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Lynda Douglas

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Deadfall - Murder in a National Forest
by Lynda Douglas   

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Publisher:  WhoooDoo Mysteries division of Treble Heart Books ISBN-10:  1931742995 Type: 


Copyright:  July 2005

Claire Mitchell's life depends on solving a twenty-year-old mystery. Who is she and who abandoned the ten-year-old Claire to die in an Oregon Wilderness? Why is someone trying to kill her now? What she knows but can't remember holds her salvation.

Treble Heart Books
Lynda Douglas
Lynda Douglas

A murder mystery that takes the reader from coast to coast.

The identity of an abandoned child found in a Pacific Northwest national forest is a mystery in itself, but when the child becomes a woman, her very life depends on finding the answers to questions she thought she could live without knowing.

How many people will die while she untangles the web of lies that is her life--or maybe her death?



She ran faster and faster, her chest heaving painfully with every stride. In her peripheral vision, tree trunks and deadfall looked like wraiths shrouded in mist. Vines tore at her legs, tripping her. Then, without warning, the uneven ground gave way, and she tumbled headfirst over an escarpment...

She lay motionless, staring up through fern fronds at the forest canopy. The trees leaned together at the top... Mocking her terror, their leaves vibrated with, "Run! Run! Run!"

Professional Reviews

Tulsa World News Book Review
A National Forest Mystery
By: Lynda Douglas
Reviewed by: Patricia Ann Jones book critic for Tulsa World Newspaper

Lynda Douglas's "Lilacs and Lace" won the 2001 Derringer Award for the best mystery novella, and she was a finalist in the previous year's competition with "Blind Justice." Now, with her novel, "Deadfall," Douglas comes into her own with the first of her Murder in a National Forest Mystery series.

Claire Mitchell, the protagonist of "Deadfall," has a brilliant career, a handsome fiancé and a ten-year gap in her memory. All she has from her childhood are haunting dreams and a heart- shaped locket.

"She ran faster and faster, her chest heaving painfully with every stride. In her peripheral vision, tree trunks and deadfall looked like wraiths shrouded in mist . . . Vines tore at her legs, tripping her. Then, without warning, the uneven ground gave way and she tumbled headfirst over an escarpment . . . Her descent came to an abrupt stop when her head struck a boulder at the bottom. She lay motionless, staring up through fern fronds at the forest canopy . . . "

Claire awoke with her arms flailing. The dreams were back, the horrible nightmares that haunted her periodically through her childhood and into adulthood. Why now, she wondered. Why? For years she had quelled her curiosity about her childhood. She knew she was adopted at a young age, but her adoptive parents knew nothing of her early years.

She'd been found in 1981, a battered ten-year-old clinging to life with a gold locket around her neck. The young university student, Kyle Evers, who found her, saved her life or she surely would have died in the Siskiyou National Forest...

Douglas slides you through the mystery of Claire's early years into her adult life with all the expertise of a seasoned author. The transition into the young woman's adult life is seamless. Each character introduced is deftly drawn. Each scene leads you deeper and deeper into Claire Mitchell's story until you find yourself immersed in the adventure and mystery of her life.

The story that evolves is not only a great mystery, but also an adventure that readers will enjoy. Douglas's style and tone offer an easy read, but one that quickens the heartbeat. The resolution is one of the most exciting I've read in months. Talk about your twists and turns. Don't even try to figure it out, just read and enjoy as Douglas leads you into a mystery that will have you jumping at shadows.
(Jones is a published writer & literary critic)

Copyright April 8, 2002, Patricia Ann Jones

Futures Mysterious Anthology Editor's Review
Reviewed by:
Earl Staggs, fiction editor for Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine

Not knowing who you really are, who your parents were, and where you came
from would be difficult for anyone to live with. Even worse would be to suddenly realize your life is in danger because of something that happened during the period of your life that is a complete mystery to you. This is the situation Derringer Award winning author Lynda Douglas explores in "Deadfall," and she does it quite well.

While it is an easy temptation for a writer to use a prologue or a dull narrative to begin a story in which a past event impacts the present, Ms Douglas took a different approach and her book is better because of it. The story begins with a suspenseful and action-filled series of events that form the background for the present day story. The reader is directly involved by being there as it happens, which always makes for a more engrossing and interesting read.

"Deadfall" begins twenty years in the past with a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Washington, DC, he accidentally overhears information about a major crime ring that places him in immediate danger. After narrowly escaping attempts on his life and the murder of an innocent man who helps him, he flees with his wife and daughter to the Pacific Northwest. There, he hopes to find evidence that will guarantee safety for himself and his young family.

The story moves from there to the present time and a young woman with the adopted name of Claire Mitchell. Claire knows nothing of the early years of her life, only that she was found in a forest at the age of ten, badly injured and near death with no knowledge of how she got there or what happened to her. Now, twenty years later, something triggers sudden and unexplainable attempts on her own life resulting in the death of someone very dear to her.

Realizing the answers lie in her obscure past, Claire begins a harrowing journey only a step ahead of her unknown pursuer to uncover hidden secrets, save herself, and finish the quest begun by her father.

"Deadfall," is a fast-paced novel in which past and present collide in a race to a surprising ending.

Lynda Douglas, in her debut novel, maintains a high level of tension in a story of a young woman pushed to the edge of danger and discovery about her own life and the people around her. Fans of both mystery and suspense will not be disappointed.

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Reader Reviews for "Deadfall - Murder in a National Forest"

Reviewed by ~ Holly Harbridge 11/8/2006
I am a fan of mystery and suspense, so I guess I won't be disappointed when I buy this interesting sounding book. Sounds like something I'd write.

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