Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf
Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Before She Was Found, to see the full tour schedule, click here.
Synopsis: A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town
For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.
Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.
Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.
Excerpt from the journal of Cora E. Landry
Sept. 5, 2017
Today was my first official day of sixth grade and it actually went really well! Middle school is a lot bigger than my elementary school because three dinky towns have to share the building. For once I’m going to school with kids I haven’t been with since preschool.
The good news is I don’t have any classes with Melody Jenkins, who was awful to me during fifth grade. She’s the one who sent the top five lists all around school. I was at the top of each one. Dumbest, ugliest, weirdest, most likely to be a virgin. That last one is just stupid. I tried to not let it bother me but it did. And I only have lunch and one class with Jordyn Petit. Jordyn isn’t as bad as Melody but last year she did tell everyone that I liked Dakota Richter. NOT true!
The best news is that I have lunch and social studies with Gabe Shannon, who I’ve liked forever and I think he might actually like me, too. This summer I helped my mom in the elementary school office where she’s the secretary and Gabe helped his mom set up her kindergarten classroom for the new school year. We hung out a bunch this summer and really got to know each other.
Anyway, I’ve got social studies with Mr. Dover, who is cute and is supposed to be a really fun teacher, and I’m even thinking about going out for volleyball. My mom says that it’s really important to be “a joiner” in middle school in order to discover what I like to do and to meet some new people.
My sister, Kendall, says that this is Mom’s way of saying, Don’t be a loser, Cora. If you don’t make some friends now, you never will. I think that Kendall is probably right. She’s superpopular and pretty and outgoing. I mean, I’m not a monster, but I’m definitely not as good-looking as Kendall. I’m pretty much her complete opposite.
The good thing is in middle school everyone who goes out for a sport is on the team. They don’t cut anyone, which is a huge relief because I know I’m going to be terrible at volleyball. My only other option is joining the cross-country team and I can’t think of anything worse than running on purpose. So volleyball, it is. The first practice is tomorrow. Wish me luck—I’m going to need it!
Monday, April 16, 2018
I’ve been called a lot of things in my thirty-six years: trash, slut, home wrecker. And much worse. All true, I guess, if I’m being completely honest with myself. But one thing I won’t let people get away with saying about me is that I’m a bad mother. Those are fighting words. Just about everything I’ve ever done has been for my two children. I may be stupid when it comes to men but I’m a good mother.
Seven months ago I quit my job as an administrative assistant at an office supply company, loaded our belongings and squeezed a reluctant Violet, a pissed-off Max and Boomer, our basset hound, into our car that was more rust than steel and began the twenty-five-hour drive northeast from Algodon, New Mexico, to Green Bay. The plan was to begin a new life with my boyfriend, Jerry, who moved there to take a job with Proctor & Gamble a few months earlier.
I had some hard selling to do but by the time we reached Kansas City I almost had them convinced that even though we would be giving up Picacho Peak we would get Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers. And though we were trading in the Rio Grande there would be Lake Michigan where we could go fishing and water skiing. And though we would miss driving through the Mesilla Valley and seeing the fields of cotton, white, fluffy and soothing against the dusty, dry ground, once in Wisconsin we would have piles of crisp clean snow to build snowmen and have snowball fights.
Max wasn’t buying it but Violet was easier to convince. Always in her own little world, Violet would retreat into her notebook of drawings and stories and a few hours later she’d look up, blinking rapidly as if trying to bring her surroundings back into focus. Max, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the move. He was completely content in New Mexico and didn’t even try to hide his hate for Jerry. It’s to Max’s credit that he didn’t say I told you so when the car broke down in the middle of Iowa and Jerry suddenly had a change of heart and got back together with his ex-wife.
Long story short, we stayed in Pitch, a dying railroad town with a population of about two thousand. We were rescued by a nice lady by the name of Tess Petit, who has a granddaughter the same age as Violet.
About the Author:
Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound. Heather lives in Iowa with her family.
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Page Count: 368