Sunday, 7 August 2016

#samplesunday - THE DOLL HARVEST

It's #samplesunday at Driven Press today, and we're showcasing our latest release: suspense novel The Doll Harvest by Ron Savage.

The twins say I’m perfect and rare. “We had to look very hard to find someone like you." I am admired.

On the steps of her quiet brownstone, Nettie Harnell smells the sickly sweet scent of chloroform moments before she is abducted. When she awakens she’s in a dark basement chained to a post with nothing but memories of her mother and Paris to keep her company while she awaits her fate.
There is a shortage of medical donors in Philly, not that Carl and Vern Wachoski consider it a problem—it’s another business opportunity. Taking without permission has turned out to be incredibly lucrative, especially with Carl’s motto being “waste not, want not.” But Carl’s arrogance could cost them everything if they don’t watch out.
Dutch Harnell is no stranger to depression since the tragic and violent death of his wife and son thirteen years before. Now it’s time for Dutch to pull himself together to save his one remaining family member, Nettie. With the help of Kapil Talpur, a young graduate student who witnessed the abduction, he finds himself drawn deeper into a world of greed and intrigue, where they can trust no one but themselves.

Please enjoy this sample chapter from the book . . .

March 2016
Center City, Philadelphia

Nettie first met her friend Kapil Talpur three years ago, just after her return from Paris. He’d collapsed in an alleyway next to her home in Center City, Philly. The young man looked emaciated. She had taken him to a restaurant and bought him a meal; the gesture turned into an enduring friendship. Nettie was walking toward her Locust Street brownstone now and thinking about this sweet, thoughtful guy, his gratitude for that long ago dinner . . .

“Thank you a thousand times,” he’d told her. So Kapil.

“Once is plenty,” she had said.

Kapil Talpur was from Mumbai and had just lost his fellowship then, while in the third year of a doctorate program at the University of Pennsylvania, something to do with particle physics. Financial assistance had been promised in the “not too distant” future, and he’d started a new job at a nearby convenience store to make ends meet until he could go back to school. Three years later and Kapil was still working in the same store.

Sometimes Nettie would see her friend on her way home, though not tonight, apparently. She hoped he was doing well.

The young man always asked how her father was getting along. Kapil didn’t understand why the reverend was living in a retirement community at such an early age.

“Paris didn’t help him,” she’d said. It sounded flippant, uncaring. Nettie had wanted to say, “I feel completely helpless and I don’t know how to dig him out of his terrible sadness.” But she thought that would be too much for any friend to hear.

Nettie turned and crossed Locust, climbing the four concrete steps to the front door of the brownstone. That was when someone behind her cupped her nose and mouth with a wet cloth.

The cloth smelled sweet. It had the sort of smell that left her feeling nauseous. Like any moment she could get a serious case of the hurls. God she hated throwing up. Chloroform, that was her thought. How long do I have? When does this shit knock me out? What’re they gonna do, rape me? Her mom’s story: the two boys down by the Schuylkill River.

Like mom, like daughter.

Nettie kept trying to break free, kicking her legs into the cold night air. The man holding her was amazingly strong for his size. She’d gotten a glimpse of him, the guy and his weird friend. They were frail looking men—tall but very frail.

And no, not his friend.

How could Nettie have thought friend? Brothersyes, of course. More than that, the two of them are twins. Or I’m seeing double? They’re like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. But they weren’t fat like the Tweedles. These guys were skinny, very skinny.

Her legs had started going weak, and her brain felt as if it was floating inside her skull. She felt a sharp quick sting in the crook of her arm. A needle, that was her thought. The needle stayed in her arm for five or ten seconds. He’s stealing my blood? Who in the hell takes somebody on the steps of her own home and steals her blood? Nettie was twenty-six and lived alone. She knew a person needed to be careful in Philly, especially Center City. A subcompact Beretta Px4 was in her leather handbag. Now the handbag lay on the step. How priceless, so much for being prepared. Her bag had dropped when the man grabbed her.

“Don’t bruise anything,” one twin said.

“Does she look bruised?”

“It doesn’t show immediately.”

“Shut up, Carl.”

“Hey, no names. Jesus.”

“Relax. She won’t be taking out an ad.”

Before one of the twins had pressed the cloth over Nettie’s nose and mouth, she’d been thinking about making a cup of dark chocolate coco and watching The Maltese Falcon on TCM with her beloved Mr. Muggles, the most spoiled cat in the Delaware Valley. She thought a movie about a bird would keep him interested.

The two men shoved her into the back of a Chrysler Town & Country station wagon. She noticed a rusted left front fender. The wagon had a pea green top and hood. The sides were a phony mahogany wood. She saw the thing during her last moments of consciousness. The wagon smelled like week old laundry and stale fries.

Who drives this, anymore? she thought. Late 80s’ crap, ’88, ’89.

Nettie knew her cars. It was genetic or what-have-you; she got it from her dad who could’ve told you the date and make of any car on God’s highway. Crazy what a person thinks. Oh shit, gypsies, that was what she thought. I’ve been captured by gypsies.

Nettie blacked out.

Limited time - ebook only.

The Doll Harvest is available now.

Buy Links


Amazon US
Barnes & Noble


Ron Savage was a senior staff psychologist at a state mental health facility in Virginia and also had a private practice. Ron is the author of seven novels and two volumes of short stories, and has published more than 125 stories worldwide. He is the recipient of the Editor’s Circle Award in Best New Writing and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Ron is a member of PEN America and has also been a guest fiction editor for Crazyhorse. Some of his publications can be found in Film Comment, the North American ReviewShenandoah, the Baltimore Review, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Find Ron Savage at:



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