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Desire leaves a man destroyed ... A young girl's curiosity reveals secrets better left hidden ... Jealousy drives a woman mad ... An obsession with numbers precipitates a deadly revenge ... Ambition leads to a curious exchange ... An uncanny likeness changes two lives forever ... The hand of fate lies buried in the past ...

An unforgettable novel in seventeen parts by some of the most prestigious crime writers working today.

One bracelet, seventeen charms ...

From nineteenth-century Georgia, where the bracelet is forged in fire, to wartime Leeds, the seedy underside of London's Soho, a Manhattan taxi, the frozen cliffs of Nova Scotia, and back to Georgia, each writer weaves a gripping story of murder, betrayal, and intrigue.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780792732396
Publisher: AudioGO
Publication date: 06/28/2004
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Karin Slaughter is the internationally bestselling author of Blindsighted, Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, and the forthcoming Indelible, the fourth novel in her Grant County series. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Read an Excerpt

Like a Charm
A Novel in Voices


Karin Slaughter

Blood Mountain, Georgia, 1803

Macon Orme was so hungry when he found the squirrel caught in the snare trap that he ate it with his bare hands. The hot rush of blood hitting his stomach was like poison, but he swallowed the fatty meat past the gag that wanted to come, the squirrel's razorlike claws cutting into the sides of his face as he gorged himself on the sweet meat of the creature's underbelly.

Satiated, he fell back against a rock, his breathing coming in pants, the lingering taste of the squirrel sticking in the back of his throat like molasses. His stomach made a churning sound, and he put his hand there as if to quiet it. He could feel the blood dripping down his chin and caught it with his sleeve, hoping the dark material of his shirt would not show the mark of his sin.

"I'm sorry," he said, an apology that would never be heard to the man who had set the snare.

Three days had passed since he had stood at the poctaw, the wishing circle of the Elawa. Hallucinations came easily with hunger, and when Macon closed his eyes he was sitting there again. He could smell the smoke from the fire, feel dark hair brushing against his bare arm. The woman had stood before him, half naked and gyrating in some dance that obviously had a religious meaning for her people but in Macon had only brought out burning lust. He squeezed his eyes shut, thinking about being inside her, feeling the gyrations firsthand. So many years had passed since he had lain with a woman without having to pay first. So many years had disappeared into the quagmire of his mountain existence. When he thought of her beneath him, his balls ached with anticipation, even as a cold winter wind snapped through the trees.

Macon stood because he had to. He felt a flash of guilt for breaking his self-imposed fast, but three days without nourishment was a lifetime to a man whose belly was all too familiar with the pains of hunger. Bad fortune had made him go without food before, but it seemed like every time he thought of the woman his body demanded more nourishment than it had ever needed before. If he did not want her so much, he would hate her.

As if they sensed his need, animals seemed to taunt him, running across his path, veering in and out of his line of sight. A deer stood in the forest, eyeing Macon carefully, as if searching his soul. A rabbit followed him for a mile at least, slowly hopping in Macon's footsteps, pausing now and then to clean its face. Most of his life had been spent trapping these beasts in the hundreds: laying snares and steel traps that cut so deep, sometimes there would be an amputated paw waiting instead of a full-size jackrabbit when he checked on his weekly rounds. Other times, he would see the teeth marks in the stubbed end of bone where they had gnawed off their own limb in order to free themselves. These were cunning animals, bent on survival. Macon gave them his respect because he saw in them something he saw in himself. He would survive.

Though he found himself of late wondering what this survival cost him. He had not seen a looking glass in many years, but often Macon would see his own reflection in a stream when he stopped for water. Age had descended harshly. White grew into his beard, and when he thought to comb his fingers through his hair, chunks would come out in his hand, the roots sticking up like tiny fragments of his youth.

There had been a time when vanity had been second nature to Macon Orme. He had oiled his hair and done it proper with the bone comb that had once belonged to his father. Saturdays he had bathed before the weekly dance, where he would hold the neighbor's daughter close to his chest, smell the musky scent of her, dream of pressing his hips into hers. Sundays he had worn a starched collar that chafed his neck, pants that showed a fine crease down the front. He had kept a watch in his pocket on a slender silver chain. Macon Orme had been a farmer, a man concerned with the passage of time. Then the Muscogee came and destroyed the farm. The Indians were merciless. They stole the horses and gave his mother such a fright that she grabbed her chest and fell dead to the ground. They razed the crops and what they could not carry away on horseback they burned. They took it all like it belonged to them.

Macon punched his fist into his thigh. Here he was, fifteen years later, making a fool of himself for some dark-skinned heathen; the same sort of heathen who had birthed the bastards who took his farm. That farm would have been Macon's inheritance. He would have had something to give the neighbor's daughter, something to lure her into letting him press his hips into hers for real. He would have given her a child -- many children. They would have grown old together but for that day when everything had been taken away from him.

And yet he longed for the Indian woman in a way he had never known. He dreamed about her, tasted her in his sleep. Even before he had happened upon their camp three days ago, Macon had felt a tugging at his chest, as if a string had been looped around his heart and something -- someone -- was pulling him toward her. That last night before he found their small settlement, a powerful burning in his chest had awakened him and he had abandoned his camp and stumbled up the hill toward the woman without even knowing why ...

Like a Charm
A Novel in Voices
. Copyright © by Karin Slaughter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Cornelius Jubb37
Down and Dirty61
The Goblin77
The Snake Eater by the Numbers113
Stroke of Luck135
Two Deaths and a Mouthful of Worms159
Plan B197
The Inkpot Monkey217
Acts of Corporal Charity229
Not Quite U.247
The Things We Did to Lamar267
The Eastlake School289
The Blessing of Brokenness303

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