Publisher: Moonshine Cove Press (February 1, 2015) Category: Contemporary Fiction; Women’s Fiction; Southern Fiction
Tour Date: February-March, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 285 Pages
About Pleasant Day:
With murder in common friendship is inevitable: As fifteen year old Pleasant Day struggles with her mother's distance, her father's infidelity and the death of her best friend, she draws closer to Clarissa, an older woman with the secrets to heal her. But Clarissa has struggles of her own as she faces betrayal and seeks to come to terms with old wounds. With her unpredictable but psychic ability to 'read people' Clarissa uncovers the answers to a deadly crime and to Pleasant's true identity. In the end, both Pleasant and Clarissa's worlds are transformed by the truths they're forced to accept.
Read an Excerpt:
Chapter Two Pleasant Day
Read an Excerpt:
Chapter Two Pleasant Day
I wanted to see John Peter real bad, get the story straight from the horse's mouth about poor Millie Grady's dead body showing up in his box-spring. He'd never paid any attention to her. He wasn't one of those goons that made fun of her either. John Peter wasn't a joiner; he was an individual, a sensitive artistic type. Some of the goons called him queer but the only thing queer about John Peter were his ears. They were too big for his head. I imagine he was going to grow into them one day and be kind of cute, the kind of cute that lets a man get away with almost anything, like my daddy.
There were lots of cars at his house and I didn't think I'd be too welcomed if I marched in there and gave the sheriff my character reference on John Peter, about him crying over a dead frog so how could he possibly murder anyone? I wasn't going to get to him that day though, he was probably being finger printed down at the county jail so I took myself to Piper Hill.
The oddest thing is how much humor Millie would have found in her body being stuffed inside John Peter's box-spring. Out of all the boys in the world John Peter gets blamed for doing her in and she and I both know he's the last person we'd suspect of killing her. She hardly even knew him. I wished she could tell me who did this to her. I wonder why the dead can't talk, look at all the crimes we'd solve if the damn dead would just Ouija board us our answers, or tell all those weird psychic people who killed 'em.
I lied back in the grass, I couldn't even read. I wanted to commune with Millie. I just didn't understand what had happened to her and why it happened. She never did anything to anyone. I started thinking 'bout our time together and her telling me that she missed not having a mama. I told her she was probably better off but she didn't believe me. "Thanks for trying to make me feel better," she'd said. Hell, it was the truth as I knew it.
She didn't have any siblings either so her poor father was going to be terribly alone. I felt badly for him and helpless about Millie. Feeling helpless is an awful feeling, it's like you're useless to prevent something awful from happening. I knew I'd bear this burden for a long time. But what could I have done to prevent her murder? Probably nothing, but maybe I could bring some justice by trying to find out who did it. Maybe I could bring some peace.
I had my eyes closed for about ten minutes and kept seeing Millie's face behind the lids of my eyes. I made her a silent promise that I'd seek justice and that she would not be forgotten. I swore I'd visit her grave every week and tell her everything that was going on without her. When I opened my eyes I thought I was hallucinating, but over the hill who do I see coming toward me but John Peter, he didn't look none too happy either but at least, he hadn't been locked up.
Instead of saying anything, he just flopped down on the grass and looked off. The two of us never hungered for words between us but now we were both at a loss. Finally, I took a handful of dirt and threw it at him. All he did was brush it off his pant leg and stare at me. In normal times he would have chased me all the way over to Lake Murray and dunked me in.
"It wasn’t my fault this happened," he said.
I couldn't tell if he was angry or bewildered or both 'cause he started to laugh. I just sat there in silence wondering where in the hell he was finding the humor in this but it was probably a really nervous laugh.
"Ain't this a f*cked up world?" He started shaking his head up and down like he didn't give a good goddamn who agreed with him, he sure as hell thought it was a f*cked up world.
"The police let you go?"
"What the hell they going to hold me on? I had no cause to kill her. I couldn't even lift Millie much less stuff her inside a box-spring."
"Why was she found there in your box-spring, John Peter?"
He shrugged his shoulders and looked up at the sky. The clouds were racing by, chasing each other like they might have been running from a storm.
"They didn't find any scratches on my skin. They're hoping to get DNA from under Millie's fingernails because they said she probably scratched her killer. It's clear it wasn't me. I don't have a scratch on me."
"Maybe there was someone on your property who was hiding out there?"
Again, he shrugged his shoulders and continued to watch those fleeing clouds. "There weren't any drag marks on the grass either so they figured she was carried up to my bedroom by someone bigger and stronger than me."
"Yeah, they think whoever killed her did it in my back yard and then carried her into the house. I think they found a scarf of hers out there or something. That was the murder weapon, that scarf."
"So they let you go?"
"Until they figure out how I could have done it, they let me go, I guess."
"Jesus Christ, John Peter, you didn't even know Millie. I'll tell the police that."
He didn't say anything and his silence was so weighty I saw the wind around him take a dip. I thought I knew Millie better than anyone in the world and she had always looked off when I mentioned John Peter's name as if the mere mention of it bored her. I couldn't figure out what the hell she was doing at his house though. And now John Peter was looking off same way she used to.
"You didn't know her, did you?"
"We went to the same high school, Pleasant, how could I not know her?"
"Well, yeah, but you didn't hang out with her. She and I are a grade below you."
"I don't hang out with anyone but you."
"Yeah, and Millie was my friend and I never spent time with you two together. You never once took up the space that Millie and I took. I never heard one word that came out of your mouth that that girl ever heard. You didn't know her. Your breath never passed her face, your presence was never held in her eyes while I was there to claim witness to it. So what the hell was she doing at your house?"
Praise for 'Pleasant Day' By Vera Jane Cook:
"Absolutely unputdownable, a real page turner. Be prepared to clear your schedule for the day. You're going to read this one straight through! This is Vera Jane Cook's best one yet!" -Wall to Wall Books "A beautiful blend of past and present with loveable, memorable characters and a page turning pace, I was sorry I couldn't read it in one sitting." -Jenn Doyle, Books & Life. "A beautiful piece of southern fiction...a great page turner...this book is filled with delightful characters, charm, warmth, love and last but certainly not least, wonderful humor."-Arlene Uslander, Editor and writer.
Meet Vera Jane Cook:
Winner: Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and the Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction!
5 Star Clarion ForeWord Review!
Vera Jane Cook, writer of Award Winning Women’s Fiction, is the author of The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. Jane, as she is known to family and friends, was born in New York City and grew up amid the eccentricity of her southern and glamorous mother on the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan. An only child, Jane turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Some of her favorite authors today are Nelson DeMille, Calib Carr, Wally Lamb, Anne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Her favorite novels are too long to list but include The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights, Look at Me, Dogs of Babel, The Bluest Eye, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Body Surfing, Lolita, The Brothers Karamazov, She’s Come Undone, Tale of Two Cities, etc., etc., etc., Vera Jane Cook’s
Social Media Links:
Vera Jane Cook on Twitter: https://twitter.com/verajanecook
Vera Jane Cook on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vera.j.cook
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