Lara Reznik‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:
Description of The Girl From Long Guyland:
-Includes Reading Group Discussion Questions-
Ranked the #1 spot in both Suspense and Contemporary Fiction, during it’s Amazon kindle select promotional days.
MEMOIR MEETS THRILLER:
Laila Levin enjoys a successful marriage and a thriving career as an I.T. executive in Austin, Texas, but she can’t quite shake her lifelong sense of not truly belonging anywhere.When her company announces a major layoff, Laila finds herself caught between an unscrupulous CEO and her promiscuous boss. Then news of her college roommate’s suicide stirs up a dark secret involving three devious friends from her past. One has betrayed a vow, another wants to rekindle their romance, and the third is out for revenge.Suddenly for Laila, it’s 1969 again. She’s only seventeen, and she’s left her sheltered home in Long Island for college in Connecticut. Amid protests of the Vietnam War, she’s tempted by the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll that rule her generation. Laila gets swept up in a deceptive love triangle with two older locals and initiated into their unethical hippie family. Too late she realizes her search to belong has led to tragedy.
Laila must now juggle the demands of her perplexed husband and her baby boomer past forcing her to make choices that endanger her survival and challenge her conscience.
She learns that the lines between right and wrong are often blurred, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.
“In Reznik’s debut novel, a woman confronts long-buried secrets when an old college friend commits suicide. . . . While effective as a page turner, the novel also tells a timeless, universal tale of a woman’s journey toward self-acceptance. An exciting tale of past crimes and dangerous friendships.” –Kirkus Reviews★★★★★ “I love a mystery and I love stories about the late 60′s/early 70′s and this book has both! Really fun read.” –Barbara Gaines, Executive Producer, The Late Show with David Letterman★★★★★ “Lara Reznik masterfully creates a story that brings the past and present together seamlessly. . . . I can honestly say it is not often that the plot of a book surprises me the way this one did. This book is truly timeless. I would recommend “The Girl from Long Guyland” to anyone who likes to read no matter what their preferred genre.” —-Katherine Bennett, Reviewer, Readers Favorite
★★★★★ “Reznik has an instinct for complex characters in threatening situations with twists and uncertainties to catch the reader by surprise. I couldn’t stop reading until I found out how the executive would face the rock ‘n’ roll music of her past misdeeds as a naïve seventeen-year old who only wanted to belong somewhere.”
–Cynthia J. Stone, Author, Mason’s Daughter
The Girl From Long Guyland currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars from 118 reviews. Read the reviews here.
An excerpt from The Girl From Long Guyland:
Lost in Texas
A couple dozen stars and the eye of a yellow moon pierce light through a sky filled with smoke. I look out the broken window to the ground below. Crumpled in the weeds is a lifeless body with red-flecked eyes, a bushy mustache, and sweet smile.
Vapor seeps into the room. I can barely breathe. Ben wraps his arms around me as I weep. Denise lies in a catatonic state perched on the bed. Why is she only wearing her bra and panties?
Chris stumbles inside the room. His eyes glow like diamonds. He cranes his head out the window. “We gotta do something, man.”
“I’ll call for an ambulance,” I say. Ben gulps, “That’s not a good idea.” “We have to,” I insist. “For Godsakes.”
He’s dead, Laila,” Chris says.
Tears sting my eyes.
WITH A JOLT, I awake whimpering. The nightmare has infested my dreams for years. It may be time to see a shrink.
The anxiety subsides when my husband Eduardo arrives with a cappuccino and the morning paper. “Are you okay? It sounded like you were crying.”
I clear my throat. “No, no, I’m fine. Just a dream, I guess.” I’ve never discussed these recurring nightmares with him. Eduardo’s got his own problems. He was recently laid off in a corporate downsize and refuses to talk about it. There’s lots of tension in our home right now. Maybe we should both see a shrink.
From our king-size Tempur-Pedic bed, I sip the coffee and stare at a cloudless sky and the sapphire water of Lake Travis. The serenity of the moment is interrupted by the sound of NPR news blaring from my alarm clock. Time to go to work. I shower and dress for a managers’ conference forty miles away.
AN HOUR LATER, I enter a pavilion filled with mounted animal heads and good old boys, and wonder how this counter- culture Long Island girl ended up in Texas. Yes, it’s Austin, home of tree huggers and music lovers, but I’m mystified by the path my life has taken.
The Hobbs brothers, proud owners of the Burnet County Landfill and Exotic Park where LBJ Electric holds its annual manager retreat, greet me with toothy Texas grins and matching Stetson hats. “How y’all doing today, darlin’? Welcome to our home.”
I flash a smile but it pains me to know these men are the proud hunters of the dead animals in the hall. It gives me pleasure imagining their heads mounted next to the trophies.
As I head to a long pine table and retrieve my white-sticky badge with the letters LAILA LEVIN printed in magic marker, Darlene McIntire, dressed business-gorgeous in a navy suit and cleavage-leaking blouse, approaches me and waves. Darlene is an upper-level manager who advocates for women in the company and played a key role in my promotion from Database Analyst to I.T. Solutions Manager two years ago. “Meet me in the little girls room at break, hon,” she whispers. “There’s something I want to share with you.”
During the morning, two hundred LBJ managers and I feign interest in long-winded corporate presentations. One of the executives reminds us that DIVERSITY is one of our company’s “Foundation Values.” Right. As one of only twelve women in the room, I try to look at the bright side: short lines to the ladies room.
A bald guy grabs the microphone and informs everyone it’s time for a break. Conversations revolve around Longhorns and Aggies, and of course, the beloved Cowboys. Go Tony Romo!
With nothing of substance to add to these discussions, I dash to the ladies room where I find Darlene at the mirror applying a fresh coat of mascara. She smiles at me. “Nice outfit.”
“Thanks.” My reflection reveals a contrast of wild curly hair with the Ralph Lauren suit and high-heeled boots I bought at Dillard’s yesterday. Like most in I.T., my preference is jeans and sneakers.
Three coats later, Darlene pops the mascara back in her purse and turns to face me. “Can you keep a secret?”
“Of course.” “John is going to announce his retirement.” John Bell is the LBJ Chief Executive Officer. Rumors of his impending retirement have been rampant for weeks. “I’ve heard talk.”
“That’s not the secret. Bob E. is the heir apparent. Not to be announced today, but it’s pretty much a done deal. And he’s promised me V.P. of Corporate Services.”
I look away hoping she didn’t see my eyebrows jump to my hairline. “Congratulations.” Darlene is important, but not that important. This promotion is a big leap from Human Resources Manager. Certainly not done often in a company like LBJ. “Wow. Didn’t realize you had the seniority.”
Darlene blushes. “Succeeding in the boardroom is not the only way to get ahead.”
Oh my God. She’s sleeping with Bob Englewood, a.k.a. Bob E., the biggest flirt alive. Darlene has a great-looking husband and two kids. Makes no sense to me. But then I’m not that ambitious.
I’m trying to think of a good response when the buzzer goes off over the building’s loud speakers indicating the end of the break. I produce a weak smile and head back to the conference area with images of Darlene and Bob E. spinning in my head. Why did she share this with me?
I take a seat at my assigned table. John Bell, a short, stocky man sporting a bolo tie and a fine pair of ostrich boots, stands onstage tapping the microphone. “Good morning, LBJ managers. It’s good to be here at our annual meeting. I have
we haven’t spoken in ages. You sound so British.”
“I lived in London for a couple years, but I’m back in L.A.
now. You better sit down.” Katie B., always the drama queen. I sit in an antique rocker and stare at the pale blue Texas sky.
Katie clears her throat. “Denise committed suicide yesterday.”
I try to speak but my mouth feels like it’s full of marbles. Finally, I gasp, “My God.”
“She was never right after—” “Don’t say it. Remember the pact,” I whisper.
“I remember it.”
I suck in my breath. “It’s kept us safe.”
“We’re gonna have to talk about it. Denise left a suicide note,” she whispers.
Fear fills the membranes of my eyeballs. “Oh, Jesus.”
“I just got off the phone with Chris. A private detective
showed up at his house in Tucson.”
“I can’t believe that son of a bitch lives in Tucson. My sister has lived there for years.” It’s been four decades since I’ve seen or heard of Chris, yet his name causes goose bumps to parade up my arms.
“I’m surprised you’ve never run into him,” Katie says.
“Tucson’s a big place.” Would I even recognize him now?
“He googled me and found my phone number. He and Ben think we should go to the funeral.”
“Ben. You spoke to him, too?”
She laughs. “Yes, Jesus still lives.”
I blush at the sound of his name. “What is he like?” “I don’t know. Same old Ben, I guess.”
“Did they find . . .?”
She swallows. “No one knows what they’ve found or what she wrote in her note.”
To think just five minutes ago I was worried about my job, trophy animals, and Darlene and Bobby E. doing the deed.
Katie takes a deep breath. “We could all go to efing prison.”
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