After months of relative inactivity—during which time the interns spent most of their time perfecting a game called "splotch" that involves dotting Peter's face with whiteout every time he falls asleep—there was finally excitement in the offices of The cover design for Brad's next book, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, had arrived.

The Girl Next Door

"I like it," said Sarah the smart intern. "It's got a good, mysterious feel to it without being too creepy."

"Wait," said Maggie, the clueless intern, "there's 'girl' in the title and then a girl on the cover... I wonder if that's intentional."

"Aw, man, not again!" exclaimed Peter, the slothful intern, as he pulled himself out of a nap. "Has anyone seen the paint thinner?"

Yes, everyone had some comment to make. Except for Zach, the silly intern. He looked stricken.

"What's the matter, Zach?" Sarah asked. "Don't you like it?"

"No, I like it just fine, except... what's with the title?"

"What do you mean?"

"There's no body part," Zach said. "Come on, FACES of the Gone. Then EYES of the Innocent. We... we had a thing going."

"Yeah, so?"

"So I was gearing up for 'Noses of the Disconsolate.' I had plans. Big plans. Marketing. Promotions. It was all brilliant. I had a six-figure product placement deal to have Carter Ross wear Breath Rite strips. Nasonex was signed on as a tour sponsor. I ordered 2,000 novelty noses to use as give-aways!"

"Well, obviously, plans ch..."

"What am I supposed to do with 2,000 novelty noses!?!" Zach demanded. "This is an outrage! I'm not going to stand for this! You think Sue Grafton's interns would just sit back and take it if suddenly her publisher insisted they switch to the Greek alphabet and published Mu is for Murder?"

Maggie rushed to Zach's side and began patting his back in an effort to comfort him, but Zach just started whimpering.

"Seriously," Maggie asked. "Why is there no body part?"

"The publisher just wanted to go in a different direction," Sarah said. "They said this title felt 'bigger,' whatever that means."

Zach looked up. "They want bigger? I'll give them bigger! How about 'Femurs of the Forgotten?' The femur is the biggest bone on the body, you know."

"I'm not sure that what they..."

"Or how about Roman Noses of the Disconsolate? Those are big! We could put some huge schnozz on the cover, maybe see if we could get Caesar's Palace in on the promotional action. Maybe this could be salvaged, after all..."

Or maybe not, Zach. We think we'll stick with THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. The book goes on sale March 13—we know, we know, we don't want to wait that long, either—and can be pre-ordered from Borde... uh, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound. Or you can simply walk into your local bookstore and ask them to reserve a copy for you.

In the meantime, if anyone has a use for novelty noses, call us.

Nasally Yours, Interns

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