Thursday 30 November 2017

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway - The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

The Hanging Girl
Eileen Cook

Book Description:
Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late. 

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"...[The Hanging Girl] is fast-paced; features a very relatable, down-on-herluck protagonist; and boasts a surprise twist that will leave readers arguing long after the book is over. Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers." ―Booklist

"A surprisingly dark thriller that will find a home in libraries where there is a need for strong female protagonists and engrossing mysteries." ―SLJ

"...The multiple twists in the ending pack several hefty wallops of surprise and reward the reader with a more than satisfactory payout." ―Bulletin 


In this excerpt, Skye tells the reader about an event that happened when she was younger, that still follows her around in this small town and shapes how others see her.

But as much as I wanted life to be a certain way, wishing doesn’t make things happen. For years I tried wishing my mom into a better job. Or there was the disaster of when I tried to fix her up with my fourth grade gym teacher so they could get married. That ended with the whole school witnessing my mom screaming at him in the parking lot.

Then there was the lie about my dad . . .

I sat in the corner of the bench and pulled my legs up. One reason for wanting to move to New York was to be in a city where every single person I came across hadn’t been a part of the most humiliating experience of my life. I don’t remember when I started lying about my dad. Early. First or second grade. And I didn’t set out to lie as much as I wished the truth—that my dad was a car mechanic who dumped my mom as soon as he found out she was pregnant with me—weren’t real.

My mom had always been honest: I picked a real loser when I picked your father. I used to wish that she’d told me he was dead instead of AWOL. It seemed better to have a dead dad than one who was very much alive and working at a garage three towns over but had no interest in my life.

So I made up a dad. He was in the military. That explained his long absence from home and why he and my mom divorced. She couldn’t bear him being in harm’s way. Deployment is so hard on those left behind. His job made me a bit more noble too, gave me a whiff of respectability that my mom’s job at the grocery store didn’t convey. I was the daughter of a real live American hero. The kind of guy other people thanked for their service. And I might have gotten away with that lie. A distant dad, gone from my life not because he couldn’t be bothered, but because he was called to a higher purpose—protecting America.

Then in eighth grade I pushed my luck. I told people my dad had been injured. I can’t remember what made me add to the lie. To embroider the story with a roadside bomb, VA hospitals, and countless surgeries. Maybe the original story had become dull. Or people wondered why he never seemed to get leave to visit and I thought I needed to create a reason. But my lie went a step too far. Instead of merely keeping people from asking too many questions, it made people feel bad for me. To want to do something.

Without telling me, Drew got the ball rolling when she asked her parents if they would let her take money out of her savings account so I could fly to the veteran’s hospital in Washington, DC, to visit my dad. Her parents told people at their church, and suddenly the thing spiraled out of control. Weeks later there was an all school assembly with my mom invited for a big surprise. The mayor of our town was there. A representative from the Rotary Club presented me with a check in front of everyone. Enough cash so I could travel to Washington with my mom. There was talk of the excess money going toward an accessible home for my poor amputated-legs dad. It was a great example of a town pulling together. A bunch of people were crying and waving these tiny American flags the local Walmart had donated for the event. It would have been amazing—made for TV—except for the part where I’d made him up. I’d just stood on the stage and wished for a meteor to strike me dead while my mom looked around confused trying to figure out what the hell everyone was talking about.

I still remember Drew’s face when she realized I’d lied. She was with her parents, all dressed up for the occasion, and her face collapsed. Her response hurt almost as bad as the pitying looks from everyone else and the hushed snickers. The money had to be returned. No more big giant cardboard checks for me. I had to stand there next to my mom as she explained the truth. I knew, even at thirteen, that no one was ever going to let me forget this.

I did get a few things out of the situation, even if there was no dad or trip to our nation’s capital. I got a standing appointment with a counselor to get at the root of my “issues” and the development of a full-blown anxiety disorder complete with panic attacks. 

About the Author
Eileen Cook grew up in a small town in Michigan, but would go on to live in Boston and Belgium before settling in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two very naughty dogs.

In second grade Eileen’s teacher wrote on a homework assignment “I am sure someday you will be an author” which is a tribute to the psychic abilities of elementary school teachers, as well as Eileen penchant for making things up. While she would go on to fill endless notebooks with really bad poetry, short stories, and the occasional start to a novel, she would first go on to pursue a career as a counsellor working with individuals with catastrophic injuries and illness.

Eileen quickly discovered that the challenge of working with real people is that they have real problems and she returned to writing where she could make her characters do what she wanted. Her first novel was published in 2008. Entertainment Weekly called her novel WITH MALICE a “seriously creepy thriller” which pretty much made her entire year.

When not planning murder and mayhem on the computer, Eileen enjoys reading, knitting, yelling at her dogs to stop digging holes and watching hockey (which she is required to do as a new Canadian.)

Eileen is a popular speaker at conferences both in the US and in Canada, provides writing/editorial coaching, and is a mentor/instructor for the Simon Fraser University The Writer’s Studio.

Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two very naughty dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Photo Content from Eileen Cook 

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