Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Happy release: Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard

Mary Rose
by Geoffrey Girard
-Horror, Gothic
Release date: April 17, 2018
Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.

After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.

Mary Rose is author Geoffrey Girard’s chilling and modern take on a classic ghost story originally written by J. M. Barrie. And for years, master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock attempted to adapt Mary Rose into a film but was never successful. With this novel, Girard taps into the nightmarish fears that inspired both Barrie and Hitchcock, while also bringing the story to the present day with his own unique voice.

Praise for MARY ROSE:

“MARY ROSE is that uncommon thing, an elegant, classic ghost story that is, at once, truly literate and truly scary. Filled with surprises and eerie mystery. Geoffrey Girard is a storyteller at the top of his game.”
- Jacquelyn Mitchard, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN and TWO IF BY SEA

Girard’s eerie descriptions exploit the fear of the unknown and the unnatural, and secretive characters, including the enigmatic island, hide their intentions. This is a nightmarish tale of repressed memories and misdirection."
- Publishers Weekly

"An exceptional gothic thriller.
Girard's literary roots shine through, and the dread rises with every turn of the page. MARY ROSE will send a true chill down your spine. A haunting, scary, and beautifully written novel."
- J.T. Ellison, NYT bestselling author of LIE TO ME


It was another few minutes before Simon also heard the music. Barely, at first. Only a soft indefinable sound carried somewhere deep within the enduring rustle of cool summer wind in the surrounding trees. Fading in and out. Obviously imagined. A trick of sound. Then, more distinct. Deliberate. More melodious.

“That is music,” he agreed, still doubting enough. The island was deserted. There’d been no other boats. “Right? I thought you were kidding.”

Mary Rose continued without remark.

They followed a slender and loose trail, overgrown with scrub, the trees stretching overhead in a heavy canopy that allowed the sun to split through only in well-defined fixed beams, and the sunlight somehow made the copse seem darker, casting blacker shadows than what should be. The musical drone had grown stronger, more real, with each step.

Twice, he’d turned. Convinced they were being followed. They weren’t alone anymore. That someone had stepped onto the path no more than twenty yards behind them, and then jumped back again into the shadows each time he’d turned. The unique prickle of being watched coupled every step they took. “You know where we’re going?” he asked, striding through a wide shard of light.

“I want to show you something,” Mary Rose said. Her voice star- tled him and he took a deep breath to bring his racing imagination back to real life.

“Something you saw as a girl?”

She only nodded.

“Did you ever—”

Movement at the corner of his eye passed between several trees at their far right. Shadows, maybe, in the shifting sunlight. Or someone running. He’d automatically reached out a hand to stay Mary Rose.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, turning.

He held up his other hand for quiet. “Wait . . .” he whispered, listening, and also squinting ahead. The music had become unmistakable words. Chanting, even. And not in English, for sure. Several voices intoning as one relentless drone of those concealed within the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead. It was a sound that somehow evoked the pounding of animal-skin drums and dark primordial shapes swaying in the moonlight before open fire—he could even smell it—and antlered demigods, or maybe just Brodie, “The Druid,” painting bull blood on some virgin’s bare ass.

What a load of shit.

But there was definite movement between those trees. Not an- other swaying birch, but someone. If it was such a “load of shit,” why was he holding his breath? Why did it feel as if his whole body were trembling?

“We should go,” he decided. Had even searched the ground for a fallen limb as some pathetic sort of weapon.

Mary Rose looked at him oddly, puzzled.

He tugged her backward. “Come on. We can’t—”

A terrible scream filled the woods.

A woman, or some animal, maybe, the shriek of something having its throat slit over an ancient stone altar. The horrific echo drifted away between the trees slowly and deliberately.

Simon was frozen, mostly wanting to pull Mary Rose to safety, but knowing someone was—

Mary Rose had made the decision for them both, jerking her hand free and sprinting ahead.

His mind exploded with panic, and anger. “Mary,” his voice hissed in warning, but it was a voice for dogs broken free from their leash or unruly children in public places safe from spankings: a voice with no real control.

She’d gone straight at the sound, and he dashed after her.

Between the trees ahead, straight beyond Mary Rose, he glimpsed tall distorted figures coming directly toward her. And then the unmistakable shine of bare flesh—sinewy, powerful, bronzed and glistening in sweat, a flash of plump pale breasts—the skin and surrounding trees spattered in vibrant dripping blood.


  1. I hate excerpts because I always want more!!!

  2. Wow! Wow! Am I brave enough to read this? Great excerpt. Great writing. Thank you for the heads up, Velvet.


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