Cover

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Half Title, Further Titles, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotation

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Part One

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Chapter One

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pp. 3-22

Liesl Tiomenen saw the man from her kitchen window. It was snowing so hard that he was barely visible, standing at the edge of the woods. Staring toward the house, he kept his arms folded so his hands were clamped under his armpits. He wore a soiled canvas coat and blue trousers, but no hat. ...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 23-36

The space heater beneath Sheriff Del Maki’s desk was going full blast. It rattled and vibrated and seemed on the verge of burning the hair off his shins. His back, chilled by the draft coming from the window, felt about fifty degrees cooler. This had been his dilemma every winter since he’d turned forty—he was rarely able to get every part of his body warm. ...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 37-42

The trucker’s name was Eldon Waters, and he wouldn’t shut up. Norman figured it must get lonely in this cab day in, day out. Everything was a question with Eldon, as if he knew deep down that nobody really listened.
“I live in Michigamme—been there?” ...

Part Two

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Chapter Four

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pp. 45-58

Noel Pronovost had taken two more pills, downers now, and was just dropping off to sleep when the phone rang. Because there was no longer a phone on her nightstand, she had to get up from bed and answer the wall phone in the kitchen. Afraid that the ringing would wake her daughter, Lorraine, from her nap, ...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 59-74

As Noel drove to the Deer Run Motel, heavy snow fell through her headlight beams. She thought of it as driving at warp speed. The snowflakes—planets, meteorites, and asteroids—streamed toward her Isuzu Trooper, then rose up along the windshield and hurtled back into the darkness, their moment of illumination fleeting and hypnotic. ...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 75-86

It was almost ten when Norman reached North Eicher. The town appeared to be the same as ever. The snow was a veil, which kept the edges soft. Rooflines of houses. Small brick buildings downtown. St. Luke’s steeple. Store signs: Ron’s IGA, Hautamaki’s Tru-Value Hardware, LeSerge’s Game & Fishing. John’s Pizza was now Joey’s Pizzeria. ...

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Chapter Seven

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pp. 87-98

Warren became aware of bright light coming from behind him; opening his eyes, he squinted against headlights reflected in the rearview mirror.
Leah was sitting up, brushing the hair out of her face. “The fuck is this, cops?” ...

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Chapter Eight

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pp. 99-116

The snow had stopped. At first Del told himself that he was just driving around, checking for storm damage. Even when he was on Route 28, headed into Marquette. After his divorce eight years ago, he’d gotten into the habit of cruising at night. Karen had moved to Green Bay, four hours south; when she remarried a year later, she and her new husband moved to Georgia. ...

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Chapter Nine

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pp. 117-128

As they drove through North Eicher, Norman avoided eye contact with the girl. Noel had strapped her in the car seat in back, and he couldn’t help but see the child’s face. She was shy and quiet, and she tended to stare at the back of his head instead of into the mirror. He assumed she was confused; ...

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Chapter Ten

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pp. 129-140

Del found the house just outside of North Eicher. The sign at the end of the driveway read:
REJEAN PRONOVOST
Real Estate
Home Appraisal & Inspection
Land Survey
Taxidermy ...

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Chapter Eleven

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pp. 141-160

Liesl must have dozed on and off for several hours, but finally she found the strength to get up off the couch. Walking was an effort. It was like after the car accident that killed Harold and Gretchen: she had to think through each small step while jolts of pain shot up her spine. Still, she crossed the living room slowly, entered her studio, ...

Part Three

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Chapter Twelve

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pp. 163-176

Liesl sat at her bench in the studio, her hands covered with clay. “It feels good to have my skin caked again,” she said.
Darcy leaned on the stool across from her, eating ice cream, staring at the clay head between them. When she was finished, she put the empty bowl on the worktable and said, ...

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Chapter Thirteen

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pp. 177-188

After they got out of the bathtub, they toweled each other off slowly. It became difficult to stand. They lay on the shag rug on the bathroom floor, and Noel knelt above Norman, her legs straddling his head. He took hold of her hips and pulled her down to his mouth, while he felt her warm breath on him. ...

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Chapter Fourteen

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pp. 189-200

After a couple of miles, Del asked, “The lodge—how many entrances?”
“Just two. The front door,” Warren said, “and the kitchen door in back.”
Del tilted his wristwatch so that he could read it in the light from the dashboard. It was just after eleven o’clock. ...

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Chapter Fifteen

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pp. 201-214

Shortly after Liesl sent Darcy home for the night, the phone rang. It wasn’t Del, but his deputy, Monty Price. In the background she could hear a television, and two girls arguing over something.
“He’s somewhere between North Eicher and Lake Superior.” ...

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Chapter Sixteen

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pp. 215-228

Once Liesl had the wood-burning stove stoked up, she got into bed. The house was well protected by the woods, though when the wind was out of the north-northeast, it came up the drive with a vengeance. Tonight the house swayed, creaking like an old boat. The first winter after they had built the house, she and Harold lay in bed many windy nights, ...

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Chapter Seventeen

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pp. 229-238

With his eyes closed, the three voices seemed in suspension and Del heard things he thought he might miss if he could see them as they spoke. They weren’t exactly arguing, but there was no agreement, either. Three voices, whispering so low that Del couldn’t understand the words, only the tone. It was the tone of want. ...

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Chapter Eighteen

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pp. 239-248

Once outside the lodge, Norman followed his brother’s tracks along the wall, but something had happened. It was all there in the snow. The tracks stopped just after rounding the corner of the building, and the snow was broken up in a large area—and from there a wide trail angled down the ridge toward the river. ...

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Chapter Nineteen

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pp. 249-262

Liesl heard the girl’s voice over the phone, and then in the background she heard Del say, “Shit, that’s the wrong number. Give it to me.”
The girl said, “Is this the deputy sheriff?” The connection wasn’t clear; there was static and electronic humming that came and went, so at first she sounded as though she might be in her teens, ...

Part Four

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Chapter Twenty

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pp. 265-274

Norman leaned against a tree trunk, shaking uncontrollably. He hugged himself, trying to stop the tremors. Through the woods he could see the shed burning, its column of smoke rising above the trees and then dispersing on the gusting winds. ...

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Chapter Twenty-one

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pp. 275-288

Once Norman got below the permafrost, the pick sank into loose earth and he then used the shovel. The pain in his cheek was constant. When Bing had told him about Vlad the Impaler, he’d said that physical pain was the greatest power in the world because people will do anything to avoid it. ...

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Chapter Twenty-two

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pp. 289-302

Liesl walked slowly, hunched over so her left shoulder bore most of the girl’s weight in the baby sling. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”
“Lorraine.” Her voice was tiny, fragile, hurt. A lovely girl’s voice.
“Do you know how far it is back to the lodge?” ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 303-309

During the course of three warm days in late April, the snow retreated from Liesl’s yard, exposing soggy brown grass. Still, it snowed intermittently through the first half of May, and out in the woods patches of snow remained on the northern slopes until Memorial Day. In her constant search for firewood, she and Lorraine often encountered dead carcasses. ...

About the Author

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