We’re continuing on with our Mystery Thriller Week celebration! Today’s guest is author Kristina Stanley. She is sharing a riveting excerpt from her novel Avalanche that might keep you away from mountains and skis for quite some time.
Here’s a look at the book:
AVALANCHE (A Stone Mountain Mystery #3)
On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.
The police and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin, who risks everything to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name. As threats against her escalate, she moves closer to uncovering the guilty party. Is Kalin’s faith in her brother justified? Or will the truth destroy her?
Excerpt from Avalanche by Kristina Stanley
Fearless of skiing in the backcountry, Roy McCann climbed to the summit of Stone
Mountain Resort and paused at the entrance to the Dragon’s Bowl. His muscles ached, and his
calf cramped from the strenuous ascent. He released his boot from the binding of his touring ski
and stretched his foot toward his shin, fighting the developing knot.
The first glow of morning light reflected off the run, and Roy searched the shadows for signs
of another person. A two-kilometer crescent started above the tree line and ended in the forest,
providing a steep powder run for only the most advanced skiers and snowboarders. The terrain
also provided infinite hiding spots. So where?
The avalanche warning sign hanging from an orange safety line displayed a considerable
danger rating. Logic said he should turn back. Not a chance. His need to finish what he started
was stronger than logic.
He surveyed the precipice above the bowl. An overhanging mass of hardened snow extended
along three quarters of the ridge, but the band of uncertainty was small. He could manage the
Prepping for a downhill run, he removed the climbing skins from the base of the skis. He
ducked the line and traversed to his favorite entry point into the bowl.
The sun rose over the peaks, and his headlamp automatically switched off. Twelve hundred
meters below, the chairlift operators began their morning ritual. The lifts rotated, and the
rhythmic hum of machinery drifted toward him. His shift with ski patrol started at eight, so he’d
better get his ass in gear. He’d done his best.
He jumped off the edge and attacked the run. Powder sprayed above his knees as he glided
through each turn. A skier’s dream.
Several seconds in, the whumph of packed snow fracturing echoed across the Purcell
He jammed the edges of his skis against a mogul, stopped and checked the cliff directly
above him. The morning sun glistened off the snow, momentarily blinding him. The rumble of a
slide pummeling everything in its path reverberated through his bones.
An ash-gray cloud of snow exploded over the cliff, blocking out the sky. Too late. Ice
chunks, trees and mountain detritus surged toward him, sounding like a vat full of boiling rocks.
He pushed with his poles and took off. Crouching, he picked up speed.
The avalanche closed in. He glanced left and right, searching for an escape route, but dense
forest lined both sides. He raced toward the edge of the run, aiming for shallower snow.
Wind blasted past him, and snow grabbed the back of his skis, shot putting him forward. He
flung his hand toward the on button of his transceiver, but it wasn’t there. He’d been in such a
hurry earlier he’d shoved the equipment into his backpack instead of putting on his harness.
He hit the ground chest first, air expelling from his lungs. His muscles fought a losing battle
for control, and he plummeted. Desperate to stay above the turbulent snow, he swam. Sunlight
flashed on and off each time his face breached the surface and was dragged under again.
Snow mixed with fragments of mountain pounded him from every angle, ragdolling him end
over end, snapping a bone in his right arm. A rock snagged his backpack and ripped the straps off
his shoulders. A branch tore his upper lip in half.
He glimpsed a person blurred by a curtain of snow. He screamed, but the roar of the
avalanche swallowed the sound.
An immense pressure came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. His left hand
cupped in front of his mouth, providing a small pocket of air. His right arm burned as if it had
been pulled from its socket. His boots pressed against his feet, making it impossible to wiggle his
The pulse in his neck pounded. Slow your breathing.
In less than fifteen minutes the snow would solidify into an ice mask, creating a sealed
cavity around his face and cutting off his clean air supply. His own breath would slowly kill him.
About the Author
Kristina Stanley the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book.
Connect with Kristina Stanley
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