The Balloon Man

Open Road Media
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A woman attempts to flee her abusive husband in a thriller The New York Times Book Review calls “an unforgettable reading experience.”

Overworked cocktail waitress Sherry Reynard doesn’t expect much anymore from her husband, Ward, whom she’s supported for years. A struggling writer and sometimes-junkie coddled by his wealthy parents, Ward spends his days lost in a fog of self-pity and hallucinations. Then, one morning, he attacks his wife in a sudden, unprovoked, violent fit of rage. When he turns on their three-year-old son, Johnny, Sherry bashes Ward into submission, grabs her boy, and runs.
 
As Johnny recuperates in the hospital, Sherry rents a room in a boarding house—among a group of outcasts—anxious to escape her marriage and her memories. But when her vindictive in-laws file a suit for custody of Johnny, Sherry’s oppressive world starts closing in. She needs someone on her side.
 
When new boarder Clifford Stone arrives, he’s just what Sherry’s looking for. Charming and sympathetic, he’s promised to be there should Sherry ever need him—he’s also been hired by Ward’s calculating father to insinuate himself into her life. Clifford has been paid well to love Sherry, manipulate her, destroy her reputation, and, if need be, even worse.
 
The Balloon Man was made into Claude Chabrol’s classic 1970 film, La Rupture (The Breach). A gripping suspense novel, it will have you “flipping your wig all the way to the last page” (Kirkus Reviews).

“Old fashioned suspense has given way to contemporary trauma and you’ll be flipping your wig all the way to the last page. . . . You won’t want to finish it.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
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About the author

Edgar Award–winning Charlotte Armstrong (1905–1969) was one of the finest American authors of classic mystery and suspense. The daughter of an inventor, Armstrong was born in Vulcan, Michigan, and attended Barnard College, in New York City. After college she worked at the New York Times and the magazine Breath of the Avenue, before marrying and turning to literature in 1928. For a decade she wrote plays and poetry, with work produced on Broadway and published in the New Yorker. In the early 1940s, she began writing suspense.
 
Success came quickly. Her first novel, Lay On, MacDuff! (1942) was well received, spawning a three-book series. Over the next two decades, she wrote more than two dozen novels, winning critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base. The Unsuspected (1945) and Mischief (1950) were both made into films, and A Dram of Poison (1956) won the Edgar Award for best novel. She died in California in 1969. 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Feb 21, 2017
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Pages
218
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ISBN
9781504042673
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Private Investigators
Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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A disaster in a Michigan mining town throws a close-knit community into chaos in this novel from an Edgar Award–winning author.

The small mining town of Thor is nestled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the Wisconsin border. Its only source of income is the two ore mines—one to the east, one to west—that its citizens cling to for security. Then, one calm day, the town’s routine is shaken.
 
One of the mines collapses, and five men are trapped underground. They are the only survivors in the wake of the tragic accident. But as the good people of Thor wait and pray, they know that the catastrophe has already changed them forever. Some are coming together in fear and dread, others in grief and resounding faith. For a few, the tragedy will shatter what little is left of their struggling and vulnerable lives.
 
In her most personal novel of suspense, and of human behavior under the most trying conditions, Charlotte Armstrong lends her formidable talents to what the New York Times hailed as her knack for “day-lit terror.” The Trouble in Thor is inspired by the very real landscape of Armstrong’s own childhood on Hanbury Lake. It is a testament to how life in a mining town can define, smother, and confound its people, in particular the wives, daughters, and sisters often left to their own resources and resilience. 
 
The Trouble in Thor was adapted for the stage in 2008. It debuted in Norway, Michigan, only miles from the town of Vulcan, where Armstrong was born and raised.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Together in one volume—the first three books in the world’s most beloved science-fiction series!

DRAGONFLIGHT

On a beautiful world called Pern, an ancient way of life is about to come under attack. Lessa is an outcast survivor—her parents murdered, her birthright stolen—a strong young woman who has never stopped dreaming of revenge. But when an ancient threat reemerges, Lessa will rise—upon the back of a great dragon with whom she shares a telepathic bond more intimate than any human connection. Together, dragon and rider will fly, and Pern will be changed forever.

DRAGONQUEST

Since Lessa and Ramoth, her golden queen dragon, traveled into the past to bring forward a small army of dragons and riders to save their world from deadly alien spores, fear and desperation have spread across the land. But while the dragonriders struggle with threats both human and otherworldly, a young rider named F’nor and his brown dragon, Canth, hatch a bold plan to destroy the alien scourge at its source—the baleful Red Star that fills the heavens and promises doom to all. 

THE WHITE DRAGON

Never in the history of Pern has there been a dragon like Ruth. Mocked by other dragons for his small size and pure white color, Ruth is smart, brave, and loyal—qualities that he shares with his rider, the young Lord Jaxom. Unfortunately, Jaxom is also looked down upon by his fellow lords, and by other riders as well. His dreams of joining the dragonriders in defending Pern are dismissed. What else can Jaxom and Ruth do but strike out on their own, pursuing in secret all they are denied? But in doing so, the two friends will find themselves facing a desperate choice—one that will push their bond to the breaking point . . . and threaten the future of Pern itself.
A New York City drama teacher risks her life to expose a potentially deadly public hoax in this “most uncommon thriller” (New York Herald Tribune).

Olivia Hudson, a drama teacher at a Manhattan girl’s school, refuses to let her uncle John Paul Marcus play the role of dupe in a real-life revenge story. Uncle John is a beloved war veteran, a New York institution, and a hard-working philanthropist with an unimpeachable reputation. His mistake—an honorable one, at that—was disclosing the financial chicanery of industrial heir Raymond Pankerman, and it could cost John his life.
 
Raymond has staged the perfect crime, and the perfect frame-up, to destroy the old man. He has everything he needs: a failed and penniless playwright who’d sell his soul if the price was right, a budding television starlet looking for a breakout role, and a susceptible public suckered into believing a supernatural swindle that’s making headlines.
 
As a good man is taken down by the outlandish claims of an “otherworldly” publicity-seeking beauty nicknamed the Dream Walker, Olivia refuses to stand idly by—especially since she has the talent to outwit and outplay an actress at her own duplicitous game.
 
Inspired by the mob mentality of the postwar McCarthy hearings, Charlotte Armstrong’s The Dream Walker (also published as Alibi for Murder) is both an ingeniously clever mystery of double-crosses and triple-twists, and a still-relevant cautionary tale about the irreversible consequences of tabloid journalism and the gullibility of the masses.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.
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