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Desert Places (Andrew Z. Thomas/Luther Kite Series) [Kindle Edition]

Blake Crouch , Jack Kilborn
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

The first installment in the Andrew Z. Thomas Series and a prequel to Crouch's and Konrath's thriller STIRRED...

Greetings. There is a body buried on your property, covered in your blood. The unfortunate young lady's name is Rita Jones. In her jeans pocket you'll find a slip of paper with a phone number on it. Call that number. If I have not heard from you by 8:00 P.M., the police will receive an anonymous call. I'll tell them where Rita Jones is buried on your property, how you killed her, and where the murder weapon can be found in your house. (I do believe a paring knife is missing from your kitchen.) I strongly advise against going to the police, as I am always watching you.

Andrew Z. Thomas is a successful writer of suspense thrillers, living the dream at his lake house in the piedmont of North Carolina. One afternoon in late spring, he receives a bizarre letter that eventually threatens his career, his sanity, and the lives of everyone he loves. A murderer is designing his future, and for the life of him, Andrew can't get away.

Dear Reader: Please keep the light on tonight. What happens next will scare you. Guaranteed.

This 70,000-word eBook also contains a Foreword by Jack Kilborn, a bonus interview with Blake, excerpts from his other novels, and excerpts from two new horror novels, ENDURANCE and TRAPPED, by J.A. Konrath.

About the Author:

BLAKE CROUCH was born near the piedmont town of Statesville, North Carolina in 1978. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated in 2000 with degrees in English and Creative Writing. Blake is the author of four novels and numerous short stories. He lives with his family in southwest Colorado, where he is at work on a new book.


Harrowing...terrific...a whacked out combination of Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy.

Crouch's smart, tight prose displays plenty of narrative energy...[he] shows real talent here...

An ingenious, diabolical debut that calls into question all our easy moral assumptions. DESERT PLACES is a genuine thriller that pulses with adrenaline from start to finish. Blake Crouch is one of the most exciting new writers I've read in years.

DESERT PLACES is about survival, both emotional and physical. Crouch delivers his description of place with telling and vivid prose...[and his] carefully crafted characters make the story immediate, intense and thoroughly believable...will linger in the [reader's] consciousness long after the book is read.

[T]he fastest, meanest read I've had in quite a while. Crouch clamps on and propels you forward, even though you're not at all sure you want to go into the disturbing places where he's taking you.

Wow. Sometimes you stumble across a book that just plain creeps you out. There are many types of DESERT PLACES, and the most inhospitable are in the human heart.

[T]wisted...surprises around every turn...don't climb in if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, might be pregnant, or are under four feet tall.

Crouch maintains a roller-coaster pace, with twists that leave you blinking.

[Crouch's] writing is sick, and I mean that in the very best way. If DESERT PLACES is any indication of what we can expect from Crouch in the future, be prepared to see his name on the bestseller lists.

This is a complex, cleverly constructed novel of motive, and Crouch takes his time bringing us through the's a great debut. Crouch is an author to watch.

Blake Crouch is a major league talent who's going to be really, really big.
SARAH WEINMAN, Gumshoe-Award Winning Crime Columnist

Editorial Reviews


"An ingenious, diabolical debut that calls into question all our easy moral assumptions. Desert Places is a genuine thriller that pulses with adrenaline from start to finish. Blake Crouch is one of the most exciting new writers I've read in years."
- Val McDermid, author of The Last Temptation

"Blake Crouch's terrific but harrowing first novel, Desert Places, is deeply disturbing and troubling but hard to put down. In the end, Mr. Crouch's book reminded me of a whacked out combination of Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy."
- Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season

"A harrowing, compulsively readable novel, Desert Places throws a spotlight on humans' ability to administer--and withstand--psychological and physical pain. Crouch's taunt, muscular prose and expert plotting make this one tough to set down. You'll read it in a sitting--I certainly did."
- Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Kill Clause

"Gritty, sometimes gruesome, and always gripping. Blake Crouch looks into the dark places inside our heads - you may not always like what you see there, but you won't be able to tear yourself away. An exciting, heartpounding debut."
- Tony Strong, author of The Death Pit

"Crouch shows real talent"
- Publishers Weekly

"Desert Places displays the careful craftsmanship of a talented newcomer to the mystery genre. The interplay between the protagonist and the villain is crisp and clever, and the plot development is relentless. Can't wait for the sequel!"
- Bookpage

"A disturbing tale . . . not for the easily frightened or those with weak stomachs. Crouch writes vivid and horrific scenes that will linger in the consciousness long after the book is read. [His] carefully crafted characters make the story immediate, intense and thoroughly believable."
- Denver Post

"Blake Crouch has every intention of putting t...

From the Back Cover

Caution: You've Been Warned-Read At Your Own Risk!

One tranquil May evening in North Carolina, semi-famous novelist Andrew Thomas strolls down his long gravel drive to check his mailbox. Inside is a note:

"Greetings. There is a body buried on your property, covered in your blood. The unfortunate young lady's name is Rita Jones. In her jeans pocket, you'll find a slip of paper with a phone number on it. You have one day to call that number. If I have not heard from you by 8 P.M. tomorrow, the police department will receive an anonymous phone call. I'll tell them where Rita Jones is buried, how you killed her, and where the murder weapon can be found. (I do believe a paring knife is missing from your kitchen.)"

Andrew Thomas thinks this message is just a mischievous prank. He's wrong-very, very wrong. And soon he's going to be very, very scared.

"Terrific...harrowing...a whacked out combination of Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy."--Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season

"A harrowing, compulsively readable novel." -Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Kill Clause

Product Details

  • File Size: 553 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312286449
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00452V71A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,952 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Talent, New Blood, A Roller Coaster Ride February 23, 2004
I have to admit that I saw this book jacket and it alone scared me, so after reading the reviews here I decided to spend the money on the hardcover and try it. I was some of the best money that I ever spent. I was blown away by the stoyline and really began to feel for Andy. His characters were believable, scary as that may be, and the plot was think with suspense. I found myself reading huge chunks of the book at a time and it was a very fast read. Was it gory - yes - is it for everyone - no - BUT this is a well written book that has the potential to capture a huge following of fan waiting for the sequel. This book did not contain anything new in terms of violence or blood. The violence was second to a plot that was explosive. Give it a try - I think you will be a fan of this debut as well.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scared me to death! February 5, 2004
I hated it, but I couldn't quit reading it! This book was one of the scariest things I've read since Kiss the Girls. I can't wait to get it out of my house so I don't have to look at the creepy guy on the cover anymore. It's a book you're even afraid to put next to your bedside table. It has a life of its own. Darn scary book. If you like terror and fright, this is the book for you!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense September 22, 2004
Robert Frost's poem provides a title and an epigram to this engrossing first novel, the pulse pounding tale of an outwardly civilized man forced into acting in an uncivilized (to say the least) manner. That man is Andrew Thomas, best selling author of suspense novels with titles like Blue Murder and The Scorcher. Thomas lives the good life until the day he receives a letter in the mail, telling him that a woman's body has been buried on his property, a body soaked in the author';s blood. Confirming this sad fact, Thomas is forced to play his tormentor's twisted game, one which requires him to make a journey to Wyoming, where he ultimately must confront his own mortality, and question his morality and sanity. Thomas confronts a question most never have to face: just how far is he willing to go to survive? The answer is as disturbing to him as it will be to readers.

Desert Places is one of those books that you don't discuss in detail with those you recommend it to for fear of diminishing the impact the book will have on them. It's also the kind of book which induces those who have already read it to stand over the shoulder of current readers, asking, ""Did you get to the part where...?" Because of that, it is almost criminal to reveal further plot points. Suffice it to say that Crouch successfully manipulates plot elements previously explored in such classic thrillers as James Dickey's Deliverance and David Morrell's Long Lost, producing a novel whose intensity is sometimes almost too hard to take. Fast paced, surprising, at turns tragic and graphic, Desert Places will take readers to places that, given a choice, they'd probably avoid. Finding themselves in those places via Crouch's surprisingly accomplished prose, however, they can't help but linger a bit, looking over the grim landscape in morbid fascination.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty events, unlikeable characters June 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read and greatly enjoyed the author's book "Run," so I decided to give this one a try. Oh boy was that a mistake. Books with that rare combination of unlikeable characters and nauseating events are thankfully few and far between. The supposed 'hero' guy was an annoying idiot, who seemed to do everything wrong and counter to what a normal person would do. The bad guy was such a monumental asshat that, when I was a quarter of the way into the book, I was dispairing at the thought of having to read about this guy for 3 times more pages. You know a book's in trouble if you're praying the antagonist will get killed shortly after being introduced to him. I've read my share of books with nasty, iredeamable villians, but they were used as antagonists to likeable heroes, and the fun was seeing how the heroes could overcome the villian. In this book I really wish a meteor would've fallen out of the sky and killed both of them. The only remotely sympathedic characters meet horrible ends early on, and the poor reader is left with no one but these two vile characters to read about for half the book. Unless you're really into lots and lots of graphic torture and you don't care about interesting (or at leas sympathedic) characters, give this a pass.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Blake Crouch, Desert Places (St. Martin's, 2003)
Is it me, or does the name "Blake Crouch" just scream nom de plume to you? One almost wonders if Mr. Crouch hasn't cooked up a little semi-autobiographical tale here. But that aside...
Desert Places, Blake Crouch's debut novel, shows us an author with a great grasp of character, pacing, and plot, and perhaps not enough of an editing team. The novel roars to a start when successful thriller novelist Andrew Thomas gets an anonymous piece of mail telling him a body's buried on his property, his blood is on the victim, his fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and he has twenty-four hours to verify all this and call the real killer. This done, said real killer leads him into a rather ingenious trap, from which Mr. Thomas must escape in the most interesting of ways.
And so far, so good. We've covered about half the novel. There's also another really strong section at the end. But, just like Saving Private Ryan, you get stuck with this middle portion that drags. It's the shortest part of the novel, but it's also the most interminable. To Crouch's credit, he does wait for long, tedious setup until after the reader is already hooked, but it's still there, and could probably have been compressed into fewer pages than it actually took.
That said, the stronger parts of this novel are well worth reading, and they go by extremely quickly. That it dips in quality halfway through can be gotten past, if you're expecting it. Definitely one to check out, and an author to keep an eye on. *** ½
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars another hit!
You guys can really write one! This is the first in a sequel with locked doors next. I could not put this book down read all day till finished and now will order the next book. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Edge of your seat thriller
Enjoyed reading Desert Places so very much. After turning the first page, you may as well get really comfortable, because you won't want to stop turning pages till the book ends. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Ethel Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Frozen memories.
What a great book and I have enjoyed every word. Blake Crouch,Jack Kilborn is one of the great writers of this century. I can not wait to read more of his books. Read more
Published 6 days ago by patricia irion
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
This is a fast paced sick thriller! Hang on to your seat and enjoy the ride! I look forward to the other two books in the series!
Published 7 days ago by Constance Holyfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless!
Blake Crouch is one of my new favorite authors! Desert Places takes you on a psychological journey like no other; you are pulled in and held tight to the very end. Mr. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Suzanne Riddle
4.0 out of 5 stars great scary story
Crouch is another great dystopian writer and this story, along with the others in this series, keeps you up all night.
Published 13 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Moving Roller Coaster Thrill Ride!
A really good read, though perhaps not for the faint of heart (no pun intended). Crouch has a definite talent for weaving a plot that keeps moving and makes you want to keep... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Gregg Hubley
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my preference in books
The book was well written and unfolded very well. I found it too gory and a little unbelievable for my taste. Just me.
Published 16 days ago by Barbara J. Dickson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book
Blake Crouch is scarey gut but great author. I try an read a number of his books but cant always get
them at good price.
Published 21 days ago by lemonpie
5.0 out of 5 stars Blake Crouch Has Got It!!!
Just great non stop action. This is the third book I read by this author (Wayward Pines series being the other) and I intend to read more.
Published 21 days ago by ewb72
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More About the Author

Blake Crouch is the author of over a dozen bestselling suspense novels. His Wayward Pines series is being produced as a TV show by M. Night Shyamalan and will be airing on Fox in 2014.

His short fiction has appeared in numerous short story anthologies, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and many other publications.

Blake lives in Colorado, to learn more about what he is doing check out his website, following him on Twitter @blakecrouch1, or on Facebook at

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