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Still Waters
Cover of Still Waters
Still Waters
A Novel
by Tami Hoag
The deepest waters hide the darkest secrets....

When the body of a murdered man literally falls at Elizabeth Stuart's feet, she's able to wash away the blood—but not the terror. Unwelcome newcomers to Still Creek, Minnesota, she and her troubled teenage son are treated with suspicion by the locals, including the sheriff. Yet nothing will stop her from digging beneath the town's placid surface for the truth—except the killer.

Running from a messy divorce, Elizabeth believed buying a small-town newspaper offered a fresh start for herself and her son. But idyllic Still Creek, nestled in the heart of lush Amish farmlands, hides secrets dangerous enough to push someone to commit murder. Now Elizabeth must risk everything to save herself and her son, and to unmask the killer...before the current of evil flowing through Still Creek drags her under.

When Elizabeth Stuart searched for a quiet, peaceful home for herself and her son, Still Creek seemed perfect....
The deepest waters hide the darkest secrets....

When the body of a murdered man literally falls at Elizabeth Stuart's feet, she's able to wash away the blood—but not the terror. Unwelcome newcomers to Still Creek, Minnesota, she and her troubled teenage son are treated with suspicion by the locals, including the sheriff. Yet nothing will stop her from digging beneath the town's placid surface for the truth—except the killer.

Running from a messy divorce, Elizabeth believed buying a small-town newspaper offered a fresh start for herself and her son. But idyllic Still Creek, nestled in the heart of lush Amish farmlands, hides secrets dangerous enough to push someone to commit murder. Now Elizabeth must risk everything to save herself and her son, and to unmask the killer...before the current of evil flowing through Still Creek drags her under.

When Elizabeth Stuart searched for a quiet, peaceful home for herself and her son, Still Creek seemed perfect....
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    "Life's a bitch and then you die."The words had no sooner slipped from Elizabeth Stuart's lips than the slim stiletto heel of her Italian sandal glanced off an especially large chunk of rock. She stumbled, swore with the fluency of one raised on a cattle ranch in West Texas, and gamely pressed on, limping. She had endured too much in her life to let a little thing like this break her, bodily or otherwise--two broken marriages, countless broken hearts, broken dreams that lay scattered in her wake like the wreckage of a plane crash. This was nothing by comparison.

    Still, she couldn't seem to keep a sheen of tears from glossing over her eyes. It was life's little insults heaped one on top of another that tended to get to her. The odd major catastrophe--like getting dumped and dragged through the mud by the man she had pledged to love until death? Shoot, she could buck up and take that. She was a trooper. She was a fighter. Get her sixteen-year-old gas-guzzling boat of a car hung up on the side of a country road on the way to the tumbledown hovel she was currently calling home? That was just plain too much.

    She sniffed and swiped a hand beneath her nose, gritting her teeth against the urge to cry. Lord have mercy, if she started crying over this, if she let the dam crack and the tears start to flow, she'd likely drown. And she would ruin her Elizabeth Arden mascara, which she was nearly out of and couldn't afford to replace. Life would go on, she told herself grimly, beating back the tears with her lashes. Life would go on, for better or worse, whether Brock Stuart divorced her or her Eldorado was stuck or whatever other shit was flung merrily into her path by that bastard Fate. All she had to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other. What she stepped in along the way couldn't matter. She either had to keep moving on or curl up in a big ball of misery and die.

    The Eldorado was a good half mile behind her, hanging off the edge of the road like a drunken cowboy sliding off his horse. Elizabeth glanced back at it, scowling, then set her sights forward again. If she could get past the fact that she was madder than a wet cat, she'd note that the view was lovely. The rolling countryside of southeastern Minnesota was beautiful. Not in a spectacular, breathtaking way. Not in the wild, desolate way of West Texas, but in a gentle way, a peaceful way. Like Vermont without the mountains. The rippling hills were bathed in a palette of springtime greens--young corn and oats, alfalfa and wild grass, all swaying in the early evening breeze. Occasional islands of trees broke the monotony of farm fields. Maples, cottonwoods, oaks. Their leaves turned inward, undersides flashing silver as the wind shook them.

    To the south, the pastureland sloped down to Still Creek, the meandering puddle of water the nearest town had been named for. The banks were steep, the creek itself shallow and muddy, probably twenty feet across. Dragonflies skimmed above the surface and weeping willows bowed across it, their slender, pendulous branches fluttering like ribbons. In the part of Texas Elizabeth was from, Still Creek would have been called a river and it would have been coveted by all who lived near it and guarded jealously by the ranchers who owned land along its banks. Here, where water was plentiful, Still Creek was insignificant, just another facet of the pretty landscape.

    Above the pastoral beauty of Still Creek and its environs, the sky hung like a curtain of lead, threatening an evening shower. Elizabeth muttered a curse under her breath and tried to limp a little faster. She was at least a mile from home. The nearest farm belonged to one of the Amish families...

About the Author-
  • Tami Hoag's novels have appeared regularly on national bestseller lists since the publication of her first book in 1988. She lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 28, 1992
    After a messy and very public divorce from her magnate husband, Elizabeth Stuart is persuaded by her old college chum to move from Atlanta to Still Creek, Minn. When car trouble strikes, Elizabeth hoofs it to a construction site--and finds the developer, Jarrold Jarvis, in his car with his throat cut. Sheriff Dane Jantzen figures the deed was done by a transient: Jarrold's wallet was stolen and his glove compartment rifled. Elizabeth, who now owns the local newspaper, suspects most everyone in town: Jarvis had kept a secret list of names of people who owed him money. Dane and Elizabeth start off their eventual romance by treating each other like dirt--exchanging what passes for snappy repartee. Dane insists on escorting Elizabeth to a press conference because ``I want to know where your mouth is.'' She retorts, ``it won't be kissing your ass.'' The characters are no more agreeable than the plot is focused on finding the murderer. Perhaps that's why the effect of Hoag's ( Lucky's Lady ) story is less ``still'' than static.

  • Atlanta Journal "Patricia Cornwell, eat your heart out! Tami Hoag...sets a standard in suspense."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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Still Waters
A Novel
Tami Hoag
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