Author Miles Van Meter is on a book tour to promote his sensational bestseller Sleeping Beauty, a true-crime account of a deeply personal subject: the attack by a serial killer that left his twin sister, Casey, in a coma. Tonight the audience waits to hear Miles discuss recent developments in his sister's case unaware that pieces of this complex puzzle of violence, unknown even to the author, are about to be revealed.
Six years earlier, life was much simpler for everyone involved, especially seventeen-year-old Ashley Spencer, a popular high school soccer star. Then one night an intruder entered Ashley's home and murdered her father and her best friend. Traumatized and suffering from a crippling sense of survivor guilt, Ashley is ready to give up on both soccer and life until help comes from an unexpected source a scholarship to an elite private school is extended to her by school dean Casey Van Meter. The school quickly becomes a haven for both Ashley and her mother, Terri. As Ashley regains her sense of self through the school's soccer program, Terri joins a writing group for adults led by Joshua Maxfield, a former literary wunderkind who has disappeared from the bestseller lists since his second book was panned by both critics and fans.
Then tragedy strikes again and Ashley has to run for her life, unaware that the key to her survival is in the one book she's afraid to read Sleeping Beauty.
|Product dimensions:||7.46(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.13(d)|
About the Author
Place of Birth:New York, New York
Education:B.A. in Government, American University, 1965; New York University School of Law, 1970
Read an Excerpt
Sleeping Beauty LP
Ashley Spencer's childhood ended the night her father died; the moment before she fell asleep was the last time she experienced unadulterated joy. Ashley and her best friend, Tanya Jones, were still pumped up from their 21 victory over F.C. Oswego, a perennial state soccer power. Both girls had scored, and the victory would give them a shot at the top seed at the State Cup. They had gotten into bed after watching a video, then talked in the dark until a little after one o'clock. When Tanya went to sleep, Ashley closed her eyes and pictured her goal, a header that had boomed past Oswego's All-State goalie. She was smiling as she drifted off.
Ashley had no idea how long she'd been asleep when a sudden movement on Tanya's side of the bed woke her. Tanya was sitting up, staring at the open doorway. Ashley, groggy and not completely certain she was awake, thought she saw someone walking toward Tanya. She was about to say something when Tanya grunted, twitched, and toppled to the floor. The man turned as Ashley leaped out of bed, extending his arm like a duelist. Ashley's muscles spasmed as a bolt of electricity surged through them. She fell sideways onto the bed, confused and unable to control her body. A fist smashed into her jaw, and she tottered on the brink of unconsciousness.
Tanya's head rose over the far side of the bed. The intruder was on her instantly. Ashley saw his fists and legs moving. Tanya fell back on the floor and out of Ashley's sight. A roll of gray duct tape appeared in the man's hands. He tore off several strips and knelt next to Tanya. Moments later, he walked around the bed. A black ski mask covered his face. He wore gloves and dark clothing.
A vise-like grip closed on Ashley's throat and her pajama top was ripped open. She made a feeble attempt at self-defense but she couldn't control her muscles. A leather-covered hand squeezed Ashley's breast until she screamed. The man hit her hard before sealing her mouth with a strip of tape. The intruder rolled Ashley onto her stomach and taped her wrists and ankles together. His face was close to her and she could smell his breath and body odor.
Once she was bound, the man slipped his hand inside her pajamas and caressed her buttocks. Ashley bucked and received a blow for resisting. She tried to squeeze her legs together but stopped when he grabbed her ear and twisted. A finger slipped inside her, probing, rubbing. Then the finger disappeared and he lowered himself onto her. Ashley's body trembled violently for a moment more. Then the sexual assault stopped and the oppressive weight disappeared. Ashley turned her head and saw Tanya being dragged into the guestroom that was next to her bedroom.
Ashley strained to hear what was going on. Bedsprings squeaked. Tape sealed Tanya's mouth but Ashley could still hear her friend's muffled scream. Ashley was gripped by a fear different from any she had ever known. It was as if a stifling gray fog had settled over her, cutting off her air and paralyzing her limbs.
There were more moans and screams from Tanya, but the man who had invaded her home worked in silence. Ashley's heart was pumping furiously and she couldn't get enough air through her nose. She tried not to think about what was happening to her best friend and concentrated on breaking her bonds. It was impossible. She wondered whether her father was dead and the thought galvanized her. If Norman was dead then she couldn't count on anyone to rescue her. She would have to save herself.
In the next room, the man uttered a primal roar of release and Ashley shuddered. He'd finished raping Tanya; next he'd be coming for her. For a moment, the only sounds from next door were Tanya's muffled whimpers. Then Ashley heard an animal snarl and the sound of a blade slamming into flesh. Tanya made a strangled cry that was followed by silence. The stabbing continued. Ashley was certain that Tanya was dead.
The door to the guest room slammed shut and the intruder emerged, ghostlike, out of the darkness. Only his eyes and lips showed through his ski mask. Ashley's breath caught in her chest. The man savored her terror. Then he whispered "See you later," and walked downstairs.
Ashley collapsed from relief, but the feeling was short-lived. "See you later" meant that he was coming back to kill her. She struggled to sit up and scanned her room for something she could use to cut her bonds. Downstairs, the refrigerator door opened. The thought that he was going to eat something horrified Ashley. How could he eat after what he'd done? What kind of thing was he? The refrigerator door closed. Ashley grew desperate. She was going to be raped and killed if she couldn't get away.
A sound from the doorway brought her around. Something covered with blood was dragging itself across the floor. With a great effort, the thing raised its face and Ashley almost blacked out.
Norman Spencer crawled toward his daughter. There was stubble on his bloodstained cheeks and his hair was in disarray. In his right fist was his Swiss Army knife, the long blade out. Ashley fought the nausea and horror that threatened to disable her and rolled onto the floor. She turned her back to her father and presented her bound wrists. Norman had almost no strength left and he did not speak as he sawed at the tape with feeble strokes. Ashley wept as he worked the knife. She knew that she could not save her father and that he was using all that was left of his life to save hers ...Sleeping Beauty LP. Copyright © by Phillip Margolin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
What People are Saying About This
“Phillip Margolin plays delicious tricks on his readers, dashing expectations, twisting the knife deeper, making the suspense really hurt.”
“SLEEPING BEAUTY will keep you awake all night. Phillip Margolin has done it again!”
“Phillip Margolin [is] one of those rare authors who can create a genuinely surprising ending.”
“Phillip Margolin knows how to pack in the thrills ... SLEEPING BEAUTY will keep you guessing until its shocking end.”