Deadfall (Jessie Arnold Series #5)

Deadfall (Jessie Arnold Series #5)

by Sue Henry


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Iditarod musher Jessie Arnold is being stalked and terrorized by an anonymous enemy. First, one of her sled dogs is badly injured in a steel trap and an ominous note leaves no doubt that the trap was set with malicious intent. Threatening phone calls and unsigned messages follow — pressing Alaska State Trooper Alex Jensen to urge Jessie to go into hiding while he tries to track down the source of the threats. Finally, a near fatal car crash convinces Jessie to let Alex fly her to an isolated island more than two hundred miles away.

There on desolate, windswept Kachemak Bay, Jessie hikes the island trails with her lead dog Tank, marveling at the splendor of her solitude. But in a wilderness filled with hazards and hiding places, she soon discovers she is not alone. With Alex searching for a madman hundreds of miles away, Jessie is on her own...playing a deadly game of hide and seek with a killer.P>

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780736651981
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date: 04/28/2000
Series: Jessie Arnold Series , #5

About the Author

Sue Henry, whose award-winning Alaska mysteries have received the highest praise from readers and critics alike, has lived in Alaska for almost thirty years, and brings history, Alaskan lore, and the majestic beauty of the vast landscape to her mysteries. Based in Anchorage, she is currently at work on the next book in this series.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

As the sun went down behind a western stand of trees, staining the clear sky the brilliant fuchsias and golds that are often a part of fall evenings in south-central Alaska, the breeze, sharp with a hint of frost, stirred itself into a gust of wind that whistled around the eves and tugged a flight of fluttering dark yellow leaves from a tall stand of birch, sending them swirling through the air like a flock of small voiceless birds.

Climbing the front steps of her snug log cabin, with an armful of harness that needed repair before the new season of sled dog racing, Jessie Arnold paused to appreciate nature's generous pallet and the circuitous, soaring reminder of fall. The wind ruffled her already tousled honey-blond hair and flapped the tail of the jacket she had worn all day working in the dog lot. Though a little sad that all the brightness would soon be stripped from the trees to the ground in a patchwork of gold, leaving their limbs to stand in stark skeletal silhouette against the sky, she knew she would welcome the arrival of winter's clean silence that would blanket her world in drifts, smoothing all shapes to curves and roundness.

She had never been successful in deciding which part of the year she favored in Alaska's constantly shifting panorama of extremes, and vacillated between spring and fall, the two seasons when change was swift, seemed to occur almost overnight and with little warning. A turn of the head in April, and in what seemed a moment, when she looked again, everything was green and bursting into blossom. Then, one day in September he would notice that, along the fulllength of the tall stalks of fireweed, its magenta flowers had gone to fluff that drifted in the slightest current of air. Or the distant honking of a ragged arrow of geese would draw her eyes heavenward to watch their restless passing. She would realize that the pelts of the forty-odd dogs in her lot were richly thick with new hair, come out early one morning to find them sleeping in nose-to-tail curls, hoarding their body heat.

For Jessie, there was always a languid, peaceful thoughtfulness that came with fall, a sort of drowsy contemplation of life's rhythms. Unlike the burgeoning energy of spring that quickened the blood Eke sap rising, it was a slowing of the mind and senses that harmonized with the environment, a summons to quietude.

The season suited her well, for she was born to it. The next day was her birthday and she knew that Alex had some kind of dinner celebration planned, for it had kept him grinning for days with anticipation, as he dropped tantalizing, cryptic hints that led nowhere. It was a deep pleasure and satisfaction to her that he liked recognizing significant days. It was a trait many men lacked, shrugging off its importance to the women in their lives. But Alex had been raised in a family that made much of holidays, savored every candle on the cake, light on the tree, or grinning jack-o'-lantern. Greeting cards and small, often humorous gifts for him came almost as regularly as letters from his mother in Idaho. It was clear that keeping the continuity of her family circle going was important to Keara Lacey Jensen, and that it gratified her to please her firstborn son, for mail addressed in her handwriting often arrived for Jessie, too, though they had never met.

She looked down and smiled as Tank, her favorite lead dog, pressed his cold nose against her hand, reminding her that he was eager to go inside -- a treat infrequently allowed -- that there were still things that needed doing before the end of the day.

"Okay...okay. Come an."

With a last appreciative glance at the fading hues of the sky, and a deep breath of the pungent, earthy odor of fall in the air, she stepped briskly forward to open the door into the warmth of the cabin. Flippinga switch that illuminated two table lamps and an old-fashioned fixture over the dinner table, she dropped the harness in a heap by the door. She kicked off her knee-high rubber boots and went to add wood to the fire in the potbellied iron stove and water to the cast-iron dragon atop it that puffed humidifying steam into the room from its nostrils, then stood for a minute looking at the space which pleased her as much as the scene she had appreciated outside.

The room she had entered was as wide as the cabin and full of cheerful colors. A huge sofa, covered in quilts and afghans, littered with bright pillows, sat close to the stove. Near it, two overstuffed easy chairs squatted like blowzy housewives in print dresses, ready for a good gossip. A large desk, much in need of refinishing, took up space against one wall, cluttered with the correspondence and paperwork necessary for managing a kennel.

The back half of the cabin was divided. On the left was a kitchen area, open to the larger room. Though a cookstove, refrigerator, sink, and countertops crowded this space, the impression was that they had been arranged wherever they fit best, shelves added to the walls one or two at a time as they were required, then stacked with dishes and pots and pans. Under the countertops, blue checked curtains hid shelves designated for food storage. A much-used oak dining table sat close, surrounded by a rowdy crowd of mismatched kitchen chairs hand-painted in lively primary colors.

To the right, walls enclosed a small bath off a bedroom largely occupied by an inviting king-sized brass bed with a pile of fluffy pillows above a wonderful quilt Jessie had found on a trip to Ketchikan. It glowed with a variety of blues that were scattered with tiny silver stars, but the special delight of it was the subtle colors sweeping across it in swirls and curves that portrayed the northern lights. One wall of the bedroom was filled with shelves of books and keepsakes -- including Alex's collection of mustache cups; another held hooks and more shelves, for the hanging and holding of both their wardrobes.

Deadfall. Copyright © by Sue Henry. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Deadfall (Jessie Arnold Series #5) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot was a little farfetched in parts and not all that believable at times, but exciting. Why didn't tank react immediately when the bad guy lifted them up over the cliff?
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. From the moment I started reading this book I could not put it down. It is sad, scary, suspenseful. Everything wrapped into one book. Awesome.