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Extended Audio Sample Playing Dead: A Novel of Suspense, by Julia Heaberlin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (921 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Heaberlin Narrator: Madeleine Lambert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“Dear Tommie: Have you ever wondered about who you are?”

The perfume-scented letter that turns Tommie McCloud’s world upside down arrives from a stranger only days after her father’s death. The woman who wrote it claims that Tommie is her daughter—and that she was kidnapped as a baby thirty-one years ago. Tommie wants to believe it’s all a hoax, but suddenly the girl who grew up on a Texas ranch finds herself inextricably linked to a horrific past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen, and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. Tommie races along a twisting, nightmarish path while an unseen stalker is determined to keep old secrets locked inside the dementia-battered brain of the woman who Tommie always thought was her real mother. With everything she has ever believed in question, and no one she can trust, Tommie must discover the truth about the girl who vanished—and the very real threats that still remain.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A terrific debut…Like the chicken-fried steak that its characters love, Playing Dead combines Texas and noir in unexpectedly wonderful ways, with a refreshingly real heroine and a plot that moves and twists with the unpredictability of a rodeo bull.”

    Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Julia Heaberlin’s Playing Dead is a wonderfully suspenseful debut. Heroine Tommie McCloud is scrappy, sassy and has a heart as big as her home state of Texas.”

    Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

  • “I loved Playing Dead from cover to cover—pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go until I finished in the wee morning hours. Best fiction I’ve read in a very, very long time.”

    Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Impressive…her debut’s most striking feature is Tommie’s narrative voice, which is so winning and vivacious.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Tommie McCloud is the kind of character that every female reader ends up wanting as a sister of best friend—a friend of passionate loyalties, a no-nonsense woman who doesn’t possess the insincerity gene, a not-too-girly Texas spitfire…feverishly compelling…Heaberlin tells the story with whip-smart dialogue, an insistent pace and keen wit; it’s irresistible enough that I sped through all three hundred–plus pages in one sitting.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “As Heaberlin leads the reader through several complex threads, her fast-paced narrative rarely flags.”

    Detroit News

  • “Tommie is a smart, sassy, loving, and doggedly persistent narrator in this fast-moving mystery that occasionally tugs at the heartstrings. A promising debut.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jen Shapiro | 2/20/2014

    " I enjoyed this thriller. Many twists! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Joanne Parkington | 2/9/2014

    " I've just read some reviews of this book on here & i'm astounded that some people gave it 5 stars .... FIVE !! WTF !! This book is a walking Texas cliche right down to the faded red boots & the ten gallon hats .... Surprise, surprise the men are mean & moody and the women are split right down the middle, as it seems in Texas you are either a pinafored homemaker or a lasso throwing, horse riding, gun toting 'gal' taking the game to the boy's ... just like our good 'ole heroine Tommie .. didn't see that one coming. Tommie stalks about everywhere and when she's not spewing out cliched one liners or wearing too short/too tight clothes (dont ask !) she's constantly refering to what Mama used to say or Granny used to do or what her Daddy would have done .... & whatever is up 'war hero' Hudson's arse i wished he'd get it sorted as the constant grimacing hard man act was a bit much after one chapter never mind after all 35. However, I persevered as i hate to quit on a book and the last 2/3 chapters at least bring the 'story' together or maybe i was just excited to see the light at the end of a very long tunnel...... In fact the best description of all is the title, because half way through you'll feel like Playing Dead too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Viccy | 2/7/2014

    " Tommie McCloud makes her living helping traumatized children with horse therapy. Heir to a Texas ranch, she receives a mysterious letter telling her she was kidnapped as a baby and her real father is a Mafia figure and her real mother would like to meet her. Layers upon layers are revealed as Tommie investigates with the help of various folks who seem to be very conveniently positioned to assist her. The whole book felt very convoluted and forced to flow easily. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bonnie | 1/8/2014

    " Loved this book- kept me turning the pages! The ending didn't disappoint, and I am waiting for Julia's next novel. A good read! "

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About the Author

Julia Heaberlin was a journalist for more than twenty years for such newspapers as the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the Detroit News. Her novels include Playing Dead and Lie Still. She lives with her family in Texas.