It looks pretty cool. right?
The lead character in this is Dude Goodfeather. Her real name is Jess. Her dad calls her Dude and that means everyone else does, too. I’m so into her. I hope you will be too.
They aren’t the most popular. They aren’t the prettiest. They aren’t the wealthiest, but they are the smartest and as the kids in the ‘gifted’ program move through their senior year, they have their lives all ahead of them.
Until they don’t . . .
Quirky and psychology-obsessed high school senior Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather isn’t having her best time senior year after her best friend and boyfriend both dump her, but when she finds the dead and mutilated body of Lucas Landry? Things get a whole lot worse.
Is someone she knows the killer?
Someone is picking off Dude’s classmates, one by one. And she’s pretty sure that she’s next.
Join New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Dude Mystery Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.
The next Book comes out in September and it’s called INCH WORMS.
But here’s an excerpt. I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it! That’s me marketing. 🙂 Sort of?
An intense feeling of fear or anxiety that usually has to do with personal persecution or belief in threats and conspiracies
Everything people say about me is true. I’m neurotic and obsessed with psychology terms because of my own sad toddler years. I always expect the worst case scenario for myself but never for other people. Pathetic, I know. It’s like I’m always expecting something bad to happen, and I’m terrified of being caught off guard and not being prepared for when it does.
This morning, when my cat Misfit wakes me up, I know something is wrong right away. It’s like a gut feeling. It’s like all my worries have become reality.
“You’re worst-case scenario. You have to believe in yourself, in the power of your own brain,” Dad told me last night when I was stressed about potentially not getting into any colleges. He was making vegan gumbo and waved his wooden spoon at our cat who was passed out belly-up in the kitchen sink. “Seriously, you’ve got to chill-ax. Look at Misfit. Be like Misfit.”
Be like Misfit?
Because right now Misfit’s mewling the way cats do when they are freaking out about something terribly important in the kitty world like whether or not there is exactly .75 cups of cat food in their dish that is spaced exactly one inch out from the northeast corner of the bathroom wall.
The mewling? That’s the first clue.
“What is it, buddy?” I mutter, blinking hard against the morning light as Misfit moves across the bed covers and up to my face. She headbutts my chin with her nose.
I’d been dreaming about Alexis and me when we were little and still best friends. We had been jumping off the dock into the river, giggling, and then the dream shifted so that Alexis was drowning in the water, blood coming out of her belly button. This did not happen in real life. Alexis is alive and well and now best friends with Samantha, and not me. I’m a little bitter about this honestly. Bitter and lonely.
Misfit refuses to let me go back to the dream and pushes against my face again. Cat fur tickles my lips and nose.
Sneezing, I say, “Buddy. Dad can feed you.”
Then I remember that Dad doesn’t ever feed her because he’s one of the most forgetful humans of all time, and then I remember that he’s not even home. He left at midnight, off for a three-day trip to a con in Boston, a science fiction con, because he has this little side job where he self-publishes his own graphic novels.
“Crud,” I mumble as Misfit thumps off the bed, thudding to the ground, right by a dead mouse. A tiny spot of blood mars the brown fur of its tiny stomach.
Misfit purrs and sort of nudges it a little closer to my bed.
I wish, occasionally, my gut would be wrong.
Moving backward toward my headboard, I grab for my phone by my pillow, but it’s not there. It’s always there, but instead there’s just my charger, flapping around. I’m positive that I connected it last night.
This is the second clue.
The third clue is that my door is shut. I’m not sure how Misfit even got in the room with her mouse, and that’s not the point. The point is that the door is shut.
My door is never shut because ever since I was little having a shut door has completely freaked me out. That’s because I always used to imagine monsters lurking behind the doorknob. Everyone judges me about that.
But Misfit could have shut it maybe? Batted it closed with her immense kitty paws.
She leaps up onto my bed, thankfully leaving the mouse on the floor, and I grab her to my chest. She purrs again. It’s comforting.
“I freak myself out too much,” I murmur. “You bringing dead mice as presents doesn’t help, buddy. No offense.”
She starts kneading at my lap, and I sigh. I’m not sure why I forgot to plug in my cellphone last night, but I use it to tell the time and set the alarm to wake me up and now I have no idea if I’m late for school or not. I blink hard. I was positive that I set the alarm last night because I was thinking about how Dad wasn’t going to be here today.
The weirdness of it all hits me as I lift Misfit up a bit so that I can set her down next to me on the covers. She protests and puts her claws into the quilt, but I still manage to move her. Resisting the urge to close my eyes and ignore the mouse, I lean over the bed, hoping my phone just fell somewhere.
Nothing. It’s just a dead mouse, schoolbooks, art supplies, and socks.
The only other thing I can think is that maybe I took my phone with me in the middle of the night when I went to the bathroom. Sure, I don’t actually remember going to the bathroom, but the cellphone is pretty awesome because it has a flashlight. I use that app all the time.
Vaulting off the bed so that I land nowhere near the mouse, I head toward the bedroom door, yank it open and gasp.
There’s someone standing there right outside my door.
I slam my door back closed and lock it.
My mouth drops wide open.
I don’t need any more clues.
That’s because the someone lurking outside my room is not my dad or my former best friend Alexis or my current best friend Rebecca. That someone is not a ghost or a figment of my imagination.
It’s a human being. And it’s wearing a ski mask.
Reflexively, I shove my dresser against the door, which opens inward. It opens inward, so that means that the person out there can’t come in if the dresser is blocking the way. Right? Panic starts.
There is someone outside.
I repeat this fact over and over again in my head.
Someone is outside my door.
Someone should not be there.
I can’t let them in.
Searching for my phone again, I survey the room, but the phone is missing, which means that I can’t call for help. My laptop! I put it in my bag last night after I was done cruising through posts about college application essays. Running, I grab my bag even though it’s super close to the mouse.
My laptop is gone.
I can’t email anyone for help.
I can’t Skype the police or whatever.
I’m trapped and there’s only one thing to do to escape. I yank open the window by my bed. I’m on the second floor, but it doesn’t matter. There’s an overhanging roof over the downstairs master bathroom, which connects to the porch. It’s mossy, but it’s a way out.
“Misfit!” I mutter and snap my fingers. She actually springs out the window onto the roof. She springs to the ground, making it look easy, like hopping ten feet to the grass is not a big deal at all. I scoot as quickly as I can down the angled roof and jump. The ground thuds beneath my feet, and adrenalin pops me right back into standing position. I scoop Misfit up in my arms and run through the woods.
Don’t follow me. Don’t follow me. Don’t follow me.
I’m not sure if I’m saying this aloud or not. I’m not sure if the sentence is a command or a prayer or a mantra. The pine needles sting my naked feet. Stones and roots scratch at me. I trip and Misfit bounds out of my arms as I fall down. One second down and I’m up again, running for our neighbor’s house. The houses here on the Union River aren’t close, which I normally like because nobody wants to hear their neighbors’ music or yelling or whatever, but right now I’d give anything to live in a crowded subdivision.
Misfit veers off toward the river, but I run forward to the Saunders’ house. I pound on the door. Nobody comes. There’s noise behind me. And I see them—him—her —whatever—the person running through the woods toward me.
I pound again.
There’s no time.
The Saunders have a dock and a kayak, just like we do. Praying that they don’t have a lock on the kayak, I rush to my right, downhill toward the river, tumbling and screaming. The dock is about fifty feet of wood planks out toward the water. The tide is lowish and the kayak is tied up at the end. I run as fast as I can toward it. The dock bounces with every footfall. Misfit is nowhere in sight, but the intruder? He’s halfway down the hill. He’ll be here soon and then … and then …
The yellow cord attaching the kayak to the dock is just a half-hitch and I yank it off with my shaking hands. Two seconds later, I’m unhooking the rudder, dropping it into the water. Two seconds more and I’m hopping into the kayak’s cockpit. It rocks, but doesn’t turn over. There is no paddle. No paddle. I tuck the rope up between the lines on the front of the cockpit to get it out of the river. Water sloshes onto my pajama shorts. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is getting away. How do I get away without a paddle?
Using my hands, I push off the dock sideways as hard as I can. The river mud waits in front of me. The person is on the dock, running toward me. The ski mask obscures the hair, the face. Whoever it is isn’t big. That’s all I get. They are not big.
The tide takes the kayak. It’s coming in, away from the ocean, and toward town. I hit the foot pedal hard to steer the kayak, make it face the right way, and then the river does its work, pushing us out and into the middle, pulling the kayak and me away from the person on the dock. I look back. I’m so afraid they have a gun. I’m so afraid they’ll go unlock our kayaks from our dock, somehow, like they’ll know enough to know where Dad puts the keys.
But they don’t.
The intruder stands at the end of the dock and watches for a second. Then they lift their hand like they’re going to wave. Instead, they give me the finger.
I face forward and start hyperventilating, but I don’t cry. I never cry. Not since my mom left at least. And that was a long time ago.
See I’m committed! One book a month for the rest of the year.
And it’s so scary!
August – SAINT, YA paranormal
November – ALMOST DEAD, an adult paranormal
December – NECROMANCER, YA paranormal – This title might change. 🙂
Oh! And check out our podcasts when you get a chance. There are writing tips and life tips on DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE and just a freer flow of weirdness on our very live LOVING THE STRANGE. It’s live on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube at 7 p.m. EST, on Fridays.
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And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.
And Carrie has a new book out! Yay!
It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.