Killing Secrets: A Nan Vining Mystery

Killing Secrets: A Nan Vining Mystery

by Dianne Emley

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Overview

Killing Secrets: A Nan Vining Mystery by Dianne Emley

For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner comes a razor-sharp novel of suspense featuring Detective Nan Vining—a single mother whose worlds collide when her teenage daughter stumbles upon a grisly double homicide.
 
When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty, popular young teacher from Emily’s high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student—both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn’t the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There’s also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park—the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn’t she know about her daughter?
 
As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining’s superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn’t buy it. Now she’s chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for—and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.

Praise for Killing Secrets
 
Killing Secrets is diabolically good, a top-notch murder mystery. Nan Vining is a heroine you’ll love.”—Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of Compulsion
 
“A complex, challenging and engaging mystery for Vining to unravel . . . Readers will love tagging along for the ride.”The Florida Times-Union
 
“A suspenseful thriller . . . that will surprise readers with its stunning conclusion.”Kings River Life Magazine
 
“I would strongly recommend Killing Secrets to anyone who likes a good mystery/crime novel—especially one with a strong, intelligent female lead character.”—A Book Geek
 
“Five out of five . . . I didn’t want to put it down.”—Bewitched Bookworms
 
Killing Secrets is my idea of a hard-edged police drama, the kind I love best, and I want more.”—Buried Under Books

“From the beginning, I was hooked. . . . Highly recommended for those who enjoy a good thriller!”—Peeking Between the Pages

Praise for the novels of Dianne Emley
 
The Night Visitor grabbed my attention on page one and never let up. It’s a creepy, crafty thrill ride, and I enjoyed every word. I’ll be looking for more of Dianne Emley’s books.”—Karen Robards
 
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—Tess Gerritsen, on Love Kills

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804178945
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/21/2015
Series: Nan Vining Series , #5
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 277
Sales rank: 126,551
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Dianne Emley is the bestselling author of The Night Visitor and the Nan Vining series: The First Cut, Cut to the Quick, The Deepest Cut, and Love Kills. A Los Angeles native, she lives in the Central California wine country with her husband, Charlie.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Emily Vining laughed as she ran through moonlit shadows in the park with Ashton McCarthy, a boy she knew her mother wouldn’t like. Ashton let go of her hand and ran ahead, turning to snap photos of her as he jogged backward, stumbling on the uneven ground, looking cute and sexy. She took photos of him taking photos of her. Minutes ago, he’d kissed her beneath the rising, full moon and it had been a slice of heaven. Each kiss seemed like their first. It was all brand new. Emily thought this might be the most perfect day of her life until they saw the bodies.

It took her a minute to catch up with Ashton, who’d stopped at the crest of a knoll, where he was standing frozen, looking down into a small ravine on the other side. He turned on his cell phone flashlight to better see what he’d glimpsed in the moonlight. Emily inhaled sharply, clamped both hands over her mouth, and turned away from the two bloody corpses on the patchy spring grass near the sprawling branches of a sycamore tree.

Emily was still turned away, blinking at the image that was seared into her mind, when Ashton said, “Is that . . .?” and began moving forward. She thrust out her hand and grabbed his arm to keep him from going down there. “Don’t. You’ll contaminate the crime scene.”

He glared at her hand on his arm and anger flashed in his eyes. “Said like the daughter of a homicide detective.”
His comment stung but Emily couldn’t address it right now. She released him at the same time he pulled his arm away from her. She took her cell phone from her jeans pocket. The screen said NO SERVICE. They were in a remote area of Pasadena’s Lower Arroyo Seco Park.

Ashton walked down a few yards into the ravine. He moved his cell phone flashlight beam over the brutalized bodies of the young woman and teenage boy lying on the opposite slope. “It’s Mrs. Keller.”

Holding her phone in her hand, Emily went to stand beside Ashton, needing to confirm what she’d instinctively felt from that first horrible glimpse. One of the dead people was her favorite teacher, Erica Keller.

The pretty, young woman was on her back. Her slim, raspberry-colored jeans and lacy pink panties had been pulled down past her knees. Her right leg was bent to the side and her left leg was straight. Her paisley-print blouse had been torn open and her pink bra was pushed up, exposing her breasts. Her right arm was bent with her hand by her head and her left arm was by her side. Her torso and clothes were drenched with blood.

“What’s that guy’s name? That dork.” Ashton shone the flashlight onto the face of a teenage boy a few feet from Mrs. Keller, his back propped against the trunk of a sycamore tree. He was tall and lanky, wearing an open plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up over a red T-shirt that had white printing on it. His hands were palms up on the ground beside him. Blood had drained from what looked like cuts in both wrists and had seeped into the dry earth. “I’ve seen him at Coopersmith.”

“It’s Jared.” Emily blinked back tears. “Jared Hayword. He’s a senior. Just transferred this year. Mrs. Keller helped him.” She let out a sob. “Look what he did to her.”

She took deep breaths and tried to calm down. She looked at her cell phone, her hand trembling, grateful to now find a single bar of reception. She blinked away tears as she called the Pasadena Police Department emergency line, which she had on speed-dial. “Hello. My friend and I . . . My friend . . . Dang.” The call broke up and then cut off. She headed back up the hill to try to get better reception. “Ashton.” She looked back and saw him leaning forward, peering toward the bodies. She again speed-dialed the police.

“Hello . . . Hello? This is Emily Vining. My mom is Detective Nan Vining. Hello?” She went down the other side of the hill, where she finally got better reception but lost sight of Ashton.

Customer Reviews

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Killing Secrets: A Nan Vining Mystery 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the Vining series. This one was just a bit too long and half the time I wanted to slap Emily and I missed Jim. The plot was masterful and the ending not predictabe. Read it!
BarbaraLyn More than 1 year ago
I love a good mystery with a female detective. Nan Vining is the female detective in the Pasadena Police Force. She is raising a teenage daughter and her ex-husband lives nearby with his new wife and two sons. Emily Vining is out with her boyfriend Ashton when then discover two bodies. Nan is supposed to be on vacation but is called in to help with this discovery. The bodies are of a favorite teacher of Emily’s and a male student the teacher was trying to help. It looks like a clear case of murder/suicide but Nan is not so sure. The husband of the teacher is also a police officer but his background is on the shady side. He says he didn’t do it but isn’t the spouse always the prime suspect? The case is close so fast that Nan is now sure that there is more to it. With her and her daughter’s life in danger, she goes to her ex-husband to keep their daughter safe while she pursues the answer. The book intertwines past history with the present to give the reader a story that is hard to put down.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
The action rarely stops or even slows down to take a breath in Dianne Emley's Killing Secrets. When Detective Nan Vining's daughter and a friend discover two bodies, Nan's protective instincts kick in but also her sense of knowing when something is not quite right. She's not satisfied when there's a quick rush to judgment that a lovesick teen killed his teacher and then himself and her hackles rise, bringing to the fore the questioning mentality that has made her such a good detective in the past. Emily's involvement just makes everything more intense. Ms. Emley is one of those authors who are good at both plot and character development and I found myself really engaged with all the players, no matter how small or large their roles, because they're so vividly drawn and each one has characteristics that make them memorable. As for the storyline, it would be easy to jump to conclusions about what happened in that park but, because criminals tend to do stupid things, it soon becomes apparent that Emily and Nan herself have plucked a few nerves. Towards the resolution, the tension rises to a level that kept me reading much longer than I anticipated and, although I had my suspicions, I still had not figured it all out. To me, that's a really good piece of crime fiction and I'm interested now in reading about Nan's earlier cases so I'll be picking up the first book in the series, The First Cut as soon as possible. Killing Secrets is my idea of a hard-edged police drama, the kind I love best, and I want more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not one of her better books; it's flat, long, & predictable. by aj west
Bev_Ash More than 1 year ago
This book was a good read. I liked the fact that it went into the personal life and relationship of Nan and her daughter Emily. Raising a teenager can be scary enough in itself but adding murder makes the book hard to put down. The storyline was very interesting and with many twists and turns it kept me interested to the last page. The characters were well developed and came alive as you read. The book had a nice complete ending. This was the fifth in a series and now I can't wait to read the first four books. I received this arc from NetGalley for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Autumn2 More than 1 year ago
I received this book to give an honest review. WOW!! I truly enjoyed this detective book. The main character juggling not only being a mom but a detective as well she made it work and fit in her life. Nan seems to be a very strong character who has had a lot thrown at her, now I have never read the other books in this series but I really want to. I want to see the person that Nan has developed to be. This book can be read as a stand alone I feel even through through out the book there are references to her previous case. Nan's daughter Emily and her boyfriend stumble across two bodies that they know. When Nan comes on the scene she starts noticing things are not going along like they should, something just seems a bit funny. From this point on Nan starts trying investigating the two victims which uncovers even more trouble, while doing her job she also is trying to understand what her daughter is doing as she has changed a lot. Nan doesn't like Emily's new boyfriend and we see them two get into a verbal assault a few times. When Nan's gun shows up on a crime scene she knows she needs to solve this case fast no matter what happens. Because she believes the killer will go either after her or her daughter, and if the case isn't solved she could lose her badge. The story is full of mystery and makes a great thriller. This is an author I plan on reading more of her work as she has a great writing style and a way of having you connect with the character on many levels. The story flows really well, there is no over use of details and what not it all blended in perfectly.
scambra More than 1 year ago
Again I grabbed a book that wasn't the first book in the series. Not having read the previous books didn't cause any problems. This could definitely be read as a standalone. I love a tough female lead and Nan Vining certainly fit that. A single mother trying to raise her daughter while working as a detective with the Pasadena Police Department. And when that job could threaten her daughter, she'll do what she needs to keep her safe. Diane Emely has created a great character and world that I want to read more about. This was a great mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Now it's time to start the series from the beginning!
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Being a huge fan of Dianne Emley, I've waited so patiently for this book ... 5 years after the last Nan Vining book. I was so excited when I got my hands on this book and immediately wondered if it was going to be as good as what I was expecting. You know ... people change over time. I am delighted to say that I loved the book! Nan's daughter is now 16 and, along with a boyfriend of sorts, stumbles across the bodies of one of her teachers and another student. When Nan reaches the crime scene, she is told that it is a murder-suicide and she needn't bother her pretty little head about investigating. The case is closed almost immediately which raises those little hairs on the back of her neck. Is it really a murder-suicide? The teacher had taken out a restraining order on her husband ...who happens to be a police officer. The student's father was murdered several years earlier and his mother believes her son was doing well after a previous attempted suicide attempt. Letters are found from the student to the teacher, leaving people to wonder if there was an inappropriate relationship. This is classic Dianne Emley. The book is very well written, the plot is tight. Lots of possibilities with a huge explosive ending that I didn't see coming. It's an easy 5 stars for me. A big Thank You to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Alibi for supplying a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.