashley hears two screams. Drawing up to a shed, she discovers Maxfield holding a bloody knife and standing over the body of her mother. A comatose Casey lies nearby. Maxfield escapes, is caught, then escapes again just as he faces trial. Fearing that Maxwell will track her, Ashley flees to Europe but is persuaded to return when a lawyer reveals that Casey, not Terri, was Ashley's mother. Ashley, the lawyer implores, must come home to claim her due as Casey's daughter. She returns; Casey awakens from a five-year coma; and Maxfield, caught, tried, and convicted, becomes the subject ofSleeping Beauty. But Ashley thinks something about the case is wrong, and most readers will see early on that she's right. Flimsy plotting, thin characters, hoary cliches, grade-school prose: a "by the numbers" thriller. Author tour. Agent: Jean Naggar/Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
BookPage (winner of the Mystery of the Month and Tip of the Ice Pick Award)
“Clever and diabolical....A must for suspense fans.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061582721
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/29/2008
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
674,218
Product dimensions:
7.46(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.13(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sleeping Beauty


By Margolin, Phillip

HarperLargePrint

ISBN: 0060726814

Chapter One

Ashley Spencer's childhood ended the night her father died; the moment before she fell asleep was the last time she experienced unadulterated joy. Ashley and her best friend, Tanya Jones, were still pumped up from their 2–1 victory over F.C. Oswego, a perennial state soccer power. Both girls had scored, and the victory would give them a shot at the top seed at the State Cup. They had gotten into bed after watching a video, then talked in the dark until a little after one o'clock. When Tanya went to sleep, Ashley closed her eyes and pictured her goal, a header that had boomed past Oswego's All-State goalie. She was smiling as she drifted off.

Ashley had no idea how long she'd been asleep when a sudden movement on Tanya's side of the bed woke her. Tanya was sitting up, staring at the open doorway. Ashley, groggy and not completely certain she was awake, thought she saw someone walking toward Tanya. She was about to say something when Tanya grunted, twitched, and toppled to the floor. The man turned as Ashley leaped out of bed, extending his arm like a duelist. Ashley's muscles spasmed as a bolt of electricity surged through them. She fell sideways onto the bed, confused and unable to control her body. A fist smashed into her jaw, and she tottered on the brink of unconsciousness.

Tanya's head rose over the far side of the bed. The intruder was on her instantly. Ashley saw his fists and legs moving. Tanya fell back on the floor and out of Ashley's sight. A roll of gray duct tape appeared in the man's hands. He tore off several strips and knelt next to Tanya. Moments later, he walked around the bed. A black ski mask covered his face. He wore gloves and dark clothing.

A vise-like grip closed on Ashley's throat and her pajama top was ripped open. She made a feeble attempt at self-defense but she couldn't control her muscles. A leather-covered hand squeezed Ashley's breast until she screamed. The man hit her hard before sealing her mouth with a strip of tape. The intruder rolled Ashley onto her stomach and taped her wrists and ankles together. His face was close to her and she could smell his breath and body odor.

Once she was bound, the man slipped his hand inside her pajamas and caressed her buttocks. Ashley bucked and received a blow for resisting. She tried to squeeze her legs together but stopped when he grabbed her ear and twisted. A finger slipped inside her, probing, rubbing. Then the finger disappeared and he lowered himself onto her. Ashley's body trembled violently for a moment more. Then the sexual assault stopped and the oppressive weight disappeared. Ashley turned her head and saw Tanya being dragged into the guestroom that was next to her bedroom.

Ashley strained to hear what was going on. Bedsprings squeaked. Tape sealed Tanya's mouth but Ashley could still hear her friend's muffled scream. Ashley was gripped by a fear different from any she had ever known. It was as if a stifling gray fog had settled over her, cutting off her air and paralyzing her limbs.

There were more moans and screams from Tanya, but the man who had invaded her home worked in silence. Ashley's heart was pumping furiously and she couldn't get enough air through her nose. She tried not to think about what was happening to her best friend and concentrated on breaking her bonds. It was impossible. She wondered whether her father was dead and the thought galvanized her. If Norman was dead then she couldn't count on anyone to rescue her. She would have to save herself.

In the next room, the man uttered a primal roar of release and Ashley shuddered. He'd finished raping Tanya; next he'd be coming for her. For a moment, the only sounds from next door were Tanya's muffled whimpers. Then Ashley heard an animal snarl and the sound of a blade slamming into flesh. Tanya made a strangled cry that was followed by silence. The stabbing continued. Ashley was certain that Tanya was dead.

The door to the guest room slammed shut and the intruder emerged, ghostlike, out of the darkness. Only his eyes and lips showed through his ski mask. Ashley's breath caught in her chest. The man savored her terror. Then he whispered "See you later," and walked downstairs.

Ashley collapsed from relief, but the feeling was short-lived. "See you later" meant that he was coming back to kill her. She struggled to sit up and scanned her room for something she could use to cut her bonds. Downstairs, the refrigerator door opened. The thought that he was going to eat something horrified Ashley. How could he eat after what he'd done? What kind of thing was he? The refrigerator door closed. Ashley grew desperate. She was going to be raped and killed if she couldn't get away.

A sound from the doorway brought her around. Something covered with blood was dragging itself across the floor. With a great effort, the thing raised its face and Ashley almost blacked out.

Norman Spencer crawled toward his daughter. There was stubble on his bloodstained cheeks and his hair was in disarray. In his right fist was his Swiss Army knife, the long blade out. Ashley fought the nausea and horror that threatened to disable her and rolled onto the floor. She turned her back to her father and presented her bound wrists. Norman had almost no strength left and he did not speak as he sawed at the tape with feeble strokes. Ashley wept as he worked the knife. She knew that she could not save her father and that he was using all that was left of his life to save hers ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Sleeping Beauty by Margolin, Phillip 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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What People are saying about this

Perri O'Shaughnessy

“Phillip Margolin plays delicious tricks on his readers, dashing expectations, twisting the knife deeper, making the suspense really hurt.”

Harlan Coben

“SLEEPING BEAUTY will keep you awake all night. Phillip Margolin has done it again!”

Lisa Scottoline

“Phillip Margolin [is] one of those rare authors who can create a genuinely surprising ending.”

Tess Gerritsen

“Phillip Margolin knows how to pack in the thrills ... SLEEPING BEAUTY will keep you guessing until its shocking end.”

Meet the Author

Phillip Margolin has written nineteen novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers, including his latest novels Woman with a Gun, Sleight of Hand, and the Washington trilogy. Each displays a unique, compelling insider’s view of criminal behavior, which comes from his long background as a criminal defense attorney who has handled thirty murder cases. Winner of the Distinguished Northwest Writer Award, he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Brief Biography

Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
B.A. in Government, American University, 1965; New York University School of Law, 1970

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Sleeping Beauty 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fantastic story. Interstingly written. Author kept control of jumping to different times in story effectively. Charcters were developed very well. The character Ashley seemed so real that you could understand her easily. This is just a really great book from one of my favorite authors!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was on my way to Mexico and was in desperate need of reading something good so I visited a bookstore at the airport and ran across this book. The title made me think it would be some kiddish fantasy but the cover picture made me think otherwise. I read the back and thought it sounded interesting so I bought it. Reading the first chapter made me think nauseated because of the intense details to the murder but yet I could not put the book down. The novel is filled with very suspenseful moments and the details were so vivid that you felt as if you were in the room during the crime and just watching it. It felt so real. This kind of feeling just prove to you that the author did a very good job to use his imagination and vocabulary to put emotions to your reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book gives you the chill down your spine you need sometimes.it keeps you guessing to the very last page.i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Quite enjoyable. Literally can read this in one or two sittings. Although the ending became clear before the fact, it was a satisfying read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so compelling, you just have to continue to read it until the very end. I was told to read this book by a friend and am I glad I did so. I truly recommend this book to all of this author's loyal fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is highly recommended!!! you are not going to want to put this down. I want more of this kind of book!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first book I read by him, and it was great! The suspence was perfect and full of excitement. I could read this over and over!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book. 'Sleeping Beauty' is a throw-off title to what is really going on in this story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this book in the bookstore and I contemplated buying it for about ten minutes since I had never read Phillip Margolin before. I just bought another book of his. He is a great writer. He keeps you guessing and turning the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first murder mystery and I loved it!! There were several scenes wherein I felt I was the victim. Some of the writing was a little elementary and some scenes could have been more detailed, but overall a very good read. Hard to put down.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book.
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Melyssa More than 1 year ago
I read a copy of Sleeping Beauty I got from the library. Bought a copy for myself and my sister as a gift. I could NOT put it down, neither could my sister! There are detailed accounts of sexual abuse, so please do not get this book if you are extra sensitive to that!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up at an airport bookstore hoping to find something interesting to read as I waited for my flight. I almost missed my plane! This book is so engrossing from cover to cover that I could not put it down. Margolin artfully crafts his characters and verbally stuns your senses with horrific crimes. This book will assault you the entire way through. A must read for fans and newcomers alike.