NEW RELEASE and EXCERPT
13 Stolen Girls
(A Layla Remington Mystery Book 2)
(A Layla Remington Mystery Book 2)
by Gil Reavill
13 Stolen Girls is the second book in Gil Reavill's Layla Remington Mystery series. Also available: 13 Hollywood Apes.
13 Stolen Girls is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Perfect for fans of Michael Connelly’s Bosch series, Gil Reavill’s gripping new Layla Remington thriller plunges readers beneath the glittering facade of Hollywood and into a terrifying underworld where beautiful women can just ... disappear.
Malibu is crumbling. A monster earthquake has just ripped apart some of the priciest real estate on the planet. In a bizarre twist, it has also exposed a grisly tableau buried for years beneath one particularly unstable hilltop: a steel barrel containing the mummified remains of Tarin Mistry, the beautiful starlet who went missing a decade ago. When Detective Investigator Layla Remington looks into that wretched metal coffin, she realizes she’s just landed the case of a lifetime.
But before Layla even strips off her latex gloves, a pair of hotshot LAPD detectives arrive on the scene and pull her off the investigation. Undeterred, Layla pursues her own line of inquiry, risking her badge and her life to track down Tarin’s murderer: from the rarified air of exclusive canyon communities to seedy sex clubs downtown, all the way to the secluded lair of one of Hollywood’s most powerful men. But while Tarin’s a cold case, her killer is poised to strike again - and, in Layla, this depraved sociopath has just found fresh prey.
Dixie’s quest began because she overheard a story. Jonathan White told it. Jonathan was a year behind Dixie at South High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, but Dixie knew him and his brothers through their cousin Cynthy McClellan, who was in her grade.
“He gets a call on the family landline,” Jonathan said. “It turns out to be a birth sister he didn’t even know he had.”
Dixie overheard this as they were all grouped together along “the Wall,” which was how everyone referred to their hangout by the student parking lot. They were Wallies, a synonym around South High for “stoner.” Lunchtime, ciggie time, during a drag of a school day that seemed as if it would never end.
“A landline,” Corey Stanton said, and laughed, not getting the point of the story.
“Wait, what?” Dixie said, leaning toward Jonathan. “Who got a call?”
“Steve Kurth,” Jonathan answered. “You know he’s adopted, right?”
Not everyone knew that Dixie Annette Close herself had been adopted. But since her seventeenth birthday Dixie had been thinking a lot about the fact that the mother and father she knew as family weren’t her biological parents. Nudging it around in her mind, she wondered what being adopted meant or should mean or didn’t mean.
She had had bouts of such questioning before. She first learned of her adopted status as a child of nine. But her parents were so much the focus of her life back then, the fact that they weren’t Dixie’s blood kin didn’t matter. In the past few years, though, their solid relationship had crumbled. The Close family was going through hard times.
Now here was Jonathan talking about someone else who was adopted.
“So Steve gets the call. He just happens to answer the phone—it’s the most whack thing. He swears he never, ever uses the landline, but he answers it this time. He hears a strange girl’s voice saying she thinks they might be brother and sister.”
“Shit, I would, like, literally freak out,” said Karen Chupsky.
“I know, right?” Jonathan said.
“I’ve got enough trouble with my own sisters, I don’t need any more,” Chris Zenner said.
Steve Kurth. Which one was he again? Dixie summoned up a vague picture of a boy who had been in her biology class the year before. Curly black hair, a little bit chubs, hung out with the film-club nerds. Played some sort of musical instrument.
She spoke up. “How’d the sister find him?” she asked Jonathan.
“Kurth? I don’t know. I think she went through all the paperwork hassle, the birth certificate. Adopted kids have got, like, rights now, you know?”
“Well, if it had been an open adoption he’d have known he had a sister,” Nicole commented.
“So did they hook up?” Karen Chupsky asked.
“Hook up, like . . . ?” Chris said.
“Eeewww, that’d be gross,” Karen said. “What if you had a sister or brother you didn’t even know about, and you, like, meet them at a job or something, and you start going out and everything with each other.”
Everybody was laughing and talking over one another now. “It happened, it happened!” Tim Heller shouted. “I saw it on TLC.”
Dixie felt a blush creeping up on her. Her best friend, Nicole, reached over and gave her arm a squeeze. Nobody who wasn’t adopted could understand what it felt like when everybody started going on like this.
But she needed to know. “What happened?” she asked Jonathan.
“Steve and her met at the food court in the Southridge Mall. At first he didn’t tell his parents.”
“Who aren’t his real parents,” Timmy pointed out.
Real parents. How Dixie had come to hate that phrase. What did that make Sheila and Jerry Close, the couple who had raised her from infancy? Her “fake” parents? No, they were as real as any could be. They weren’t biologically related, but so what? For Dixie, “mother” always meant Sheila, and “father” meant Jerry. She knew of no others.
Nicole, sensing what her friend was feeling, threw an arm around Dixie.
Nobody was interested anymore. They were all on to something new. They’d sucked the paltry bit of juice from Jonathan’s story, and now the fickle finger of gossip pointed elsewhere. Dixie got it out of Jonathan that Steve Kurth finally did tell his mom and dad about his birth sister, and that now the two of them were all about finding their biological parents.
“What if they’re, like, rich?” Jonathan wondered. But his attention wavered. He started talking to Chris about a party up in Cave Creek. “It’s going to be sick.”
That was that. No big deal. But the incident at the Wall stuck with Dixie. She thought about it again before falling asleep that night. Where were her real parents? Were they still alive? Could she reach out to them? How would she even start?
Junior year at South High, everybody deep into college searches and future plans. Dixie was staring at a two-year program at Mesa Community. Her guidance counselor suggested that nursing was the way to go.
Now she thought she might have something to do first.
The next morning, Dixie used the get-to-work-and-school rush to drop a bomb on Sheila. “Mom, I’ve been thinking about tracking down my birth parents.”
Jerry overheard from the front hall and came to the kitchen doorway.
Dixie detected an extra current of tension passing between her father and mother. She had sensed it before. Was there something wrong about her adoption? Jerry and Sheila had always been prickly about it. Okay, so the topic was a difficult one. But was it more-than-ordinary difficult?
That morning she escaped the house before they could have one of their Serious Family Discussions. Dixie knew that sooner or later she’d have to confront Jerry and Sheila about the subject. This time she wasn’t going to let them stop her. This time she was going to find out who she really was.
Praise for the Book
"A very complex case of multiple murders based within the under belly of Hollywood. Totally absorbing book where the need to find the perpetrator is very strong. Unbelievable that an industry that can give so joy and pleasure can also cause so much pain and death. A great storyline." ~ P. Moren
"I really liked this book. It was well written and has many twists and turns, it will hold your interest well into the night. I would recommend to others." ~ Mary Cain
"Well developed plot with well defined characters. I look forward to reading more from this author. Well worth the read!" ~ BBC Booklady
"Fantastic book. It was a fast read and as good, if not better than the first in the series. Highly recommended." ~ Jamie
"Although the topic is distasteful, the violence is not graphic, and the squeamish can still enjoy a fascinating thriller. The writing is brilliant, and the mystery is not solved until the very end. The intensity never lets up." ~ Kayak Jay
About the Author
Gil Reavill is a journalist, screenwriter, and playwright. Widely featured in magazines, Reavill is the author of a crime novel, 13 Hollywood Apes, nominated for a Thriller Award from International Thriller Writers. He has written two works of crime non-fiction: Mafia Summit: J. Edgar Hoover, the Kennedy Brothers, and the Meeting That Unmasked the Mob, and Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2006 film Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Gil lives in New York with his wife, the author Jean Zimmerman, and their daughter.