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“There’s a boy in the water,” Alex says, but he can’t be sure. He’s never sure. Jane tells him there’s no one there, and of course there isn’t. But he still hears the boy in his head, pleading for his help. God, he can’t even help himself.
At the bookshop Saturday, Mary makes him read to the children. It’s hard. The brilliance of their auras hurts his eyes. He takes a breath and begins the story, but it’s no good. A blackness boils from the far corner of the room and he can’t see the words. Just outside the circle, is Bobby Gibson. The boy’s thoughts surge across the room and crash into Alex’s mind. He sees the glitter of a knife, a bound and helpless animal.
The boy’s crying in his head again, and Alex is drawn to the river. There! A gunnysack is snagged on a fallen tree. Alex dives in and saves the life of the boy within. It is this rescue that gains the attention of Detective Nick Kramer, who begins to suspect that Alex may be involved in the attempted murder.
Jack Gibson kidnaps Alex. “This is what happens when someone interferes with me,” the man hisses. Alex is tied to a doorframe in the cellar of the white farmhouse and methodically tortured. Alex awakes from unconsciousness and finds himself blessedly alone, and makes a break for freedom.
Alex has a few days of peace, but the boy calls again and he is drawn against his will to the cemetery. Jane goes to the police for aide and they find Alex digging in the loose soil by the fence. There is a boy, buried alive, and they are able to rescue him. Gibson escapes into the woods.
One of Alex’s friend’s is murdered. In his last moments alive, the young man calls to Alex, who relives the young man’s terror and stumbles on his body deep in the forest. Detective Kramer’s suspicions grow. He believes Alex is involved in his daughter Mariam’s disappearance. Kramer kidnaps him and takes him into the country. Alex’s mind is hurtled into the terror of the murdered people. He knows where they are.
On sale now at Solstice Publishing and Amazon
Read an excerpt here
Congratulations, Dianne. For anyone who hasn’t read it, I can reco
mmend the book highly. Nik Morton-Editor in Chief: Solstice Publishing
I second everything Nik said, it’s fabulous!
Martina Mercer-Lead Editor: Solstice Publishing
This is as near as I have come to someone else’s beating heart. Donald Ford
I was hooked! Posted by Cassidy with Clu’s All Night Preview on 17th Aug 2011
‘Alex’ was a great paranormal mystery with just the right amount of romance thrown in, I was hooked!
The lead character, Alex has psychic abilities that controll him to the point of horrid migraines but he is fighting throughout the story to be a strong man for the woman he loves. I was appauled at the tourtures that he endured as a child and then again as an adult because of peoples stupidity. I envy Alex his friendships within the book, without frineds like Angie, Justin and Ben Alex’s story would not have been as wonderful. Dianne did an amazing job creating a family of charachters for Alex. I especially enjoyed how Dianne described the way Alex saw colors so magnificintly different from everyone else. Dianne’s descriptive writting pulls you into the story as if you are Alex.
- Wonderful read! Posted by Jeanne Bannon on 15th Aug 2011Alex, a reluctant psychic, is twenty and just wants to live a normal life. He sees auras, telepathically hears voices and has visions. When he realizes the voices and images intruding into his mind are those of the abducted victims of a serial killer, he is compelled to try to save them. Some he manages to help, while others perish. Alex’s “gift” is also his curse. He becomes the prime suspect in the investigation into the murders because of his intimate knowledge of the crimes.As Alex struggles to deal with his burden and his abusive childhood, he spins out of control and questions his own sanity. But with the love of Jane, his adoptive sister, he trudges on heroically, facing those in his small town who side with the police and think him a murderer.Dianne Hartsock weaves a twisting tale taking readers into Alex’s troubled mind. We get to know him intimately and she does an excellent job of character development as well as providing readers a meaty plot-driven story. One we can sink our teeth into.The novel is a page turner and readers can’t help but to feel deeply for the broken Alex. Will he find the killer before he self-destructs?
5.0 out of 5 stars A twisting, tight thriller,September 9, 2011 By Michelle Fayard (Los Molinos, CA)
Does Alex see glimpses of people’s futures because he’s psychic–or because he’s the killer?
Alex Elson, 20, was the victim of more than a decade of brutal child abuse. Now he suffers from debilitating migraines. He also can see others’ auras and hear their dark thoughts and painful memories.
Last summer he was hospitalized for alleged schizophrenia. This year he’s become the prime suspect for a series of murders. Will Jane continue to stand by him, or will she be drawn to a man who might have dark secrets of his own …
With touches of early Mary Higgins Clark and Kay Hooper’s Special Crime Unit series, Dianne Hartsock’s book is a psychological thriller you won’t soon forget.
5.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner,June 29, 2011 By RedRoseKillion
Dianne Hartsock writes a magnificent mystery! ALEX is a gripping story about a young man haunted by his abusive past and tormented by visions of people who are being tortured and murdered. All Alex wants to do is be with the woman he loves and live a normal life, but he is desperate to help the victims in his mind.
Intriguing twists keep the reader poised at every page. ALEX will appeal to a variety of readers from lovers of traditional mysteries to suspense lovers with its ominous, supernatural feel and even beyond these genres as moments of tenderness and fear move the reader’s heart. Dianne Hartsock truly leaves the reader guessing, never quite sure of the murderer’s identity as terrifying details are mixed with horrifying visions . The complicated psychological battle within Alex’s mind keeps you wondering if he will find his sanity or be lost to it. The writer keeps the pages turning with eager anticipation until the very end.
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive,September 6, 2011 By Doug McClean
Alex is a young man struggling with the violence of his past and the violence his mind and body encounters in the present.
Dianne Hartsock does an impressive job juggling the torture Alex endured as a child, the state of his mind as an adult, and the encroaching thoughts of the missing victims. One wants to know who’s causing the disappearances. Can it be Alex? Not even he knows. The suspense is tight as he tries to hold onto sanity in the face of all that barrages him. With the help of his love interest Jane, and their good friends Justin and Angie, Alex realizes he isn’t alone. The great characters Dianne has created brings a strong sense of reality to her work. By the end of the novel, I felt as if I knew these people and miss them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!!!,August 25, 2011 By Jennifer Couch (Atlanta, Georgia)
Alex is a well-written and exciting novel. Dianne does a great job describing the characters and scenes in detail. As I read Alex, I had a VERY HARD time putting the book away. I kept wanting to read on to find out who the killer was. The suspense that Dianne leaves you with at the end of each chapter is definitely what makes the book exciting! Dianne writes the story in a way that’ll keep you on your toes and guessing until the very end who the killer really is.
And, let me tell you this. I’m not really big into reading. I love books, but to be honest with you, the thickness of Alex intimidated me a little. Okay, a lot! I mean, 393 pages is a lot to read for someone that doesn’t read a lot. However, let me tell you this. As soon as I picked up the book and started reading it, I had a hard time putting it away. I read a little every night and finished the entire book in less than a week. So, if someone like me finds this book exciting, all of you regular readers that enjoy suspenseful novels, you MUST check out Alex. I promise that you won’t regret it.
Hopefully a sequel will be written in the near future.
Great job Dianne!
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable,August 17, 2011 By Brea Essex
‘Alex’ was a great paranormal mystery with just the right amount of romance thrown in, I was hooked!
The lead character, Alex has psychic abilities that control him to the point of horrid migraines but he is fighting throughout the story to be a strong man for the woman he loves. I was appauled at the tortures that he endured as a child and then again as an adult because of people’s stupidity. I envy Alex his friendships within the book, without friends like Angie, Justin and Ben, Alex’s story would not have been as wonderful. Dianne did an amazing job creating a family of characters for Alex. I especially enjoyed how Dianne described the way Alex saw colors so magnificintly different from everyone else. Dianne’s descriptive writting pulls you into the story as if you are Alex.
Overall I enjoyed ‘Alex’ and hope to see a sequel, hopefully where his luck is a little better…
Fabulous job Dianne!
5.0 out of 5 stars Alex: An Unpredictable Thriller!,July 26, 2011 By MsLaDeDa
Reality and nightmares blur together in this fast-paced thriller. Through the eyes of the main character, Alex, we see how hard it is to hold onto reality in humanity’s darkest hours.
We learn through Alex’s nightmarish flashbacks that he was kept in his room and tortured by his mother for most of his childhood. This enables him to “see” things that people normally do not see, things that may have happened in the past or the future, as he struggles to hold onto reality in the unpredictable present. He overcomes the classic internal conflict of Man vs. Himself as he understands more about his gifts and tries to resolve them alongside the conflicts that surround him.
I felt sympathy for Alex right away: He is the underdog, embodying the bumps and bruises and tears we shed in childhood, burned into memory, and magnified a million times. I felt myself cheering for Alex, wanting him to win every struggle and overcome all his obstacles.
The raw humanity seen through Alex’s eyes kept all my senses actively involved, and made this a real page-turner. The feel of skin and hair, bones and nails, warm and cold, are both beautiful and horrific. Visions of light and shadow are both heartening and frightening. Sounds of love and murder are both soothing and disturbing. Hartsock’s prose is simple yet effective in describing the action in the novel; eliciting fear, keeping me on-edge, and haunting me for days after reading. However, overall, I am left with a new definition of what love is: an emotion that can endure through life and death. Love isn’t over-romanticized as something that will conquer all, but love makes life worth living.