The First Cut

Nan Vining

Book 1
Sold by Ballantine Books
18
Free sample

BONUS: This eBook edition includes a thrilling sneak peek of Dianne Emley’s upcoming Nan Vining thriller, Killing Secrets!

For two minutes she was dead.

The assailant was vicious, the attack brutal—and it left her lifeless . . . until her pulse fluttered and she jolted awake. Now, a year later, detective Nan Vining is still questioning her strength, her safety, even her sanity: Can she ever again be the cop—and mother—she was before? And will her attacker someday return to finish the job, before she can track him down herself?

Shaky but determined, Vining rejoins the Pasadena PD, only to confront a murder case that strikes close to home: A slain policewoman has been discovered beneath the Colorado Street Bridge, her body bruised, her throat slit. Even as Vining struggles to recover her standing within the department, she can’t help but feel profoundly drawn to the murdered officer, Frankie Lynde—and she is deeply troubled by the baffling otherworldly visions that haunt her waking hours. Are these mere fever dreams? Or could they be, as Vining’s daughter insists, messages from beyond the grave?

Digging deeper into Lynde’s past, Vining discovers clues that set her on the twisted trail of a killer as ruthless as he is depraved—a predator whose methods and madness recall those of her own attacker. Amid a rising tide of danger, she pushes herself to bold new limits, desperate to avenge the murder of a fellow police officer . . . and to reclaim the life she lost a year ago.

Packed with suspense and action, this pulse-pounding novel will hold you breathless from the first cut to the last.

Praise for The First Cut
 
The First Cut should immediately establish Dianne Emley in the front ranks of thriller writers. . . . A great read.”—Michael Connelly
 
“Gritty, intense, and hard-edged, The First Cut is first-rate.”—Tess Gerritsen
 
“Action-packed, with plenty of suspense and enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing long into the night.”—Lisa Jackson
 
“An edge-of-your-seat plot . . . nicely developed characters and genuine suspense elevate this impressive crime debut.”Kirkus Reviews
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About the author

Dianne Emley is the bestselling author of The Night Visitor and the Nan Vining series: The First Cut, Cut to the Quick, The Deepest Cut, Love Kills, and Killing Secrets. A Los Angeles native, she lives in the Central California wine country with her husband, Charlie.


From the Hardcover edition.
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4.3
18 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Aug 29, 2006
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780345495297
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Fiction / Thrillers / General
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner comes a razor-sharp novel of suspense featuring Detective Nan Vining—a single mother whose worlds collide when her teenage daughter stumbles upon a grisly double homicide.
 
When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty, popular young teacher from Emily’s high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student—both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn’t the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There’s also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park—the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn’t she know about her daughter?
 
As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining’s superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn’t buy it. Now she’s chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for—and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.

Praise for Killing Secrets
 
“Killing Secrets is diabolically good, a top-notch murder mystery. Nan Vining is a heroine you’ll love.”—Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of Compulsion
 
“A complex, challenging and engaging mystery for Vining to unravel . . . Readers will love tagging along for the ride.”—The Florida Times-Union
 
“A suspenseful thriller . . . that will surprise readers with its stunning conclusion.”—Kings River Life Magazine
 
“I would strongly recommend Killing Secrets to anyone who likes a good mystery/crime novel—especially one with a strong, intelligent female lead character.”—A Book Geek
 
“Five out of five . . . I didn’t want to put it down.”—Bewitched Bookworms
 
“Killing Secrets is my idea of a hard-edged police drama, the kind I love best, and I want more.”—Buried Under Books

“From the beginning, I was hooked. . . . Highly recommended for those who enjoy a good thriller!”—Peeking Between the Pages

Praise for the novels of Dianne Emley
 
“The Night Visitor grabbed my attention on page one and never let up. It’s a creepy, crafty thrill ride, and I enjoyed every word. I’ll be looking for more of Dianne Emley’s books.”—Karen Robards
 
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—Tess Gerritsen, on Love Kills
Homicide detective Nan Vining finds her world rocked when a murder investigation becomes chillingly personal in this hard-edged thriller for fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner.
 
In a breathtaking infinity pool on a sprawling Pasadena estate, the naked body of a beautiful young woman floats facedown in a drift of rose petals blowing on the breeze. Police sergeant Jim Kissick responds instantly, pulling the dead victim from the water. When his longtime girlfriend, Detective Nan Vining, arrives on-scene, she’s full of questions, and not just about the Jane Doe. Why did the homeowner text Jim instead of calling 911? Jim’s explanation—that he’s simply an old friend of Teddy and Rebecca Sexton’s—doesn’t sit well with Nan. A survivor of a bizarre murder attempt herself, Nan’s instincts for deception are acute. She senses that they’re all hiding something—including Jim, which plunges a wedge deep into their once steadfast relationship.
 
Then a drought-ravaged lake in a bucolic Central California town reveals a grisly secret. Soon two local detectives arrive in Pasadena to interview Jim and his wealthy friends about a mysterious death from years back, and Nan realizes she has good reasons for her suspicions. Jim’s always been her rock, but suddenly he’s become a stranger. And once Nan identifies her Jane Doe, events careen out of control as darkness from the past threatens to consume the life that Nan has worked so hard to rebuild.
 
Look for all of Dianne Emley’s riveting Nan Vining Mysteries:
THE FIRST CUT | CUT TO THE QUICK | THE DEEPEST CUT | LOVE KILLS | KILLING SECRETS | LYING BLIND
 
“The First Cut should immediately establish Dianne Emley in the front ranks of thriller writers.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly
 
“Stunningly good! The First Cut hurtles the reader down a razor’s edge of suspense to the final, shattering end.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner
 
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, on Love Kills
 
“Killing Secrets is diabolically good, a top-notch murder mystery. Nan Vining is a heroine you’ll love.”—New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan

Praise for Lying Blind

“Another first-rate police procedure that follows the investigations led by the strong, dedicated, and very sharp Detective Nan Vining.”—Kings River Life

“Boasting a wonderful cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this book kept me enraptured from beginning to end.”—Dru’s Book Musings

“[Dianne] Emley once again continues to deftly bring Vining to life in a way that rings true.”—Elizabeth A. White Book Reviews

“Fans of plucky heroines will enjoy this.”—Littoral Librarian

“Another phenomenal installment to this series! . . . There were many twists and surprises in this novel that kept me guessing right up until the shocking ending!”—Red Wine and Books
In bestselling author Dianne Emley’s chilling new paranormal thriller, a beautiful woman’s romantic past comes back to haunt her in the form of an otherworldly visitor seeking justice.
 
Gorgeous and successful, Rory Langtry seemed to have it all. Daughter of a movie star and sister of a supermodel, Rory was engaged to sexy artist, Junior Lara. But her bright future went dark one terrible, bloody night that left her sister dead and the accused murderer—Junior—in an extended coma.
 
Now, five years later, Rory appears to have put the past behind her. She has a wonderful new fiancé and heads a successful cosmetics company. Yet dark secrets threaten. Across town, Junior lies close to death but before he departs he seeks to clear his name.
 
It starts with a feeling. It turns into a vision. Soon Rory is having sensations that only Junior could experience. Then she learns details about the awful night that only Junior could know, newfound knowledge with potentially fatal consequences. When another act of violence rocks her family, Rory plunges deeper into the unsolved mystery, led by an inexplicable visitor to a dangerous time and place where all will be revealed at last. But until then, Junior will not let her go.

Praise for Dianne Emley and The Night Visitor
 
“The Night Visitor grabbed my attention on page one and never let up. It’s a creepy, crafty thrill ride, and I enjoyed every word. I’ll be looking for more of Dianne Emley’s books.”—Karen Robards, New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Whisper
 
“A taut, gripping paranormal thriller from page one. You won’t be able to put this book down as Rory—a woman who has everything—fears all she believes is a lie. Excellent!”—Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of Maximum Exposure
 
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestelling author of Last to Die, on Love Kills
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from “a superb craftsman of suspense” (Entertainment Weekly).

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What’s one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they’re stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It’s a strange place, but it’s all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He’s always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place?

As Reacher explores his father’s life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense . . . and deadly.

Praise for Past Tense

“Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Lee Child] shows no signs of slowing down. . . . Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction. . . . You need Jack Reacher.”—The Atlantic

“Superb . . . Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character’s roots, and Child’s spare prose continues to set a very high bar.”—Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

“Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors.”—Booklist (starred review)

“With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike.”—Library Journal (starred review)
The bestselling author of The Genesis Code and The Eighth Day now strikes his most harrowing chord, with a chilling novel that pushes suspense to nearly inhuman limits.

As a television news correspondent, Alex Callahan has traveled to some of the most dangerous corners of the globe, covering famine, plague, and war. He’s seen more than his share of blood and death, and knows what it means to be afraid. But what he’s never known is the terror that grabs him when, on a tranquil summer afternoon, he ceases to be an observer of the dark side and, to his shock, becomes enmeshed in it.

Separated from his wife, and struggling not to become a stranger to his six-year-old twin sons, Alex is logging some all-too-rare quality time with the boys, when they vanish without a trace amid the hurly-burly of a countryside Renaissance Fair.

Then the phone call comes. A chilling silence; slow, steady breathing; and the familiar, plaintive voice of a child–“Daddy?”–complete the nightmare . . . and set in motion a juggernaut of frenzy and agony.

The longer the police search, exhausting leads without success, the deeper Alex’s certainty grows that time is running out. And when, at last, telltale signs reveal a hidden pattern of bizarre and ghoulish abductions, Alex vows to use his own relentless investigative skills to rescue his children from the shadowy figure dubbed The Piper.

Whoever this elusive stranger is, the profile that slowly emerges–from previous crimes involving twins, from the zealously secret world of professional magicians, and from the eerie culture of voodoo–suggests that The Piper is a predator unlike any other. A twisted soul hell-bent on fulfilling an unspeakably dark dream. A fiend with a terrifying true calling. What Alex Callahan is closing in on is a monster with a mission.
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