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Authors: Vicki Lane

Under the Skin

BOOK: Under the Skin
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PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF VICKI LANE

THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS

“Vicki Lane is one of the best American novelists writing today. In
The Day of Small Things
, she has once again rendered a lyrical, evocative, and haunting portrait of life in the Appalachians, both past and present. And in Birdie, she has given us a character who will steal your heart and stay with you for a long time to come.”

—D
EBORAH
C
ROMBIE

“The characters are so full-blooded and real, you think you could easily find them on a front porch in Marshall and be invited in for sweet tea.… The lyrical beauty of Lane’s descriptive prose is so exhilarating you have to put the book down occasionally just to catch your breath.”


Rapid River Magazine

“Shines as a chronicle of Depression-era Appalachia … Like [Sharyn] McCrumb, Lane demonstrates how deeply she feels part of her Appalachian home, how tied she is to the land and the pulsating beats that can’t quite be found elsewhere.”


Los Angeles Times

IN A DARK SEASON
A Romantic Times
Best Mystery and Suspense Novels of 2008 Pick
An Anthony Nominee for Best Paperback Original

“The precise details and many mysteries are all skillfully drawn together at the end, and the main characters are clearly developed, complicated people who have lives outside the mystery. Elizabeth Goodweather is a perfect protagonist who shows that there can be intelligence and romance after 50.”


Romantic Times

“Vicki Lane is a born storyteller in the finest tradition of Sharyn McCrumb. Lane’s best yet,
In a Dark Season
, is a haunting, lyrical tale of the Appalachians, as heartbreaking as it is magical. Brooding, suspenseful, and superbly written, Lane’s Marshall County mysteries rank among the best regional fiction anywhere today.”

—J
ULIA
S
PENCER
-F
LEMING

“Suspenseful, atmospheric, and beautifully written.”

—S
ARAH
G
RAVES

“Lane craftily deepens the swiftly moving plot with liberal sprinklings of Carolina folklore.”


Publishers Weekly

OLD WOUNDS

“Lane is very adept at creating complex, multifaceted stories that move effortlessly from one time period to another and characters with incredible depth. She is also a master of using sensory details to make locale come alive.
Old Wounds
exemplifies these talents. Readers weary of reading too many mysteries featuring frothy amateur sleuths won’t find a better antidote than
Old Wounds
.”


Mystery News

“Vicki Lane is quite simply the best storyteller there is. Her books, like her Appalachian home, have everything: mystery, suspense, beauty, heart, and soul.”

—J
OHN
R
AMSEY
M
ILLER

“A story so exquisitely written and perfectly paced, you will not want to put this book down.
Old Wounds
is a powerful and very personal mystery for the thoughtful Elizabeth Goodweather to solve.”

—J
ACKIE
L
YNN

ART’S BLOOD

“Lane’s sharp eye for detail gets put to good use in this second installment of her Appalachian series.… The widow Goodweather is a wonderful character: plucky, hip and wise. The dialogue sparkles with authenticity, and Lane generates suspense without sacrificing the charm and mystique of her mountain community.”


Publishers Weekly

“Lane mixes the gentle craft of old-time quilting with the violence of a slaughtered innocent.”

—Greensboro
News & Record

“Lane is a master at creating authentic details while building suspense.”


Asheville Citizen-Times

SIGNS IN THE BLOOD

“Vicki Lane shows us an exotic and colorful picture of Appalachia from an outsider’s perspective—through a glass darkly. It is a well-crafted, suspenseful tale of the bygone era before ‘Florida’ came to the mountains.”

—S
HARYN
M
C
C
RUMB


Signs in the Blood
turns the beauty of the Appalachian hills and a widow’s herb and flower farm into the backdrop for modern menace. This clash of the traditional and the modern makes for an all-nighter of satisfying suspense.”


Mystery Lovers Bookshop News

“For readers familiar with the sound and feel of mountain life, this book rings with a resonance that is true to the life it describes. For everyone else, this book opens a peephole into a world both hauntingly strange and achingly beautiful.… Regional mystery lovers, take note. A new heroine has come to town and her arrival is a time for rejoicing.”


Rapid River Magazine

The Full Circle Farm Mysteries of Vicki Lane

S
IGNS IN THE
B
LOOD
A
RT’S
B
LOOD
O
LD
W
OUNDS
I
N A
D
ARK
S
EASON
T
HE
D
AY OF
S
MALL
T
HINGS
U
NDER THE
S
KIN

Under the Skin
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

A Bantam Books Trade Paperback Original

Copyright © 2011 by Vicki Lane

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Bantam Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

B
ANTAM
B
OOKS
and the rooster colophon are registered trademarks of

Random House, Inc.

This book contains an excerpt from the book
Old Wounds
, originally published by Dell, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., in 2007.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Lane, Vicki.
Under the skin : a novel / Vicki Lane.
     p. cm.
eISBN: 978-0-345-53024-0
1. Sisters—Fiction. 2. Family secrets—Fiction. 3. North Carolina—Fiction. I. Title.
   PS3612.A54996U53 2011
   813’.6—dc23 2011031801

www.bantamdell.com

Cover design: Marietta Anastassatos
Cover image (girls): © Clayton Bastiani/Trevillion Images

v3.1

Contents

A Sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves—a special kind of double.

—T
ONI
M
ORRISON

I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.

—M
AYA
A
NGELOU

Chapter 1
A Complicated Person
Tuesday, May 8

I
should have known Gloria would come up with something like this right before our wedding. It’s just like her. I swear, she’s …”

 … 
crazy as the proverbial shithouse rat
were the words on the tip of my tongue but I bit them back.

Without looking up from the paperback he was reading, Phillip made a questioning sort of sound. “Hmm? … What was that, Lizabeth? Gloria’s what?”

I dropped the phone onto the table and glowered at it as if it were responsible for this new and unwelcome twist in my life. “She’s … complicated,” I hedged, rejecting the coarse country phrase, apt though it might be. “Complicated—which is a polite way of saying I don’t understand her at all. She must be—”

I couldn’t go on. But the voice in my head, never at a loss for words, finished the sentence for me.
She must be out of her rabbit-ass mind, as Ben would say
.

I stood there glaring at the innocent telephone.
It’s not
FAIR
! I wanted to shout, in a whining echo from my childhood.
Glory always messes
everything
up!
I wanted to throw something, to stamp my foot, to fling myself to the floor and have a screaming, kicking tantrum.

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