By popular demand, all three thrillers in one box!
By popular demand, all three thrillers in one box!
Her hand clasps mine. It feels like a slab of ice. Somehow I sense a shiver going through her spine, as if she’s been caught in the middle of some secret plot, as if she expects to pay the price, and pay it dearly.
The restaurant is already locked up for the night. The lights—those hanging over the dining tables and those fixed over the kitchen counters—have been off for quite a while. The wax candle, up on the tablecloth, has relinquished its last whiff of smoke hours ago. If anyone tries to peek in through the glass window, nothing can be spotted but a reflection of the empty parking lot, layered over a forest of wood legs, as the chairs have been turned upside down over all the other tables in preparation for sweeping the floor.
Who can it be, out there? Can he guess, somehow, that we’re cowering here, in the darkest corner?
“Let me in,” someone repeats, on the other side.
This time, despite the way sound is transformed when traveling through wood, I recognize his voice. I run to the door and—just to be on the safe side—put my ear against it. “Michael?”
“Yes, sweetheart,” he says. “It’s me.”
With a sigh of relief, I crack the door open for him.
“Where’s Browny?” I ask, not only because I need to know that my golden retriever is in a safe place but also because with him comes trouble. If my dog is here—with that surveillance device on his tail—then we’ll need to mind what we say. We’ll have to talk in code.
“I left him at your place.” Michael gives me a quick peck on my forehead. “Not to worry.”
Glancing at Karishma, whose face is still pale, he adds, “Sorry to pop in at such a late hour. Hope my knocking didn’t scare you.”
She shakes her head, no.
“I was getting worried about Ash.” He locks the restaurant door from the inside. “It’s just, I had to make sure both of you are OK.”
She gives him a faint smile, but her fingers continue to tremble. I wrap them in mine.
A minute later, her warmth is back.
“Just ignore me.” Michael picks up her cup and mine. “I’ll be over there, washing dishes. You go back to your conversation.”
Karishma gathers herself, with some effort, to her feet. “Why don’t you sit down? I’ll make some more Chai for all three of us.”
Months after recovering from coma, Ash discovers that the man who performed her brain surgery has a questionable medical experience and a dark past. Should she expose him, at the risk of becoming vulnerable to his revenge?
"Once again Uvi Poznansky had me on the edge of my seat. I love the incorporation of the technology and the fast paced events. A riveting performance by Heather Jane Hogan."
Catrina P., Listener
Once a Liberal Arts major in French Literature, J.A. Schneider, a former staffer at Newsweek, brings aspects of her fascination with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology into her gripping thrillers. I am honored that she read my trilogy, Ash Suspense Thrillers: Trilogy and posted her review:
“Miss you too, sweetheart,” he says. “I’m so lonely without you.”
And I admit, “I’m lonely, too.”
“When are you coming back?”
“How’s your Ma?”
I’m tempted to say, “She misses you too,” which will make both of us burst in laughter. But instead I say, soberly, “She went back home. Left on a flight earlier this evening. Now I have the place all to myself.”
“Oh really? Show me how it looks!”
“Not much to see.”
He chuckles. “Oh Ash, I bet you’re just saying that.”
On a whim, I text him the pics of the walls, the ones I’ve just taken. “See?”
For a moment, he seems speechless. Then he says, “There’s only one chair.”
“There is?” I cry. “Oh yes! I haven’t noticed it before.”
“I thought you’ve rented a furnished place.”
“It is furnished, downstairs.”
“Oh! Now I see a lightning bolt.”
“If you were here, you would hear thunder, too.”
“Must be scary for you.”
“Sweetheart,” he lowers his voice. “No wonder you miss me!”
For a moment, I’m close to telling him that I’m pregnant, but then the thought of hearing his breath catching in his throat stops me cold. What on earth can he say to such horrible news, especially when we’ve never made love, never gone beyond an innocent first kiss? Can he be expected to make promises, such as, ‘I’ll help you raise another man’s baby’?
“Sorry, Michael, I have to go,” I whisper, hoping he can’t detect the tears choking me.
With a slight push, I slide down the staircase. It’s steep—but thankfully, not slippery, thanks to leaving my boots on the other side of the hole. I crawl out through it and land in the living room with a sigh of relief. Close to exhaustion I gather myself up, go to the kitchen, take out the plate of cheesecake filled strawberries which Ma has prepared for me, and devour them down to the last one.
Surprisingly, I feel no remorse whatsoever. In my condition, I’m eating for two.
(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
The last thing Ash expects when she lands in Clearwater, Florida is to be stalked by a troubled teenager. If that's not bad enough, she is caught in a shooting spree next to the nearby elementary school. The cops think it’s an attempt at mass killing, but Ash wonders if the only victim was specifically targeted by the killer. Will she manage to identify him and have him arrested before he comes after her?
Now, she looked different. Gone were the wavy curls that used to ripple down to her shoulders. Michael was amazed by her new haircut. It was cropped short at the back, with spiky layers at the top. Her eyes looked larger, and there was a new expression in them, which he found hard to define. Sadness? No, something more intense. Rebellion. Against everything, it seemed. Against him, too.
“Such a beauty, she is,” said Ash, pointing at the photograph.
Detecting a hint of jealousy, he said, “Let me explain.”
Where could he start? First, he took a step closer to her. When his lips brushed her forehead, a small cry came from the back of her throat. Was it desire? He thought so at first. But then the sound changed to something else. Fear.
Michael held back a sigh. His heart ached for what she had gone through. The man who had sullied her robbed both of them of their carefree, easy closeness. Now, was she still cautious, still unprepared to be touched?
“Don’t get this close to me,” said Ash, but her blush said otherwise. He had seen it before, in the early days of courting her. It had drawn him closer, till he had found himself lost in the glow of her hazel eyes. Here it was, that same blush, that same glow. Love, all over again.
It gave him hope. Once she healed, things would go back to the way they were between them. Meanwhile, there was the risk of losing her trust. He had to explain how he had gained possession of this photograph.
He said, “This is not what you think.”
“Really?” she said. “It isn’t?”
“I don’t even know this girl, not really.”
“What’s her name?”
For a split second, her eyes narrowed. “How, then, did you happen to get hold of her picture?”
He had to admit, “I stole it.”
(Volume I of High-Tech Crime Solvers)
Haunted by discovering the body of a beautiful dancer, Michael re-constructs her murder in a virtual reality. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve it in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ash?
She tilts me into reckless speeding. We’re out of the empty dining hall, racing down the corridor, where she slows things down to a screech of the wheels for just a second, when all of a sudden, her cellphone rings.
The sounds of hospital staff, running back and forth carrying equipment, mix in with the cries of patients, calling out for attention, for help. The din is deafening, so there’s no need for Betty to lower her voice—but she does.
“Vlad, darling,” she says, under her breath, “I’ll be out in the parking lot soon. It’s hard to find my way here in the dark, but I’ll make it, so don’t you worry.”
I don’t know about him being anxious—but in my case, fretting is all I do. It’s my activity of choice right now, if only because of this bumpy ride. In the lobby, beams of flashlights streak across the walls. The footrests of my wheelchair bang against this piece of furniture and that, which makes me try to shrink back into the seat and tighten every muscle in my ankles, in a feeble effort to protect myself.
Along the way, Betty keeps chatting with him. “Have some patience, will you? Just wait for me outside.”
Despite her chewing gum, or maybe because of it, she sounds like a woman late for a date, what with all those terms of endearment, like that Darling stuff. Ha ha, if I didn’t know any better, I would wonder why on earth she would want me to stick around for a lovers’ rendezvous.
“Yes, the girl is right here, with me,” she hisses, between one chewing chomp and another. “It’s a freaking mess in here, everyone is running in all directions like crazy. I thought I would die laughing, Vlad, when they left her in my hands.”
Cold sweat starts forming on my skin as her fingers drift, ever so lightly, over my bare neck. I have to remind myself that she must hand me over to him, not kill me outright.
As if she’s the one being tickled, Betty giggles. “I’m telling you, Vlad: no one will know, at least for a while, that she’s gone missing. What a stroke of luck for us, right?”
In response to something he says, she gurgles a nervous laugh. “It’s totally dark in here, Vlad, so it’s hard to figure things out for sure, but I think no one’s watching, no one’s following me.”
Too bad. I try to stomp on the footrest so as to spark off some noise, some clangor out of it, but to no avail. The sound is barely audible. It’s lost in the hubbub.
“Yes, thank you for the timely reminder,” she tells him, this time sarcastically. “I know that the power outage will soon be over. I’m not an idiot, you know? Don’t tell me I must hurry!”
Walking and chewing gum seems to be too much for her. Betty spits it out, perhaps because it has lost its sweetness, or else because of having to focus on the task at hand. Having reached the entrance doors, she struggles to push them open using her big butt, while at the same time maneuvering me about with one hand and—just as crucial—holding the cellphone with the other.
“Oh, stop it!” she cries. “Don’t you put too much pressure on me, darling—or I’ll snap!”
Just for the exercise, I push the door open with my foot. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have done that, but it works, anyway. Which is a delightful thing for me, and a scary one too, because who knows what’s waiting for us on the other side.
(Volume I of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Ash finds herself in the ER diagnosed with coma. She has no memory of what has happened to her, but what she can do--despite what everyone around her might think--is listen to the conversations of her visitors. Will she survive the power outage in the hospital and then, being kidnapped out of it?
"Ash’s story is an unorthodox and unique whodunit. For a story about the victim of a horrific crime, it is written in an incredibly light-hearted way that only the victim herself can accomplish from her point of view."
B. Roscow, Listener
This book started very dark and I honestly thought about giving up because of how things are in the world and how my mind is, but I didn’t. I am glad. The book got much better and Ash was a very likable character. She immersed me into her world and made me cheer for her during the danger and hurt with her during the sad times. Such a great book and I am looking forward to getting other works from the author!