The Worst Thing (Paperback)
When Kellah Mace's parents are killed in an accident--when Kellah is fifteen years old--she overhears someone say, "She'll go through life knowing the worst thing has already happened." Kellah, numb from loss and grief, takes these words to mean she need fear nothing. Only one thing can hurt her again: the loss of someone else she loves.
The Worst Thing begins with the intense friendship of Kellah and Angel, forged on the window ledge outside of their rooms at boarding school--and in the mirror during a hair-cut makeover.
After high school, these intrepid young women move to an apartment in the city. Kellah goes to college where the library is her refuge. Angie jumps into a modeling career and quickly becomes the newest super model. They remain bonded, looking out for each other, supporting each other, until a stalker's shadow falls across them. Albert Darwin, called Ape by acquaintances, has a story of his own. He was a frightened little boy, grown up to be a desperate man, and when he enters their lives, he brings a new meaning to "the worst thing."
The Worst Thing turns the commonplace objects from young women's lives-- selfies, cellphones, Google maps, scissors, glossy magazines, vintage fashion, and ponytails-- into elements of suspense.
About the Author
Nora Gaskin is the author of two previous books, Time of Death: The True Tale of a Quest for Justice in 1960s Chapel Hill, and a mystery, based on a true crime, Until Proven: A Mystery in 2 Parts. As the founder, editor, and publisher of Lystra Books (an eclectic and growing publisher, based in Chapel Hill, NC), Gaskin has stewarded more than twenty books into publication. Add to that resume her editing byline for Carolina Crimes: 21 Tales of Need, Greed, and Dirty Deeds, a terrific anthology of stories set in North Carolina and South Carolina, with an introduction by Jeffery Deaver, published in 2017 by Down & Out Books. She is a lifelong resident of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Chatham County, North Carolina. She loves the Piedmont landscape with its hills, woods, and curves that keep viewers from seeing what’s ahead. It’s the perfect place for a mystery/suspense writer to live.
“Who says a nice girl can’t write a convincing psychopath? In The Worst Thing, Nora Gaskin introduces Ape, a character so real, so broken, so deliciously creepy (“Are you scared?” he asks one of his victims. “I need you to be scared.”) you won’t be able to look away from him. You might even catch yourself secretly, guiltily admiring him. You surely won’t forget him.”
—Kim Church, author of Byrd
“The Worst Thing is a tight, spare novel of suspense, reminiscent of Ruth Rendell. With a bad guy Gaskin fashions from the inside out, whose demise you will root for even as you come to understand his needs, this story has the depth and substance of one that will be read for years to come.”
—Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author
“Nora Gaskin's new book, The Worst Thing, is the gripping story of a traumatic crime and how it affects the lives of everyone associated with it, from the police to a building handyman. It has all the plot twists and turns you want from an absorbing crime novel, but the book's real strength is in its characters. Most of the main characters are women who are tested and respond in ways that are human and believable. The men feel like real people too. The ending is equally real. Highly recommended.”
–Sarah Shaber, Award-winning author of the Louise Pearlie WWII mysteries
“Shadowy foreboding and well-earned emotions lured me into Kellah and Angie’s world, while the fascinating backstories, absence of gore, and realistic police work insured that I enjoyed every word. A tightly woven, highly readable thriller about motivated, original characters.”
—Karen Pullen, author of Cold Feet and Cold Heart
Chills down your spine! Prickles on the back of your neck! The Worst Thing is a thriller’s thriller. You will never again meet a tattooed man without looking back over your shoulder. Nora Gaskin creates characters so alive and breathing you truly feel they step right off the pages. The Worst Thing is fantastic writing full of proof plotting and downright scary . . . an absolute page turner.
—Ruth Moose, teacher; published poet and short story writer; award-winning author of mysteries Doing it at the Dixie Dew and Wedding Bell Blues.
A twisty plot with complex characters. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!
—JD Allen, author of 19 Souls, the first in the Sin City Investigations series