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

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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.
#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)
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.
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING DEBUT PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER YOU CAN'T MISS!

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

“A hair-raising debut, both unsettling and addictive...A chilling thriller that will keep you reading long into the night.” —Mary Kubica, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Girl

“This is one readers won’t be able to put down.” —Booklist (starred review)

"A can’t-put-down psychological thriller.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“This debut is guaranteed to haunt you...Warning: brace yourself.” —Bustle (10 New Thrillers to Read This Summer)

“The sense of believably and terror that engulfs Behind Closed Doors doesn't waver.” —The Associated Press, picked up by The Washington Post

“This was one of the best and most terrifying psychological thrillers I have ever read.” —San Francisco Book Review


Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.

Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.

Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.

From bestselling author B. A. Paris comes the gripping thriller and international phenomenon Behind Closed Doors.

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