Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing (October 7, 2019)
Praise for MERRY JONES
“A nurturing and protective elementary school teacher is thrust into a web of unspeakable evil. Riveting, suspenseful and diabolical, Child’s Play keeps the reader anxiously and eagerly turning the pages.” ―Mary Jane Clark, New York Times best-selling author on Child’s Play
“…thrill ride…packs a wallop. By the end, the body count of Child’s Play adds up to eight (plus one rape), and delivers the shocking answer.” ―Mystery Scene on Child’s Play
“Surprising, dark, and even disturbing. A fragile and vulnerable young teacher faces a terrifying first day of school―and that is just the riveting beginning. Timely, provocative and sinister, this twisty story of family and friendship is not for the faint of heart.” ―Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author on Child’s Play
“What’s behind these horrors culminates in helter-skelter chaos. Elle’s home becomes the center of a tragic universe, since she ‘attracted tragedy and death.’ That combination is magnified many fold as bodies pile up. And readers are left enchanted by another ‘Elle-oquent’ thriller.” ―BookReporter on Child’s Play
“The murder of the principal and a teacher on opening day at an elementary school, a terrifying scenario. In Child’s Play Merry Jones showcases her unique skill in delivering this dark, very dark, thriller with a modicum of humor. The end, well, you won’t see it coming amid the tortuous twists and turns. Merry Jones at her best!” ―Patricia Gussin, New York Times best-selling author of After the Fall on Child’s Play
“In Jones’s fast-paced third Elle Harrison novel (after 2014’s Elective Procedures), the Philadelphia second-grade teacher believes that she failed Ty Evans, a former student who later confessed to killing his abusive father, but she hopes to redeem herself with his younger brother, Seth, now enrolled in her class. With Ty newly released from juvenile detention and clashing with their alcoholic mother, Seth’s home life is unstable. When the draconian school principal and a humorless teacher―both of whom treated Ty cruelly―are murdered, Elle is torn between belief in his innocence and her desire to protect Seth. Meanwhile, the realtor charged with selling her house becomes increasingly aggressive, and when someone drugs and rapes Elle, she doesn’t know whether to suspect the realtor or the killer. The identities of the rapist and murderer are obvious well before Elle or other characters identify them. Still, Elle’s complex feelings toward her late husband―who was murdered while they were separated―add nuance and depth.” ―Publishers Weekly on Child’s Play
Nora Warren hides her dark side well because she’s had years of practice.
The wife of a lawyer and mother of two girls, she slides under everyone’s radar, never revealing what she really is—a murderer.
At least, she feels like one.
Nora’s plagued by the secrets surrounding her older brother’s suicide decades earlier. Yet she lives as though he never existed.
Now, in her thirties, Nora suspects her husband, Dave, is having an affair with her friend, the wife of a leading US Senate candidate. When her friend’s body is discovered—another apparent suicide—Nora is left with haunting secrets and choices that dredge up her grim nature, the side of herself that no one ever sees. Will she act on her impulses? Mustn’t she?
How far will Nora go to protect the life she has built for herself?
- What is on your nightstand?
Oh man. A little world of chaos. My phone. Headache and cholesterol meds, prescription inhaler, tissue box, reading lamp, pens and notepad (to take down genius ideas that strike in the dead of night), glasses, television remote, whatever books I’m in the middle of reading and/or my Kindle containing those books. All this is piled on top of a textured woven cloth I picked up in Bulgaria or maybe Romania decades ago.
What author would you totally fan?
As if there were only one? I love so many. Lately, Amor Towles because (really) A Gentleman in Moscow. Madeline Miller—I loved Circe and Song of Achilles. Also, Susan Miller—All of her books—her voice inspires me. And Richard Powers, author of Overstory. Enough? I can go on and on. And on.
- What makes you cringe?
Besides nails on blackboards? Honestly, so many things, especially these days. Cruelty. Indifference to suffering. Destructiveness. Selfishness. As a writer, I strive to make readers cringe at these very things, in order to arouse indignation and awareness of similar/parallel behaviors/events going on in or around their actual lives.
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
Neither and both. I have an outline, but it’s not obsessive. It’s like a skeleton. But it’s subject to change as I go. The “bad guy” I’ve initially planned might not—often isn’t—the one actually in the book. And plot events/twists I hadn’t thought of take shape as characters come alive and insist that I write things the way they want me to. (“I’d be a better murderer than the obvious guy you picked!” or “I don’t want my spouse to find out about my past!” Etc.) Sometimes, I agree and follow their leads. But I always have the backup plan of my original outline, in case those changes don’t work.
- Is there a word you love to use?
Not consciously. Unless you count “End.”
Merry Jones is an award winning author who has written humor (eg. I LOVE HIM, BUT…), non-fiction (eg. BIRTHMOTHERS), and dark suspense (eg. the Zoe Hayes mysteries, the Harper Jennings thrillers, and the Elle Harrison suspense novels). Now, with her twentieth book,WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW, she’s entering the domain of domestic psychological suspense. Jones taught college writing courses for fifteen years, and leads seminars, appears on panels at writing conferences, and, with fellow members of the Liars Club, cohosts a monthly writers’ coffeehouse and the weekly Oddcast, a podcast devoted to writing and other creative endeavors.