Mrs. John Doe: A Nora Baron Thriller

Mrs. John Doe: A Nora Baron Thriller

by Tom Savage

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101884751
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Series: Nora Baron , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 74,213
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Tom Savage is the USA Today bestselling author of seven previous novels and numerous short stories. His books have been published in fifteen countries, and his bestselling novel Valentine was made into a Warner Bros. film. Raised in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, he now lives in New York City, where he worked for many years at Murder Ink®, the world’s first mystery bookstore.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

She was standing on the widow’s walk when the call came. It was an appropriate place to be, all things considered, but Nora Baron didn’t usually think in terms of irony. Only later would she see the awful humor in it.

She and Jeff used to spend a lot of time up here when they first moved in twenty-one years ago. Cocktails at sunset, gazing out at Long Island Sound as it slowly darkened, chatting about their day at work before going downstairs, hand in hand, to the dinner she’d proudly prepared for them. They had a party up here once, a spring afternoon, with two of her colleagues from Stony Brook University and one of his from the electronics business. Otherwise, it was always just family, enjoying their private sanctuary at the top of the house. Nude sunbathing!

Well, only a couple of times, that first summer when they were still officially newlyweds, and never after Dana was born. More recently, Dana came up here with her friends from college. Nora hoped they kept their clothes on.
Thinking of her daughter brought a smile. Dana had turned twenty in February, and she’d just completed her sophomore year. She was at NYU, not Stony Brook; she’d chosen the theater department at Nora’s alma mater over the university where Nora was now an acting teacher. But she was following Nora to the footlights just the same, another actor in the family.

A breeze from the Sound ruffled her hair, and Nora grasped the wooden railing that ringed the platform and leaned into the sunset. She loved the fresh, salty tang of the open water, the perfume of her sunburned youth. She’d been for a swim earlier, while Mrs. Ramirez was cleaning, and there’d been quite a few neighbors about, lounging and jogging. Nora had plenty of time to swim these days, with Jeff working in England and Dana now living in Greenwich Village, and no classes to teach until September. It wasn’t even July yet.

The sky above the water was the deep, almost shocking shade of late afternoon blue that always filled her with a sense of contentment. There was no one on the beach beyond the grassy dunes at this hour, only two seagulls pecking in the sand near the water’s edge. Well, the smaller one was pecking, foraging for food, while the larger one circled it, hopping up and down and squawking. As she watched, a big wave crashed near the birds, startling them. They took off with angry cries and a flurry of wings, skittering away down the shore . . .

And the telephone rang.

It was the landline in the bedroom below her. Her cell was in her pocket; her daughter had programmed it to blare a rousing chorus of Ethel Merman shrieking “There’s No Business Like Show Business” whenever anyone called. The cellphone was pretty much family only, so this caller wouldn’t be Jeff or Dana. She went over to the roof door and down the narrow staircase to the upstairs hallway.

As she entered the master bedroom, she noted with approval that Mrs. Ramirez had changed the sheets and vacuumed. The mirror above her dresser gleamed from the Windex, reflecting a tall, slender woman of Irish descent with nice green eyes, good cheekbones, and shoulder-length chestnut hair. The color was professionally applied, hiding many gray strands; she wasn’t yet ready to admit that she was closing in on fifty. The slenderness was due to all the swimming, and to yoga and Pilates, not to mention overseeing armies of boisterous students. She sat on the bed and picked up the phone from the night table. “Hello?”

The mild static suggested an overseas call, even before she heard the plummy accent and cultured tones of her husband’s British business associate.

“Nora, it’s Bill Howard.”

“Hi, Bill! How nice to hear from you. How are you?”

A pause, then a breath. “I—I—Oh, Nora, I don’t know how to tell you this. I’m afraid I have some very bad news. Is—is anyone there with you?”

“No, I’m alone here. Why do you ask? What is it, Bill? What’s wrong?”

More ragged breathing. Then “I’m so sorry, Nora. It’s—it’s Jeff. He’s been in an accident. He’s dead.”

She heard the words, and they registered; she understood. Something happened inside her, a sudden feeling that she was on a stage and they were speaking lines that had been written by a playwright. She gripped the receiver carefully in her hand and spoke slowly, distinctly, so the audience could hear.

“How, Bill? How did it happen?”

“He was in one of my company’s cars in Kensington, on Holland Park Avenue. He seems to have swerved off the road and struck a wall. He—he was gone by the time the emergency people got to him. I’m so sorry. I’ve only just learned of it myself. It happened yesterday evening.”

“You’ve only just learned of it?” Nora was aware that she was still enunciating everything carefully. She didn’t sound like herself; she sounded like a character in the play she was performing. She wondered if this was a symptom of shock.

“Yes, that’s the odd thing about it. It seems he didn’t have anything on him, any identifying cards or papers. Nothing in his wallet but money, and pictures of you and your daughter. The police didn’t know who he was until they traced the car to us. I—I went to the morgue and, um, identified him. I’m just now back from there.”
The woman she was playing said, “Was anyone else hurt? Was he—”

“He was alone in the car, and no other cars were involved, so far as they know. None that stopped, at any rate . . .”

She weighed those last six words. “What are you saying, Bill? Do they have reason to believe it was anything other than an accident?”

Bill Howard gasped; that’s how it sounded, anyway, and his voice trembled with emotion. “Oh, Nora, I don’t really know anything at this point. I think you must—you must . . .” He was Jeff’s longtime friend and colleague, she reminded herself, and he was floundering, apparently searching for words in his own distress.

“I’ll come,” she heard herself say. “I’ll get a seat on the soonest flight.”

Now he seemed to pull himself together, and his voice took on a clipped, authoritative tone. “Let us do that for you, Nora. My assistant can handle all the business with the flights—”

“No,” she said. “No, thank you, Bill. I must—I’d rather be doing something. I’ll call you as soon as I know when I’m arriving.”

“We’ll book you in the Savoy—”

“No, nothing big. That little place in Gower Street where we usually stay.” We. She and Jeff . . .

“The Byron,” Bill said. “We’ll handle that, at least. Let me know your flight, and I’ll meet you at Heathrow. I’m so very sorry, Nora.”

She winced; she would have to get used to that sentiment. “Thank you, Bill, for—for being so kind.” She hung up before he could say anything more.

The bedroom was dark now. The receiver missed the cradle on the table and fell silently to the carpet. A car accident. She’d often wondered how it would be, what news she might hear. Jeff traveled so much with his business. But she’d never thought of a car accident. A plane, maybe . . .

A plane. The character she was playing took over once more. Nora Baron shut her eyes for a moment and listened to the silence in her house, in her body, in her mind. Then she opened her eyes, switched on the bedside lamp, picked up the receiver from the floor, and called the airline.

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Mrs. John Doe: A Nora Baron Thriller 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Catches your attention in first few pages. Many twists and turns . Great story and characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it, you will like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entirely engaging, subtle plot twists
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Characters. am I the only one who felt that Tom Savage might be a woman? That IS a compliment, by the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read for a wintry week ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Miss Marple explanation near the end was unecessary. Took longer than necessary to develop plot lines.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Wow! This story starts out our protagonist, Nora, is home alone. Her daughter is off to college and her husband is off one one of his many business trips. Then she gets a call from her husband's business partner. Her husband is dead. She needs to fly from the U.S. to the U.K. to identify his body, which she does. Next thing I know, she's going to Paris to look for her husband after receiving a note from a stranger which she knows is written by her husband. I quickly check my meds, yeah, I've taken the right dosage. I then reread a few pages and say "alrighty then. . . The action starts non stop from there. Nora has got so many bad guys after her, its like everywhere she looks, they are after her. Bad guys everywhere, reminds me of my dating days. She's not sure who she can trust and who she can't. And she is just so sure that her husband is still alive because the body she and her husband's business partner identified is not her husband. (Creepy ghost noise here) Nora evades abductions, being shot at, being chased, being trapped and being followed all on a path to find her husband and uncover a plot wherein someone is selling WMD to the enemy. This book was so good that I could NOT put it down and those pages were just turning like crazy. Forget the blood pressure monitor with this one. Your gonna need an EKG with a defibrillator nearby. It was seriously that good!! Thanks Random House and Net Galley for the free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I totally recommend this book. The entertainment is well worth it. It was a fantastic read!
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
This is a perfect spy thriller. The main character is an actress, not an agent, but she undergoes a series of events to truly test her will. The action continues non-stop, and there are curves around every corner. The writing is superb. There is heart-pounding action and new surprises on every page. Even knowing the ending you want to read it again. It is that good.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Yet another great read by Tom Savage. So glad that there is more Nora Baron. Savage is a master of the thriller. I continue to read all that he writes. Sharron Schauperl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book based on the reviews and was very disappointed. The main is worried about her makeup as she is being chased by spies. The story events were unbelievable. Don't waste your time reading this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good plot, kept me guessing up until the end.
Diane_K More than 1 year ago
Mrs. John Doe is a different kind of spy novel. Rather than the actual spy going through the intrigue, twists, turns and suspense, the wife, Nora Baron - actress, does. Is her husband, the spy, dead like she has been told or is he alive, hiding vs. captured by "the bad guys." Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guy? Who can she trust? Nora has to figure all of this out while following clues that take her to France and England. She desperately wants answers and has to see this through to the end no matter what the consequences. Tom Savage has written a great novel which is fast paced, full of misdirects as well as forceful, strong characters. The pages keep turning because the reader has to find out what is in Nora's future. I found myself while reading rooting for Nora and trying to direct which steps I thought she should take and what to or not to do next. In my opinion, any time a writer can draw the reader in to that extent he has done an incredible job. I received this book free through for review purposes. For more information on Tom Savage please check here:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It does keep moving and pulls you along! Very hard to follow all the twists and turns. Who is good? Who is bad? Just enjoy the ride.
1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Will add him to my favorite author list.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Nora receives a phone call. Her husband is in France on a business trip. The man on the other end of the phone tells her that her husband has been killed in an auto accident and that she needs to come. She had been expecting this phone call, but it still took her breath away. Arriving in Paris, she is taken to the morgue where she identifies her husband. But is he really dead? This book has it all ..... dead people who may not be dead ... secret decoded messages from beyond the grave, arms dealers, terrorists, spies, people working for companies that have no name, friends who may not be your friends, enemies who might be the one to trust, and dead bodies of really dead people falling all around. Having never been to Paris, I really enjoyed the descriptions of landmarks there, the beautiful gardens, museums, out of the way cafes that serve scrumptious foods, bed and boards. I loved it all. The character of Nora is complex. She's a retired actress, now teaching acting classes. Basically she's a wife, mother, happy with her life .... until she's pulled into something she doesn't understand. She becomes an almost super woman ... carrying a gun, ditching a car that's obviously following her, barely missing being shot by a sniper..all while keeping her cool. There is lots and lots of action... running, jumping, climbing, car chases, train chases...following people who may or not be trustworthy wearing disguises. I was out of breath and needed a nap by the time I got to the last page. My thanks to the author / NetGalley / Random House Publishing Group - Alibi for the digital copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Jarina More than 1 year ago
Mrs. John Doe is Tom Savage's sixth suspense novel, and not the first to have a very strong female lead character. Nora Baron had been expecting the call. After more than twenty years as the wife of spy Jeffrey Baron it was just a matter of time. The plans had been made, she knew just what to do. But still, when the call came she was not ready. The call was from Bill Howard, Jeffrey's British counterpart. There had been an accident. Nora was needed to identify her husband's body and make arrangements. She put things in order at home, told her daughter she was going to London to join Jeffrey, and flew to Heathrow where she was met by Bill Howard. Once her things were settled at the Byron Hotel, Bill took her to the morgue to make identification and collect personal effects. When Nora returns to her hotel she decides to walk to her favorite little park as the late afternoon fog begins to settle. It is in this foggy atmosphere that the mid eastern man (was it the same one from her flight?) tried to steal her purse containing Jeffrey's things. A young jogger comes to her aid and accompanies her back to her hotel. And the most eventful week of Nora's life begins. A story of clues and intrigue, Nora is led by her instincts as she wonders if there is anyone she can truly trust, especially after the cryptic message telling her to trust no one and using the special name only Jeff knew. And what are the stakes if she is unsuccessful? Is there really a security leak and a plan to sell to terrorists? What would Jeffrey want her to do? Mrs. John Doe is intricately written with surprising plot twists and character turns. The reader will be swept away in the adventure, picturing every occurrence and anxiously following the events as they are described. A real page turner, I highly recommend Mrs. John Doe