Sleep, Savannah, Sleep
by Alistair Cross
Genre: Horror/ occult
The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace
Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own – and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.
When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.
Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem – and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.
Alistair’s debut novel, The Crimson Corset, was an immediate bestseller, earning praise from such authors as Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series, and vampire-lit veteran, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Alistair also writes with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and together they have released several bestsellers, including Mother, The Cliffhouse Haunting, and The Ghosts of Ravencrest.
Together, Thorne & Cross also host the popular radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has included such guests as Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels; world-wide bestseller, V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman); Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series, True Blood; Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series; #1 New York Times bestseller, Kim Harrison; Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser: 2, 3, and 4; Mick Garris, film director of Hocus Pocus, Psycho IV: The Beginning, and Stephen King’s The Stand; and New York Times bestsellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.
Sleep, Savannah, Sleep
“This is it? Seriously? It’s like we’re moving into Hill House.” In the passenger seat, Brent looked uneasy.
Jason Crandall turned to his son. “It has character.” He looked up at the old Victorian. But he’s right. It’s creepy. Surrounded by mid-century houses, the decrepit Victorian seemed like a flaw on the neighborhood, a stain on something otherwise clean. The cat’s claw vine climbing the walls seemed to shroud the house, as if trying to hide it, the violently yellow blossoms creating a diversion from the faded wood siding – as did the bowers of honeysuckle that accented the yard, draped the veranda, and sweetened the air. Two second-story windows peered out from between the lush vines, looking like the eyes of a hunted beast.
Surrounded on both sides by white split-rail fences coated in spindly climbing roses, the property was spacious, with a small courtyard beyond a wisteria-choked arbor that lead to the back yard. “I don’t know. I think it’s charming.” He offered his son a grin, and shut off the silver Legacy. The annoying squeal – probably a fan belt – went silent and Jason made a mental note to hunt down a local mechanic.
“It’s creepy, Dad. Seriously creepy.” Brent leaned back and assumed his usual air of annoyed indifference.
“But creepy in a cool way, right?” asked Jason.
Brent’s eyes, the color of seawater, looked unimpressed. “Only if you like haunted houses.”
“It’s haunted?” In the back seat, Amber sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Even Ruby, the blond, blue-eyed doll that never left her arms, looked alarmed.
“Of course it isn’t haunted.” Jason shot Brent a warning look. “It’s just old.”
The three of them stared at the house and it seemed to stare right back. All in all, it didn’t appear pleased to meet them.
“Let’s go have a look around.” Jason undid his seatbelt. “After that, you two can help me unload.”
A large moving van was a day or two behind them; the small trailer they’d pulled contained only the essentials – and most of Jason’s massage equipment. He knew he was being optimistic about how quickly he could get his studio up and running, but he couldn’t help it. His new business was the entire reason he’d bought the house. It had a basement complete with its own entrance, so Jason could work without having strangers traipsing in and out of the family’s living space. Overall, the old Victorian was pretty ideal, even if it was a little spooky.
Then again, the whole town – or what he’d seen of it so far – was pretty spooky, too. Quaint and quiet, Shadow Springs was a startling contrast to the buzzing pace of Los Angeles. Jason told himself this would be good for him – good for all of them.
Here, just outside of Ojai in Ventura County, they’d begin their new lives, free of bad memories. That was what Jason had told himself a hundred times in the past weeks – it was what he had to believe.