Sneak Peek - The First Time I Fell!

The second book in the Garnet McGee series, The First Time I Fell, is now out!

Here's the blurb. Scroll down for an exclusive preview from chapter 2!

Living on the edge can be murder.

Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown, all set to finish her master’s thesis in psychology, and convinced that the paranormal experiences of recent months are now behind her. 

Then she stumbles across a body in the strangest of places, and starts getting unsettling visions of the woman’s life and death. Local police assume it was suicide, but Garnet is sure it was murder. 

Egged on by her eccentric mother, Garnet starts investigating. Police Chief Ryan Jackson is intrigued by the “readings” she gets about the case, but others are determined to stop her amateur sleuthing. Meanwhile some inexplicably strange things are happening at home.

Garnet is determined to find out who killed the beautiful woman loved by so many, but that will mean taking the leap into trusting not only others, but also her own growing psychic abilities. Yet every vision puts her in greater danger. As she gets close to discovering the truth, Garnet realizes that the killer will do whatever it takes to keep the truth hidden. 

Even if that means killing again.

Gripping and unpredictable, The First Time I Fell is a suspenseful and haunting murder mystery with a psychic twist.

This is the second book in the Garnet McGee series that started with The First Time I Died, but can be read as a standalone novel.

Get it HERE!



From Chapter 2, Garnet is on the phone, chatting with her mother ...


“Are you all settled in? What’s the place like?” my mother asked.

I strolled to the living room, glancing around. “It’s very neat and very … nice.” From the shelf beside the TV screen, the porcelain clown leered at me, its red grin reminding me unpleasantly of the guard at the gatehouse. “Too nice actually.” I pushed the figurine further back on the shelf and turned it around to face the wall. “So nice, it’s kind of creepy.”

“Gracious, Garnet, what nonsense you talk.”

“That’s rich, coming from you!” I protested.

My mother was the mistress of malapropisms and mangled language, and the undisputed queen of far-fetched beliefs and silly superstitions.

“How can anything be too nice?” Without waiting for an answer, she began rattling on about all the things we were going to do now that I was in town. “Jessica Armstrong’s gallery has a new show, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to take your two fur-babies to the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury and have them blessed? St. Francis, you know! We could do the tour and tasting at Sweet ‘n Smoky Maple Syrups, and did you ever do the Windsor cheese trail?”

I tested the couch and found it amazingly comfortable.

“Mom, I’m here to work on my thesis. We’re not going to be spending that much time together.”

Whenever my mother and I were in each other’s company for more than half an hour, she rubbed my nerves raw with her linguistic and metaphysical meanderings.

“Yes, dear, but you will need to take a break sometimes.

“I’ll swing by tomorrow,” I promised.

“Come for dinner. I’ll make Mexican.”

“The real kind? With meat?” According to my father’s weekly calls, my mother was going through of phase of cooking with tofu and chickpeas. And “Quorn,” whatever the heck that was.

“If you insist,” she said. “Sweet dreams and may the goddess grant you restful sleep.”

I wouldn’t need any divine assistance to sleep — my eyes were already drooping. Lizzie was curled up fast asleep at the other end of the couch, in violation of another of Mrs. Andersen’s rules, and Darcy snored on the carpeted floor beside my feet.

The dogs were behaving normally around me. That was a huge relief because after the weird reactions I’d received from cats and dogs during December, I’d worried that this dog-sitting gig might not be a cakewalk. But the beagles hadn’t whimpered or growled at me, or stared off to my left side as if seeing something that wasn’t there.

My brain seemed to be behaving normally, too. In December, I’d been haunted by strange symptoms — being overwhelmed by intense feelings that weren’t my own, hearing words inside my head, and having visions and seeing memories of things I’d never witnessed in person — but I’d experienced nothing weird since then.

Almost nothing. 

There’d been a few odd things, but I’d chalked them up to coincidence, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a fertile imagination. True, at Cassie’s funeral I’d felt swamped by soul-crushing sadness, but surely that was just grief, and a reaction to being in the very church where, ten years before, I’d sat through the funeral of her brother, Colby, who’d been the love of my life. Yes, my mind had teemed with unfamiliar images of Cassie as a little girl, but maybe I’d just recollected long-forgotten memories.

The one thing that did still baffle me was that wherever I sat — at the counter of my favorite bar in Beacon Hill, on a crowded subway car, in the waiting room at the dentist — the seat to the left of me invariably remained unoccupied. I had yet to find an explanation or rationalization that accounted for that particular peculiarity.

“Time for bed,” I told the dogs.

I let them out into the yard for a last pee before tucking them into their baskets in the laundry room. They peered out from beneath their blankets, but the moment I turned to leave, they jumped out and followed me to the kitchen door. Hardening my heart against the guilt-inducing entreaty in their liquid brown eyes, I shut the door firmly behind me. Mrs. Andersen’s instruction on this had been underlined for emphasis — no dogs on the beds!

I took a long shower, letting the hot water soothe my elbow and shoulder which ached from where I’d banged them on the toilet and bathroom floor. Before getting into bed, I stood at my bedroom window, nibbling a nail and staring out into the darkness for long minutes. Somebody was taking their own dog for a late walk up the road. The park across the way was deserted, lit by the yellow glow of streetlights. Wind whipped at the flag on the pole in my neighbor’s front yard. Ned was out on his porch, swinging the tube of a large telescope up towards the sky. It was a clear night and the viewing would be good, but he must be a dedicated stargazer to be out in this cold.

Downstairs, the dogs whined and scratched at the door, pleading to be let out of their kitchen prison. I closed my drapes, burrowed under my duvet and, yawning, stared at the rosebud wallpaper on the wall beside the bed. Up close, by the faint light filtering through the drapes into the room, I could make out forms and faces in the patterns.

I remembered doing this as a child, finding images in the pattern of the paint or wallpaper and making up stories about them. Pareidolia — my sleepy mind dredged up the term for the psychological phenomenon of finding meaningful patterns, especially human figures and faces, in random data. If I remembered correctly, it had something to do with the activation of the fusiform brain region.

My own fusiform neurons must have been firing energetically just then because I could see smiling baby faces in some of the petals, and extended hands in the shapes of the leaves. My gaze kept being pulled back to the gap between the buds where the shape and shading exactly resembled the creepy face of a stern old man. In my imagination, he looked like a devil — the serrated edges of the surrounding rose leaves formed sharp horns, the thorns made slanted eyes, and the wedge of white between adjacent stalks and stems was his pointed beard.

The shape was repeated about every five inches in the pattern. I tried to estimate how many of them — hundreds? thousands? — must be on the walls of this room, watching me. At some point in my calculations, under the gaze of countless fiends, I fell asleep.


The First Time I Died is now available on preorder at Amazon, here.