19 May 2012

Painted Black by Debra R. Borys (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Painted Black by Debra R. Borys.
Audience/Genre : Adult/Mystery,Crime,Suspense.
Publication : December 27th 2011 by New Libri Press.
Painted Black is a novel about two Chicago street people, teenagers not even old enough to vote or fight for their country or drink a beer, legally that is. They’ve been kicked in the face, cursed and, worst of all, ignored and yet they continue to say screw you. They fight to survive, to thrive.

Lexie Green has been selling herself for drug money ever since her mama kicked her out at thirteen. A dope sick street kid will do anything to get high again. Anything to scratch the itchy palms, ease the stomach cramps, control the vomiting. But when she’s asked to pose nude with a bizarre collection of freeze-dried corpses–the freak show seems too much to face alone.

Christopher Robert Young, Cry for short, couldn’t use addiction as an excuse. He told himself he went with Lexie to keep her safe, that it had nothing to do with his struggle to avoid hustling along the harbor like Tito and the others. Selling blowjobs for forty bucks, however, pales in comparison to the macabre scene he finds at Sloan and Whiteside’s funeral home where they freeze dry the dead like special order pizzas.

Until she met Lexie and Chris, reporter Jo Sullivan’s column at Winds of Change was just a job to pay the bills. But when the young girl, with her haunting eyes and eerie tale, disappears, Jo finds herself caught up in the lives of those homeless people she used to just write about. As she and Chris try to unravel the twisted mystery at Sloan and Whiteside’s, Jo can’t help comparing the dark heart of the city with the dark shadows in her own family’s past.


Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Painted Black.

She let Keisha do most of the talking as Jo drove. The night view going north along Lake Shore Drive always drew her eye. The dark distance across the water to her right, the city lights like stars on a geometric horizon ahead. Energizing. Intriguing. Inviting.
Finding a parking space vented the rest of Jo's anger. She could even grin as she gave a driver the finger for nosing out too far in the walkway they had to cross. He responded with a bored flip of his own.

Then she noticed Keisha had stopped. She was staring at something across Broadway.

"What's up?"

Street lights washed out the blink of green neon from the Hotel Chateau. Most of the windows had drapes drawn closed; half of them hung crooked on their rods. Near the entrance stood a young woman, hands in the pockets of a short jacket with the collar turned up. When the girl noticed them, she hurried around the corner.

"Lexie," Keisha called and headed after her. Jo followed. "Alexis, I know it's you. Quit trying to get away." To Jo, she added, "She's just a kid."

When the girl turned and waited with a sullen expression, Jo saw what Keisha meant. Despite the reek of perfume, thick layers of eye shadow, and mascara that turned her lashes into tarantula legs, she could not have been older than fifteen.

They stood by a playground of brightly painted equipment. Swing sets, slides and climbing bars strong and sturdy and still unrusted. By contrast, through a window of the pockmarked hotel behind the park, faded wallpaper hung in strips.

"I didn't do nothing," the girl said.

"Look at you." Keisha waved to emphasize her point. Under Lexie's jacket, a black tube top clung to her breasts. The leather mini-skirt wrapped around her hips looked so tight Jo thought it must hurt.

"What?" Lexie said, avoiding eye contact. "I'm not doing nothing wrong," she said again.

"I don't like seeing you here, Lexie," Keisha said quietly. "I wish you had somewhere to stay."
"Yeah, well--" Lexie looked down. "--I don't."

Now Jo understood. Despite Keisha's often hectic schedule, she found time to volunteer at the Night Moves Center for homeless youth. She identified with them because she almost ended up one of them. Raised on the South Side, struggling financially, only her mother's love and strong will had saved her.

Jo studied Lexie in the dim light. She looked half child, half whore. Skin as dark as freshly-turned top soil, hair drawn back, finely curved cheek bones. Her jaw jutted out defiantly. A large man's hand could have wrapped around her throat with fingers nearly touching thumb.
"Stop by the Center tomorrow, okay?" Keisha reached out and tucked a stray curl behind Lexie's ear. "It's my day to work. We can talk."
"Yeah, sure." Lexie still studied the sidewalk.

Keisha put a hand on her arm to get her to look up. "I mean it," she said. "I'll worry if you don't come."

Keisha earned her living as a model. Most people only saw the perfect, coppery complexion, the fine figure, the stylish clothes. But at that moment, Lexie looked at Keisha the way someone dying of thirst looked at a glass of water.

"Lunchtime tomorrow," Keisha continued. "I'll be waiting." She touched the girl's arm again and Lexie nodded agreement. "Good. Now take care, you hear?" Jo and Keisha started to turn away.

"Wait." The word seemed to rush out of Lexie before she could think. They looked back. "I was wondering if, you know, if you could--" she looked at Jo, then quickly back at Keisha. "Could you buy me something to eat, maybe? I'm awful hungry."

Jo had a second to picture this half naked child seated at a corner table set with fine linen and Waterford crystal before Keisha said, "How about a burrito?"

Giveaway Terms & Conditions :

  • Giveaway is International.
  • Prize is an e-book copy of Painted Black, which is adult so it's up to you to know if you can read it or not.
  • I'm in no way responsible to make sure you get the book, it's the author/publisher's responsibility.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have been reading since before I knew the alphabet, thanks to my mother who would read to me and always had great books on my toy shelves. Once I learned my ABCs, there was no holding me back from writing as well. Mystery and suspense are my favorite genres to both read and write, but I also enjoy sci-fi and historical fiction. Dorothy Dunnett is my favorite historical author, for instance. In addition to my recently released novel Painted Black, I have had several short stories published, most of them mysteries. I also run a freelance business which currently focuses on writing or editing fiction for hire, but also includes a wide range of commercial writing as well: articles, news features, blogging, etc..

Buy The Book :

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Find The Author :

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  1. I love mysteries. Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Michael Conolly, Lisa Scottoline. Can't say one, there are so many.

  2. I enjoy mystery, crime, and suspense novels very much. I especially like it when some humor is thrown in like in Janet Evanovich's novels. I've also always liked Steven White's characters.

  3. I do love suspense novel. Been collecting John Grisham's and Sandra Brown's.
    Thank you for giving this international giveaway, Anjana. :)

  4. Sandra Brown and Karen Robards writes wonderful suspense stories. I like lots of intensity because it keeps me guessing and into the story. Recently I read The Witness by Nora Roberts and it was great.

  5. I am a huge fans of mystery novels. I love excerpt too, I love put them on my twitter account. Really inspiring me.


  6. Thank you, Anjana, for giving me the chance to tell people about Painted Black. And congratulations to the winner! I will email you with the details. I hope you enjoy the novel.

    Keep reading everyone!

    Deb Borys