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Elspeth, The Living Dead Girl

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If you’re already dead, is it possible to die again?
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Sales price: $5.95
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Rating: 4/5
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Author: Stuart R. West
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 Elspeth, The LIving Dead Girl

by Stuart R. West

Genre  Young Adult Supernatural

Tags  Living Dead, Supernatural, Teenagers, Drugs, Murder, Strong Females, Twin Narrative, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery

Release  June 27, 2014

Editor  Tanja Cilia

Line Editor  Erin Liles

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

Words  85130

Pages  353

ISBN  978-1-77127-545-3

Price  $5.95


Back Cover

If you’re dead already, can you die again? Elspeth’s been summoned from limbo. Her new assignment? Track down the culprit in the mysterious death of a student at Clearwell High. And incidentally, uncover the identity of the new drug dealer prowling the halls. Only one problem—the body she has to co-inhabit has a different agenda. Elizabeth just wants to be prom queen, marry Prince Charming, and graduate with perfect posture. Both girls, alive and dead, will have their separate worlds rocked before the killer is unveiled. Nothing is as it seems. No one can be trusted. Being dead has never been so dangerous.


Excerpt

I ran to the light switch, clawed at it, and shut the office into darkness. The after-flash of the fluorescents left a slight, flickering blueprint of the room in my brain. I opened Elizabeth’s dad’s door and, on tiptoes, ran to the outer door leading to the hallway. When I peered through the float glass, I saw a flashlight’s beam bouncing up and down the hallway, vanishing and suddenly reappearing. Slow, labored footsteps shuffled across the hallway floor. Doorknobs rattled, growing louder. The security guard. Elizabeth gave me no indication he’d be so thorough as to check for unlocked doors. Crap! The only way to relock it was with a key from the outside. Hadn’t they ever heard of modern innovations?

I raced blindly through the office, bumping my shin on the receptionist’s desk. Stifling a howl, I opened Mr. Blackmer’s door, shut it with a nearly imperceptible click. Six minutes left and the guard was closing in. I took a risk, turned on the flashlight. Yanking back curtains, I saw that the windows unclasped and pushed up, providing enough room for me to climb out. The window opened with surprising ease. Below the double stacked windows sat a brick ledge, extending no more than eight inches in length. It would have to do.

The doorknob shaking grew louder, a ghost dragging his chains down a haunted house stairway. Then the guard started whistling. The Carpenters, I think. Ugh. But it helped me pinpoint his location. By my reckoning, just one office away. With one foot out the window, I noticed the computer screen glowing. I tumbled back in, rolling with a gymnast’s skill, and flicked the screen off.

I levered one leg over the windowsill. Carefully digging my toes onto the ledge, I secured solid footing. I tossed my arms above me, wedging my hands against the overhanging sill. Then I brought my other leg across and out, just as the outer doorknob rattled. The whistling stopped. The door opened, creaking.

My arms shook. If muscles could scream, mine surely would. They strained, pressing against the upper sill. Forced into a half-squat, my shaking knees extended out into the open sky, twenty-one floors off the ground.

Then I realized I had left the window open. Carefully releasing my right hand, I brought the window down slowly to not upset my balance. My back protested with pain as I forced my arm behind me. The window shut just as the inner office door opened. Fluorescent lights sprayed out next to me. I huddled into the corner like a crab. All four limbs trembled from fear and exertion.

The curtains were pulled back, no way to close them behind me. A beam of light splashed across the window, its arc falling dead across the skyline. I shut my eyes and held on tight. From inside the office, the lights turned off, the sound of the door closing following it.

Tiny green and yellow specks of light crawled from the corner of my vision line like a deadly fungus. A vortex of dizziness made my head spin. Sweat oozed from nowhere, soaking me head to foot. My fingers slipped from the moisture, and I clawed blindly at the cornice.

The lightshow completely overtook my vision.

Dear God, not now!Not another drug flashback! Not now!

Then blackness swam around me…

* * * *

Elizabeth

My eyes blinked open. I felt tired, dizzy. My arms ached, my legs shook. Intense pressure. Weird. I looked straight ahead of me and saw nothing but night sky, the sound of traffic eerie and far away. Dreaming. I relaxed. Until I looked down.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!

Far below me, cars looked like mere toys. Elspeth’s wig slipped off my head, flapping through the sky like a bat. I snapped my head back, cracking it hard against concrete. I let the pain wake me up. Daring a glimpse upward, I saw I was jammed into a window frame, the sill the only thing keeping me from plummeting to my death. I forced my arms and legs even stiffer, hoping to bond my position. My muscles felt unwilling, ready to give out.

A sudden grinding sound erupted to my right.

Chank. Guzzzz…

I would’ve screamed if my voice had not dried up.

The mechanical sound grew louder then settled into a steady, whizzing sound. Daddy’s old-fashioned window air-conditioner unit. I felt my fingers slipping above me. I dug in deeper until they hurt.

Don’t look down, don’t look down!

I did look down and nearly fainted. A cool breeze brushed my face, giving me momentary relief. I snapped my eyes shut.

Please, God, I won’t ever be selfish again! Just help me out of this!

* * * *

Elspeth

Total darkness, nothing around. I pulled myself off the floor (assuming that was what it was), and turned, looking for a hint of light. Nothing but inky, unforgiving blackness. I slapped myself, trying to wake up.

That’s when I remembered. Elizabeth out on the window ledge. I freaked. Scurrying back and forth, I looked for something, anything, a wall to guide me toward light and cognizance. Still an infinite maze of night.

I sat down. Shut my eyes. Concentrated.

“Don’t panic, Elizabeth. Just stay put. I’m coming back.” I kept repeating the mantra over and over, hoping it’d pull me back and save both our asses.

MEET THE AUTHOR

 

Reviews

Thursday, 21 August 2014
I love my job...I get to read, and read, and read to my heart's content, but being a voracious reader has some really scary moment...none scarier than starting a book written by an author I've already reviewed who's embarking on a new series.

Hmmm....If the author is good you've already become so intimately acquainted with his/her previous books/series, you can't help looking askance because you've spent ages crouched on the edge of your seat waiting for the next journey with those well established friends....how can you feel the same about... NEW characters?

This is what I faced when I started this book, ELSPETH THE LIVING DEAD GIRL by Stuart R. West.

I'll admit I LIKED the title...who wouldn't?

But I'd read and reread Stuart's Tex The Witch Boy Series...all of them...and I admit, I fell in love with Tex and his world...BUT...

I've fallen in love with other authors only to find when they branch out into new worlds this new place falls a tad short...disappointingly so.

It didn't take me long to realize I was not going to belly flop into that trap this time...the minute I read the name of Espeth's...I guess you'd call her OVERSEER, Miss Pillows...isn't that GREAT...I was hooked.

Elspeth is a saucy thing with a lot of attitude. I especially love one of the questions she gives voice to very early on..."Is it possible for me to die again?"

I don't do spoilers so all I'll say is this is a FANTASTIC opening salvo to a series that promises to be as engaging as the Tex series...I look forward to Elspeth's next assignment.

Well done Mr. West...you've easily warned FIVE brilliant stars.
Lin Holmes
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
We met Elspeth and Elizabeth in the third "Tex the Witch Boy" book. I'm happy that Stuart West decided to go on the Elspeth/Elizabeth branch in this spinoff series.

What Stuart West has d. The changes in Elizabeth (the are progressive and natural as information builds. It's good to see her moved and changed by events. Elspeth is unlikely to change a lot, being dead and all, but she does find a softer side who cares about Elizabeth and helps the living girl become a better person.

Okay, c she has a chance to "earn her wings" and move on. To do her requisite good deeds, she occupies the body of Elizabeth, an extremely annoying high school princess type (I know. We all hated her, the bitch.)

What's very cool here is the way Stuart West has managed to do a few impossible things:

1. He needed to write in first person from the point of view of two girls who couldn't be more opposite.

2. He had to show the transition of both girls away from their original personalities and into better and kinder people.

3. He had to entertain us readers.

Mission accomplished. I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Elspeth/Elizabeth. Well done, Mr. West.
Marva Dasef
Sunday, 27 July 2014
I read this book while on holidays in Newfoundland, the soft glow of my iPad lighting up the room while everyone else slept. Normally I fall asleep pretty quickly while reading, but this book was so fascinating, sleep evaded me. I loved the way Stuart West took a perfectly despicable character, a mean girl named Elizabeth from his Tex series, and changed her into a much more humane person. I loved the relationship between Elizabeth and Elspeth and the conversations they had in dream time. And I loved the way Elspeth resolved many issues from her short life. I can't get enough of Stuart West's writing. It's witty and thought provoking. And as usual, the story ends on a tragic note. Thank you Stuart West for writing this wonderful piece of fiction. There simply must be a sequel to this novel.
Suzanne Demontigny
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