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Still Here

From the internationally bestselling author of the “utterly compelling and intriguing” (Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver) Still Mine and Still Water comes a new stand alone psychological thriller featuring PI Clare O’Dey, who’s on the hunt for two missing persons but who may be hunted herself.

Malcolm is gone. Disappeared. And no one knows where or why.

His colleague and fellow private investigator, Clare, is certain she can find him, as she holds the key to his past. She arrives in the oceanside city where he last lived and starts digging around. Not only is Malcolm gone without a trace, so is his wife, Zoe. Everyone who knew the perfect couple sees Malcolm as the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance. Everyone except Clare. She’s certain there’s more at play that has nothing to do with Malcolm, a dark connection to Zoe’s family business and the murder of her father years ago.

As Clare pulls back the layers, she discovers secrets the entire community is trying desperately to leave in the past. As for Malcolm, his past is far more complex—and far more sinister—than Clare could ever have imagined. He may not be innocent at all. As she searches for the man who helped her build her career as a private eye, Clare discovers that many women are in grave danger. And she is among them.

Featuring Amy Stuart’s “captivating, mysterious, and relevant” (Marissa Stapley, author of Things to Do When It’s Raining) prose, Still Here is an unputdownable thriller that will haunt you long after you finish it.

Chapter 1


Clare blinks and pats at the back of her head. Warmth. She looks down at her fingertips, red with her own blood.

Strange, she thinks. I feel no pain.

The room takes shape. She sits in an empty bathtub, clothes on. The bathtub is in the center of the room. This bathroom: airy, too big, everything white, an open shower. The window over the vanity looks out to a sharp blue sky. Too bright. Clare shifts her position and cranes to check behind her. The pain comes, her skull throbbing.

Yes, Clare thinks. This place. Of course. I know where I am.

The bathroom door is closed. Clare leans back against the tub and closes her eyes to stave off the dizzy spell. She remembers. It was a strike to the head.

Voices outside the bathroom door. Clare can’t decipher how many. She works to pull herself up so she is sitting on the edge of the bathtub. Two. A man and a woman. The man’s voice is so acutely familiar that it brings a stabbing pain to Clare’s chest. He is here. Of course he is here. Of course they are here together. A small laugh escapes her. This is what you get, Clare thinks. After everything that’s happened, everything you’ve done, this is how it ends.

The bathroom door cracks open. Clare stands, still in the bathtub. She must steady herself. She must hold straight.

Clare, he says, pressing through the half-open door. Clare?

Clare squeezes her eyes closed, then pops them open to regain her focus. He is smiling too kindly. He holds a gun loose in one hand.

Are you hurt? he asks. I didn’t mean to hurt you.

Does he look different? He’s grown a beard, put on some weight. There’s a deadness in his gaze. He steps forward and reaches out to take her by the arm. When Clare recoils, he frowns playfully.

Don’t do that, Clare. You’ve got nowhere to go. This is finally over. I’m here.

It comes back to Clare now. This morning, dawn. She was alone. And then he was there.

Oh wow, he says, reaching this time for her hair. You’re still bleeding.

Don’t touch me, Clare says, a hiss.

Come on, he says. This doesn’t have to end terribly, does it?

Who else is here? Clare asks. Who’s here with you?

But she need not ask. She knows. The blood drips from her hair and travels in a stream down her spine. It takes all her effort not to sway. Clare closes her eyes again. She must find a way out.

You owe me the truth, he says. Don’t I deserve the truth?

The truth? Clare doesn’t answer him. She knows she is in danger. They will not let her out of here alive. She needs to focus. Focus. But she is dizzy. Her thoughts churn too quickly. The truth. He smiles at her expectantly. Anger roils in her instead of fear. Anger that she didn’t grasp the lies she was told, for trusting those she should never have trusted. Anger at herself for opening that door when she did.
Photograph by Joey Stuart

Amy Stuart is the #1 bestselling author of three novels, Still MineStill Water, and Still Here. Shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award and winner of the 2011 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Fiction Competition, Amy is the founder of Writerscape, an online community for hopeful and emerging writers. Amy lives in Toronto with her husband and their three sons. Connect with her on her website AmyStuart.ca and on Twitter @AmyFStuart.

"Gripping…Readers will cheer Clare all the way to the satisfactory resolution.”

– Publishers Weekly

“A powerful, atmospheric, perfectly plotted thriller. . . . An outstanding read.”
 

– SAMANTHA M. BAILEY, #1 bestselling author of Woman on the Edge

"Enough shivers to cool you down on a hot day."

– Toronto Star

"This book is the next in a series, but I actually picked it up without reading the others. It was so twisty and entertaining, now I want to go back and read the rest of the books."

– Glitter Guide

"The reigning queen of Canadian thrillerdom ... [a] stay-up-past-your-bedtime page-turner"

– Reader's Digest

More books from this author: Amy Stuart