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The Girl Next Door
Read an excerpt

It started with Star Wars.

Peter, the slothful intern, was supposed to be sending Brad effusively worded fake fan mail (don't knock it: crafting replies keeps the boss too busy to notice when the interns take three-hour lunches). Instead, Peter was huddled over his laptop, watching "Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace." He was mesmerized by the scene where Obi-Wan slices Darth Maul in half when Brad walked up behind him.

"Peter, what are you doing?" Brad asked.

Peter's hands flew to the keyboard and he blurted, "I stayed up all night reading it... I loved the cat... I laughed, I cried, it was better than The Maltese Falcon."

But Brad didn't appear to be listening. He was suddenly looking off into the distance.

"A prequel!" Brad said, dreamily. "Yes! Of course!"

And then he disappeared.

"Wait, where did he go?" said Sarah, the smart intern. "We've got a book coming out! He's got work to do!"

"Whatever," said Zach, the silly intern. "It's almost 10:30. Lunchtime!"

The interns didn't see Brad for a few days after that. Peter spent the time watching all six Star Wars movies in a loop, in the hopes he could learn how to make small objects levitate—and thus never again have to leave his chair to get a snack.

When Brad finally returned, he had written a new Carter Ross short story, "The Nightgown," a prequel that tells how 24-year-old Carter got his job at The Eagle-Examiner. You can download it for free here (registration required) or pay a whopping .99 to get it on your electronic reading device.

In other news, it is T-minus one week until the official release of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. The advance reviews are in, and it looks like a hit:

  • Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it "... a masterpiece."
  • Library Journal cheered, "This series (is) a refreshing tonic for the mystery soul." (Zach was drinking gin and tonics out of his coffee mug for a week after that one).
  • Shelf Awareness said, "THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is perfect for the reader who loves an LOL moment but wants a mystery that's more than empty calories."
  • Publishers Weekly called it "a Sopranos-worthy ragout of high drama and low comedy." ("What the heck is a rag out?" asked Maggie, the clueless intern. Sarah shook her head and said, "it's pronounced ra-GOO").
  • RT Book Reviews raved, "Parks' prodigious gifts for the written word, characterization and plot development are all evident in his third Carter Ross offering... Reading will be compulsive." (Sarah had to explain to Zach that, in this context, "prodigious" was a good thing).

Meanwhile, the interns have been putting the final touches on The Tangled Up in Khaki Tour, which will take Brad across 11 states and three time zones and, more importantly, keep him out of the office for a while.

And, of course, it is the interns' fiduciary responsibility to remind you that you can still pre-order THE GIRL NEXT DOOR wherever fine books are sold, whether that's your friendly neighborhood bookseller or on-line retailers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, or Books-A-Million.

Or, if you'd like a signed copy, you can order one from one of Brad's favorite independent stores, Mendham Books.

Don't worry about shipping. Peter swears he can make it levitate to you.

May the Force Be With You,
The Interns

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