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Thin Places
Diane Owens Prettyman
FROM THE WINNER OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRITERS LITERARY CONTEST.

Told from two points of views, Thin Places is the story of an ex-con and the daughter of an executed man. Finn Tully is clean, sober and on the downside of a prison term when he reluctantly makes a promise to a soon-to-be executed man. He agrees to find the man’s daughter and prove his innocence to her. The daughter, Chloe, a tough, no-nonsense charter fishing boat captain in Washington state, needs money, strikes a deal with the very man who framed her father and begins smuggling liquor from Washington to Canada. Tully and his mother travel to Washington, find Chloe, and realize she is in danger. The three of them enlist the Coast Guard to trap the man responsible for Chloe’s father’s death. In a dangerous face-off, they uncover the truth behind the murder of a virtuous man and encounter the deadly efforts of two bikers to conceal it.



Kirkus Review for Thin Places: “…the dialogue between Chloe and Finn rings true. Their story is refreshingly free of the sort of trumped-up incidents that often throw male and female leads together, and Prettyman intriguingly finds resonance in the fact that Chloe and Finn each harbor secrets. …engaging romance/mystery with a hint of the otherworldly.”

Read an Excerpt

The way I see it, it’s the people you least expect, the people the rest of the world walk right by, maybe even turn away from, who know about the meaning of life, and by that I mean the world beyond this one and all those strings that connect us to it. I know now that Calvery was one of those people.

I was an addict and a liar, but Calvery entrusted me with his dying wish. Me. A guy so lost a bloodhound couldn’t find me. At the time, I thought he was nuts. Now, I think maybe the Divine did have something to do with it.

While doing time for one too many parole violations, all drug offenses, I mopped floors all over Polunsky, including death row. Each time I headed over there, good ol’ Spud, the Boss responsible for setting me up with my job as porter, gave me a cursory pat down. I could have packed a blade in my sock, green money in my shoe and a cell phone in my boxers, but we both knew I wasn’t that kind of convict. What I did was mule sugar.

Calvery lived on the row, and we’d become friends. For the past year, I had slipped him a pound of sugar every couple of weeks. It took eight cups to make a gallon of wine. In return, he always gifted me some of his homemade brew. This ended up a little risky for me, but in his situation, I figured he deserved a little hooch to wash down his bread and beans. He bought his fruit juice in the commissary just like the rest of us, but he needed sugar to ferment the juice into wine. To get sugar, you needed to know someone who worked in the kitchen. Being a porter, I had connections. It was easy enough for me to do him the favor of dropping a pound of sugar in his bean slot every now and then.

When I reached Calvery’s cell, his house as we called it, I pushed my trashcan up close. He dropped a plastic Sunkist bottle full of his wine into the trash. I covered it with the Houston Chronicle and started to slide some sugar through the slot. Talking to death row inmates was forbidden, smuggling sugar, even more serious, so even though Spud seemed to like me, I kept everything on the down low. First and foremost, I wanted to get out of this place.

“I won’t be needing that,” Calvery said. He stood behind the braided wires of his tiny window. I never got to see his face in plain view, but no matter when I saw him, his eyes beamed at me beneath raised eyebrows. In short, he always seemed lit. He lifted a cup to the window and said, “I got plenty to last me.”

This struck me as a strange thing to say given our arrangement. “You attending AA meetings?”

But Calvery only smiled and said, “This is it.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“Tomorrow’s my last day.”

I knew this was inevitable, but we never talked about it. Why couldn’t this happen after my release? I looked stunned, I suspect. Shouldn’t I have felt something? But with the deadly heat of summer stuck to my skin and my teeth clamped tight, I felt empty as a well in August. “I can’t believe it.”

“It’s true,” he said. “How would you say it? I’m starting my descent.” After his comment, he paused waiting for his audience of one to laugh. Calvery had always liked my sayings and tried them on whenever he had a chance. When I just stood there mute and tight-lipped, Calvery added, “I’m in my final approach.”

“Stop.” I raised my voice. What do you say; what could I say?

“I can see the runway.”

“Stop it, I said.” I glared at him, and if a three-inch, steel-reinforced door hadn’t separated us, my hands would have been on his shoulders, shaking him, telling him to shut up. “It’s not funny.”

Genre: fiction, romantic adventure Length: 232 Pages

Release Date: January 21, 2013 ISBN/ASIN: 0615750265

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About the Author

Born and raised in Roseburg, Oregon, Diane Owens Prettyman spent her early years in the beautiful Umpqua Valley. Diane left Oregon to attend Baylor University. Though she studied physical therapy and has practiced for over twenty years, Diane never strayed from her love of fiction. She loves stories about characters who muddle through life until they finally find their true calling.

In the late 80′s, Diane lived in Berlin, Germany and worked for the Department of Defense. Always on the lookout for a good story, she took full advantage of the intrigue in Berlin. When she caught the eye of an East Berliner, the Army recruited Diane to help with cold war espionage.

Diane’s articles and essays have been published in Oxygen, Whispers from Heaven, Texas, Oregon Coast and The Austin Statesman. Her first novel, Thin Places won first place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Contest and the second place in the Pikes Peak Writers Contest. Thin Places, an adventure and romantic mystery, was released in September 2012.

Diane has also won multiple awards for her historical novel, Redesigning Emma. Set in 1899 Manhattan, Redesigning Emma is the story of a Manhattan milliner and her adventures as she breaks into the fashion world. Redesigning Emma will be released in December 2012.

Diane married a neuropsychologist and hospital administrator and settled in Austin, Texas.

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Thin Places cover

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