Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sample Sunday: Excerpt from "BLACKOUT" by Jan Christensen

This week Texas author Jan Christensen shares an excerpt from her new mystery BLACKOUT. The synopsis below is followed by an excerpt from the book:

Who is she? Battered and bruised, she first becomes aware of her total loss of memory while walking on a dark, lonely road. Before she arrives in an unfamiliar town called Valleyview, she makes up a name–Alice Strong--and claims she’s eighteen. Her injuries heal and she accepts a job at the local nursing home. During her first day of work, a patient passes away, posed as if ready for burial. Alice can’t understand why the death of an old woman she doesn’t know hits her so hard. When a second resident dies in the same position, the director of nurses, Betty Cranston, is positive residents are being murdered. She fears for her paralyzed mother. And she suspects Alice.

Alice must remember her past to help prove her innocence. When she remembers this wasn’t her first blackout, dread holds her back because what she does recall might all disappear a third time. Can she piece her puzzle together before the killer strikes again? Should she even try?

Spring, 1988

            Head throbbing, the young girl squinted so she could see better out of her swollen left eye as she trudged along the side of the dark, lonely road. A vehicle rumbled behind her. She turned around but didn't have the energy to even lift her arm to wave. The small car barely slowed down, so she started walking once more.
            Up ahead, the car backed up. Both hope and fear welled up inside her. When the car stopped, the driver rolled down the passenger-side window and turned on the dome light. Classical music floated toward her. Inside, she saw a young man with blond hair and blue eyes staring at her. If she hadn't been so weary, she would have thought him cute. Instead, she only felt indifference.
            “Need a lift?”
            She nodded. She moved like an old woman, slowly, carefully placing herself on the seat, gently closing the door.
            “You all right?” he asked, concern in his voice. “You’re a little banged up.”
            “I’m okay,” she mumbled.
            “You’re sure?” When she nodded, he asked, “Where you headed?” He ejected a tape from the deck and turned off the radio.
            “Anywhere,” she answered. He seemed nice enough, but she shivered slightly and hugged herself.
            “Anywhere?” When she didn't answer, he said, “What’s your name? Mine’s Donald Harris. I’m on my way home to Valleyview.”
            He waited. She glanced at him, looked away.
            “I’m… I’m Alice. Alice… Strong.” The name came to her with difficulty. She wasn't quite sure it was right. Staring out the side window, she touched her head gingerly where the blood had clotted. She winced. Why couldn't she remember what had happened to her?
            “Sure you don’t need a doctor? Want to call anyone?”
            “Oh, no! No, I’m all right. Need a bath.” She wished her head would stop throbbing. And what was the matter with her eye? 

Jan Christensen ©2013, 2014
BLACKOUT is Jan Christensen's fifth published mystery and is available both in print and e-book formats by going here. She also writes short stories and articles, many of which can be found round and about on the internet. For more info, check out her website: or the author's page:

1 comment:

Jan Christensen said...

Kevin, the post about this got lost in my email, and I just found it. Thanks so much for putting this up. I appreciate it. Lots!