Child's Play

Child's Play

by Merry Jones


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Child's Play by Merry Jones

A tortured child returns to the school that failed him

Since her husband's murder two years earlier, life hasn't been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She's selling her house and delving into new experiences, like learning trapeze.

Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention, where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle's school principal—who'd tormented Ty as a child—is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty's former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.

Ty's younger brother, Seth, is in Elle's class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?

Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she's the only adult he's ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he's been wrongly condemned. But when she's assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?

Before Elle discovers the truth, she's caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she's forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608091911
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication date: 01/03/2017
Series: Elle Harrison Series , #3
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Merry Jones is a versatile author, having written suspense novels, thrillers, mysteries, humor and non-fiction. Jones lives outside of Philadelphia, where she teaches creative writing, belongs to many writing organizations including the Philadelphia Liars Club, and sculls on the Schuylkill River.

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Child's Play 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Elle Harrison is having a tough couple years since the death of her husband. She sees her husband in her house and although she knows he is just a vision she plans on selling the house. But this is going to be the least of her trouble. It is the day before school starts and she is preparing her classroom for the second graders when she stumbles upon the body of the school principal, then another teacher. Elle learns that a former student, Ty that was accused of killing his father has just gotten out of jail. Is there a connection? When Ty’s younger brother, Seth comes to school with bruises, Elle reports the abuse and has Seth and his older sister removed from their family. But when she is attacked, it is starting to look like Ty is behind everything. But how could it be him when he confided in her that she was the only adult he could talk to. This is a great thriller that had me guessing until the end. You can’t help but feel bad for Elle. She is such a strong and smart woman, it’s sad how she has her Elle Moments. On top of that she has a real estate agent that just has to be a creep. Then you have Ty. It’s so easy to put him in the role of the killer. Everything seems to point to him. If you are looking for a great mystery, look no further. Child’s Play is the third book in the series but it is written in such a way that it was easy to read as a stand-alone story. I can’t wait to read the first two books in the Elle Harrison series, The Trouble with Charlie and Elective Procedures. I received Child’s Play from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
BooksDirect More than 1 year ago
Just before the start of the school year, second grade teacher Elle Harrison discovers the body of the school principal stabbed to death in her office. Detective Stiles, who interviewed Elle two years earlier following the murder of her husband, heads up the investigation. With the help of her friends Becky (a fellow school teacher), Susan (also her lawyer), and Jen, Elle navigates her way through a series of murders, a persistent real estate agent who seems to be a bit too interested in her, an obsessed former student, and even circus school. Who'll be left standing? Sorry to say this, but Elle is one of the most annoying characters I've ever come across. She second guesses all of her decisions and runs an incessant internal monologue - and this in sentence fragments, not even full sentences. As she herself states, "I was prone to mental wandering and embellishing." So much so, that her friends call it "pulling an Elle". Things are so dramatic and over-the-top in her mind but, when something happens in real life, it's described so matter-of-factly that you need to re-read that section to find out what exactly happened or if, in fact, it did actually happen and wasn't just a figment of her imagination. While the reason for her "dissociative disorder" becomes apparent toward the end of the book, it still feels like an unnecessary gimmick. Throughout the book, asterisked section dividers (***) are over-used and excessively disruptive. It's almost as if the author has invented a new form of punctuation - a kind of exclamation mark for an entire scene, like "ooh, insert jaw-drop here ..." after something shocking (in her eyes) happens, even though the next sentence follows on directly. Unfortunately, I also found the plot predictable and saw the ending coming a mile away. The only reason I kept reading was to see how long it would take for the penny to drop. It never does. The only redeeming feature is that you don't need to have read the previous books, as the narrative seamlessly incorporates any background information you need to know. One for the die-hard fans only. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (23 February):
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Second grade school teacher Elle Harrison's life hasn't been the same since the murder of her husband Charlie two years ago. She tries to move forward with her life by putting her house up for sale, but when the first day of the school begins, Elle's life gets a tad bit more complicated when she discovers the dead body of the school's principal. And if that isn't enough, Elle finds out that there is a hit list, and she's next on the list! When dead bodies start to accumulate, Elle is determined to solve the murder mystery, and find the killer before she ends up as the next victim! In Child's Play, the third book in the Elle Harrison Thriller Series, author Merry Jones weaves an intriguing thriller that engages the reader in solving the mystery all the while keeping them guessing along the way. This is a riveting tale of murder, mystery and suspense set in Philadelphia, and written in the first person narrative with Elle Harrison taking the reader along for the ride on her zany adventure to uncover the mystery surrounding the school murders. Mixed with humor, danger, paranormal involvement, potential suspects and enough twists and turns that keeps you turning the pages until the surprising conclusion, you'll find yourself recruited as one of Elle's amateur sleuths on a quest to solve the puzzle of the school murders. The author weaves a masterful tale that takes the reader in many directions: between the murder mystery, Elle's psychological backstory, Elle's relationship with her best friends, and the paranormal activity, you can't help but try and keep up with this fast-paced riveting thriller. With a quirky cast of characters who are very entertaining: from zany Elle and her hilarious best friends Susan, Becky, and Jenny; to ghostly Charlie who communicates with Elle from beyond the grave; to a host of potential suspects who each have a motive for murder; they keep the reader on their toes wondering who really is the murderer. With witty and humorous dialogue and interactions; an intriguing storyline that takes the reader on a madcap adventure that alternates between the present with Elle's memory flashbacks to the past; and a richly detailed description of familiar Philadelphia landmarks; Child's Play is a tantalizing whodunit mystery thriller that will engage your imagination to the very end! Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author /publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Bookaholic_Cindy More than 1 year ago
The author had me hooked from the very beginning of this book! It's a rather dark psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns to the story. Every time I thought that I knew who the killer was, something else would happen to change my mind. The main character, Elle, has been through enough stress and sadness to last a lifetime! I liked her personality. The author really gave us a well developed character to worry about. Some of the tension filled scenes made me glad that I was not reading this home alone! I would have turned every light on in the house if that were the case. This an excellent thriller that I would definitely recommend! * I was provided an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it on my own.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Ellie Harrison, a second grade school teacher, has had a rough couple of years. Her husband was murdered, she sees his ghost in her house and now has put it on the market. A former student has been released from juvenile detention where he served several years for killing his abusive father. Now her real estate agent has a thing for her, and is basically stalking her. The first day of school, Ellie goes in early to get her room ready for the onslaught of new students. She stumbles across the body of the school principal, brutally murdered. Ty, her former student, had been released just a few days earlier. And then there's another killing..another link to Ty. Ty's younger brother is in Ellie's class. When he shows up beaten and bruised, she reports the abuse. When she is assaulted in her own home ...was Ty getting revenge? Is he a killer? And is she the next intended victim? This is very well-written, with much attention paid to characterization. I like Ellie as a character in this series. She is mostly level-headed, but has what her friends call Elle Moments. She sort of gets lost in her own head. She also 'sees' dead people ... mostly her husband and now the school principal. But she's smart enough to know that it is her imagination .. they aren't really there. I love her three best friends .. they are funny, but loyal to a fault. The conclusion is a killer ... and so unexpected. I never saw it coming! This is the 3rd book of the series ... works well as a stand-alone. There are a few references to the first book, but there are no spoilers. I definitely would like to go back and read this series from the beginning. Many thanks to the author / Oceanview Publishing / Netgalley who provided a digital ARC of Child's Play. The opinion expressed is my own.