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Mirror Image

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  • This is a paperback version of the novel Mirror Image.
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There is a serial killer out there.

A serial killer targeting young men.

A serial killer who appears to be Linda’s sister Elizabeth.

Linda's dead sister Elizabeth.

But it can’t be Elizabeth. She's dead.

Right?

Could she still be alive? Or somehow back from the grave?

Or, maybe something even darker is happening … something that threatens Linda's life, as well.

Something that has been buried for years in the secrets and lies of her twisted family history.

Can she discover the truth before it's too late?

There are moments in Wacek's novel with just enough hints and clues where if you blink or read too quickly, you'll miss them. On the surface, Wacek teases with information and red herrings to throw you off course, but hidden within the layered and complex history of Linda's past lies the answers. Mirror Image, her second novel to date, has all the prime elements you might expect from a psychological thriller: mystery, high tension, family secrets, murder, and an evocative villain whose silver eyes and supernatural-like manipulations personify evil. This well plotted and unsettling tale is reminiscent of Basic Instinct (which Wacek coyly references in her novel) and satisfying for mystery and crime novel readers.

The US Review of Books

Mirror Image is part of The Riverview Mysteries and a dark standalone psychological thriller/serial killer mystery. This book is NOT clean like my other books, there is swearing, violence, suicide, family abuse and a little sex.

Want a sneak peek? You can check out an excerpt here or grab a preview right here. You can also read the story behind the story here.

For more on how The Riverview Mysteries fits in with the rest of my series, start here.

In a book club? You can download book discussion questions here.

Mirror Image

Read the First Chapter

Silver eyes, sharp as blades, tearing through him, leaving his body shredded and bloody.

He blinked. Where the hell did that come from?

Joe took another look at the girl who accompanied him to his apartment. The harsh lights of the hallway made her look more pale and tired than she had appeared in the bar, but she smiled at him nonetheless, and he felt reassured. He grinned back, realizing it likely looked more like a lopsided, drunken leer than a smile. He lightly pressed his hand on her back, bumping into her slightly, alcohol blurring his brain.

“Your eyes are gray,” he said, his voice slurred.

The girl looked at him, surprised. “What color should they be?”

Joe laughed, thick and hoarse. “Silver. I thought they were silver.”

“Oh,” the girl smiled at him. “That happens a lot. Reflections.”

Yeah, reflections, that was it. Her eyes were such a pure gray — no hint of green, brown or blue. The color seemed to reflect more light than other gray combinations, making them appear silver.

Joe stumbled, banging his knee into the wall. He felt nothing, his legs heavy and numb. She laughed slightly, putting an arm around his waist to help him walk, her purse bouncing off his leg.

He nuzzled her hair, her neck. She smelled of sweat, beer, cigarettes and perfume — very strongly of perfume. In fact, he realized her perfume all but obliterated those other scents. He usually didn’t like it when women used so much, but at this point it made no difference.

“Why won’t you tell me your name?” he asked again.

For an answer, she turned her face toward him and gently bit his lip. He felt a sting and tasted blood, which excited him even more. Rough. He’d never had it that way before. He could feel himself getting hard.

Everything about the woman was different. First off, he hadn’t had to convince her, cajole her, like all the other women. “Of course, I really like you. Of course, this is special for me. I’ve never met a woman like you before. I don’t normally do this either.” The gray-eyed woman seemed to want it as much as he did, and she needed no promises or lines. They both knew exactly what tonight represented — a good fuck and nothing more. When he picked her up in the bar, she seemed a dream come true.

They reached his door. He fell heavily against the frame while fishing for his keys. She tightened her grip, steadying and surprising him. When he had first looked at her, under the lights in that little white dress, he had thought her delicate. Insubstantial. But now, he knew he had been incorrect. There was clearly more to her than he originally thought.

Joe struggled briefly with the key. The keyhole kept eluding his drunken, trembling hands, but he was finally able to slide the key in. He unlocked the door with a click.

“Gee,” she said. “I hope you don’t have that much trouble tonight.”

Moving toward her, he answered by kissing her on the mouth. She tasted sour — of beer and something else, something he couldn’t identify. As her tongue slid into his mouth, he quit trying to figure it out. The door creaked open when they leaned against it, and they quite literally fell into his apartment.

She got to her feet first, pushing his clumsy hands from her body. “Where’s the bathroom?” she asked.

“Down the hall — first door to your left,” he said, fighting to get up. The room whirled and dipped beneath him. Alcohol churned unpleasantly in his stomach. He couldn’t be sick. Not now. Slowly he hoisted himself to his feet, hanging on to the doorpost, blinking his eyes to focus.

“I guess I’m drunker than I thought,” he said out loud, pulling the door shut and locking it. Then he remembered the joint he had smoked before hitting the bars, and figured that probably had something to do with it, too. He didn’t usually smoke pot, but tonight he had allowed his roommate to talk him into it.

Joe took a couple of deep breaths, still hanging onto the door. The room settled, ceasing to spin. He let go of the door, stumbling across the living room and into the hallway.

He saw his bedroom door open, the light on. She was sitting on the bed, her coat off. “I hope you don’t mind,” she said. “I decided to make myself at home.”

Joe shook his head, shed his coat and crossed the room to sit on the bed next to her. The little white dress clung to her large breasts. He leaned over to kiss her, his hand creeping onto her lap. She let him, but barely responded. He stopped and looked at her. “What’s wrong?”

Her eyes were that weird color again. Silver. He couldn’t keep her face in focus. Her features kept blurring, melting together into one indistinguishable mess. Had he totally misread her after all?

“I want to do something different,” she said, and he started getting excited again. She pushed him down on the bed. “Lie down.”

Joe obeyed, instantly hard despite the alcohol and drugs in his body. She stood up, running her hands up her body and across her breasts, slowly and sensually. Her silver eyes never left his face when she dropped her hands to her waist, untied the scarf around her waist, and unwound it.

She held it up over her head, the end fluttering down softly beside her. She trailed it across his body, tickling his face with it, then got up on the bed and straddled his chest.

Gently, she picked up his right hand and wrapped one end of the scarf around it. She tied it to the bedpost, her speed slowly increasing, then swiftly tied his left hand up.

Her hair, thick with perfume, brushed his cheek while she worked. The scent surrounded him, suffocated him. Musky. He couldn’t quite identify it.

“Did you ever see Basic Instinct?” she purred, her hands on his chest, unbuttoning his shirt. “I love that movie.”

Her hair swung in front of her face, obscuring it. He began to feel slightly uneasy. Why would she bring up that movie? He faintly recalled a few scenes — images mostly — something about men being tied to beds and stabbed. Carefully, he tested the knots. Very tight. “Just as long as you don’t stab me with an ice pick,” he joked weakly.

She lifted her head, her silver eyes burning into his. She smiled. “I promise I won’t stab you with an ice pick.”

He tried the knots again.

She began unbuttoning his shirt, removing his shoes, pants, underwear, creatively using her mouth and tongue in ways Joe had never before experienced. He groaned.

He reassured himself that he had nothing to be paranoid about. She liked to play it rough, and he wanted to enjoy it. God knew this wasn’t something he found every day.

Her nails scratched his chest, his thighs. Deep scratches, drawing blood, as her mouth worked him over. He groaned again, thrashing slightly, the pain mingling with pleasure in the most unanticipated ways.

She licked the scratches, gently nibbling, tearing his flesh even more. He thrashed harder, moaning constantly now.

The room seemed to tilt and sway, his mind overwhelmed by the alcohol and what she was doing to him. She lifted her head. A tiny drop of blood dotted the corner of her mouth. She licked her lips and smiled, her teeth smeared pink. She looked like a wild cat who had just devoured its prey or, worse yet, a vampire. He shuddered lightly, the contents in his stomach churning together unpleasantly, making him fight the urge to vomit.

“I like you,” she said, her voice rough and thick. “So I won’t make you suffer too long.”

She leaped off him and began dancing wildly around the room, her movements jerky and wooden. She looked like some sort of macabre puppet, whirling around and around. He stared at her in disbelief.

Then she began to laugh. A horrible, high-pitched laugh. It almost resembled a scream.

He fought against the knots in earnest, but they wouldn’t give. He tried to use his upper body, kicking with his feet and throwing his body forward, but he felt so weak, so numb. He could barely feel his legs anymore. He cursed himself for drinking so much, for the pot he had smoked.

He suddenly became aware that she had stopped dancing. She stood perfectly still, watching him. Watching him. Her silver eyes gleamed.

“You won’t get away,” she said in a very flat voice. “You’re too drunk and too stupid to get away.”

He stared at her, terrified. The silence, the stillness was more frightening than her dancing and laughter had been. “Why?” he managed to choke out. “Why?”

She cocked her head and smiled at him, showing her bloodstained teeth. His blood. And he had goddamned enjoyed it, too.

Oh God … he was going to die.

She laughed, her high-pitched, screaming laugh, and raised her hand, her purse dropping to the floor with a “thunk.” He could see the glint of the blade she clutched in her hand.

“See, I told you it wouldn’t be an ice pick,” she sneered. The silver of the blade matched the silver of her eyes.

He stared at her, too shocked to scream, in utter disbelief. This had to be a dream. Some stupid, drug- and alcohol-induced dream. A horrible hallucination. Except he suddenly had never felt more sober in his life.

Then she was on him, on his chest, pressing the knife against his cheek. It was as cold as ice, burning through his skin.

He tried to buck her off, but she laughed and rode him effortlessly.

“I told you I liked you, and you won’t suffer. Now don’t make me take that back.” She tightened her thighs and calves around his chest, squeezing him, suffocating him … no longer the least bit delicate. He felt his ribs cracking.

“Who the hell are you?” he managed, his breathing thick and choppy. His heart pounded so hard, it echoed in his ears. She squeezed harder. The room darkened, spun, along with her face, the features merging and melting together.

Except for those eyes. Those horrible, inhuman, silver eyes.

And then he saw — saw exactly what he had invited home to his apartment.

Joe’s mind snapped shut, unable to deal with the horror straddling his chest. He opened his mouth to scream, but it was too late. He couldn’t suck in enough air.

He watched as she raised the knife above her head, pausing for a second, before slowly, slowly, beginning its descent. He tried to scream again.

The knife tore into him, cutting off his anguished cry.

He felt no pain at first. Just blood, everywhere — gushing out of his neck, onto the sheets, onto that thing, the monster who straddled him.

Then the pain hit. It seared him, burned him. His body was cocooned in agony, writhing uncontrollably. He could no longer breathe at all.

She watched him die, a small smile on her distorted, twisting, melting face. Curtains of blackness hovered at the edge of his vision. He could feel himself fading away, his life force draining out of him, and he struggled to hold on.

Watching his battle, she leaned closer still, her face nearly touching his, and opened her mouth.

“My name,” she whispered, her mouth huge and black, her tongue purple and forked, like a serpent, “is Elizabeth.”

Joe closed his eyes and fell into a sea of fire, pain and blackness.

Series Information

Riverview, Wisconsin, appears to be a normal, college town. Certainly nothing like that strange, haunted town called Redemption. Everyone knows that Redemption is the problem.

But, scratch beneath the surface, and you may discover that Riverview also as a dark underbelly.

Click here to see all books in the series.

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Mirror Image

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