Description Dead Reckoning by Lea O'HarraIndiana, January 2010. It’s a hot summer’s day in 1984 when twelve-year-old Gilly and her friend Sally find a dead new-born in a shoebox in the cemetery of their tiny town. Deciding to keep their discovery a secret, they bury the body in Gilly’s yard. The results are disastrous. Flowers are mysteriously left on strollers. Two local children disappear and end up dead. A suspect is arrested and confesses, blaming the deaths on the girls’ having taken the dead baby. Gilly grows up but is haunted by what’s happened. As a young woman, she flees the town and its memories, going all the way to Japan. Returning with her Japanese husband Toshi to attend her mother’s funeral, Gilly finds the past is not past. She’s threatened, and someone is putting flowers on strollers again. When another child is abducted, Gilly knows she must discover the truth about what happened all those years ago before more lives are lost.
Praise Dead Reckoning by Lea O'Harra"Both a drama and a thriller, full of twists and human insight."-Thomas Waugh “The immediate declaration of past events, the discovery and concealment of the dead baby, provides a gripping start to this book. The story is simple yet powerful, immediately drawing the reader into a world that identifies the challenges of growing up in a small town in Indiana. The book tackles the casual racism that is often overlooked, with great clarity. Although this is a crime novel it is also a powerful story about how a single childhood event can influence the future. It compels you to share the history and become part of the small-town network. Through a nexus of characters, we see how relationships that are made in our formative years, affect our lives. The story is more than a crime novel. It also serves to gives a fascinating insight into life in a small town in the USA, through the eyes of somebody who never really wanted to return."-ReallyPoshScouser, Amazon
Praise Lea O'Harra“Lea O'Harra offers us a whodunnit set in a Japan labouring under the weight of cultural imperialism, a country where the characters find that their friends and lovers are really strangers and imperfect ones at that...-Nick Sweet, author of the Inspector Velázquez series ’With her deep knowledge of Japanese culture, superb writing, and sensitivity to human foibles. O’Harra has crafted a cross-cultural whodunnit sure to please Japanophiles and mystery lovers alike.”-Suzanne Kamata, author of Losing Kei
From Chapter Twenty-one: 462 words: send to Amy, ‘Locks, Hooks and Books’
I used to think Melody looked angelic. Now she’s evil incarnate. She’s grinning, a mad look in those stony blue eyes.
I hear Mrs. Collins moaning, “No, no!!”
“You helped me before,” Melody says to her brother. “Do it again.” Tim takes the knife from her.
I hold my breath, trembling violently.
“Kill her, Tim!” Melody repeats. “Then you and me and Carla can run away together. We’ll be over the state line before anyone knows what’s happened. Maybe even head for Mexico. We three can be a family.” She glares at Jess. “That is, if our own brother can be trusted not to snitch on us!”
“Stop it!” Jess says. “You have to let them go, Tim! I told you. It’s the only one way. I’ll take them to the station. It’ll take a lot of talking, but I’ll fix it somehow. I’ve got friends in the force. No charges will be brought. Carla’s too young to explain what happened. Gilly won’t dare. It’ll all be over.”
“Shut up!” Tim snarls.
Melody sighs. It’s a standoff. Nothing’s happening. She goes back to the sofa and sits well away from Carla, who’s still sprawled on Mrs. Collins’s lap. Melody closes her eyes. She seems to take no further interest in what’s going on. Her face sags. She sinks heavily against the cushion at her back. I wonder if she’s fallen asleep.
Jess glances over at his sister. “Maybe Melody will have to be put away,” he says, whispering. “She’s dangerous.”
Melody doesn’t move. She’s perfectly still. Did she hear him?
I see Mrs. Collins wince at her son’s words. Tim shudders and then his whole body goes rigid. “Over my dead body!” he shouts. I glance over at the sofa again. Ironically, it’s Melody who seems dead: dead to the world. Her head has fallen to one side, and I think I even hear gentle snoring.
Carla begins wailing again.
“Quiet!” Tim yells. He comes near me, clutching the knife, brandishing it menacingly near my face. He’s trying to do what he tried to do twenty-six years ago: kill me. I try not to flinch. I don’t want to give him that satisfaction. I close my eyes tightly, curling my hands into tight fists and clenching my teeth so hard they ache. I’m terrified. But I’m also resigned. There seems a certain inevitability about it all, as if it was bound to happen sooner or later: my arch-enemy Tim using a knife to cut my life short. After all these years, he’s come back to finish off the job. Holding my breath, I brace myself for death, expecting to feel at any moment the sensation of cold metal slicing through my throat or piercing my chest, the blade aimed at my heart.