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You Only Die Twice

You Only Die Twice

4.7 7
by Edna Buchanan, Barbara Caruso (Narrated by)

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(Britt Montero Series)

The nude corpse of a beautiful woman washes up on a pristine beach in miami. The problem is that the victim, Kaithlin Jordan, was murdered ten years ago. And her convicted killer - her husband, R.J. - sits on death row, just weeks away from his execution. Newspaper reporter Britt Montero recalls the high-profile murder trial. Even without


(Britt Montero Series)

The nude corpse of a beautiful woman washes up on a pristine beach in miami. The problem is that the victim, Kaithlin Jordan, was murdered ten years ago. And her convicted killer - her husband, R.J. - sits on death row, just weeks away from his execution. Newspaper reporter Britt Montero recalls the high-profile murder trial. Even without a body, the prosecution's case against R.J. seemed airtight. Now R.J. is preparing to walk and Britt is energized once more by a slew of questions that suddenly need answers. Did Kaithlin frame her husband for murder - or did she simply efficiently flee an abusive marriage? And why, after successfully reinventing herself, had she returned to South Florida, only to meet a very bad end in deep turquoise water?

"Buchanan tells great stories - hot, horrible, homicidal stories." (New York Times Book Review)

Editorial Reviews

"I had overheard the initial radio transmission on the 'floater' while working on a story at Miami Beach police headquarters. My ears had perked up. My name is Britt Montero, and I cover the police beat in this city where everything is exaggerated, where colors are too vivid to be real, where ugly is uglier, beautiful is breathtaking, and passions run high. Every day on this job, I see new faces. Many are dead. My mission is to chronicle their stories and preserve them permanently-on the pages of the newspaper of record, in our files, and on our consciousness, forever."

It's been nearly 10 years since department store heir and scion R.J. Jordan was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murder of his wife Kaithlin, whose body has never been found. Now as Jordan sits on Death Row, counting down the weeks to his execution, a staggering discovery on Miami Beach is about to give him a second lease on life….

Ace crime reporter Britt Montero, responding to a radio transmission overheard at police headquarters, is among the first on the scene when the floater washes up-young, blonde, beautiful, wearing nothing more than a single Tiffany earring and a diamond wedding ring. There's evidence of a struggle, but not much more to go on, until a standard fingerprint check tells a different tale.

For this is no ordinary floater. In fact, this floater is about to make front page headlines-just like she did when she was murdered by her playboy husband almost a decade ago. Because this floater is none other than Kaithlin Jordan, and it's clear that's she's been very much alive and living the good life, at least until the waves washed in her body just a few short days ago.

But what brought this mysterious woman back to Miami, with all of its notoriety, heartaches and broken dreams? And why, after so many years of hiding, would Kaithlin risk it all to return to a city where so many people would remember her face and her name?

For Britt Montero, the answers to those questions will reveal a story far sadder than the torrid tales of infidelity and domestic violence that cost Kaithlin's husband 10 years of the hardest kind of time. Too bad the truth won't be easy to find. Because in a city where money talks, and "don't ask, don't tell" is the rule of the game, Britt's getting nowhere fast, although the answers are closer than she ever imagined.

One thing's certain. When it comes to the tragic life and death of Kaithlin Jordan, everyone who knew her has something to hide: the exonerated husband who swore all along that he didn't kill her; his socialite mother, who hated Kaithlin for ruining the lives of her husband and her son; the down-on-his-luck lawyer whose newfound fortune is inextricably tied to Kaithlin's demise; and even Britt's mother, who knew Kaithlin well as a young girl and then as a young bride. But for all of their secrets, do any of them really know what happened to Kaithlin since the day she disappeared, or who'd want to kill her-the second time?

In You Only Die Twice, seventh in a series of acclaimed Britt Montero mysteries, Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter Edna Buchanan brings back her alter ego in a modern-day interpretation of Double Indemnity that will keep readers guessing until the last page is turned.
Chicago Tribune
Few writers can touch Buchanan.
Tampa Tribune
If you like crime, you'll love Buchanan.
New York Times Book Review
Buchanan tells great stories—hot, horrible, homicidal stories.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
A supremely expert yarnspinner.
Washinton Post Book World
I doubt if anyone else is doing it any better.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When the body of a beautiful woman is found floating offshore, seaweed in her hair, veteran Miami News police-beat reporter Britt Montero gets the call in an engrossing who-was-it that soon becomes an equally intriguing whodunit. Britt senses a good story in the making, and when the body remains unclaimed and foul play is established, she is sure of it. A fingerprint check identifies the well-cared-for mermaid as Kaithlin Jordan of the prominent department store family. One problem: she's been dead for 10 years, and her husband is scheduled to be executed for her murder. Kaithlin flourished at the family's flagship store and was rumored to be the brains of the outfit. Britt's mother, a longtime employee, trained her, but avoids queries about the young woman. Once again Britt enlists staff photographer Lottie Dane and cigar-chomping police detective Emery Rychek, along with News librarian Onnie and the rest of her support network, to uncover the woman's past. Drawing on her own rich experience as a Miami reporter, Buchanan (Pulse) charts Britt's determined pursuit of the truth. The reader is along every step of the way, even if things go a bit over the top as the outwardly tough Britt continually struggles to balance the problems of daily life and possible romance with the horrors she encounters in the all-consuming job she loves. Agent, Michael Congdon. (Apr. 2) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The body of a woman is found washed up on the sands of Miami Beach, apparently a murder victim. News reporter Britt Montero is one of the first people on the scene, and as she begins to investigate the death, one brick wall after another prevents her from finding the truth. The corpse turns out to be that of Kaithlin Jordan, killed years ago by her husband, who is sitting on Death Row but who is now obviously innocent of the crime. In the ten years since he was found guilty of her death, Kaithlin had moved to Seattle, established a new identity, but had returned to Miami for some reason that had resulted in her demise. Buchanan is a reporter in Miami and brings a gritty realism to her knowledge of both the inner workings of a newspaper and the ambiance of that city. This is a well-plotted whodunit that, literally, keeps the listener in doubt as to who the real killer is until the very last chapter. Sandra Burr is an excellent reader, giving the myriad characters distinctive and realistic voices. You Only Die Twice would make one heck of a movie, but, for now, we will have to be content with this spellbinding audiobook. Recommended for all public libraries. Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Buchanan, whose hooks are the best in the business, outdoes herself when the corpse Miami News police reporter Britt Montero sees wash up on a sunlit beach is identified as Kaithlin Jordan, whose husband is already on Death Row, convicted of her murder ten years ago. If the corpse really does belong to the former department-store clerk who married the owner's heir and became a crackerjack store manager before her well-publicized domestic and legal problems (allegations of a $3 million embezzlement, her separation from R.J. Jordan), its discovery raises some tough questions: What was she doing for the past ten years? Was she an amnesiac or a fugitive from justice? Why didn't she ever come forward to clear the man accused of killing her? And what brought her back to Miami to get murdered days before the state executed her husband? As Britt works her contacts-this time including an investigator for the State's Attorney who shows real promise as a romantic lead-to delve deeper into Kaithlin's life, she bumps up against some memorable characters, from R.J.'s sanctimonious mother to an impoverished friend of Kaithlin's who claims her body (along, eventually, with two other competitors) to the sleazy lawyer Kaithlin phoned from her posh hotel room shortly before she died. But none of them upstages the dead woman, who remains even beyond the last shocking revelation the most mysterious presence of all. Pruning away the tabloid crime cameos she does better than anybody else, Pulitzer-laureate Buchanan (Garden of Evil, 1999, etc.) focuses like a laser on her irresistible main event, and comes up trumps.

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
The Britt Montero Series , #7

Read an Excerpt

You Only Die Twice Chapter One

Hot sand sizzled beneath my feet. An endless turquoise sea stretched into infinity. Bright sailboats darted beyond the breakers, their colors etched against a flawless blue sky. Playful ocean breezes kissed my face, lifted my hair off my shoulders, and ruffled my skirt around my knees. The day was perfect, a day to die for. Too bad about the corpse bobbing gently in the surf.

She appeared serene, a drifting, dreaming mermaid, narrow-waisted and full-breasted, with long slim legs: an enchanting gift from the deep. She wore seaweed in her hair, which was long and honey-colored, streaked by brilliant light as it swirled like something alive just beneath the water's glinting surface.

Had she been caught by the rip current, that fast-moving jet of water that races back to the sea, or did she plunge from a cruise ship or a party boat? Perhaps she was a tourist who went wading, unaware of the sharp drop-off only a few feet from shore. But if so, why was she naked?

Clearly she was no rafter drowned in a quest for freedom and a new life, or gold chains and designer jeans. Her fingertips and toenails gleamed with a pearly luster, as though polished to perfection by the tides. This woman appeared to have lived the good life. None of the grotesqueries that the sea and its creatures inflict on the dead had overtaken her yet. Obviously she had not been in the water long.

I had overheard the initial radio transmission on the "floater" while working on a story at Miami Beach police headquarters. My ears had perked up. My name is Britt Montero, and I cover the police beat in this city where everything is exaggerated,where colors are too vivid to be real, where ugly is uglier, beautiful is breathtaking, and passions run high. Every day on this job, I see new faces. Many are dead. My mission is to chronicle their stories and preserve them permanently — on the pages of the newspaper of record, in our files, and on our consciousness, forever.

My editors at the Miami News share a somewhat different view of my job description. As a result, I had been dutifully poring through tall gray stacks of computer printouts in the police public information unit. The art department planned a locator map for Sunday's paper, to accompany my piece on the crime rate. My task was to compile the crime statistics zone by zone and identify the scene of every rape, murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.

I hate projects based on numbers. If words are my strength, decimal points are my weakness. Calculating the number of violent crimes per hundred thousand population has always been problematic for me. Is it 32 crimes per 100,000, 320 or 3.2? A live story on a dead woman is infinitely more intriguing.

Studying the body more closely, I could see that we shared characteristics in common. We were close in age and appearance. My plans, to bodysurf and sunbathe today along this same sandy stretch, had been ruined by the DBI (Dull But Important) project I had agreed to complete on my day off Her plans had also been ruined. All of them. Permanently. Some quirk of fate had delivered us both to the coastal strip I had yearned for, sun on my shoulders, sea breeze in my hair — but it wasn't the day at the beach either one of us had in mind.

Along with a lifeguard, two uniformed cops, and a growing crowd, I watched a detective trudge toward us across the sand. Emery Rychek was an old-timer, one of the few holdouts who had not opted for guayaberas when Miami Beach police dress codes were relaxed. Unlit cigar clenched between his teeth, his white shirt open at the throat, his shapeless gabardine jacket flapping in the breeze, Rychek handled more than his share of deaths, most of them routine. Young cops want sexier calls, not grim reminders of their own mortality. Rychek never seemed to mind the unpleasant tasks that come with a corpse.

"So, you beat me here, Britt," he acknowledged, his voice a gravelly rumble.

"I was at the station, working on a story about the crime rate. I heard it go out."

Rychek chewed his cigar. His smelly stogies often came in handy, to mask the stench of corpses gone undiscovered too long, though colleagues routinely debated which odor was more nauseating. No need for him to light up here. This corpse was as fresh as the sea air.

"Well, lookit what washed up." He appraised her for a moment, fierce eyebrows raised in mock surprise, then turned to the cops. "Whattaya waiting for, the tide to go out and take her with it?"

"Thought maybe we should leave her like she was till you guys took a look," one said.

Rychek shook his head in disgust as the two cops stripped off their shoes and socks, rolled up their pant legs, pulled on rubber gloves, and waded gingerly into the sun-dappled shallows. Green water streamed from her hair as they dragged her ashore. Her pale half-open eyes stared hopefully at the sky, her expression reverent. Her only adornment was a gold earring, the delicate outline of a tiny open heart.

Excellent, I thought. Distinctive jewelry is a good start for those of us trying to identify the dead. But this woman's youth and beauty guaranteed she'd be no lost soul. I dreaded the cries of her loved ones, sure to appear momentarily, frantic with grief, hearts breaking.

"A great body is a terrible thing to waste," one of the cops muttered.

Rychek ignored him, as he straddled the naked woman, cigar still clenched between his teeth. He grunted as he tugged her pale form one way, then the other, seeking wounds or identifying marks. I watched, painfully aware that there is no modesty, no privacy in...

You Only Die Twice. Copyright © by Edna Buchanan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Edna Buchanan commanded Miami's police beat for eighteen years. She reported more than 5,000 violent deaths, 3,000 of them murders. She also covered kidnappings, riots, fatal fires, major plane crashes and other disasters. She won international acclaim for her classic true crime memoir The Corpse Had a Familiar Name, and has received praise for her everlasting Britt Montero series.

Erin Bennett is an actress, singer, and voice-over artist. Her audiobook credits vary widely from contemporary fiction to mysteries to science fiction and romance. As an actress she has performed at the Pasadena Playhouse, Yale/New Dramatists, The Intiman, Arizona Theatre Company, Laguna Playhouse, International City Theatre, A Noise Within, the Getty Villa, L.A. Theatreworks, and the Falcon. Her voice-over work spans animation, radio plays for the BBC, video games, and commercials for radio & television.

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You Only Die Twice 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I gotta admit right up front; I never read mysteries written by women before I found Edna Buchannan. I know, I know. Call me sexist, but I had a bad experience once with a female author, i.e. all she did was bash guys throughout most of her book. Then I found the Brit Montero series and I was hooked. This book is no exception. For all the guys out there, this lady can write...It remains a fantastic series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rejoice thriller fans, Britt's back - ace crime reporter Britt Montero, that is, creation of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter/author Edna Buchanan. The scene is, of course, Miami, where the sun always shines and crime stats. pile high. Britt hears that the body of a once beautiful young woman has just washed up on the beach. Through fingerprints the woman is identified as Kaithlin Jordan, a member of an important department store family. Evidently, Kaithlin once held sway at the family's flagship store, calling the shots and rasing the revenue. There are conundrums, as always - a major one being that Kaithlin has been dead for ten years. In fact, her killer is scheduled to be executed for her murder in one week. Where has the woman been for a decade, what has she been doing and who killed her - twice? Britt needs all her resources to solves this crime that has more twists than a corkscrew. Edna Buchanan is a pro at devising plots that reel readers in. With 'You Only Die Twice' she's hooked us once again.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Miami News police beat reporter Britt Montero is at the scene of the floater when Detective Emery Rychek arrives to take charge of the investigation into the death of Jane Doe. Normally, the local police ignore floaters, but this is not the usual drowning victim so the brass decides to make some discreet inquiries among missing persons, etc. However, bets are off when the Medical Examiner informs Rychek that someone killed the victim.

At first, Rychek failed to come up with an identity, but the fingerprints ultimately led to the body being Kaithlin Jordan. The only problem with her being the corpse is that her husbamd Robert, heir to the Department Store, sits on death row for murdering her ten years ago. Though drowned and her corpse impacted by water and sand, the deceased has the look of someone who lived a very good lifestyle. Britt begins investigating more than just who killed Kaithlin and why, but where has she been for a decade while her spouse lingered on death row?

YOU ONLY DIE TWICE is a thrilling investigative tale that uses legitimate twists and turns from the onset to keep the audience off balance. The story line hooks the reader early as everyone wants to learn where Kaithlin has been for ten years. As with her previous starring roles Britt remains a fabulous character and the support cast brings Miami to life as only Edna Buchanan can do.

Harriet Klausner

Carl80 More than 1 year ago
In the pantheon of crime solvers, Britt Montero is one of the best. As a crime beat reporter for the Miami News, she’s one of the first on the scene when a beautiful nude woman is discovered on a beach near the city. After several days of fascinating maneuvering, lovingly detailed by author Edna Buchanan, the identity of the body is determined to be that of Kathlin Jordan. The only trouble is, she’s dead these past ten years and her husband, convicted of the murder, has just exhausted his last appeal. So now, Montero, a fully realized character, takes an often puzzling, sometimes frightening, ride through south Florida’s high and low society in an attempt to find out what really happened. Is JR, son of a powerful, wealthy family actually not guilty? In spite of his poisonous personality, was his mother right to defend him almost to the death? And where was Kathlin all these years while JR’s case wound it’s way through the court system. Even more importantly, why has she now literally surfaced at the last minute? This question is especially important because the finding of her body was very much happenstance.. Lying there nude, in the shallow ocean water, had the weather been only a little different, she might have gone out to sea never to be discovered. This novel is carefully and precisely written, with never a misstep. Miami and the many interesting characters really come alive and we are with Britt Montero every step of the way. The language is always consistent with the characters, the times and the situations. None write these stories any better and few do it as well.