Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Cut to the Quick

Cut to the Quick

4.4 7
by Dianne Emley

See All Formats & Editions

The crime scene was like something out of a horror movie. Billboard tycoon Oliver Mercer has been brutally slain in his home in the Pasadena hills, joined in death by his long-legged trophy girlfriend–both of their bodies displayed in a chilling tableau. The murder scene reawakens terrible memories for homicide detective Nan Vining, who survived her own


The crime scene was like something out of a horror movie. Billboard tycoon Oliver Mercer has been brutally slain in his home in the Pasadena hills, joined in death by his long-legged trophy girlfriend–both of their bodies displayed in a chilling tableau. The murder scene reawakens terrible memories for homicide detective Nan Vining, who survived her own harrowing attack a year earlier. While tracking the taunting gameplayer her daughter Emily dubbed T. B. Mann–The Bad Man–she is now working the Mercer case alongside her ex-flame Jim Kissick, stirring up conflicted feelings in her. From the ritzy estates of L.A.’s Lamborghini-driving set to a rocky desert outpost where rattlesnakes whisper murder, Nan will risk both her badge and her heart on a case that cuts close to the bone.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Cut to the Quick’s razor-sharp pacing and twisted plot kept me on the edge of my chair from the first page to the last.”
–Mariah Stewart, author of Last Breath

“Dianne Emley sets a cracking pace in this crime thriller, a follow-up novel to her blistering debut, The First Cut.”
–The Sunday Mail

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Emley's compelling follow-up to 2006's The First Cutfinds homicide detective Nan Vining faced with a grisly double homicide in a Pasadena mansion. Physically but not psychologically healed from the vicious knife attack in The First Cut, Vining questions Mark Scoville, the homeowner's business partner, who's cooperative at first. But when he suddenly clams up and asks for a lawyer, Vining's suspicions deepen. Discovering recent calls between Scoville and ex-con Jack Jenkins, Vining wonders if Jenkins misinterpreted Scoville's sour comments about his partner as an invitation to a classic criss-cross murder scheme. Complicating matters, a mute vagrant is arrested carrying disturbing drawings hinting at Vining's previous attack, as well as pointing to other victims. As she struggles to piece together the Scoville case, Vining also steps up her obsessive, private search for her assailant, whom she now fears is a serial killer. The tease of this ongoing subplot is underdeveloped, though Emley skillfully juggles several other plot lines. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this edgy, unpredictable heroine. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Pasadena homicide detective Nan Vining wrestles with a violent double murder while she's still struggling to exorcise the horrors of her own brush with death. Millionaire playboy Oliver Mercer has become the target of the ultimate home invasion. Somebody knocked on his front door, entered and killed him, dismembered him with a chainsaw-and then, for good measure, murdered his girlfriend, art-museum administrator Lauren Richards, when she turned up, and arranged the two corpses with ritualistic precision. Pasadena's finest suspect is Mark Scoville, Mercer's business partner, whose wife, glamourpuss newscaster Dena Hale, is her own biggest story. Nan in particular is sure that shifty-eyed Scoville knows more than he's telling. From the opening scene, however, Emley has made it clear that Mercer was killed by a stranger, a man dressed as a woman, though it's not clear whether he's a transvestite, a transsexual or just a guy in a really unconvincing disguise. Unfortunately, Emley, whose eye for the visceral effects of violence is as unsparing as Patricia Cornwell's, has also picked up Cornwell's fondness for subordinating the not-very-interesting homicide du jour to the ongoing saga of her menaced heroine. Two years after a savage knife attack left her clinically dead for two minutes (First Cut, 2006), Nan encounters Nitro, a crafty/crazy street person whose drawings of women in extremis include one that bears an uncanny resemblance to Nan, and another that's got to be Johnna Alwin, the Tucson police detective whose murder has never been solved. Does that mean that Nitro is really T.B. Mann, Nan's nightmarish assailant? The smart money won't expect any answers to what the author obviouslyintends as a long-running set of riddles. Scary killers and solid procedural work, as long as you don't mind a modicum of mystery and many more questions than answers. Agent: Robin Rue/Writers House LLC

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Dianne Emley gained critical acclaim with her Los Angeles Times bestseller The First Cut, the first thriller featuring homicide detective Nan Vining. She is also author of The Deepest Cut. She lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband, Charlie, and two cats.


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Cut to the Quick: Nan Vining Mystery Series, Book 2 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
HappyreaderSB More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding police-procedural thriller by a writer who really knows how to tell a story! I loved it, with its unrelentingly fast pace, complex plot with plenty of twists and turns, great characters, and an intelligent, likable heroine in Pasadena homicide detective Nan Vining. CUT TO THE QUICK is the second book in the series. Be sure to read the first one, THE FIRST CUT, before you start this one, as there's an ongoing story line that begins in the first book and continues in this one. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a superb suspense novel with fascinating characters (but watch out for the rattlesnakes!). Sheila Beaumont
docham More than 1 year ago
I came across this book at a library book sale, having not read Dianne's previous novels. I'll remedy that right away. It's very exciting to find a new writer (at least new to me), and this writer knows how to tell a story. Very interesting characters that you can get to know. Nan Vining is a fine detective, fighting her way back from a tragedy to reclaim her rightful position in the squad. As far as I'm concerned, she's there and then some.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Cut to the Quick, Nan Vining continues her search for her attacker, T.B. Mann, while solving a high-profile double murder. This is another can't-put-it-down thriller from Dianne Emley that kept me guessing until the very end. We are introduced to a compelling cast of characters, some of whom are sympathetic, and some who are repugnant. In addition, we are treated to more Southern California sights. Emley displays her talent for rich description while taking us to diverse locales, including glamorous Malibu and the strange Salton Sea. I was fascinated by the intersecting paths of the characters, and thrilled by the never-ending plot twists. Read this after Emley's The First Cut, or read it alone. Either way, get ready for a thrilling ride!
DAinNY1 More than 1 year ago
What a thrilling ride! This was another page-turning story that I did not want to end. I'm looking forward to the third book in the series.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Although she has physically healed from her brutal knife attack two years ago (see THE FIRST CUT), Pasadena homicide detective Nan Vining remains emotionally traumatized especially since her attacker has not been apprehended. When she enters the mansion of millionaire Oliver Mercer to investigate the brutal double murders, Nan fears she will not be ready to cope with what she sees. Someone using a hacksaw carved up Mercer and his girlfriend, art-museum administrator Lauren Richards.

Vining interrogates Mercer¿s business partner Mark Scoville, who initially seems friendly as he responds to her questions. However, abruptly he refuses to answer her inquiries and demands a lawyer be present. Shocked by his change in demeanor and cooperation, Vining ends her interview for now, but focuses on phone calls between him and former con man Jack Jenkins in which Scoville spoke disparagingly about his partner. She wonders if Jenkins killed Mercer and Richards showed up at her lover¿s home at the wrong time. However, Vining¿s concentration is distracted when the police arrest a vagabond mute Nitro who possesses disconcerting drawings of the assaults of Vining, a Tucson police detective, and other unknown apparently female cops; she wonders if her perp she calls TB Mann is a serial killer.

This fast-paced sequel stars a cop still mentally reeling from her near death assault (see THE FIRST CUT), which makes her refreshing as she has doubts about her effectiveness and is obsessed with Mann. The investigation into the graphic homicide in many ways takes a back seat to Vining¿s psychological trauma (wonder how she passed a police psychological screening?). Still the whodunit is fun to follow as the cops seek a particular brutal killer even if the death scene keeps reminding Vining of her own death scene, which sets up future thrillers in this series (see THE DEEPEST CUT).

Harriet Klausner