This three-book collection delivers laugh-out-loud moments, but at its core is deadly darkness.
Elle Harrison, a fourth-grade teacher, has had a life without adversity until her husband’s infidelity—and other much worse catastrophes—disrupts her world.
In The Trouble with Charlie, Elle’s soon-to-be ex-husband has been stabbed to death; she wonders whether she could have done it in one of those “foggy” moments her friends call “pulling an Elle.” When she goes off with her girlfriends to a cosmetic surgery retreat in Elective Procedures, she seems to be a magnet for unexplained deaths. And in Child’s Play, on the first day of school, Elle finds the principle in her school murdered, and a second teacher dead not long after.
Constant among these three separate, seemingly unrelated, yet intricately tied stories, is Elle’s charm, her indomitable spirit, and the huge support she gets from her friends. As they all grapple with their problems, they come to believe that Elle has a dissociative disorder that obscures her reality.
The Elle Harrison stories open some dark doors, each one darker than the other, as the vulnerable Elle challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply all her skills in a deadly fight to save her sanity—and her life.
“Merry Jones opens some dark doors in The Trouble with Charlie. It’s devious, creepy, brilliant, and wicked fun. I absolutely loved it, cover to cover.” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author
"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
"Merry Jones writes an intriguing thriller peopled with carefully developed characters who pull the reader through an intricate story of friendship, jealousy, betrayal—and murder.” —Nancy Martin, best-selling author
“A nurturing and protective elementary school teacher is thrust into a web of unspeakable evil. Riveting, suspenseful and diabolical.” —Mary Jane Clark, New York Times best-selling author
“What a wild ride! Merry Jones' Child’s Play starts on the first day of school and gets ever more terrifying from there. The novel is a terrific mystery, with the sins of the past rising to swallow an entire town, but it triumphs as an examination of female friendship, how it nurtures and how it destroys. Not to be missed.” —William Lashner, New York Times best-selling author
"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
“Readers will want to see more of the endearing Elle.” —Publishers Weekly