Short mystery reads under $4

Mile 81 is Stand by Me meets Christine—the story of an insatiable car and a heroic kid.

At Mile 81 on the Maine turnpike is a boarded up rest stop, a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It’s the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, who’s supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play “paratroopers over the side.” Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.

Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn’t been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says “closed, no services.” The driver’s door opens but nobody gets out.

Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls “the ultimate insurance manual,” but it isn’t going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates.

Ten minutes later, Julianne Vernon, pulling a horse trailer, spots the Prius and the wagon, and pulls over. Julianne finds Doug Clayton’s cracked cell phone near the wagon door – and gets too close herself. By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are a half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. Two kids – Rachel and Blake Lussier – and one horse named Deedee are the only living left. Unless you maybe count the wagon.
Experience a heart-pumping and thrilling tale of suspense!

Originally published in THRILLER (2006),

edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author James Patterson.



Before Jack Reacher became the seminal, nomadic hero he is today and #1 New York Times bestselling writer Lee Child reached his current iconic literary stature, there was James Penney, who we meet in this intense Thriller Short.

Penney was originally envisioned as a character in Child’s second Jack Reacher tale, Die Trying. Though an interesting character, Penney was ultimately excised during the editing process and readers didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him.

Now he’s been resurrected in a tale that features a brief glimpse of Jack Reacher’s early career.

Don’t miss any of these exciting Thriller Shorts:

James Penney’s New Identity by Lee ChildOperation Northwoods by James GrippandoEpitaph by J. A. KonrathThe Face in the Window by Heather GrahamKowalski’s in Love by James RollinsThe Hunt for Dmitri by Gayle Lyndsstrong>Disfigured by Michael Palmer and Daniel PalmerThe Abelard Sanction by David MorrellFalling by Chris MooneySuccess of a Mission by Dennis LyndsThe Portal by John Lescroart and M. J. RoseThe Double Dealer by David LissDirty Weather by Gregg HurwitzSpirit Walker by David DunAt the Drop of a Hat by Denise HamiltonThe Other Side of the Mirror by Eric Van LustbaderMan Catch by Christopher RiceGoodnight, Sweet Mother by Alex KavaSacrificial Lion by Grant BlackwoodInterlude at Duane’s by F. Paul WilsonThe Powder Monkey by Ted BellSurviving Toronto by M. Diane VogtAssassins by Christopher ReichThe Athens Solution by Brad ThorDiplomatic Constraints by Raelynn HillhouseKill Zone by Robert LiparuloThe Devils’ Due by Steve BerryThe Tuesday Club by Katherine NevilleGone Fishing by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
In this chilling original stand-alone novella, available exclusively as an eBook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz offers a taste of what’s to come in his new novel, 77 Shadow Street, with a mesmerizing tale of a homeless boy at large in a city fraught with threats . . . both human and otherwise.

Twelve-year-old Crispin has lived on the streets since he was nine—with only his wits and his daring to sustain him, and only his silent dog, Harley, to call his friend. He is always on the move, never lingering in any one place long enough to risk being discovered. Still, there are certain places he returns to. In the midst of the tumultuous city, they are havens of solitude: like the hushed environs of St. Mary Salome Cemetery, a place where Crispin can feel at peace—safe, at least for a while, from the fearsome memories that plague him . . . and seep into his darkest nightmares. But not only his dreams are haunted. The city he roams with Harley has secrets and mysteries, things unexplainable and maybe unimaginable. Crispin has seen ghosts in the dead of night, and sensed dimensions beyond reason in broad daylight. Hints of things disturbing and strange nibble at the edges of his existence, even as dangers wholly natural and earthbound cast their shadows across his path. Alone, drifting, and scavenging to survive is no life for a boy. But the life Crispin has left behind, and is still running scared from, is an unspeakable alternative . . . that may yet catch up with him.

There is more to this world, and its darkest corners yet to be encountered, in this eBook’s special bonus: a spine-tingling excerpt from Dean Koontz’s forthcoming novel, 77 Shadow Street.
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