Meet the first book in the trilogy,
Death and the Girl Next Door
by Darynda Jones.
Mrs. Jones delivers the grim reaper in a world of teens.
Check out an excerpt from this book:
Death and the Girl Next Door (excerpt)
By Darynda Jones
I laughed to myself and headed toward the back of our favorite
and pretty much only hangout. It sat a mere block from our
alma mater, Riley High, and we practically lived in our corner
booth. I ducked past the snack counter and into a very dark back
hall. Judging by the boxes lining the narrow passage, I’d be taking
my life into my hands if I risked a journey to the little senorita’s
room without illumination, so I ran my hand along a
paneled wall. Where would I be if I were a light switch? Just as
the tips of my fingers found the switch, a silhouette stepped out
of the shadows and brushed past me. I startled with a gasp.
“Excuse me,” I said, placing a hand over my heart.
“Sorry.” The guy paused slightly before continuing on his
way, and in that instant, I saw the makings of utter perfection: a
long arm with shadowy curves that dipped around the fluid
lines of muscle; a tall, wide shoulder; dark hair that curled playfully
over an ear and led to a strong, masculine jaw. Something
inside me lurched, craving a closer look at his face, but he walked
by too fast and the hall was too dark for me to catch anything
After a couple of seconds, I realized my hand had brushed
against his arm. It was enough to send a vision crashing into me,
like the flash of a nuclear bomb, bright and unforgiving. Tamping
down my surprise— I hadn’t had a vision in a very long time— I
pressed shaking fingers to my forehead to wait out the familiar
storm, to see what treasures would wash ashore in the aftermath.
Yet the things I saw were unreal, impossible, and certainly not
of this world: A desolate landscape lay before me with scorched
clouds and a roiling, violet sky. The air was stagnant and so impossibly
thick, breathing it took effort. Then I heard the clanging
of metal. I turned to watch in horror as a being, a boy of no more
than sixteen or seventeen, fierce and somehow not quite human,
struggled with a dark, monstrous beast. The boy’s arms corded as
tendon and muscle strained against the weight of the sword he
wielded. He slashed again and again, but the monster was fast,
with razorlike talons and sharp, gleaming teeth, and the boy
knew what those teeth felt like when they sank into flesh, knew
the blinding pain that accompanied defeat. But he also knew the
power he himself wielded, the raw strength that saturated every
molecule of his body.
Another herculean effort landed a thrust in the monster’s
shoulder and continued through its thick chest. The monster
sank under the boy’s sword with a guttural scream. The boy
looked on while the beast writhed in pain, watched it grow still
as the life drained out of it, and somewhere in the back of the
boy’s mind, he allowed himself to register the burning of his
lungs as he struggled to fill them with air.
Blood trickled between his fingers, down the length of his
blade, and dripped to the powdery earth beneath his feet. I followed
the trail of blood up to three huge gashes across his chest.
Evidently three of the monster’s claws had met their mark,
laying the flesh of its enemy open. I gasped and covered my
mouth with both hands as the boy spun toward me, sword at the
ready. Squinting against the low sun, I could almost make out
his features, but the vision evaporated before I got the chance. A
heartbeat later, I was back in the dark hallway, gasping for air,
one palm pressed against my temple, the other against the wall
I squeezed my eyes shut, fought the memory of the vision,
the fear that summoned the taste of bile in the back of my throat,
the feel of blood dripping down the boy’s arm.
Wow, I can't wait to start reading this beauty, I promise to tell you all about it in my future review.
NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
She can be found at
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