Book Review: The Night Before @Wendy_Walker @netgalley #thriller #suspense

Thank you to Netgally and St. Martin’s Press for my advance copy of The Night Before in exchange for my honest review! (Oops, I’ve had this book for 2 years…I am so, so sorry it took me THIS long to read it, I wish I picked it up sooner!!!!!)

Wow. The Night Before opens up with a bang. Laura is plagued by a murder from her high school years that she is adamant she didn’t commit (even though not everyone may truly believe her).

Laura moves from New York City after a sudden breakup into her sister’s home, in her hometown. She thought she left everything behind and finds herself back here. Laura decides to jump back into dating and her sister, Rosie, thinks it is a bad idea.

Walker takes us through an alternating timeline, Laura in therapy, Laura on her date, and her sister after her date. There were twists and turns and a shocker I did not see coming. When I stopped and reflected on the book, I smiled. It was just THAT good.

I loved the alternating timelines. We hear from Laura in realtime on her date (which was in the past) and then immediately get thrown into the present with Rosie and what is going on there. This kept me hooked and kept me up past my bedtime!!!

4 stars.  SOLID read, great thriller. I never saw one specific part of the book coming…it was a total shock. I love how the book ended and everything came into place. My heart broke a little for Laura, but in the end, I am happy with how things turned out for her!

Title: The Night Before

Author: Wendy Walker

Genre(s): Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads

Book Review: 29 Seconds @TMLoganAuthor @Netgalley @bonnierbooks_uk #Thriller #Suspense #LifeChanging

Thank you to Netgalley for my advance reader copy of 29 Seconds in exchange for my honest review!  This book is scheduled to be released TOMORROW, September 10, 2019 (in the US…yes, UK readers this has been out for you for a year now you lucky ducks)!



29 Seconds changes Sarah’s life.  She’s a kinda single mom (her husband has ran off to find himself…with another woman) with 2 small children balancing her career and home life.  Her father is around to help her out at the drop of a hat and she couldn’t make it without him.  Her work life…

Her boss is an @$$hat.  She’s trying to make it as a permanent employee at the university she works at.  The only way she can guarantee herself to climb up the ladder is to get into her boss’ pants.  Yeah, he’s that kind of scum bag.

This books hits us with a little bit of drama as she witnesses a little girl almost get kidnapped.  What unravels after that will have you savoring every page of this book.  It becomes an unstoppable ride that will have your heart pounding until you know the outcome.

This kept me on the edge of my seat.  There was a lot of suspense built up.  Plans were drawn up and failed.  What was going to happen?!?  I can’t say much because I’ll give the whole book away.  I was pleasantly happy with the ending with finding out all that happens.  I felt the ending was a tad bit rushed, but it didn’t take away from the story.

Solid 4 star read.  There’s no doubt that this is a well written thriller.  It kept you in suspense and had you trying to figure out the mystery of everything.  It was such a clever plan…there’s no way you could guess it unless you have psychic powers.  If you did read this and you guessed how everything unfolded, you’re lying…and guide me to the winning lottery numbers, haha.  Great thriller to put on your bookshelf tomorrow!



Title: 29 Seconds

Author: T.M. Logan

Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery

Publisher: twenty7

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads

Book Review: Pretty Guilty Women @Gina_LaManna @Sourcebooks #ARC #Thriller #Mystery #BookWorm #MomsWhoRead #ReadMe #PageTurner

Thank you to Sourcebooks for my advance reader copy of Pretty Guilty Women in exchange for my honest review!  This book is scheduled to be released TOMORROW, September 3, 2019!



Pretty Guilty Women is the story of 4 old college friends who stopped talking to each other.  One of the girls is getting married and decides to get the gang back together despite everyone not talking for years (I mean, one of the girls did make out with another girl’s boyfriend so, there’s reasons why they don’t all talk).  They all meet up at this lavish resort and spa and get along as best they can.  Someone ends up murdered…four women end up confessing they did it…what is going on?

Right away we know someone is murdered because the book opens up with the detective questioning one of the women.  It alternates between the police questioning and the past week everyone spent at the resort and spa.  The story is told from the perspective of Emily, Kate, Lulu, and Ginger.  They are all old college friends except for Lulu, she’s a relative attending the wedding that the girls meet at the bar.  Whitney, the bride, is the reason why all the girls are together and hanging out at the hotel, but is too busy with wedding preparations to hang out.

Talk about suspense.  So we know that someone is killed.  We have a small sneak peek at who it possibly could be in the prologue; however, it’s so vague it leaves your brain racking all of the possibilities.  I. Never. Saw. It. Coming. 

Just when you think you have it all figured out…you don’t.  There’s enough twisting and turning from the police questioning to the girls’ time at the resort that you can’t help but just sit there and keep turning the page.  This book became an addiction for me.  I kept wanting more.  I carried this book around with me until I finished it because if I found myself with even 2 minutes to spare, I had my nose in the book.

This was such a creatively written book, 5 stars from me.  Yeah, 5 stars.  Why?  It kept me craving more.  The ending…you know I’m a stickler…there’s a one year later AND epilogue.  It’s like a double bonus…I see what happens over the course of a year after the event takes place AND I get more…it’s my dream ending for EVERY book.  I can say that this book satisfied everything and more.  I closed the book feeling complete.  You will not regret picking this book up…good thing it’s released tomorrow so you can get your hands on it quickly!!



Title: Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina LaManna

Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads

Book Review: The Truth Behind The Lie @Netgalley #SwedishLit #Crime #Kidnapping #Mystery

Thank you to Netgalley and Minotaur Books for the advance reader copy of The Truth Behind The Lie!  This book is scheduled to be released TOMORROW!


This book was a little weird.  It was just ok.  Pernilla hires a private investigator to try and find her daughter that has been kidnapped.  She refuses to consult with the police and Kouplan, our PI, is desperate for money so he takes the case.  What she doesn’t realize is that Kouplan is in the country illegally and has never investigated anything before.

I am never one who can predict books easily, but I had this whole book figured out from the beginning.  It’s highly predictable and left little to be desired for since I essentially figured everything out early on…I just kept reading for confirm my thoughts were correct.  It didn’t make reading this one very enjoyable.

There’s not much more I can say about this book without giving too much away.  It’s quite a tale of Kouplan trying to locate Pernilla’s missing daughter.  From the beginning things feel off and not quite right.  Kouplan almost doesn’t know if he should investigating the case or not.  Eventually all comes to light at the end…

This was a 3 star read for me.  I don’t think I would recommend this to any of my friends as they usually are able to predict books MUCH better than I am.  If I could predict this one…that’s saying something!  I was so disappointed in this one!  Have you read any books that disappointed you lately because you were able to figure it out so easily??



Title: The Truth Behind The Lie

Author: Sara Lövestam

Genre(s): Mystery, Crime, Swedish Lit

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Release Date: August 27, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Things You Save In A Fire @katherinecenter @StMartinsPress #5stars #MustRead

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for my advance reader copy of Things You Save In A Fire.  I am now a HUGE Katherine Center fan!  This book was absolutely amazing!



I laughed, I cried, and at times I held my breath through this tale.  It’s a true feel good story where a woman conquers and achieves something in a male dominated field.  I was so proud of Cassie as a female firefighter she held her own and did what she had to do to prove herself…and she’s a damn good firefighter.

Enough about that.  Her mother (with whom she has a strained relationship) has asked her to live with her for a year as she’s having some medical issues.  Her father guilts in to going and so she ends up moving from Texas to Massachuettes to help her mother.

What ends up happening is Cassie herself grows a lot as a person.  She ends up repairing her relationship with her mother and ends up finding love as well.  She has never been in a committed relationship (and she’s 30), but she finds herself fighting love and her mother helps her to see what life is really all about.

This reminded me of a Hallmark movie.  I know this book won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy feel good stories with some romance and a happy ending…pick this book up now.  I loved it, but I love these kinds of stories.  The growth that Cassie has in this novel is unreal.  Towards the end the book got a little cheesy and far fetched, but again in all things Hallmark, it’s totally acceptable and appreciated.  If you’re looking for a more realistic tale, this may not be for you.

5 star read.  I could not put this book down.  It stirred up every emotion in me.  There’s a FANTASTIC epilogue at the end so we can see a few years into the future.  Everything about this book just makes me so freakin’ happy.  I want to hug this book and relive it over and over again.  Maybe because I love a kick ass female lead, or maybe it’s because of the amazing writing, either way if you love this kind of book, pick it up TODAY because guess what…IT’S RELEASE DAY!!!!



Title: Things You Save In A Fire

Author: Katherine Center

Genre(s): Chick Lit, Contemporary, Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Third Mrs. Durst @MsAnnAguirre @midnightinkbook @Netgalley #Psychopath #Mystery #Crazy

Thank you to Netgalley and Midnight Ink for my advance copy of The Third Mrs. Durst!  I would also like to wish this book a very HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY!  It is out today!


Can I just say if you are looking for a book that stars a crazy twisted psychopath, this is THE book for you.  Do not read any further, just go out and get this book because…oh my goodness…the star of the show is one of the craziest and most calculating crazy, psychotic people I have ever read as the protagonist.  Woah.

This book is a thrilling mystery.  There weren’t any big twists or surprises, but you may find yourself holding your breath as you wait to see what happens.  Marlena (our psychopath, I mean, protagonist) runs away from home at 17 to try and better her life.  Her mother is an addict and many times there isn’t even food on the table.  She feels bad for abandoning her siblings, but like her older sister did before her, she has to break out before she winds up pregnant and addicted to drugs herself.

Marlena meets a man at a fast food restaurant who puts her in to modeling.  This takes her from homeless to having money in a flash.  Eventually after a few years she runs in to Mr. Durst and they start a relationship…yes, she becomes the third wife.

Fair warning, there is domestic violence throughout this book.  Mr. Durst is a disgusting, vile, oxygen thief of a person.  You can’t help but hate him.  Why Marlena decided to stick with a man that she knew had these tendencies…well…it will be revealed.  “Some people just need killing.”

This book isn’t for everyone.  It is a darker, slower burn.  Personally, I found it jumped around a little bit and lost me in places.  I did read an advance copy so I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it.  I love what Marlena did and how she handled herself.  If you’re looking for a typical thriller or maybe even character development, this isn’t for you.  If you are looking for a twisted, revengeful, crazy mind…read on!


Title: The Third Mrs. Durst

Author: Ann Aguirre

Genre(s): Mystery

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Release Date: August 8, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Lost You @HaylenBeck @stuartneville @CrownPublishing @Netgalley #Thriller #Surrogacy #Kidnapping #4stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for my advance copy of Lost You by Haylen Beck!  This book was released YESTERDAY, so you’re able to run out and get yourself a copy TODAY!


I dove in to this book knowing nothing…and honestly, I loved that aspect.  I knew it was a thriller and I absolutely loved the surprise roller coaster ride this book took me on, so don’t expect much of a description on this book from me.

The main subject in this book is surrogacy.  At first I thought this book took place almost like a dystopian place, where (paid) surrogacy is illegal.  I became curious and so I googled the subject…much to my surprise surrogacy is NOT legal in all 50 states!  This book highlights a couple living in New York (where it’s illegal to have paid surrogacy) going through an agency to obtain their own baby.  They use the surrogate’s egg, husband’s sperm.  Oh what a tale that unfolds!

The opening paragraph is a sneak peek at the ending…it doesn’t spoil ANYTHING for the reader, just makes you more curious once we start to meet the characters!  At first I thought they had given the ending away and when I went back to reread it, oooooo, what a move…WHAT. A. MOVE.  I couldn’t put this book down after that realization!!

Fantastic 4 star read.  This was a fantastic, fast paced thriller with secrets and twists and turns throughout.  The only thing that bothered me throughout the book was that NO ONE took into consideration the fact that this was the husband’s baby too.  I would have to research more to see what all entails in this kind of situation, but man, what an eye opening read about the issue of surrogacy.  I could absolutely see this kind of situation happening…never mess with a parent and their child!  Hooked yet?  Get this book NOW!


Title: Lost You

Author: Haylen Beck

Genre(s): Thriller, Kidnapping Thriller

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Ellie & The Harpmaker @HazelPriorBooks @BerkleyPub @penguinrandom #OutToday #Contemporary #Fiction @Netgalley

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for my advance reader copy of Ellie and the Harpmaker in exchange for my honest review.

Ellie is an Exmoor housewife who finds herself inside the barn of the Exmoor harpmaker, Dan.  She falls in love with the harp and Dan ends up giving her one as a gift.  What?!  I know…crazy!  Ellie takes it home and is immediately told to return it by her husband.  She ends up leaving it at his barn and comes back to visit it to practice and take harp lessons from his girlfriend.

Some things to note…Ellie’s husband is a drunk, Dan cannot read social cues and is not of the societal norm, and Ellie is in love…with the harp.  I wouldn’t classify this book as a romance as there is nothing all that romantic about it.  This takes on a tale of everything that happens BEFORE a romance blossoms.

The book is told to us by Dan and Ellie.  There are parts in this book where I am yelling at Ellie because this woman…oh, she gave me heartburn.  If I were her friend Christina I’d be yelling at her.  I felt nothing but compassion for Dan.  Oh how I wanted to hug him and take him home with me, haha.  I felt really bad for him towards the last part of the book…you’ll see why when you pick it up (and then even MORE at the end).

Ellie is such an amazing friend to Dan.  I think my favorite part of reading this book was watching how she treated Dan.  She almost became like his protector until everything went falling by the wayside.  This book was beautifully written.  It has an Eleanor Oliphant vibe to it as well.

This book is released TODAY.  Stop reading all the reviews and go out and take a chance on the harpmaker of Exmoor!  If you wind up craving sandwiches and coffee after you read this, don’t blame me, blame the author!  😉


Title: Ellie And The Harpmaker

Author: Hazel Prior

Genre(s): Chick Lit, Contemporary

Publisher: Berkley Publishing

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Turn Of The Key @RuthWareWriter @simonschuster @Netgalley #5stars #Amazing #BestBookThisYear #BookWorm

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for access to this book in exchange for my honest review.  I have previously read The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware so I was ecstatic when I was approved for an advance reader copy of The Turn Of The Key!

Letters.  This book is one big letter written by Rowan Caine, a nanny accused of murder, to Mr. Wrexham, a lawyer she hopes will take on her case.  Rowan takes us step by step on how she was hired and what happened during her time as nanny at the Heatherbrae House in Scotland.

Is she unreliable?  Ware wrote this to have the reader going back and forth wondering if Rowan is really innocent as she claims.  Is she just going crazy?  What really is going on?  I don’t want to reveal too much more because the less I describe, the better it is for you the reader.

Side note: I couldn’t read this at night, there are some pretty scary parts.  There are definitely some creepy parts.  This is a TRUE psychological thriller…I have not read one this spooky in a LONG time.  Talk about a modern ghost story, this one is chilling to the core.  I was flipping through the pages wanting to seek vengeance on who could kill an innocent child as Rowan told us all she knows.

This ending.  THIS ENDING!!!!!!  This book made my head spin and kept me up at night thinking what could be going on.  I never, NEVER suspected the ending…and I loved every second of it.  It is not a let down and it’s a shock that will make you gasp out loud.  There’s more than meets the eye with The Turn Of The Key.  This was the best book I have read all year and will be hard to top!

This book is being released TOMORROW, Tuesday, August 6th.  It is available for pre-order now!  Don’t walk, RUN to the store to grab your copy!!!!


Title: The Turn Of The Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre(s): Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Blog Tour: The Escape Room #EscapeRoomBook @megangoldin @StMartinsPress @Netgalley


Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the advance copy of the book AND the opportunity to participate in the blog tour!!  I have been given an advanced copy of this book to read and give you my honest opinion on.  I am so lucky to have had this opportunity!

This is one of the most unique books I have read in awhile.  We alternate between 2 settings.  One setting takes place in an elevator where 4 co-workers are drawn together to participate in a team building exercise.  They are called to take part in an escape room and end up in an elevator with clues, trying to decipher them to escape.  The other setting is essentially the adult life of Sara Hall; a woman who used to work with the other 4.  It seems absolutely bizarre at first with each alternating chapter, but it works and throws you around in a loop!

This was filled with such great writing.  I will admit, toward the end I saw where the book was going, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every second of this book.  I read it so fast because I wanted to know what was going on!  Goldin did a SUPERB job at giving you just enough with each chapter that it made you want to keep going because you had to fill in the pieces to the puzzle!  It almost became a game of, well, let me figure out this escape room puzzle and wait, I want to know more about Sara!  Needless to say I had 2 sleepless nights with this book trying to get it all in!

I really can’t say more about this book without giving too much away.  It’s a unique psychological thriller that will be a chart-topping hit.  This is a must read.  You guys know how obsessive I am over endings and THANK YOU, it’s what I hoped and wanted.  Well, I wouldn’t have mind if, ah, you know I can’t say, but just know it made me smile.  Please, get your hands on this book as soon as possible!  Watch your back in the process…you just don’t know who you can trust!  (St. Martin’s Press has decided to be super kind and has given me access to share with you a preview of the book…scroll down to go around and get a peek at the prologue, don’t forget to get a copy of this ASAP!)


Megan Goldin Hi Res.jpg

MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. THE ESCAPE ROOM is her debut novel.

Buy-book link:



It was Miguel who called 911 at 4:07 a.m. on an icy Sunday morning. The young security guard spoke in an unsteady voice, fear disguised by cocky nonchalance.

Miguel had been an aspiring bodybuilder until he injured his back lifting boxes in a warehouse job and had to take night- shift work guarding a luxury office tower in the final stages of construction. He had a muscular physique, dark hair, and a cleft in his chin.

He was conducting a cursory inspection when a scream rang out. At first, he didn’t hear a thing. Hip- hop music blasted through the oversize headphones he wore as he swept his flashlight across the dark recesses of the lobby.

The beam flicked across the classical faces of reproduction Greek busts cast in metal and inset into niches in the walls. They evoked an eerie otherworldliness, which gave the place the aura of a mausoleum.

Miguel paused his music to search for a fresh play list of songs. It was then that he heard the tail end of a muffled scream.

The sound was so unexpected that he instinctively froze. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard strange noises at night, whether it was the screech of tomcats brawling or the whine of construction cranes buffeted by wind. Silence followed. Miguel chided himself for his childish reaction.

He pressed PLAY to listen to a new song and was immediately assaulted by the explosive beat of a tune doing the rounds at the dance clubs where he hung out with friends.

Still, something in the screech he’d heard a moment before rattled him enough for him to be extra diligent.

He bent down to check the lock of the revolving lobby door. It was bolted shut. He swept the flashlight across a pair of still escalators and then, above his head, across the glass- walled mezzanine floor that overlooked the lobby.

He checked behind the long reception desk of blond oak slats and noticed that a black chair was at an odd angle, as if someone had left in a hurry.

A stepladder was propped against a wall where the lobby café was being set up alongside a water fountain that was not yet functional. Plastic- wrapped café tables and chairs were piled up alongside it.

In the far corner, he shone his flashlight in the direction of an elaborate model of the building complex shown to prospective tenants by Realtors rushing to achieve occupancy targets in time for the building’s opening the following month.

The model detailed an ambitious master plan to turn an abandoned ware house district that had been a magnet for homeless people and addicts into a high- end financial and shopping precinct. The first tower was almost finished. A second was halfway through construction.

When Miguel turned around to face the elevator lobby, he was struck by something so incongruent that he pushed his headphones off his head and onto his shoulders.

The backlit green fluorescent light of an elevator switch flickered in the dark. It suggested that an elevator was in use. That was impossible, because he was the only person there.

In the sobriety of the silent echo that followed, he convinced himself once again that his vague sense of unease was the hallucination of a fatigued mind. There was nobody in the elevator for the simple reason that the only people on- site on weekends were the security
guards. Two per shift. Except to night, Miguel was the only one on duty.

When Stu had been a no- show for his shift, Miguel figured he’d manage alone. The construction site was fenced off with towering barbed- wire fences and a heavy- duty electric gate. Nobody came in or out until the shift ended.

In the four months he’d worked there, the only intruders he’d encountered were feral cats and rats scampering across construction equipment in the middle of the night. Nothing ever happened during the night shift.

That was what he liked about the job. He was able to study and sleep and still get paid. Sometimes he’d sleep for a couple of hours on the soft leather lobby sofa, which he found preferable to the lumpy stretcher in the portable office where the guards took turns resting between patrols. The CCTV cameras hadn’t been hooked up yet, so he could still get away with it.

From the main access road, the complex looked completed. It had a driveway entry lined with young maples in planter boxes. The lobby had been fitted out and furnished to impress prospective tenants who came to view office space.

The second tower, facing the East River, looked unmistakably like a construction site. It was wrapped with scaffolding. Shipping containers storing building materials were arranged like colorful Lego blocks in a muddy field alongside idle bulldozers and a crane.

Miguel removed keys from his belt to open the side entrance to let himself out, when he heard a loud crack. It whipped through the lobby with an intensity that made his ears ring.

Two more cracks followed. They were unmistakably the sound of gunshots. He hit the ground and called 911. He was terrified the shooter was making his way to the lobby but cocky enough to cover his fear with bravado when he spoke.

“Something bad’s going down here.” He gave the 911 dispatcher the address. “You should get cops over here.”

Miguel figured from the skepticism in the dispatcher’s cool voice that his call was being given priority right below the doughnut run.

His heart thumped like a drum as he waited for the cops to arrive. You chicken shit, he berated himself as he took cover behind a sofa. He exhaled into his shirt to muffle the sound of his rapid breathing. He was afraid he would give away his position to the shooter.

A wave of relief washed over him when the lobby finally lit up with a hazy blue strobe as a police car pulled in at the taxi stand. Miguel went outside to meet the cops.

“What’s going on?” An older cop with a thick gut hanging over his belted pants emerged from the front passenger seat.

“Beats me,” said Miguel. “I heard a scream. Inside the building. Then I heard what I’m pretty sure were gunshots.”

“How many shots?” A younger cop came around the car to meet him, snapping a wad of gum in his mouth.

“Two, maybe three shots. Then nothing.”

“Is anyone else around?” The older cop’s expression was hidden under a thick gray mustache.

“They clear out the site on Friday night. No construction workers. No nobody. Except me. I’m the night guard.”

“Then what makes you think there’s a shooter?”

“I heard a loud crack. Sure sounded like a gunshot. Then two more. Came from somewhere up in the tower.”

“Maybe construction equipment fell? That possible?”

A faint thread of red suffused Miguel’s face as he contemplated the possibility that he’d panicked over nothing. They moved into the lobby to check things out, but he was feeling less confident than when he’d called 911. “I’m pretty sure they—” He stopped speaking as they all heard the unmistakable sound of a descending elevator.

“I thought you said there was nobody here,” said the older cop.

“There isn’t.”

“Could have fooled me,” said the second cop. They moved through to the elevator lobby. A light above the elevator doors was flashing to indicate an elevator’s imminent arrival. “Someone’s here.”

“The building opens for business in a few weeks,” said Miguel. “Nobody’s supposed to be here.”

The cops drew their guns from their holsters and stood in front of the elevator doors in a shooting stance— slightly crouched, legs apart. One of the cops gestured furiously for Miguel to move out of the way. Miguel stepped back. He hovered near an abstract metal sculpture set into the wall at the dead end of the elevator lobby.

A bell chimed. The elevator heaved as it arrived.

The doors parted with a slow hiss. Miguel swallowed hard as the gap widened. He strained to see what was going on. The cops were blocking his line of sight and he was at too sharp an angle to see much.

“Police,” shouted both cops in unison. “Put your weapon down.”

Miguel instinctively pressed himself against the wall. He flinched as the first round of bullets was fired. There were too many shots to count. His ears rang so badly, it took him a moment to realize the police had stopped firing. They’d lowered their weapons and were shouting something. He didn’t know what. He couldn’t hear a thing over the ringing in his ears.

Miguel saw the younger cop talk into his radio. The cop’s mouth opened and closed. Miguel couldn’t make out the words. Gradually, his hearing returned and he heard the tail end of a stream of NYPD jargon.

He couldn’t understand most of what was said. Something about “nonresponsive” and needing “a bus,” which he assumed meant an ambulance. Miguel watched a trickle of blood run along the marble floor until it formed a puddle. He edged closer. He glimpsed blood splatter on the wall of the elevator. He took one more step. Finally, he could see inside the elevator. He immediately regretted it. He’d never seen so much blood in all his life.