“A heart-pounding page-turner with an outstanding cast of characters, a deliciously creepy setting, and an absolutely merciless body count.” –Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie and The Project
A New York Times bestseller
It’s been almost a year since Makani Young came to live with her grandmother and she’s still adjusting to her new life in rural Nebraska. Then, one by one, students at her high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair.
As the body count rises and the terror grows closer, can Makani survive the killer’s twisted plan?
- Pages: 320 Pages
- Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
- Imprint: Dutton Books for Young Readers
- ISBN: 9780142424988
An Excerpt From
There's Someone Inside Your House
The egg-shaped timer was on the welcome mat when she came home.
Haley Whitehall glanced over her shoulder, as if expecting someone behind her. Far in the distance, a red combine rolled through the sallow cornfields. Her father. Harvest time. Her mother was still at work, too, a dental technician at the only practice in town. Which one of them had left it here? The decaying porch boards sagged and splintered beneath Haley’s shifting weight as she picked up the timer. It rattled in her hand. The day had been cold, but the plastic eggshell was warm. Faintly so.
Her phone rang. It was Brooke, of course.
. . .
Haley stared out the windows and finished her sandwich. The sun hung low on the horizon. It shone through the cornfields, making the brittle stalks appear soft and dull. Her father was still out there. Somewhere. This time of year, he didn’t let a single ray go to waste. The world looked abandoned. It was the opposite of the loud, colorful, enthusiastic group of people she’d left behind at school. She should have stuck it out. She hated the quiet isolation that permeated her house. It was exhausting in its own way.
Haley made sympathetic noises into the phone—though she had no idea what she was sympathizing with—and stood. She walked her plate back to the kitchen, rinsed off the crumbs, and popped open the dishwasher.
The only thing inside it was a dirty butter knife.
Haley glanced at the sink, which was empty. A frown appeared between her brows. She put the plate into the dishwasher and shook her head.
“Even if we can get the sprayer working,” Brooke was saying, their connection suddenly clear, “I’m not sure enough people will even want to sit in the first three rows. I mean, who goes to the theater to wear ponchos and get drenched in blood?”
Haley sensed that her friend needed vocal reassurance. “It’s Halloween weekend. People will buy the tickets. They’ll think it’s fun.” She took a step toward the stairs, toward her bedroom, and her sneaker connected with a small, hard object. It shot across the floor tiles, skidding and rattling and clattering and clanging, until it smacked into the bottom of the pantry.
It was the egg timer.
Haley’s heart stopped. Just for a moment.
An uneasy prickling grew under her skin as she moved toward the pantry door, which one of her parents had left ajar. She pushed it closed with her fingertips and then picked up the timer, slowly. As if it were heavy. She could have sworn she’d set it on the countertop, but she must have dropped it to the floor along with her backpack.
“. . . still listening?”
The voice barely reached her ears. “Sorry?”
“I asked if you were still listening to me.”
“Sorry,” Haley said again. She stared at the timer. “I must be more tired than I thought. I think I’m gonna crash until my mom gets home.”
They hung up, and Haley shoved the phone into the front right pocket of her jeans. She placed the timer back on the countertop. The timer was smooth and white. Innocuous. Haley couldn’t pinpoint why, exactly, but the damn thing unsettled her.
She trekked upstairs and went directly to bed, collapsing in a weary heap, kicking off her sneakers, too drained to unlace them. The phone jabbed at her hip. She pulled it from her pocket and slung it onto her nightstand. The setting sun pierced through her window at a perfect, irritating angle, and she winced and rolled over.
She fell asleep instantly.
Haley startled awake. Her heart was pounding, and the house was dark.
She exhaled—a long, unclenching, diaphragm-deep breath. And that was when her brain processed the noise. The noise that had woken her up.
Haley’s blood chilled. She rolled over to face the nightstand. Her phone was gone, and in its place, right at eye level, was the egg timer.
It went off.
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