This globe-trotting mystery featuring intrepid photojournalist Sophie Medina is an “assured tale of love, loss, and secret agendas, the first in a new series, which... offers a complex portrait of our nation’s capital, with its historic beauty and roiling underbelly of deceit and danger” (Publishers Weekly).
When photojournalist Sophie Medina returns to London from an overseas assignment, she discovers that her husband, Nick, a geologist and covert CIA operative, has been abducted and assumed dead. Three months later, a friend in the British government relays that Nick has been spotted in Moscow, but Sophie is allowed little joy before the news turns dark—Nick is accused as a suspect in his boss’s murder and rumors circulate that he’s involved in illicit Russian oil deals. With her every step closely watched, Sophie moves to Washington, DC, to be with her family and friends.
There, Sophie is drawn deeper into Nick’s shadowy world. While photographing an exhibit of two never-before-seen Fabergé imperial eggs at the National Gallery of Art, Sophie is confronted by a Russian oil tycoon, implicating her husband in an international energy scheme. On the run from Nick’s enemies, Sophie plays a high-stakes game of Russian roulette as she tries to determine friend from foe and prove her husband’s innocence.
Weaving together political intrigue, art history, and international espionage, the fast-paced Multiple Exposure is the thrilling first novel of an exciting new series.
About the Author
Ellen Crosby is the author of Multiple Exposure, the first book in a series featuring photojournalist Sophie Medina. She has also written six books in the Virginia wine country mystery series. A former freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC Radio News, and an economist at the US Senate, Crosby lives in Virginia with her family. Learn more about her at EllenCrosby.com.
Read an Excerpt
I’ve been in too many war zones not to recognize blood when I see it, but I did not expect to find it smeared on the whitewashed walls and puddled on the black-and-white harlequin tile floor when I opened my front door.
It’s just past midnight as my taxi driver pulls up to the curb on the quiet, dark cul-de-sac where we live in north London. I’m back after two grueling weeks of work in Iraq, a photo shoot on the new postwar architecture of Baghdad, pastels and sleek modern structures blooming incongruously alongside exquisite medieval buildings and the rubble of destruction.
I open the arched wooden door to the half-timbered Tudor cottage Nick and I rent in Hampstead and call out that I’m home. Outside, the cab pulls away now that the driver, an elderly gentleman with an old-fashioned sense of chivalry, believes I’m safely inside. When Nick doesn’t answer, I figure he’s already upstairs, either in his study—he’s been working so hard lately—or in bed reading. A bottle of Veuve Cliquot will be chilling in the silver bucket he bought at a flea market after the seller swore it was used at the Château de Condé for the wedding of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. There will be red roses, for passion, on my pillow.
You don’t have to tell me. I know I’m lucky.
Then I see blood, illuminated by a swath of golden light from the lantern at the front door. Frantically, I begin turning on lights throughout the silent house. The blood is dark and rust colored, but I can tell it’s recent, not more than four or five hours old. The last time Nick and I spoke was in Istanbul as I boarded my connecting flight. Just before I hung up he told me he loved me, as he always does, and I started to say, “Love you more,” because that’s our routine. But my phone, down to a sliver of a battery, died before I got the words out. I never got to tell him that one last time, and it still haunts me.
I set down my equipment bag and suitcase and unstrap my tripod, which I wield like a saber as I follow the path of blood spatter. Signs of a struggle and someone being dragged. A partial handprint on the wall of our sitting room, like a child’s art project. I call Nick’s name, hoping he’s still here, and pray he hasn’t bled out. The house has a tomblike stillness about it and somehow I know his attacker or attackers are gone.
And so is Nick. In the sitting room, a bottle of Scotch is overturned, the clear liquid leaving a dark wet stain on the Bukhara carpet I brought back from an assignment in Afghanistan. His glass has rolled under the settee, and his book, John Julius Norwich’s Byzantium: The Early Centuries, lies splayed open on the floor.
Upstairs, the blue-and-white Amish wedding ring quilt on our bed is gone. The blankets are askew, so it was probably dragged off in haste and I know that is how he left the house, bundled in the quilt under which we’d made love so many times.
Otherwise, our bedroom looks as it always does, and his clothes are still hanging in the armoire or folded in his dresser—suits arranged by season, shoes and work boots lined up in two rows, ties draped over the antique rack I found in a shop on Portobello Road. Sweaters, underwear, socks organized neatly in the drawers.
The computer is switched off in his study. His desk is immaculate, as usual. Nick doesn’t leave work around, not in his business.
I stand there for what seems like ages, wondering whom to call: 999, which will bring officers from the Hampstead police station? Scotland Yard?
But I know what I’m supposed to do and reach for my phone.
I call Nick’s people and they come. The regional security officer from the American embassy and a bland man with a forgettable face who says his name is John Brown.
That’s it. That’s all I, Sophie Medina, can tell you with absolute certainty about the night my husband, Nicholas Canning, was abducted from our home. Everything else, the rest of that night—sirens wailing, bright lights strobing the quiet darkness, doors slamming, voices raised in alarm—is a blur.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this in two days as it was hard to put down. Great plot. Interesting well developed characters. The writing is first rate and the London and Washington D.C. settings were vivid. I appreciated the minimal violence and lack of crudity. CLASSY!
Look forward to the next book.
I wanted to like MULTIPLE EXPOSURE, with its photojournalist main character, DC setting, and spy like tendencies, which makes the fact that I didn't enjoy this novel a much harder pill to swallow. Coupled with the fact that I was forgetting portions of this story as soon as I flipped the page on my Kindle caused me brief bouts of despair and forced me to race to the finish line faster than the Road Runner. So what didn't work for me? The dialogue felt a bit stilted at times, more the way people talk than the way dialogue should look on the page. Sophie Medina seemed like an interesting enough character, and it's rather easy to root for her once she's caught up in this international quagmire, but it felt a bit farfetched, and I never entirely accepted the angle that she needed to prove Nick's innocence all by herself. She's an amateur sleuth, and I never quite bought her amateur status. Feeling more like caricatures than fully-formed beings, the bad dudes seemed evil for evil's sake. While I realize it's difficult to ground villains with humanity, it ratchets up the evil about five or six notches when we have a better understanding of the scoundrels, think Hannibal Lector. This certainly proves more difficult in first person narratives, but it's still possible to achieve success with this angle, either through a tidbit Sophie learns, or possibly overhears, or direct dialogue with the villain or one of his nefarious cohorts. The ending felt abrupt to me, similar to a train coming to a screeching halt. While I realize this is the start of a new mystery series, and Ellen Crosby needs to save some stamina for her future endeavors, I would have been happier if the conclusion didn't feel rushed. *BEGIN SPOILER* While I do appreciate the rather over practiced art of criminals incriminating themselves, I don't think Sophie Medina has the skills to pull it off. And for a relatively short novel, we end up with quite the mixed bag of villains--Baz, Katya, Taras, Vasiliev, and Roxanne and Scott Hathaway--more than enough to cause me repeated whiplash. Add to this, the scandals of blackmail, unplanned pregnancy, murder, and an international energy scheme, and I was left with one hell of a headache. *END SPOILER* While this novel showed plenty of promise, it failed a bit in the overall execution, probably from downing too many pills at the same time. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator