Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Remains, Vincent Zandri

"Sometimes the past comes doesn't come back to haunt you. It comes back to kill you!"

October 2, 2008
Albany, New York

In the deep night, a woman sits down at her writing table. Fingering a newly sharpened pencil, she focuses her eyes upon the blank paper, brings the black pencil tip to it.
She begins to write.
Dear Mol,
I’ve been dreaming about you again. I don’t think a night has gone by in the past few weeks when I haven’t seen your face. Our face, I should say. The face is always in my head; implanted in my memories. The dream is nothing new. It’s thirty years ago again. It’s October. I’m walking close behind you through the tall grass towards the woods. Your hair is loose and long. You’re wearing cut-offs, white Keds with the laces untied and a red T-shirt that says ‘Paul McCartney and Wings’ on the front. You’re walking ahead of me while I try to keep up; but afraid to keep up. Soon we come to the tree line, and while my heart beats in my throat, we walk into the trees. But then comes a noise—a snapping of twigs and branches. The gaunt face of a man appears. A man who lives in a house in the woods.
Then, just like that, the dream shifts and I see you kneeling beside me inside the dark empty basement. I hear the sound of your sniffles, smell the wormy raw earth, feel the cold touch of a man’s hand. You turn and you look at me with your solid steel eyes. And then I wake up.
We survived the house in the woods together, Mol, and we never told a soul. We just couldn’t risk it. Whelan would have come back for us. He would have found us. He would have found mom and dad. Even today, I know he surely would have. He would have killed them, Mol. He would have killed us. In just five days, thirty years will have passed. Three entire decades and I’m still convinced we did the right thing by keeping that afternoon in the woods our secret.
When I see you in my dreams it’s like looking in a mirror. The blue eyes, the thick lips, the dirty blond hair forever just touching the shoulders. My hair is finally showing signs of grey, Mol.
I wonder, do you get gray hair in heaven? I wonder if Whelan’s hair burned off in hell? I wonder if he suffers?
All my love,
Your twin sister,
Rebecca Rose Underhill
Exhaling, the woman folds the letter neatly into thirds, slips it into a blank stationary envelope, her initials RRU embossed on the label. Running the bitter sticky glue interior over her tongue, she seals the envelope, sets it back down onto the writing table. Once more she picks up the pencil, brings the now dulled tip to the envelope’s face. Addressing it she writes only a name:
Molly Rose Underhill
The job done, the woman smiles sadly. Opening the table drawer, she sets the letter inside, on top of a stack of nine identical letters-never-sent. One for every year her sister has been gone.
Closing the drawer she hears her cell phone begin to vibrate, then softly chime. Picking it up off the desktop, she opens the phone, sees that a new text has been forwarded to her electronic mailbox. Fingering the in-box, she retrieves the message.
Rebecca is all it says.
Punching the command that reveals the name and number of the sender she finds “Caller Unknown.” The sender’s number has been blocked. Closing the phone back up, she sets it down on the desk. That’s when the wind picks up, blows and whistles through the open window.
“Mol,” she says, staring out into the darkness. “Mol, is that you?”

As young girls, Rebecca and her sister Molly lived through a nightmare abduction, held captive by a madman for three agonizing hours. They only barely escaped. For thirty years they kept this to themselves, a secret bond between sisters, until Molly died of cancer. Now, Rebecca carries the burden by herself.
But the nightmare isn’t over. When she begins getting threatening texts and messages, Rebecca learns that the madman who tormented her and her sister is free, and looking to clear up unfinished business.
The Remains is another fast-paced thriller from Zandri, but remarkable in that it’s told mostly from a female perspective. I’ve gotten accustomed to the sensitive tough guys that usually populate Zandri’s books, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him work so convincingly around a woman protagonist. Rebecca is a great character, fully formed and believable, and as the tension mounts and the story hurtles head-long toward a stunning climax, you’re with her one-hundred percent.
The villain in The Remains is chilling and Zandri ratchets up the suspense like the old pro he is. I’d like to see him experiment even more with these remarkable new points of view. -- Heath Lowrance

I don’t have an ereader so I had to borrow one from a friend of one of my daughters to read this. I had never held one before, let alone used one before this. I liked it. That’s for another post though. The main focus of the post is to impart my enjoyment of Vincent Zandri’s The Remains. If you follow Mr. Zandri at all you know he is not an overnight sensation as some have painted him with the success of this novel. He has The Remains at the top of the Kindle charts and I am sure it is going to enjoy a nice long stay there.
We, my wife and I, have a set of identical twin girls, so this really grabbed my interest. The question in my mind was Zandri going to be able to crawl into the minds of these girls and be in touch with their “twinness”. I have witnessed this phenomenon many times throughout the lives of my girls and it is a difficult thing to quantify let alone describe. Unless you are a twin how can someone describe that connection, those feelings, the looks they give each other, the silent communication? The Remains delivered on all counts and I was very pleased to have spent the time to have read this. The novel is hard to pigeon hole as to what one may call it, so I am going simply with kick%^&, and leave it at that. Making this bad boy a fright flick would be easy, fun and good.
Do I think the novel is injured by coming out in e-version first before paper? No, not at all. My guess is that the publisher saw what they had and didn’t want to sit on it any longer than they needed to. This novel contains great characters and depth, a brilliant storyline, and a hook that is original and gripping. Don’t wait for paper to read this novel. Go outside yourself if you have to and read it on the computer, your cellphone or borrow an ereader like I did. This is a taunt read that has no comfort zone. This novel currently resides in the Amazon “Hot New Release” Top Ten and has a Hollywood scout shopping it around. Keep your fingers crossed. -- Giovanni Gelati

Why Vincent Wrote this Book:
Having just gone through my second divorce I had a lot of time on my hands. I was also pretty heartbroken and down. So I proceeded to write what would be my fifth novel.
I wanted it to be a thriller, but since I was having a lot of trouble at that time in terms of questioning my ability to love someone yet maintain a lasting relationship, not to mention
my overall faith in God, I wanted it to reflect my emotional state.

Author Bio:
Vincent Zandri is an award-winning and bestselling novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His most recent hard-boiled thrillers, Moonlight Falls and The Remains, are Amazon bestsellers. The Remains has held strong as an Amazon "Hot New Release" in Hard-Boiled fiction for many weeks. It's also a bestseller in Romantic-Suspense. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called "Brilliant" upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as "The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season." Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese, Russian, French and the Dutch, Zandri's novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri's nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer's Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. Having recently signed with traditional based indy publisher, StoneHouse Ink and StoneGate Ink, Zandri will be publishing three more novels over the course of two years: As Catch Can (republication), The Concrete Pearl (a new hard-boiled series), and Godchild (republication). He is at work on a new novel about the upstate New York Porco axe murder and attempted murder.
This book is causing quite a stir, and selling really well! If you want a chance to win it, then leave a comment.
Happy Reading! Or in this case, you might be reading from underneath your bed.


  1. Sounds like a really interesting book. I like the cover too, it caught my eye... must be something about eerie houses on the front of a book.

  2. isn't the nicest of all places :)

  3. I left a comment, and it vanished! Vincent, I'm adding this to my to-read list. Sounds like something I'd like! Vin, Tina's book has an eerie house on the cover too. Hmm... Hey, now that I think of it, my book has an old house as well. It's more nostalgic than eerie though.

  4. I bought this book. Hehehe. Now I just need to get it read. :)

  5. I was hooked after the first paragraph. I'm definitely adding it to my wish list. (Along with that e reader!)

  6. This book is more than a great read...the author was able to get right into a woman's mind to understand many men can do that?

  7. BTW, you can get, for free, an Amazon kindle for your PC. You download it to PC/laptop and you can order Vincent's book to read from Get your wish now!