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Come into my parlor …
For Kimberly Quincy, FBI Special Agent, it all starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly about her johns is too horrifying to be true-but prostitutes are disappearing, one by one, with no explanation, and no one but Kimberly seems to care.
Said the spider to the fly …
As a member of the Evidence Response Team, dead hookers aren’t exactly Kimberly’s specialty. The young agent is five months pregnant-she has other things to worry about than an alleged lunatic who uses spiders to do his dirty work. But Kimberly’s own mother and sister were victims of a serial killer. And now, without any bodies and with precious few clues, it’s all too clear that a serial killer has found the key to the perfect murder … or Kimberly is chasing a crime that never happened.
Kimberly’s caught in a web more lethal than any spider’s, and the more she fights for answers, the more tightly she’s trapped. What she doesn’t know is that she’s close-too close-to a psychopath who makes women’s nightmares come alive, and if he has his twisted way, it won’t be long before it’s time for Kimberly to … Say Goodbye.
For more information on the true crime cases that inspired SAY GOODBYE, check out True Crime Shopping at LisaGardner.com.
“A spider-obsessed killer is hunting Atlanta prostitutes. Luckily, pregnant FBI special agent Kimberly Quincy has a sense of humor and a thick skin (think Frances McDormand in Fargo) as she chases a villain who calls himself Dinchara-it’s an anagram for arachnid. Despite his ridiculous alias, he’s seriously scary and flashbacks to his abusive past achieve a ripped-from-the-headlines authenticity.” Grade: B – Katharine Critchlow, Entertainment Weekly
“Lisa Gardner returns with another entertaining thriller featuring Kimberly Quincy, a special agent with the FBI and one of the author’s most likable characters. SAY GOODBYE is a haunting story that might challenge readers with its dark subject matter, but pays off in its fine execution. Quincy investigates the case of a murdered prostitute, which leads her onto the trail of a serial killer who preys on children. Gardner has consistently delivered in recent years, but she’s gone one better with SAY GOODBYE.”- David Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times
“Absorbing. Gardner keeps the surprises coming to an explosive conclusion …” – Rocky Mountain News
“Gardner knows how to keep the pages turning.” – Portsmouth Herald
“Devastating and completely chilling.” – 4 1/2 stars Jill M. Smith, Romantic Times
“In bestseller Gardner’s engaging if highly disturbing 10th thriller, Delilah Rose is a Georgia prostitute familiar with pregnant FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy (“beautiful, brainy, and pedigreed”) through Kimberly’s well-publicized nabbing of the Eco-Killer in The Killing Hour (2003). Delilah asks the detective to investigate her friend Ginny Jones’s possible abduction by a creepy-crawly john who calls himself Dinchara, an anagram of “arachnid.” Delilah, however, turns out not to be who she claims she is, and her ties to the spider-obsessed killer are more complicated than she’ll admit. As the missing persons count rises, some readers may have trouble keeping track of the time sequence amid the shifting points-of-view. Still, Gardner delivers a satisfying resolution in line with what her fans have come to expect: a suspenseful freak show wrapped up with a neatly tied bow.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“In the latest Kimberly Quincy thriller, the FBI special agent is five months pregnant. Most women might be thinking about taking things a bit easy, but not Quincy: not only is she still working full time but she also stumbles into what might be the biggest case of her career (and, as regular readers know, she has already tackled a few big ones). A serial killer is targeting young women. This in itself isn’t so unusual, but here’s the twist: he is, or so it appears, using spiders as murder weapons. Kimberly is convinced she is on the trail of a psychopath, but without any bodies or hard evidence, she is having a difficult time convincing her superiors she isn’t on a wild-goose chase. In her last few novels, especially GONE (2006) and the excellent HIDE (2007), Gardner has really hit her stride, and this one, if not her best, will surely be a surefire hit for her fans-and, in fact, for all readers who likes their thrillers suspenseful, fast paced, and just a little creepy (OK, a lot creepy).” – David Pitt, Booklist
“FBI special agent Kimberly Quincy is five months pregnant, but that doesn’t stop her from taking on a bizarre serial murderer case, even though doing so puts her unborn baby and herself at risk. The killer’s weapon of choice is spiders. Lee’s even-keeled delivery lends a welcome normalcy to this creepy thriller. The same cannot be said of Hoppe, who reads the narrative involving the twisted childhood of the presumed killer with spine-tingling eeriness. Their rotating performances balance each other nicely, even if Lee’s portrayal of Kimberly’s stepmother seems a bit off. Still, this does not take away from both readers’ effective and entertaining deliveries of a truly warped thriller. Fans will be glad to know that Gardner’s GONE (2006) and HIDE (2007) are also available from Books on Tape.” – Mary Frances Wilkens, Booklist, audio edition review
“SAY GOODBYE is a novel that you won’t be able to put down once you start- however, it’s disturbing, and on one level so tragically sad that I found myself with tears in my eyes at the end. For a top-notch novel of suspense, do not miss SAY GOODBYE-another phenomenal novel from the pen of Lisa Gardner.” – Terrie Figueroa, Romance Reviews Today
“SAY GOODBYE should have a warning label: ‘Read only in a well-lite room that has first been thoroughly checked for spiderwebs.’ Then, you can settle back and get caught up in a … stunner of a suspense novel.” – Jeff Nix, Tulsa World
Lisa Gardner writes some of the darkest, grittiest mysteries out there. FBI special agent Kimberly Quincy-Gardner’s recurring character, who is five months pregnant-looks into the disappearance of several hookers. As she delves further into the mystery, she matches wits and wills with a brilliant psychopathic murderer in a riveting, lightning-paced thriller filled with so many twists and turns you feel like you’re on a roller coaster. If this is beyond your budget, check out these two Gardner novels in paperback: HIDE ($7.99) and THE SURVIVORS CLUB ($7.99).” – Kalamazoo Gazette, Holiday Buys
“Lisa Gardner has done it again. And by ‘it’ I mean written a book that’s likely to give you nightmares.” – Laura L. Hutchison, Federicksburg (VA) Free Lance-Star
SAY GOODBYE brings back Kimberly Quincy, Pierce Quincy’s daughter in a starring role. Did you plan that?
Absolutely. I wanted to return to Kimberly’s story. We’ve watched her grow up, join Quantico, become an FBI agent, and fall in love. Last time we saw her-at the end of GONE-she was living happily-ever-after with Mac. But is she a happily-ever-after kind of gal?
So you wanted to return to Kimberly, and yet you rarely write back-to-back sequels. What’s up with that?
You caught me. I’ve never planned a sequel to any book I’ve written. That I’ve now written five novels with the same characters-Pierce Quincy, Rainie Conner, and Kimberly Quincy-is as much a surprise to me as anyone. I’m idea driven. If my existing characters can work for my latest and greatest idea, I bring them back. It sort of just happens that the Quincy family fits into every other book.
What was the impetus for the rest of the novel?
My daughter developed a passion for spiders last year. Not daddy long legs, which maybe I could understand. No, she likes the big, fat hairy tarantulas. Ended up decorating our front porch with over a hundred spiders, not to mention all the books she checked out from the library on the subject. At a certain point, I realized this had the makings of a book idea. So I created a tarantula named Henrietta as a major character. Henrietta is very special to the villain in SAY GOODBYE. You don’t want anything bad to happen to Henrietta.
Speaking of villains, the reviewers clearly agree this is your creepiest novel to date. Was that a goal of yours?
I haven’t written anyone nearly as scary as Jim Beckett from THE PERFECT HUSBAND in a while, so I decided to terrify my readers. I wanted to show how monsters are made. Not tell you. Not lecture you. But show you. The scenes involving the villain are not sugar-coated; in fact, many of the scenes are from actual cases (for more info, check out True Crime Shopping). I think the end result is a very intense read. For some readers, it might be too intense. For others, this will hands down become the novel they read again and again. Interestingly enough, in my next novel-due out July 2009-there’s hardly any on-stage violence, so go figure.
You are known for the research you do for your novels. What went into the making of SAY GOODBYE?
I was talking to a fellow author one day, and told her I wanted to learn more about bugs, but I didn’t know an entomologist. She immediately volunteered her husband, who turned out to be a noted insect expert. He and I spoke many times, about the role of insects in decomp, etc., etc. Everything we covered, however, felt like something that had already been done. Then, one day, he mentioned that he’d discovered a black widow spider, and put it in a terrarium as a pet. You know, as if that was the most perfectly normal thing in the world to do. Immediately, I knew how he could help me with SAY GOODBYE.
I also spent a great deal of time learning about Evidence Response Teams from the FBI, which is an “extracurricular” I hadn’t even known existed. Finally, the whole family got to take a trip to Blood Mountain. There’s nothing that says quality time like searching for a crime scene.
What is your favorite scene in the book and why?
My favorite scene is toward the end, when Kimberly finally figures out how the killer has been hiding the bodies. I would like to take credit for that scene, which I think is ingenuous, but it was the idea of a good friend of mine. I was lamenting one day that I couldn’t think of any new and interesting ways to dispose of corpses, when she stopped me mid-sentence and exclaimed-”I have the best idea; I’ll be right over.” Ironically enough, this is a woman who has never read my novels because she’s worried they’ll scare her too much.
In this novel, both Kimberly and the shady informant, Delilah Rose, are pregnant. Why a “pregnancy” theme is such a dark novel?
I initially made Kimberly pregnant because that’s the logical next phase of her life. Plus, I think this is what makes Kimberly so interesting as a character. It seems like most thrillers these days are populated by the antisocial, hard-as-nails loner with nothing to lose. Kimberly has a loving husband, a supportive father, a blossoming family. She has everything to lose, and yet she can’t say no to her job. You tell me what’s scarier-risking your own life, or risking your unborn child’s.
Will we see Kimberly again?
Then what are you working on next?
I have just wrapped up a sequel to SAY GOODBYE, except the character has moved to Boston where he must take on Sergeant D.D. Warren from ALONE and HIDE. It was fun for me to bring together two characters from two different series, so to speak. The book does not involve the Quincy family, however. I think D.D. is more than enough.
Behind the Scenes
One of the hardest questions any writer faces is the ubiquitous, where do you get your ideas? Truthfully, very few of us know. Furthermore, if we actually said the first answer that came to mind-the voices told it to me while I was folding laundry-we might not be free of padded rooms long enough to complete novels.
For a change, however, I know exactly how I got the idea for my latest release, SAY GOODBYE. My child gave it to me. It’s all her fault.
Other little girls probably read about ponies. Or maybe bunnies, or even butterflies. My child spent a year obsessed with spiders. My neighbors started the mess by gifting her with brightly-colored tarantula lights to decorate the house at Halloween. Not to be outdone, our other neighbors gave her a giant rubber tarantula roughly the size of a terrier, with an enormous fake web that stretched across the entire front porch and hundreds of little baby spiders.
I figured, it’s Halloween, what’s the harm? Except then it was November and December, and next thing you know, Rudolph was competing with Tarantula T. Rex for square footage on the patio. Eventually, my daughter compromised by moving the gigantic tarantula indoors and setting her up on our formal sofa as the “mommy spider.” Yes, you guessed it, the hundreds of baby spiders moved indoors with her. I’m pretty sure nothing says suspense author quite like a living room covered in tarantulas.
But apparently having a house filled with spiders wasn’t quite enough-we needed to read about them, too. So my daughter brought home books from the library, then found owners manuals in the bookstore. As more and more friends homed in on her keen interest in all things creepy crawly, they sent yet more books our way. Giggling a little maniacally, I might add.
So night time became spider time. I learned that tarantulas are very beautiful and very shy. They are also rather fragile and prone to dying, except for certain species that grow to astonishing sizes and are as vicious as they are big. I believe the phrase, this spider has been known to tear off a grown man’s finger, was used more than once.
I gotta be honest. I’m not into creepy crawlies. Like any civilized person, I believe spiders belong outside, in the garden, and not cradled in the palm of my hand so my inquisitive child can look closer. Being a mom, I became pretty good at controlling biting back screams. Being a writer, I also realized that anything this scary, belonged in a novel.
Then I ran into fellow author Sheila Connolly. We were discussing research topics and I mentioned I’d been thinking that I should use more insect information in my novels, maybe blow flies, maggots, something suitably gross, except I didn’t know any entomologists. Being a kind woman, she immediately offered me her own husband, David Williams. Turns out he’s an entomologist of note, the kind of guy that flies all around the world to investigate new invasive species and discover ways to stop them from invading. So I gave Dave a call. We started out talking the usual suspects-establishing time of death based on insect activity, etc., etc. But, both he and I agreed we hadn’t stumbled across anything that hadn’t already been used on a dozen episodes of CSI. Then we got to talking about spiders and it turned out he used to have a pet spider-a black widow to be exact. Found her when he was in bug school and turned her into a pet. Dave, I tried to tell him, normal people don’t find black widows and turn them into pets.
Then, in that lovely sort of way the writer’s mind works, everything clicked for me, and I knew I had a book idea. About the kind of guy who would keep a black widow for a pet. As well as a tarantula named Henrietta, who, once upon a time, saved his life. Unfortunately, Henrietta is now old and dying. Trust me, you don’t want Henrietta to die. Bad things are going to happen if Henrietta dies.
Naturally, we need a brave and fearless investigator to chase down a man who collects venomous spiders for a living. Say, one who’s taken on rattle snakes and bat-filled caverns and alligator-infested swamps. Yep, I brought back FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy from THE KILLING HOUR and GONE. She’s still married to Mac, settled in Atlanta and they’re now expecting their first child.
Here’s a woman who has it all: great job, gorgeous husband, and adorable baby bump. In other words, she has everything to lose. Of course, she also has a famous former FBI profiler father, Pierce Quincy, and his wife, crack investigator Rainie Conner. All in all, it’s a rather formidable team. Which is good, because spidey man has been getting away with murder for a very long time, and he now has Kimberly in his sights.
Good luck to you.
Interview for Bantam Dell podcast
SAY GOODBYE: Playlist
I used to be one of those writers who could only work in complete silence. Then my husband gave me an iPod, and I discovered the best procrastination tool for authors since continuously checking our sales rankings on Amazon.com. Suddenly, I need mood music for everything from brainstorming a scene to drafting a paragraph to writing a novel. Starting a new chapter? Music please! Need a new way of killing someone? Music please!
For SAY GOODBYE, I ended up creating an entire play list. The first song came to me naturally-Animals by Nickelback, which inspired chapter one of the novel. Other songs I selected for different reasons. Money Maker reminded me of Kimberly Quincy every time I heard it-the attitude, the driving tempo, the darker edge. Other songs helped set the mood of the novel, from Mad World to Spiders to Numb. I used to think that Johnny Cash’s rendition of Hurt was the villain’s song. Maybe it still is, but maybe it started to belong to some of the other characters, too, who discovered there are many ways of hurting some one. Better Days is an ode to Kimberly again, trying to find optimism in spite of a job that keeps her constantly dealing with the worst people can do. And Jeff Buckley’s bittersweet Hallelujah has always haunted me. I think of the boy when I listen to it, so hurt, so broken, yet trying to believe.
Play List SAY GOODBYE:
- Mad World-Michael Andrews
- Money Maker-Rilo Kiley
- Sleeper-the Chambermaids
- Feel Good, Inc.-Gorillaz
- Hurt-Johnny Cash
- Spiders-System of a Down
- Runaway-Bon Jovi
- Fake It-Seether
- Mr. Brightside-The Killers
- Numb-Linkin Park
- Bring Me to Life-Evanescence
- Kryptonite-3 Doors Down
- Better Days-Goo Goo Dolls
- Hallelujah-Jeff Buckley
Hardcover July 15, 2008
Paperback Release May 19, 2009
Cover Art © 2008 Jae Song