Homicide detective Nan Vining finds her world rocked when a murder investigation becomes chillingly personal in this hard-edged thriller for fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner.
In a breathtaking infinity pool on a sprawling Pasadena estate, the naked body of a beautiful young woman floats facedown in a drift of rose petals blowing on the breeze. Police sergeant Jim Kissick responds instantly, pulling the dead victim from the water. When his longtime girlfriend, Detective Nan Vining, arrives on-scene, she’s full of questions, and not just about the Jane Doe. Why did the homeowner text Jim instead of calling 911? Jim’s explanation—that he’s simply an old friend of Teddy and Rebecca Sexton’s—doesn’t sit well with Nan. A survivor of a bizarre murder attempt herself, Nan’s instincts for deception are acute. She senses that they’re all hiding something—including Jim, which plunges a wedge deep into their once steadfast relationship.
Then a drought-ravaged lake in a bucolic Central California town reveals a grisly secret. Soon two local detectives arrive in Pasadena to interview Jim and his wealthy friends about a mysterious death from years back, and Nan realizes she has good reasons for her suspicions. Jim’s always been her rock, but suddenly he’s become a stranger. And once Nan identifies her Jane Doe, events careen out of control as darkness from the past threatens to consume the life that Nan has worked so hard to rebuild.
Look for all of Dianne Emley’s riveting Nan Vining Mysteries: THE FIRST CUT | CUT TO THE QUICK | THE DEEPEST CUT | LOVE KILLS | KILLING SECRETS | LYING BLIND
“The First Cut should immediately establish Dianne Emley in the front ranks of thriller writers.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly
“Stunningly good! The First Cut hurtles the reader down a razor’s edge of suspense to the final, shattering end.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, on Love Kills
“Killing Secrets is diabolically good, a top-notch murder mystery. Nan Vining is a heroine you’ll love.”—New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan
Praise for Lying Blind
“Another first-rate police procedure that follows the investigations led by the strong, dedicated, and very sharp Detective Nan Vining.”—Kings River Life
“Boasting a wonderful cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this book kept me enraptured from beginning to end.”—Dru’s Book Musings
“[Dianne] Emley once again continues to deftly bring Vining to life in a way that rings true.”—Elizabeth A. White Book Reviews
“Fans of plucky heroines will enjoy this.”—Littoral Librarian
“Another phenomenal installment to this series! . . . There were many twists and surprises in this novel that kept me guessing right up until the shocking ending!”—Red Wine and Books
For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner comes a razor-sharp novel of suspense featuring Detective Nan Vining—a single mother whose worlds collide when her teenage daughter stumbles upon a grisly double homicide.
When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty, popular young teacher from Emily’s high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student—both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn’t the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There’s also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park—the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn’t she know about her daughter?
As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining’s superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn’t buy it. Now she’s chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for—and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.
Praise for Killing Secrets
“Killing Secrets is diabolically good, a top-notch murder mystery. Nan Vining is a heroine you’ll love.”—Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of Compulsion
“A complex, challenging and engaging mystery for Vining to unravel . . . Readers will love tagging along for the ride.”—The Florida Times-Union
“A suspenseful thriller . . . that will surprise readers with its stunning conclusion.”—Kings River Life Magazine
“I would strongly recommend Killing Secrets to anyone who likes a good mystery/crime novel—especially one with a strong, intelligent female lead character.”—A Book Geek
“Five out of five . . . I didn’t want to put it down.”—Bewitched Bookworms
“Killing Secrets is my idea of a hard-edged police drama, the kind I love best, and I want more.”—Buried Under Books
“From the beginning, I was hooked. . . . Highly recommended for those who enjoy a good thriller!”—Peeking Between the Pages
Praise for the novels of Dianne Emley
“The Night Visitor grabbed my attention on page one and never let up. It’s a creepy, crafty thrill ride, and I enjoyed every word. I’ll be looking for more of Dianne Emley’s books.”—Karen Robards
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—Tess Gerritsen, on Love Kills
Homicide police detective, single mother of a teenage daughter, and lover to her partner Jim Kissick, Nan Vining wishes that life was a little more serene, more like it is at Georgia Berryhill’s Malibu Canyon compound—or like it’s supposed to be there, anyway. But three bizarre deaths have brought Vining and Kissick through the exclusive gates of this healing ground for the well-heeled. First there’s the double homicide of a celebrity private eye and his nude, drugged-out lover. Then there’s the inexplicable drowning of a Pasadena socialite. Georgia Berryhill—charismatic self-help guru to the stars—is one link to both investigations. A second link is Vining’s own mother, who was a friend to one of the victims and was being wooed by another. Now A-listers, wannabes, lost souls, and keepers of long-hidden secrets all converge at the Berryhill compound. Some search for love and happiness, while others come for murder.
Praise for Love Kills
“Dianne Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestelling author of Die Again
“Add Dianne Emley to your list of must-reads.”—Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestelling author of On Sunset Beach
Back from the dead. That’s how it feels for Nan Vining, a Pasadena homicide cop determined to find the brutal madman who attacked her a year ago. Nan’s daughter calls the unknown assailant T. B. Mann—The Bad Man. On the job, Nan breaks rules and steals evidence, building a case file based on the certainty that T. B. Mann is obsessed with women who wear uniforms, that he hunts them, kills them, then adorns them with a pearl necklace.
At the crime scene of her official assignment, the murder of an ex-con, Nan spots a graffiti tag and is sure, against all reason, that T. B. Mann was there, too. Further complicating matters is Nan’s developing relationship with Detective Jim Kissick, but she knows that opening her heart means losing control. Then T. B. Mann reemerges from the shadows for a final confrontation, bringing Nan to the sudden, horrifying realization that her killer has baited the perfect trap.
The crime scene was like something out of a horror movie. Billboard tycoon Oliver Mercer has been brutally slain in his home in the Pasadena hills, joined in death by his long-legged trophy girlfriend–both of their bodies displayed in a chilling tableau. The murder scene reawakens terrible memories for homicide detective Nan Vining, who survived her own harrowing attack a year earlier. While tracking the taunting gameplayer her daughter Emily dubbed T. B. Mann–The Bad Man–she is now working the Mercer case alongside her ex-flame Jim Kissick, stirring up conflicted feelings in her. From the ritzy estates of L.A.’s Lamborghini-driving set to a rocky desert outpost where rattlesnakes whisper murder, Nan will risk both her badge and her heart on a case that cuts close to the bone.
The assailant was vicious, the attack brutal—and it left her lifeless . . . until her pulse fluttered and she jolted awake. Now, a year later, detective Nan Vining is still questioning her strength, her safety, even her sanity: Can she ever again be the cop—and mother—she was before? And will her attacker someday return to finish the job, before she can track him down herself?
Shaky but determined, Vining rejoins the Pasadena PD, only to confront a murder case that strikes close to home: A slain policewoman has been discovered beneath the Colorado Street Bridge, her body bruised, her throat slit. Even as Vining struggles to recover her standing within the department, she can’t help but feel profoundly drawn to the murdered officer, Frankie Lynde—and she is deeply troubled by the baffling otherworldly visions that haunt her waking hours. Are these mere fever dreams? Or could they be, as Vining’s daughter insists, messages from beyond the grave?
Digging deeper into Lynde’s past, Vining discovers clues that set her on the twisted trail of a killer as ruthless as he is depraved—a predator whose methods and madness recall those of her own attacker. Amid a rising tide of danger, she pushes herself to bold new limits, desperate to avenge the murder of a fellow police officer . . . and to reclaim the life she lost a year ago.
Packed with suspense and action, this pulse-pounding novel will hold you breathless from the first cut to the last.
Praise for The First Cut
“The First Cut should immediately establish Dianne Emley in the front ranks of thriller writers. . . . A great read.”—Michael Connelly
“Gritty, intense, and hard-edged, The First Cut is first-rate.”—Tess Gerritsen
“Action-packed, with plenty of suspense and enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing long into the night.”—Lisa Jackson
“An edge-of-your-seat plot . . . nicely developed characters and genuine suspense elevate this impressive crime debut.”—Kirkus Reviews