Posted by authorcamilson
Title: Mrs. John Doe
Author: Tom Savage
In the adrenaline-laced new novel of suspense from Tom Savage—hailed by Michael Connelly as “a master of the high-speed thriller”—an American actress in Europe races to find the truth behind her husband’s mysterious accident. What she uncovers makes her the target of a shocking conspiracy.
Nora Baron’s life is perfect. She lives on Long Island Sound, teaches acting at a local university, and has a loving family. Then one phone call changes everything. She’s informed that her husband, Jeff, has died in a car crash while on a business trip in England. Nora flies to London to identify the body, which the police have listed as a “John Doe.” When she leaves the morgue, a man tries to steal her purse containing Jeff’s personal effects. Clearly, all is not as it seems.
At her hotel, Nora receives a cryptic message that leaves her with more questions than answers. She follows the message’s instructions to France, where a fatal encounter transforms her into a fugitive. Wanted for murder, on the run in a shadowy landscape of lies, secrets, and sudden violence, Mrs. “John Doe” must play the role of a lifetime to stay one step ahead of a ruthless enemy with deadly plans for her—and for the world.
Tom Savage is the author of six suspense novels: Precipice, Valentine, The Inheritance, Scavenger, A Penny for the Hangman, and Mrs. John Doe. He wrote two detective novels under the name T. J. Phillips, Dance of the Mongoose and Woman in the Dark. His short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and anthologies edited by Lawrence Block, Harlan Coben, and Michael Connelly. His short story, “The Method In Her Madness,” was nominated for the Barry Award. His bestselling novel, Valentine, was made into a Warner Bros. film. In his younger days he was a professional actor, and he also wrote a Broadway show, Musical Chairs.
Tom was born in New York and raised in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He attended Point Park College and Hofstra University, majoring in drama and minoring in English. After acting and writing plays, he worked for many years at Murder Ink®, the world’s first mystery bookstore. He’s a member of Actors Equity Association, ASCAP, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and International Thriller Writers. He has served as a director on the national board of MWA, and he’s served several times on the Best Novel committees for MWA (Edgar® Awards) and IACW (Hammett Prize). He is a founding member of MWA’s Mentor Program, assessing and encouraging new mystery writers. He lives in New York City.
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She heard the words, and they registered; she understood. Something happened inside her, a sudden feeling that she was on a stage and they were speaking lines that had been written by a playwright. She gripped the receiver carefully in her hand and spoke slowly, distinctly, so the audience could hear.
“How, Bill? How did it happen?”
“He was in one of my company’s cars in Kensington, on Holland Park Avenue. He seems to have swerved off the road and struck a wall. He—he was gone by the time the emergency people got to him. I’m so sorry. I’ve only just learned of it myself. It happened yesterday evening.”
“You’ve only just learned of it?” Nora was aware that she was still enunciating everything carefully. She didn’t sound like herself; she sounded like a character in the play she was performing. She wondered if this was a symptom of shock.
“Yes, that’s the odd thing about it. It seems he didn’t have anything on him, any identifying cards or papers. Nothing in his wallet but money, and pictures of you and your daughter. The police didn’t know who he was until they traced the car to us. I—I went to the morgue and, um, identified him. I’m just now back from there.”
The woman she was playing said, “Was anyone else hurt? Was he—”
“He was alone in the car, and no other cars were involved, so far as they know. None that stopped, at any rate . . .”
She weighed those last six words. “What are you saying, Bill? Do they have reason to believe it was anything other than an accident?”
Bill Howard gasped; that’s how it sounded, anyway, and his voice trembled with emotion. “Oh, Nora, I don’t really know anything at this point. I think you must—you must . . .” He was Jeff’s longtime friend and colleague, she reminded herself, and he was floundering, apparently searching for words in his own distress.
“I’ll come,” she heard herself say. “I’ll get a seat on the soonest flight.”
Now he seemed to pull himself together, and his voice took on a clipped, authoritative tone. “Let us do that for you, Nora. My assistant can handle all the business with the flights—”
“No,” she said. “No, thank you, Bill. I must—I’d rather be doing something. I’ll call you as soon as I know when I’m arriving.”
“We’ll book you in the Savoy—”
“No, nothing big. That little place in Gower Street where we usually stay.” We. She and Jeff . . .
“The Byron,” Bill said. “We’ll handle that, at least. Let me know your flight, and I’ll meet you at Heathrow. I’m so very sorry, Nora.”
She winced; she would have to get used to that sentiment. “Thank you, Bill, for—for being so kind.” She hung up before he could say anything more.
The bedroom was dark now. The receiver missed the cradle on the table and fell silently to the carpet. A car accident. She’d often wondered how it would be, what news she might hear. Jeff traveled so much with his business. But she’d never thought of a car accident. A plane, maybe . . .
A plane. The character she was playing took over once more. Nora Baron shut her eyes for a moment and listened to the silence in her house, in her body, in her mind. Then she opened her eyes, switched on the bedside lamp, picked up the receiver from the floor, and called the airline.
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