From former NPR correspondent and acclaimed author of Anonymous Sources Mary Louise Kelly comes an “action-packed page-turner” (Publishers Weekly) about fear, family secrets, and one woman’s hunt for answers about the murder of her parents.
Caroline Cashion is beautiful, intelligent, a professor of French literature. But in a split second, everything she’s known is proved to be a lie.
A single bullet is found lodged at the base of her skull. It makes no sense: Caroline has never been shot. Then, she learns the truth: that she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered. Caroline was wounded the night they were attacked, a gunshot to the neck. Surgeons had stitched her up with the bullet still there, nestled deep among vital nerves and blood vessels.
Now, Caroline has to find the truth of her past. Why were her parents killed? Why is she still alive? She returns to her hometown, where she learns that the bullet in her neck is the same bullet that killed her mother. It hit Caroline’s mother and kept going, hurtling through the mother’s chest and into the child hiding behind her.
She is horrified—and in danger. The bullet in her neck could finger a murderer. A frantic race is set in motion: Can Caroline unravel the clues to her past before the killer tracks her down?
Praise for Anonymous Sources
"Kelly's years as a political writer and intelligence correspondent covering wars, terrorism and nuclear powers have served her well, and she portrays James with authority in a smart, fun voice that will stir lust and envy among readers. The author leaves open a window on the final page that suggests a sequel, much to the reader's delight." (Publishers Weekly)
“Mystery and thriller readers will happily delve into this fast-paced story featuring a feisty protagonist whom one hopes will have further adventures.” (Library Journal)
"In Mary Louise Kelly’s entertaining new novel, a smart, sexy reporter wanders into the midst of a truly scary terrorist plot. In the manner of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Kelly’s heroine has to outfox the conspirators to escape. This book is great fun, from beginning to end."
(David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Bloodmoney)
"One of the most genuinely chilling plots I’ve ever read. A scenario that will haunt anyone who’s ever read a newspaper. I couldn’t put this book down." (Allison Leotta, author of Speak of the Devil)
Praise for The Bullet
"Mary Louise Kelly’s The Bullet is right on target with a riveting, twisty tale of a woman whose search for her own identity leads her to seek vengeance against the killer who stole it from her." (Hallie Ephron, author of NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT)
"With an extremely likable narrator and twists and turns galore, The Bullet is at once a thriller, a medical mystery, and a study of how well we really know the people we love." (Alice LaPlante, author of TURN OF MIND)
"Mary Louise Kelly's The Bullet has an irresistible hook and a run of fantastic twists that pulls you breathlessly through to the last pages where all is revealed with a sure, steady hand. It's having your cake and closure too—and it's very satisfying. I'd kind of like a time machine so that I could have the wonderful premise of this book for my own!" (Jamie Mason, author of THREE GRAVES FULL and MONDAY'S LIE)
"The Bullet makes a direct hit. Written with style and intelligence, the clever plot gains velocity until the final page." (Valerie Plame, former CIA covert ops officer and author of BURNED)
“Nonstop pacing, a touch of romance, and a heroine who’s full of surprises combine to create great thriller escapism for the Harlan Coben set.” (Booklist Online)
“Kelly pulls off the difficult feat of plotting an action-packed page-turner that remains within the bounds of believability.” (Publishers Weekly)
Mary Louise Kelly has written two novels, The Bullet and Anonymous Sources, and spent two decades traveling the world as a reporter for NPR and the BBC. Her assignments have taken her from grimy Belfast bars to the glittering ports of the Persian Gulf, and from mosques in Hamburg to the ruined deserts of Iraq. As an NPR correspondent covering the intelligence beat and the Pentagon, she reported on wars, terrorism, and rising nuclear powers. A Georgia native, Kelly was educated at Harvard and at Cambridge University in England. She lives in Washington, DC, and Florence, Italy, with her husband and their two children. Learn more at MaryLouiseKellyBooks.com.
My name is Caroline Cashion, and I am the unlikely heroine of this story. Given all the violence to come, you were probably expecting someone different. A Lara Croft type. Young and gorgeous, sporting taut biceps and a thigh holster, right? Admit it.
Yes, all right, fine, I am pretty enough. I have long, dark hair and liquid, chocolate eyes and hourglass hips. I see the way men stare. But there’s no holster strapped to these thighs. For starters, I am thirty-seven years old. Not old, not yet, but old enough to know better.
Then there is the matter of how I spend my days. That would be in the library, studying the work of dead white men. I am an academic, a professor on Georgetown University’s Faculty of Languages and Linguistics. My specialty is nineteenth-century France: Balzac, Flaubert, Stendhal, Zola. The university is generous enough to fly me to Paris every year or so, but most of the time you’ll find me in the main campus library, glasses sliding down my nose, buried in old books. Every few hours I’ll stir, cross the quad to deliver a lecture, scold a student requesting extra time for an assignment—and then I return to my books. I read with my legs tucked beneath me, in a soft, blue armchair in a sunny corner of my office nook on the fourth floor. Most nights you will also find me there, sipping tea, typing away, grading papers. Are you getting a sense for the rhythm of my days? I lead as stodgy a life as you can imagine.
But it was by doing just this, by following this exact routine, that I came to schedule the medical appointment that changed everything.
For months, my wrist had hurt. It began as an occasional tingling. That changed to a sharp pain that shot down my fingers. The pain got worse and worse until my fingers turned so clumsy, my grip so weak, that I could barely carry my bags. My doctor diagnosed too much typing. Too much hunching over books. To be precise—I like to be precise—he diagnosed CTS. Carpal tunnel syndrome. He suggested wearing a wrist splint at night and elevating my keyboard. That helped, but not much.
And so it was that I found myself one morning in the waiting room of Washington Radiology Associates. I was scheduled for an MRI, to “rule out arthritis and get to the bottom of what’s going on,” as my doctor put it.
It was the morning of Wednesday, October 9. The morning it all began.