Jack of Spades: A Tale of Suspense

Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
21
Free sample

An exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer and the delicate line between genius and madness.
 
Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: He has a top agent and publisher in New York, and his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies. Only Stephen King, one of the few mystery writers whose fame exceeds his own, is capable of inspiring a twinge of envy in Rush. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he pens another string of novels—noir thrillers that are violent, lurid, and masochistic. These are novels that the upstanding Rush wouldn’t be caught reading, let alone writing. When his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel he has carelessly left out, she picks it up and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Before long, Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and in his mind he begins to hear the taunting voice of the Jack of Spades.
 
“Sleek and suspenseful . . . Readers are sure to be gripped and unsettled by [Oates’s] depiction of a seemingly mild-mannered character whose psychopathology simmers frighteningly close to the surface.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
“Just when you think you’ve got her all figured out, Joyce Carol Oates sneaks up behind and confounds you yet again. She does it with a wicked flourish in Jack of Spades.” —The New York Times Book Review
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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Published on
May 5, 2015
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9780802191038
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Horror
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fifth novel.

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
This Bram Stoker Award–winning collection is “certain to stick in your mind long after you’ve turned the last page” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
 
Includes “Big Momma,” a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Short Story
 
Here are six of Joyce Carol Oates’s most “frightening—and deeply disturbing—short stories” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In the titular story, a boy becomes obsessed with his cousin’s doll after her tragic death. As he grows older, he begins to collect “found dolls” from surrounding neighborhoods . . . each with its own sinister significance.
 
In “Gun Accident,” a teenage girl is delighted to house-sit for her favorite teacher, until an intruder forces his way inside—changing more than one life forever. The collection closes with the taut tale of a mystery bookstore owner whose designs on a rare bookshop in scenic New Hampshire devolve into a menacing game with real-life consequences. “At the heart of each story is a predator-prey relationship, and what makes them so terrifying is that most of us can easily picture ourselves as the prey, at least at some time during our lives” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
 
“Everything she writes, in whatever genre, has an air of dread, because she deals in vulnerabilities and inevitabilities, in the desperate needs that drive people . . . to their fates. A sense of helplessness is the essence of horror, and Oates conveys that feeling as well as any writer around.” —Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review
 
“One of the stranger parts of the human condition may be our deep fascination, and at times troubling exploration, of the darker aspects of our nature . . . No other author explores the ugly, and at times, blazingly unapologetic underbelly of these impulses quite like Joyce Carol Oates in The Doll-Master.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“In her new collection . . . [Oates] relishes moments of gothic melodrama, while rooting them firmly in grindingly ordinary American lives.” —The Guardian
 
“Oates convincingly demonstrates her mastery of the macabre with this superlative story collection . . . This devil’s half-dozen of dread and suspense is a must read.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Oates's introduction to Akashic's noir volume dedicated to the Garden State, with its evocative definition of the genre, is alone worth the price of the book . . . Poems by C.K. Williams, Paul Muldoon, and others--plus photos by Gerald Slota--enhance this distinguished entry."
--Publishers Weekly

"It was inevitable that this fine noir series would reach New Jersey. It took longer than some readers might have wanted, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait . . . More than most of the entries in the series, this volume is about mood and atmosphere more than it is about plot and character . . . It should go without saying that regular readers of the noir series will seek this one out, but beyond that, the book also serves as a very good introduction to what is a popular but often misunderstood term and style of writing."
--Booklist, Starred Review

"A lovingly collected assortment of tales and poems that range from the disturbing to the darkly humorous."
--Shelf Awareness

Featuring brand-new stories (and a few poems) by: Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Safran Foer, Robert Pinsky, Edmund White & Michael Carroll, Richard Burgin, Paul Muldoon, Sheila Kohler, C.K. Williams, Gerald Stern, Lou Manfredo, S.A. Solomon, Bradford Morrow, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffrey Ford, S.J. Rozan, Barry N. Malzberg & Bill Pronzini, Hirsh Sawhney, and Robert Arellano.

From the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates:

". . . The most civilized and 'decent' among us find that we are complicit with the most brutal murderers. We enter into literally unspeakable alliances--of which we dare not speak except through the obliquities and indirections of fiction, poetry, and visual art of the sort gathered here in New Jersey Noir."
Uncensored: Views & (Re)views is Joyce Carol Oates's most candid gathering of prose pieces since (Woman) Writer: Occasions & Opportunities. Her ninth book of nonfiction, it brings together thirty-eight diverse and provocative pieces from the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and the New York Times Book Review.

Oates states in her preface, "In the essay or review, the dynamic of storytelling is hidden but not absent," and indeed, the voice of these "conversations" echoes the voice of her fiction in its dramatic directness, ethical perspective, and willingness to engage the reader in making critical judgments. Under the heading "Not a Nice Person," such controversial figures as Sylvia Plath, Patricia Highsmith, and Muriel Spark are considered without sentimentality or hyperbole; under "Our Contemporaries, Ourselves," such diversely talented figures as William Trevor, E. L. Doctorow, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Connelly, Alice Sebold, Mary Karr, Anne Tyler, and Ann Patchett are examined. In sections of "homages" and "revisits," Oates writes with enthusiasm and clarity of such cultural icons as Emily Brontë, Ernest Hemingway, Carson McCullers, Robert Lowell, Balthus, and Muhammad Ali ("The Greatest"); after a lapse of decades, she (re)considers the first film version of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Americana, Don DeLillo's first novel, as well as the morality of selling private letters and the nostalgic significance of making a pilgrimage to Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond.

Through these balanced and illuminating essays we see Oates at the top of her form, engaged with forebears and contemporaries, providing clues to her own creative process: "For prose is a kind of music: music creates 'mood.' What is argued on the surface may be but ripples rising from a deeper, subtextual urgency."

The instant New York Times Bestseller (January 2018)!

"A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller" —New York Times Book Review

"Buckle up, because you won't be able to put this one down." —Glamour

"Jaw dropping. Unforgettable. Shocking." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The best domestic suspense novel since Gone Girl." —In Touch Weekly

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

A 2018 Indie Next Pick | One of Glamour Magazine's Best Books of 2018 | One of Hello Giggles' 19 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018

Praise for The Wife Between Us:

"Fiendishly clever...in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This one will keep you guessing." —Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Stars are Fire

“A clever thriller with masterful twists.” – Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of The Kept Woman

"The Wife Between Us delivers a whip smart, twisty plot in a taut, pacy narrative. It's terrific and troubling. This is one scary love triangle where you won't know who to trust. I loved it." –Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew

"A twisty, mind-bending novel about marriage and betrayal. A gripping plot and fascinating characters; this book will keep you turning the pages and guessing until the very end. A must-read!" –Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada

“This amazing story gallops along at breakneck speed, with an ending that smacks you between the eyes and takes your breath away. These authors are destined to become trail blazers in the field of psychological suspense books that explode in your hands!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault

“Like a house of mirrors, The Wife Between Us kept me guessing around every corner, delving into the complexities of marriage, friendship, and obsession.” —Javier Ramirez, The Book Table

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