Excerpt: HER FATHER’S SECRET by Sara Blaedel
Grand Central Publishing | Available March 5th, 2019
This week marks the publication of the newest book by Sara Blaedel, Denmark’s Queen of Crime, in the US! HER FATHER’S SECRET is the second book in Blaedel’s Family Secrets trilogy, following a Danish woman who moves to the U.S. in pursuit of the truth about her estranged father. Set in Racine, Wisconsin, the Family Secrets books explore exactly what their title suggests: the secrets that can exist between those who should know each other best of all. In HER FATHER’S SECRET, series protagonist Ilka finds herself stuck in the middle of a bizarre - and potentially dangerous - situation. After discovering that her now-deceased father had been receiving threatening notes before his death, Ilka sets out to unveil the blackmailer. And when a series of increasingly sinister events begin to occur in Racine, Ilka has to wonder what she’s gotten herself caught up in…
Thanks to Grand Central Publishing, I’m delighted to share with CBTB readers an excerpt from HER FATHER’S SECRET by Sara Blaedel, available this week at your favorite book retailer! Read on for plot details, praise for Sara’s work, and the excerpt. Bonus: check back in tomorrow for a Q&A with Sara on her newest release!
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HER FATHER’S SECRET by Sara Blaedel
A woman's murder is only the beginning as a daughter races to unravel the maze of secrets her father left behind--before she becomes the next victim--in the latest emotionally gripping novel from Sara Blaedel, #1 internationally bestselling author with over 3 million copies sold worldwide.
After suddenly inheriting a funeral home from her father--who she hadn't heard from in decades--Ilka Jensen has impulsively abandoned her quiet life in Denmark to visit the small town in rural Wisconsin where her father lived. There, she's devastated to discover her father's second family: a stepmother and two half sisters she never knew existed. And who aren't the least bit welcoming, despite Ilka's efforts to reach out.
Then a local woman is killed, seemingly the unfortunate victim of a home invasion turned violent. But when Ilka learns that the woman knew her father, it becomes increasingly clear that she may not have been a completely random victim after all.
The more Ilka digs into her father's past, the more deeply entangled she becomes in a family drama that has spanned decades and claimed more than one life--and she may be the next victim...
Praise for the work of Sara Blaedel
"One of the best I've come across."―Michael Connelly
"Compelling and unique, THE DAUGHTER delves into a dark and fascinating world rarely explored in suspense fiction. Sara Blaedel knows how to reel in her readers and keep them utterly transfixed."―Tess Gerritsen on The Daughter
"lka is a complex and interesting character...The writing and Blaedel's ability to paint a vivid picture of the funeral homebusiness is a definite strength of this novel."―RT Book Reviews on The Daughter
"This series debut has a lighter, cozier touch than the author's award-winning Louise Rick procedural series, set in Denmark; fortunately, Blaedel's astute storytelling also works outside the Nordic gloom."―Booklist on The Daughter
"[A] solid murder mystery...the pacing is calm and thoughtful, and the dead in this story feel like a silent audience to the dramas of the living."―The Austin Chronicleon The Daughter
"A great start for mystery lovers looking to dip a toe into international intrigue."―Library Journal on The Daughter
"Well researched and beautifully depicted the author brings the smells, tastes, and sounds of Racine, Wisconsin to life...I picked up the story one minute and all too soon found myself at the ending cliffhanger."―Killer Nashville on The Daughter
Excerpt: HER FATHER’S SECRET by Sara Blaedel
On the way home Ilka’s thoughts were on what Karen had told her. Which was why she first noticed the dark car when she pulled out to pass a truck. She kept an eye on the car in the rearview mirror. It looked like the one she’d seen on her way out to the Conaways’, though she wasn’t sure. But it was following her on the long, straight stretch of highway. When she slowed, the car didn’t pass her.
A gas station appeared up ahead. She slowed down again, but she waited to signal until she turned in. The dark car drove on. It must be the Conaways’ stable, she thought, that explained why her heart was hammering, why she was so emotional. She watched the car disappear.
She parked between two rows of gas pumps and gathered her thoughts. Should she have gone back and asked Karen what Lily meant when she said her dad wouldn’t be home for a long time? But she hardly knew the woman, and if they were breaking up . . . No, she couldn’t go down that road.
The truck she’d passed earlier stopped beside the diesel pump farthest to the right. The driver jumped down out of the cab. His full beard covered most of his face, and his cap was turned backward. He looked like one of the men she’d seen at the bar the evening she met Larry.
Suddenly she felt lonesome. It wasn’t that she had a lot of friends back in Copenhagen, but she missed running into people she knew, seeing a familiar face at the bakery or when she stopped by a café for coffee. She didn’t have a network of friends in Racine, people she felt connected to. She was alone, a stranger, and that was fine for a while, but it wasn’t going to work in the long run. Definitely not with the way things had gone. She closed her eyes; yes, she missed her apartment, her daily walk in Østre Anlæg, the old Copenhagen park. When she got home, she was going to get a cat!
Stop it, she mumbled to herself, looking around as if she’d just woken up. Now, wouldn’t that be lovely, Ilka the crazy cat woman. Christ!
A car behind her honked, and Ilka pulled over to a marked space and shut the engine off. She scanned the matches that had come in on Tinder. Quick dates. No obligations. Possibly ending with sex, possibly not, but at any rate a human being to be with. She wrote to a blond man, Jeff, and suggested they meet for a drink. Sounds good, he wrote back. He asked if she was new in town. Yes, she wrote. He offered to pick her up and take her to a bar north of Racine on Lake Michigan that was built into the bluffs along the shore, like a grotto. But she wrote that she’d rather stay in town, so she could walk home. They agreed to meet at a bar beside the old jazz club, which Ilka thought must have closed decades ago. She’d passed by there a few times on the way to the pub.
She dropped her phone in her bag and pulled out of the filling station. The white center stripes flickered by on the deserted highway. Suddenly she remembered that she hadn’t emptied the refrigerator back home in Copenhagen before she left. Or the trash. That would be loads of fun to come home to, that and all her dead plants. She’d have to ask someone to go over there. Mom.
For the past several days Ilka had avoided returning her mother’s calls. She was going to go crazy when she heard Ilka was bringing home a debt of a few million kroner, exactly as she’d predicted. It would haunt Ilka the rest of her life, limit her in so many ways that all she’d be able to do would be to try to keep her head above water.
It wasn’t the first time she’d cussed her father out. “Thanks for absolutely nothing except all the shit you’ve dumped on my head!”
She yelled in anger, felt like crying, screaming even louder. And in this hurricane of emotions, Ilka had no idea what to do about everything. Or what to do with herself, for that matter.
Traffic picked up as she approached Racine. She noticed the dark car again, several cars back. She stopped at a red light, but when it turned green she didn’t move. The drivers behind leaned on their horns, and she turned on the emergency flashers. Gradually they began driving around her. She waited for the dark car to pass so she could see the driver, but it stopped directly behind her. When she turned and headed into Racine, the car followed.
She still wasn’t sure it was the car that had followed her to the Conaways’, but she was convinced it was the one that had driven on when she’d stopped at the filling station. She sped up, and the rest of the way home she avoided looking in the rearview mirror.
Excerpted from HER FATHER’S SECRET by Sara Blaedel. Copyright © 2019 by Sara Blaedel. Reprinted with permission from Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Series: The Family Secrets series (Book 2)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Translation edition (March 5, 2019)
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