Friday, 27 May 2016

Mirror Image by Michele Pariza Wacek



Title: Mirror Image
Author: Michele Pariza Wacek
Published: May 27th, 2016
Publisher: Love-Based Publishing
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense


Which would be worse: knowing that your dead sister has come back to life and is now a serial killer, or that someone else is the killer… and that person is you?

Six months after Linda’s sister Elizabeth killed herself, Linda has finally gotten her life back to some semblance of normalcy. Until a killer appears who is stalking men … a killer who resembles Elizabeth … a killer who seems somehow familiar to Linda.

And to make matters worse, Detective Steve Anderson, her old high school crush, is assigned to the case. He’s asking Linda all sorts of questions – questions she couldn’t possibly have an answer to.
There’s no reason for him to be investigating Linda. She couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this.

Could she?




Excerpt #1:


Someone else is dead.
      Linda paused, her hand reaching for The Riverview Times. The words echoed strangely in her head, bouncing around like some demented ping-pong ball.
      Someone else is dead.
      Where had that come from? What did it mean?
      She stretched her hand forward again to take the paper, but found herself unable to make actual contact with it. Instead, her hand hung there, motionless. Uneasiness crept through her body, as thick as black ink oozing across a table.
      All right, now she was being ridiculous. Where on earth was any of this coming from? She shook her head and snatched up the newspaper.
      Tucking it under her arm, she hurried to her car, refusing to think about why she had such a curious reluctance to touch it.
      She deliberately turned the radio off in her car, not wanting to hear any news. Instead, she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and watched the clouds scuttle across the dull gray sky. Another beautiful November day in Wisconsin. For the millionth time, she wondered if it would kill the sun, to show its face a little more.
      Turning into the parking lot of Bay Mutual Insurance, she thought again of how much she hated her job. And again, she reminded herself that she didn’t have a whole lot of options to choose from.
      Linda parked and entered the building, passing the company’s mission statement in the lobby. Bay Mutual offered auto, home, business, health and life insurance to its customers. And squat to its employees, Linda added to herself, as she did every day.
      She hung up her coat and headed to the cramped break room for coffee. Carla was already there, pouring herself a cup.
      “So, how was your date last night?” Linda greeted her, taking a mug out of the drying rack.
      Carla rolled her dark blue eyes, filling Linda’s mug with steaming, black liquid. “Don’t even ask.”
      “That good?”
      “It started there. Then, it went downhill.” Carla put down the coffee pot, fluffed her short, curly brown hair and opened up the refrigerator for cream. “My mistake was thinking it couldn’t get any worse. Then, I heard the radio this morning. Another dead single man. It’s already nearly impossible to get a decent date in this town. Now, some crazy person is killing the few eligible men out there!”
      Someone else is dead. It hit her like a slap in the face, and Linda put her coffee down without drinking it, instinctively knowing she could never force the liquid past the thick sludge that now filled her throat.





The Author:

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly.

As you can imagine, writing has been a driving passion throughout her life. She became a professional copywriter (which is writing promotional materials for businesses), which led to her founding a copywriting and marketing company that serves clients all over the world.

Along with being a copywriter, she also writes novels (she’s published two psychological thrillers/mystery/suspense novels “The Stolen Twin” and “Mirror Image” so far) plus, she is also the author of the “Love-Based Copy” books, which are a part of the “Love-Based Business” series and cover both business and personal development.

She holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and her border collie Nick and southern squirrel hunter Cassie and is hard at work on her next novel.




Excerpt #2:



When Elizabeth was born, her mother knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the hospital had made a mistake.
      It had been a difficult pregnancy. Marie spent most of it in bed, nauseated, uncomfortable, exhausted. She barely kept anything down, subsisting mostly on tea and saltine crackers. When the time came to deliver, the doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section, so she wasn’t able to actually watch the birth.
      She couldn’t explain it, but the first time the nurses presented her with Elizabeth, she refused to even hold the baby. “There must be some mistake,” she insisted.
      “There’s no mistake,” the nurses said, their approach firm and no-nonsense.
      Blond and pale, Elizabeth looked nothing like the other dark haired members of the family. But it was more than that. Elizabeth felt wrong. Marie sensed it every single time she looked at Elizabeth, touched Elizabeth, smelled Elizabeth. The baby was alien to her. Elizabeth was not her baby.
      But she could do nothing about it. Her husband hadn’t seen the birth. He had refused to attend any of his children’s births. The nurses kept assuring her that no one had made, could possibly have made, a mistake. So Marie had little choice but to bring her home.
      Elizabeth was different, always — strange. Marie hated to use that word about any of her children, especially her youngest, but she could find no other word to describe her. Elizabeth was strange. Period.
      From birth, the baby kept quiet. Rarely fussed. Hardly cried. She started talking at six months, much earlier than the rest of her children, and started forming full sentences at just over a year old.
      She spent most of her time alone or, once she learned how, reading. In fact, Elizabeth remained such a quiet child, Marie could easily forget about her. It made her nervous. Elizabeth was too quiet.
      Even her scent was all wrong. Babies smelled warm and sweet, of milk and talcum powder. Elizabeth’s scent reminded her of meat just beginning to spoil: thick and rotten.
      But there was something else wrong with Elizabeth, something more serious than her near silence, her behavior, her scent. Even more serious than that alien feeling, which Marie had tried to dismiss as simple post-partum depression, although it never did go away entirely.
      When Marie was really being honest with herself, which didn’t happen often, she could admit what really disturbed her most about her daughter.
      Her eyes. Elizabeth had silver eyes.
      Not always. Most of the time they looked gray. But sometimes, they changed to silver. Occasionally, Marie even thought she could see them glowing, like a cat’s. Especially at night.       There Elizabeth would be, lying on her back, perfectly quiet in her crib, her eyes strangely open, shining faintly in the darkness. Marie would tell herself that Elizabeth’s eyes merely reflected the nightlight in a bizarre fashion. After all, none of her other children’s eyes ever glowed. But it still didn’t make her any easier to face, late at night, as silver eyes stared at her from the darkness. They seemed so old, so ancient. Eyes that had seen thousands of years and hundreds of lifetimes. Those eyes peered out from her newborn’s face, watching her every move, strangely calculating, full of adult understanding and knowledge. She felt afraid, if she were being honest … all alone in the room with those peculiar silver eyes watching, watching, always watching.
      Nonsense, she reassured herself. Surely, she could not be afraid of her own infant daughter! What would her husband say? Plenty probably, and most of it with his fists.
      Still, she found herself checking on Elizabeth less and less. She argued with herself: Elizabeth didn’t fuss much anyway. Marie didn’t need to check on her so often — not like she did with her other, noisy, “normal” babies.
      Her other children. Such a joy they were, her four boys and other girl — Peter, Mark, Mike, Chad and Linda. All healthy, regular children, with coarse dark hair, brown eyes and a little bit of baby fat on their bones. They looked the way children should look, the way her children should look, like their parents. But more importantly, they acted the way children should act — loud, boisterous, rough, needy. Marie loved them for it, loved how she couldn’t get a moment’s peace when they played together. Even when their play turned to fighting, she still preferred it to Elizabeth’s silent, eerie presence.
      But Marie loved Elizabeth, too. Loved her fiercely, with the same passion she felt for her other children. Marie knew she did. She told herself she did, time and time again. The fact that she felt relief when Elizabeth wasn’t around meant nothing. She just needed time away from her children, after all. Almost all mothers welcomed the time they had away from their constant, children-related responsibilities. It didn’t mean she loved them any less. It didn’t mean anything at all.



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