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.
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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
Hannah Doran is every tabloid’s dream: Hollywood pedigree (wild child of a charming and powerful producer and his cultured wife, who died mysteriously in her prime); best friends with entitled movie stars and celebutantes—and a loud, earth-shattering fall from grace when she was convicted of grand theft after a night of one-percenter excess.
But that's not real—or at least not what Hannah claims is her real life. Hannah is smart, devoted... and, she maintains, innocent of the felony that landed her in prison.
She's determined to make something positive of her life. But it's hard to break from her public image when everyone has a stake in her old role—her beguiling old cellmates, her ruthless father, a female studio exec with much to hide, and a gorgeous, ambitious photographer.
In a town built on image, is success more compelling than the truth—and is true redemption even possible?
“I love The Producer’s Daughter! The characters are fascinating and believable, the story is edgily surprising, and the read is deliciously addicting! It’s everything I expect from Lindsay Marcott at her best!" --Sarah Lovett, IndieBound bestselling co-author of Blowback
"An exciting and engaging story from a Hollywood insider. You'll find yourself rooting for the good guys, booing the bad guys, and thanking your lucky stars the film industry hasn't come calling for you."--SJ Rozan, Edgar Award winning author of Ghost Hero
"A glitzy tour of the entertainment biz... In the hands of this accomplished writer, Hannah's dark secrets make her human as her compelling story unfolds." --Nancy Martin, author of the Blackbird Sisters mystery series
"Reminiscent of Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter, Lindsay Marcott’s The Producer’s Daughter offers a celebutante-style heroine you will root for through the landmines of new Hollywood.--Leslie Lehr, author of What A Mother Knows
“Crais is at the top of his game, and Demolition Angel delivers the goods. With a bang. . . . It’s Silence of the Lambs meets Speed. . . . Crais knows how to press all the right buttons in keeping the story line taut and the action, well, explosive.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Carol Starkey is struggling to pick up the pieces of her former life as L.A.’s finest bomb squad technician. Fueled with liberal doses of alcohol and Tagamet, she’s doing time as a Detective-2 with LAPD’s Criminal Conspiracy Section. Three years have passed since the event that still haunts her: a detonation that killed her partner and lover, scarred her body and soul, and ended her career as a bomb tech.

When a seemingly innocuous bomb call explodes into a charred murder scene, Carol catches the case and embarks on an investigation of a series of explosions that reveal chilling intentions. The bombs are designed expressly to kill bomb technicians. Now, as the one tech who survived the deadliest of blasts, Carol is in for the most perilous fight of her life. . . .

Praise for Demolition Angel

“Terrific . . . explosive . . . [a] high powered thrill ride.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Gripping . . . Crais piles on plot twists . . . gathering the separate threads at the end and igniting them like a string of fireworks.”—People

“A powerful, self-contained novel of suspense that has the compactness, velocity, and effectiveness of a well-aimed bullet . . . This is a thriller that works on every level, a pivotal work from a crime novelist operating at the top of his game.”—Los Angeles Times

“Fascinating and frighteningly believable . . . Starkey is one of the toughest characters to grace the crowded field of thriller books in a long time.”—USA Today

“A flammable techno-thriller with the kind of force that knocks out windows.”—The New York Times Book Review

"Packs an explosive punch. Though the pace of the book moves like a quick-burning fuse, Crais still takes the time in Demolition Angel to sketch out some memorable characters: Starkey, haunted and hollow-eyed, covering up her pain with a Bogart-tough demeanor; and John Michael Fowles (aka Mr. Red), a sociopath who gets all sorts of information from the Internet without breaking a sweat. . . . Crais keeps things wound so tight that readers will be getting paper cuts in their rush to finish this one.”—The Denver Post
New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan introduces an irrepressible heroine in her pulse-pounding new thriller Notorious, which Lisa Gardner says is, "Guaranteed to keep you up late at night."

Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.

When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O'Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.

Now Max is home for Kevin's funeral—after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She's finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she's not prepared for Kevin's sister to stubbornly insist that he didn't kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max's old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin's troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it's becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

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
Everything was set. Seventeen-year-old Marina Lu had even ordered custom-made gowns for the ten bridesmaids who, in several months' time, would have preceded her down the aisle at her storybook wedding.
There isn't going to be a wedding. Marina lies dead, alone in her shiny status car in a suburban shopping center parking lot, her two-carat diamond engagement ring refracting another abruptly shattered Los Angeles dream. Was her death merely a carjacking gone bad? Or is there more to the story?
Marina's murder chillingly introduces Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond to a subculture of "parachute kids," the rich Asian teens who are left to their own devices in California while their parents live and work in Hong Kong. Seeking American education and political stability for their children, the affluent parents often leave only an elderly housekeeper in charge of their vulnerable offspring.
What was Marina's story? Why was she, at such a young age, marrying twenty-four-year-old Michael Ho? Why is Marina's father, banker Reginald Lu, so reluctant to provide information? As Eve delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding Marina's life and death, she stumbles upon a troubled world of unmoored youth and parental neglect.
But Marina, in many ways, would seem to have been among the fortunate. She had money and her parents had power. Eve soon discovers a dramatically more tragic subculture, where destitute young Asian immigrants live in virtual sexual slavery. The story of May-li and her journey from a poor farming home in Fujian, China, to a brothel in Los Angeles is one that Eve will fight to tell and will never forget.
A moving, noir-accented crime novel that opens a rare window to an intriguing subject, The Jasmine Trade is a passionate and polished debut from an exciting new author.
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