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Download Playing Dead: A Novel of Suspense Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Playing Dead: A Novel of Suspense Audiobook, 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 Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781482974829
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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 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 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 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 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! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 1/6/2014

    " Mystery, page turner. Good choice for TLA one book one conference. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Franz | 12/19/2013

    " I really liked this book. I think it's a great Texas mystery. Interesting story, great characters and not too much Texas cliche. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 12/12/2013

    " pretty good book, but it wasn't one that I couldn't put down "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sian | 9/18/2013

    " I enjoyed this debut. It kept me reading and had a different unexpected ending. I am not sure that I loved it but I liked it enough to say it was a decent read. The author has some very cleaver whit along with relevant material intertwined in the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marybeth | 9/2/2013

    " It was okay. I loved the idea of this book, but.... The storyline got hectic and hard to follow. Characters were too over the top/improbable. Did like the twist at the end tho! :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 8/16/2013

    " I really enjoyed this debut novel by a Fort Worth author. Lots of twists and an ending that I didn't predict. Gotta love that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 8/3/2013

    " Good start but lost my interest midway thru. Some of the characters were annoying and seemingly mysterious when they were just ordinary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dona Bauer | 8/2/2013

    " Good page-turner. Not predictable at all. Characters are well-developed and believable. Look forward to more from this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 4/26/2013

    " It was a little slow at times for me, besides losing my interest a couple times, have to say I did not see the ending coming. Which I like in a story! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika Yacobucci | 4/12/2013

    " Overall a good read. It had me keep guessing what was next. I liked if. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aziza | 12/30/2012

    " There are no words to describe how good of a book this was. Mrs. Heaberlin has done a great job writing this book and I was honored to read it. Thank you for the copy Mrs. Heaberlin, it has been a pleasure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claudia | 12/18/2012

    " A good mystery. A little complicated, lots of characters to keep track of, but she ties it up in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 11/1/2012

    " I picked up this book because it is based in Texas. In the beginning I was intrigued but found I was able to pick up the twist long before it was revealed. I was also left with questions at the end of the book regarding Jack. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn Bunkley | 10/12/2012

    " A lot of twists and turns, a good ending, an easy and entertaining read. Sometimes, though, I wanted to smack Tommie upside the head and tell her, "Think, before you act, girl!" But I suppose if she thought thinks out instead of acting in hast, there wouldn't be much of a story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toledo (T.J.) | 10/2/2012

    " interesting plot, at times got characters confused, but really good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 SUSAN GLASER | 9/20/2012

    " This is my first read of Julia Heaberlin. Not home cookin', but home talkin'. Interesting. It was OK, not great. She skipped back/forth a lot - kind of confusing. I could not get a 'feel' for the characters or the plot. I think it should have been a short story, and it might have been great! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 8/8/2012

    " On the whole I enjoyed this, but it was pretty convoluted with lots of plot lines and the heroine was occasionally annoying, switching from a strong woman to a clinger. On the other hand, it did have a successfully surprising ending and certainly kept my interest! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 8/6/2012

    " This was the BEST mystery I've read in ages!! I devoured this book in less than two days - I couldn't put it down. Lots of twists, clever (and often tongue-in-cheek) dialog, and strong characters. Ending didn't disappoint. But I was sorry to finish the book. Can't wait to read her next one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Howard | 6/1/2012

    " A real page-turner! I couldn't stop reading it and stayed awake so I could finish it. "

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About the Author

Julia Heaberlin is a novelist and an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Detroit News, and the Dallas Morning News. Her book Black-Eyed Susans was a London Sunday Times Top Five bestseller.

About the Narrator

Madeleine Lambert received her MFA in acting from Brown University and Trinity Rep. Her performances at Trinity Repertory Company include Shelby in Steel Magnolias and Belle in A Christmas Carol. Madeleine graduated with honors from Duke University with majors in theater studies and English and a minor in French. She attended the School at Steppenwolf in Chicago.