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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 10/27/2009
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books

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When it comes to gripping novels of unrelenting suspense, Julie Garwood is in a class by herself. In the course of her career, she has mastered the art of creating characters who live and breathe in compelling, page-burning stories that never fail to surprise. As her legion of fans can attest, she strikes the perfect balance between excitement and insight, action and heart. Now, in this breathless new novel, Garwood has written her most electrifying thriller to date. KILLJOY Avery Delaney has always tried to put the past far behind her. Abandoned by her rapacious, conniving mother when she was only three days old, Avery was raised by her grandmother and beloved aunt Carolyn. Then, when she was eleven, she witnessed her grandmother's violent death, before Avery herself was shot and left for dead. Miraculously she survived. The man responsible is serving time in a Florida prison. This traumatic experience propels Avery into a life of law and order. Her razor-sharp mind and ability to gather data and decipher evidence has made Avery an expert crime analyst for the FBI. But soon she will have to use every one of her adroit skills on a case that hits painfully close to home. Avery's workaholic aunt, Carolyn Salvetti, is certain her (hopefully soon-to-be ex) husband sent her the gold embossed reservation to the posh Utopia Spa in the mountains of Colorado. At first she is resistant, but then figures it will be a welcome respite from the cutthroat advertising business, not to mention a networking extravaganza. Plus she persuades her niece to join her for the two weeks of luxury and decadence. But Carolyn never makes it to Utopia. Under false pretenses, she is taken to an isolated retreat by a handsome stranger with a dazzling smile, suave demeanor, and the darkest of motives. His name is Monk, a hired assassin. Now, with scant clues and fewer resources, Avery must track down and save Carolyn and outmaneuver a brilliant killer who is part of an elaborate plot of madness and lethal vengeance. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

Julie Garwood is the author of seventeen New York Times bestsellers, including Mercy, Heartbreaker, Ransom, and Come the Spring. There are more than thirty million copies of her books in print.

From the Hardcover edition.


The wait was making Avery crazy. She sat in her little square cubicle, her back against the wall, one leg crossed over the other, drumming her fingertips against the desktop with one hand and holding an icepack against her wounded knee with the other. What was taking so long? Why hadn't Andrews called? She stared hard at the phone, willing it to ring. Nothing. Not a sound. Turning in her swivel chair, she checked the digital clock for the hundredth time. It was now 10:05, same as it was ten seconds ago. For Pete's sake, she should have heard something by now.

Mel Gibson stood up and leaned over the partition separating his workspace from Avery's and gave her a sympathetic look. That was his honest-to-goodness, real name, but Mel thought it was holding him back because no one in the law enforcement agency would ever take him seriously. Yet, he refused to have it legally changed to "Brad Pitt," as his supportive coworkers had suggested.

"Hi, Brad," Avery said. She and the others were still trying out the new name to see if it fit. Last week it was "George Clooney," and that name got about the same reaction "Brad" was getting now, a glare and a reminder that his name wasn't "George," it wasn't "Brad," and it wasn't "Mel." It was "Melvin."

"You probably should have heard by now," he said.

She refused to let him rile her. Tall, geeky-looking, with an extremely prominent Adam's apple, Mel had the annoying habit of using his third finger to push his thick wire-rimmed glasses back up on his ski nose. Margo, another coworker, told Avery that Mel did it on purpose. It was his way of letting the other three know how superior he felt he was.

Avery disagreed. Mel wouldn't do anything improper. He lived by a code of ethics he believed personified the FBI. He was dedicated, responsible, hardworking, ambitious, and he dressed for the job he wanted . . . with one little glitch. Although he was only twenty-seven years old, his clothing resembled the attire agents wore back in the fifties. Black suits, white long-sleeved shirts with button-down collars, skinny black ties, black wingtip shoes with a perfect shine, and a crew cut she knew he got trimmed once every two weeks.

For all of his strange habits--he could quote any line from The FBI Story, starring Jimmy Stewart--he had an incredibly sharp mind and was the ultimate team player. He just needed to lighten up a bit. That was all.

"I mean, don't you think you should have heard by now?" He sounded as worried as she felt.

"It's still early." Then, less than five seconds later, she said, "You're right. We should have heard by now."

"No," he corrected. "I said that you should have heard. Lou and Margo and I didn't have anything to do with your decision to call in the SWAT team."

Oh, God, what had she been thinking? "In other words, you don't want to take the flak if I'm wrong?"

"Not flak," he said. "The fall. I need this job. It's the closest I'm going to get to being an agent. With my eyesight . . ."

"I know, Mel."

"Melvin," he automatically corrected. "And the benefits are great."

Margo stood so she could join the conversation. "The pay sucks, though."

Mel shrugged. "So does the work environment," he said. "But still . . . it's the FBI."

"What's wrong with our work environment?" Lou asked as he too stood. His workstation was on Avery's left. Mel's was directly in front of hers, and Margo's cubicle was adjacent to Lou's. The pen--as they lovingly called their hellhole office space--was located behind the mechanical room with its noisy water heaters and compressors. "I mean, really, what's wrong with it?" he asked again, sounding bewildered.

Excerpted from Killjoy: A Novel by Julie Garwood
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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