Published by: Dunemere Books
Publication date: March 6th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Could you sleep next to a murderer?
Luke Chase—yes, that Luke Chase, a modern hero ripped from the headlines—didn’t mean to get caught up in Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to hook up with the hot new British girl at St. Benedict’s, and if that meant sneaking out to the woods after hours, then so be it. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would go down for it. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to find the true killer.
For fans of “A Study in Charlotte” and boarding school lit, “Sneaking Out” (book one in the “Chased” series) immerses readers in the privileged prep school world, with a mystery that exposes the dark side of life on a residential high school campus.
They continued deeper into the woods, carefully maneuvering over errant twigs and rocks as they headed into the autumn darkness. In the moonlight, branches and trees took on more sinister aspects. Random wildlife noises made them all look over their shoulder more than once. They were jumpy, but in a fun kind of way. Luke understood why so many students took the risk to sneak out. He was feeling the same run of emotions that made horror movies worthwhile: fear and dread, mixed with anticipation and relief.
Their place of debauchery had already been selected for them, because students of St. Benedict’s had stolen away for years to the very spot where they were headed. “The Dip,” as some unknown alum had christened it, was at the base of the remains of a hand-laid rock wall of mysterious origin. Rumors about the wall abounded: witches were burned there in the old days; it was part of the Underground Railroad; it was a farmhouse that had burned and the whole family had perished, and so on. The forgotten partition jutted out of the gravelly earth in the middle of nowhere, and ended just as abruptly ten yards later. It would look innocuous to most, except that on one side there was a deep drop-off mostly shielded by saplings and birch trees. Shadowy figures could hide in plain sight (and leave their vodka bottles and cigarette butts behind). Luke had passed by often enough during his daily runs but had never been there at night.
Suddenly a rush of memories from three years ago flashed in Luke’s mind like a series of snapshots. He shivered involuntarily, and shook his head as if to clear his mind. That was weird. He’d spent tons of time outdoors in the three years since that episode, never once thinking about it. Why tonight? Maybe there was something about the danger of sneaking out that echoed his ordeal three years ago, bringing it all back to the surface.
Not now, he told himself. Don’t think about that now. “You okay?” asked Pippa, with real concern.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
Pippa scrutinized him carefully, but before she could say anything, Oscar spoke.
“Okay, we’re here.” Oscar hopped down into the hole and turned around to lend Kelsey a hand.
“Ready?” Luke asked Pippa.
“Quite.” She dropped down into the Dip without waiting for assistance.
Luke looked down, hesitating for a second. What was wrong with him tonight? This was fun. They were having a good time.
Everything will be fine, he told himself. Nothing bad is going to happen.
He followed Pippa, descending into near darkness.
Chuck Vance is a pseudonym for a bestselling writer of both adult mysteries and novels for young adults. Vance attended boarding school in Connecticut and graduated from Columbia University. Vance has lived in New York, Moscow, London, Paris and Los Angeles and is frequently on the move.
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