Hart of Madness: A Novel

Free sample

In 1902, New York City, nineteen-year-old Ruby Hunt comes home to her Park Avenue apartment to find her family murdered. She is the prime suspect in these gruesome crimes but instead of being placed under arrest, Ruby is committed to an insane asylum for life. The insane asylum is located on Hart Island, just off the coast of the Bronx. The island has served as the city's largest potter's field since the mid-1800s. Over a million lost souls are buried there. Ruby's life has irrevocably changed. Her only hope is a kindly caretaker at the asylum and a handsome young rookie police detective with the NYPD. Detective Liam McCarty is convinced Ruby is innocent and sets out to prove it with the help of investigative reporter Nellie Bly, whose experience in an insane asylum makes her the perfect partner. Time is running out, however, because Ruby's treatments are becoming increasingly debilitating. If Liam doesn't rescue her in time, she will be scheduled for a lobotomy. Over a century later, when a descendant of Ruby's uncle is murdered, homicide detective Frank Mead soon realizes that the connection between Ruby's case and his current murder is inescapable. It won't be the first time Frank has solved a cold case from the distant past to resolve today's crime. Digging into the Hunt family is no easy task. Each relative has something to hide and unless Frank can uncover the killer soon, there will be more murders. Using the latest in forensic technology, Frank enlists the help of digital photo expert, Maggie Thornhill, to match photos found in an old suitcase passed down by Ruby's descendants. Along with handwriting analysis and ballistics, Frank is able to piece together the puzzle that spans over a hundred years.
Read more

Additional Information

Read more
Published on
Jun 18, 2018
Read more
Read more
Read more
Read more
Read more
Read more
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, TIME EXPOSURE is an historical mystery framed by a modern story linking the past and present through current technology. In present day Washington, D.C., renowned digital photographer Maggie Thornhill discovers the mummified remains of a human male behind a false wall in the cellar of her Georgetown brownstone. The brownstone has been in her family since famed Civil War photographer Joseph Thornhill owned it. Family history maintains that Joseph vanished shortly after Lincoln’s assassination. Buried with the corpse is a satchel containing Joseph’s field diary, letters, and a photograph of a civilian on the battlefield. Maggie believes she’s found her lost ancestor’s body. Now she must prove it’s him so the mystery can be put to rest. In 1860 Joseph is a restless and dissatisfied portrait photographer for the Mathew Brady Gallery. When the Civil War erupts, he enlists as a spy for the U. S. Secret Service. Using his professional duties as cover, he investigates the deaths of several government agents. While shooting battle scenes, Joseph inadvertently photographs a civilian in the background, someone who should not have been there. By the time he suspects it’s the killer, the man is long gone. The traitor has, in fact, been hired by unscrupulous industrialist, Samuel Lindsey, to kill the government agents in order to protect Lindsey’s munitions company from scrutiny. Joseph learns that Lindsey’s company not only produces sub-standard weapons for the North but also runs guns to the South. As he pursues the killer, Joseph is wounded on the battlefield, captured, and tortured by Confederates but ultimately escapes. During his flight, he photographs proof of Lindsey’s treason, cases of guns stacked in a southern railroad depot, and brings the evidence to the President. Lincoln is assassinated, however, before he can act, and Joseph’s report is sealed by President Andrew Johnson. Lindsey realizes that he must tie up loose ends to ensure that his guilt remains undiscovered. He directs his hired gun to kill the last remaining threat: Joseph Thornhill. A century and a half later, Maggie discovers through DNA evidence that the body in her basement is not that of Joseph as she suspected. Through tenacious research, she locates the long-sealed portfolio that Joseph presented to Lincoln to document Lindsey’s treasonous activities. Maggie utilizes cutting-edge facial recognition software to digitally analyze Joseph’s photograph of the civilian. What she finds shocks her. Further research reveals that Lindsey’s company is still in business today and under investigation by the FBI. Maggie enlists the help of her future father-in-law and long-time family friend, Senator Fitz Wade to get inside information on that investigation. However, the Senator is less than forthcoming. She suspects he is hiding something or protecting someone, perhaps his son, Maggie’s fiancé, T.J. Wade. She visits the Senator’s home to confront him but the Senator’s wife, Dorothy, blindsides her instead. Dorothy warns Maggie to drop her relentless investigation but with the help of a family photo, Maggie pulls together the missing pieces. Dorothy, in fact, owns the company, which true to tradition, is selling guns to enemies of the U.S. American soldiers are once again dying in the name of profit. But worse, Dorothy is the descendant of the civilian killer. Now that Maggie knows the truth, she has to die.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to the Cynsters’ next generation to bring you a thrilling tale of love, intrigue, and fabulous horses.

A notorious rakehell with a stable of fabulous Thoroughbreds and a lady on a quest to locate such horses must negotiate personal minefields to forge a greatly desired alliance—one someone is prepared to murder to prevent.

Prudence Cynster has turned her back on husband hunting in favor of horse hunting. As the head of the breeding program underpinning the success of the Cynster racing stables, she’s on a quest to acquire the necessary horses to refresh the stable’s breeding stock.

On his estranged father’s death, Deaglan Fitzgerald, now Earl of Glengarah, left London and the hedonistic life of a wealthy, wellborn rake and returned to Glengarah Castle determined to rectify the harm caused by his father’s neglect. Driven by guilt that he hadn’t been there to protect his people during the Great Famine, Deaglan holds against the lure of his father’s extensive collection of horses and, leaving the stable to the care of his brother, Felix, devotes himself to returning the estate to prosperity.

Deaglan had fallen out with his father and been exiled from Glengarah over his drive to have the horses pay their way. Knowing Deaglan’s wishes and that restoration of the estate is almost complete, Felix writes to the premier Thoroughbred breeding program in the British Isles to test their interest in the Glengarah horses.

On receiving a letter describing exactly the type of horses she’s seeking, Pru overrides her family’s reluctance and sets out for Ireland’s west coast to visit the now-reclusive wicked Earl of Glengarah. Yet her only interest is in his horses, which she cannot wait to see.

When Felix tells Deaglan that a P. H. Cynster is about to arrive to assess the horses with a view to a breeding arrangement, Deaglan can only be grateful. But then P. H. Cynster turns out to be a lady, one utterly unlike any other he’s ever met.

Yet they are who they are, and both understand their world. They battle their instincts and attempt to keep their interactions businesslike, but the sparks are incandescent and inevitably ignite a sexual blaze that consumes them both—and opens their eyes.

But before they can find their way to their now-desired goal, first one accident, then another distracts them. Someone, it seems, doesn’t want them to strike a deal. Who? Why?

They need to find out before whoever it is resorts to the ultimate sanction.


A historical romance with neo-Gothic overtones, set in the west of Ireland. A Cynster Next Generation novel—a full-length historical romance of 125,000 words.



Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens


“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.” Cathy Kelly


“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.”Historical Romance Reviews.


“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.” Romantic Times Magazine 

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A TNT ORIGINAL SERIES • “A first-rate tale of crime and punishment that will keep readers guessing until the final pages.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Caleb Carr’s rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us.”—The Detroit News

When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.

Praise for The Alienist

“[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Mesmerizing.”—Detroit Free Press

“The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller—way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller.”—The Buffalo News


“Gripping, atmospheric . . . intelligent and entertaining.”—USA Today

“A high-spirited, charged-up and unfailingly smart thriller.”—Los Angeles Times

“Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Winner of the “2014 San Diego Book Awards for Best Published Mystery, Sisters in Crime.” Pure Lies is a story about two women, separated by three centuries but connected by a legacy of greed, depravity and deceit--a legacy which threatens to make them both victims of the Salem witch trials. 1692, Salem, Massachusetts Born in a time and place of fierce religious fervor, 16-year old Felicity Dale has only endless church meetings and the drudgery of chores to look forward to. When her friends begin accusing neighbors of witchcraft, she fears the devil is in Salem. By chance, however, she discovers that the accusations of her “afflicted” friends are false. What had begun as a youthful diversion has been twisted through seduction and blackmail by powerful men into a conspiracy for profit. Nineteen people will pay with their lives. Today, Washington, D.C. Maggie Thornhill is a renowned digital photographer in Georgetown who possesses a passion for history. As her Ph.D. dissertation, Maggie takes on a project to electronically archive the original documents from the Salem witch trials. She observes discrepancies in the handwriting of the magistrate’s signature on certain land deed transfers -- land that belonged to the witches. When a professor studying the documents is murdered, she begins to suspect that the trials and hangings were a result of simple mortal greed not religious superstition. Using digital technology, Maggie links the past with the present. Clues from an ancient poem lead her to a diary written by a young woman in Salem, 1692. As she reads the fragile pages, Maggie feels a powerful bond with the teenager. Felicity Dale had the courage to sacrifice her life in order to save her soul. Now, more than three hundred years later, Maggie must stay alive long enough to bring Felicity’s story -- and the truth about the Salem witch trials, to light.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.