5 Stars: ”Author Adrian Lilly very skillfully weaves a multiplicity of threads, never once telegraphing in advance where a particular plot thread will end up. More than once I found myself on the edge of my seat, heart in mouth, awaiting an outcome. I’m eagerly anticipating the next book in this series.”–Mallory Heart Reviews
4 Stars: “The book, for full effects, should be read on a dark, stormy night when you are all alone. By the way, lock the doors, you might even dead bolt them, after you check the house.” — Book Reviews, Etc.
Prologue: Last Fall
Brad Rogers tightened his tie as he pushed through the front door of the Rho Epsilon Delta fraternity house and skidded down the steps to the street where his car was parked. A hangover pounded across the front of his head, and he was running late for his internship. The sun only hinted at rising, tinting the clouds above him a pale pink, and gloom hung in the early morning haze. He stepped in a puddle from rain the night before and felt the water splash up on his calf. “Shit.”
His internship, mandatory as a business major, was a bit of a pain in the ass as far as he was concerned. He had done his best to avoid morning classes only to be in an office at eight in the morning. He figured he would have enough of that once he graduated. He shook his head in disgust and started the car. He rubbed his bloodshot eyes and ran his hand over his short, brown hair before throwing the car into gear.
The wipers slapped across the windshield in a slow beat, clearing the light drops of rain that gathered on the glass. The row of sorority and fraternity houses pulled away into miniature dollhouse versions in his rearview mirror as Brad pulled onto a main thoroughfare. He fiddled with the radio as he coasted to a red light. He looked at the clock: 7:55. Being five minutes late isn’t such a big deal.
By lunch, his headache had subsided and his half day at the office was over. The owner of the company had felt differently about being five minutes late, and Brad was still fuming about getting his ass chewed. But, he needed a letter of recommendation after college and it counted toward his grade for his business class. He decided he would make an extra effort not to drink before his next day at the office. But it’s rush week—what do they expect?
As Brad stuck the keys in the ignition, he noticed a piece of paper on the passenger seat. It was folded in fours. He picked it up and flipped it over. Trust no one was written on the paper.
Brad huffed and shook his head and unfolded the paper. His jaw tightened as an image printed on the paper bore into his eyes and the night it captured tore through his brain. He could feel the cold of that January night. He could feel his swollen jaw. He could feel the tracks of the tears on his cheeks. He could feel the panic that shook his body coursing through his veins—again.
A still from a video was printed on the sheet. The video showed Brad, ringleader of the hazing on the night a student, Wes German, died.
Brad folded the sheet back up and laid it on the seat and folded his hands in his lap.
He turned suddenly and looked in the backseat. It was empty. But it’s in my car!
How did it get in my fucking car? Brad thought: Was the door locked just now? He didn’t notice but he always locked his car, or so he thought. He doubted the note could have been there this morning and he didn’t see it. But he had been in a rush and hungover. Was the car locked this morning?
And last night—it was a blur. A group had hit a couple bars in town. Who had been in his car? Reg. Kip. A couple of pledges. Their names wouldn’t come to him right now. “Think. Think.” He hit the steering wheel.
Trust no one.
Was this a warning—or advice? He wondered. Brad looked around to make sure no one else was in the parking lot. He snatched the paper and unfolded it again. The image showed him so clearly. His mind brought the night into sharp relief. He followed Wes into the woods and found him disconnecting a camera from a tree. Brad had never seen the footage on Wes’s camera. Was this it? But Reg had destroyed it, or so he told Brad.
Trust no one.
Reg had been in his car last night. Brad knew that for sure. Shit! Reg has been my best friend since junior high! Brad tried to start the car but his hand was shaking too much to get the key in the ignition. Would Reg and Staci be doing this? Would they try to find their way out of what they had all three done? The thoughts tumbled through Brad’s mind, making him feel both betrayed and betrayer. Brad’s instinct was to confront them. Beat it out of them if he had to. He felt the rage build within him. He clenched his hands around the steering wheel. They had told him to hide the body. It was their idea. His headache roared back to life as blood pounded in his temples. His mouth felt dry and pasty. Panicked gasps caught in Brad’s tight throat, made him feel like he was suffocating. He pulled on the knot of his tie and puffed out his flushed cheeks in a great exhale. Brad took a slow, deep breath and waited. He clenched his eyes closed and counted silently.What if it isn’t them? What if someone else knows?
Trust no one.
Brad took another deep breath and stuck his key in the ignition. He had to figure out who sent the letter without letting anyone else know he received it. He had to find the sender of the note and stop him. At all costs.
Red Haze …
Something sinister is happening at Grove University.
Some nights the woods on the edge of campus glow with a spectral, shimmering red haze. Marne knows—she’s seen it. She also saw a figure in the haze. He beckoned to her and then vanished.
Marne shrugs it off the incident until her roommate, Sara, shows her a picture of a student. The one Marne saw in the woods. But he’s been dead for more than a year.
Suddenly, Marne and Sara are tangled in a secret that threatens their college careers—and their lives. Their only hope is to find the cause of the red haze… Before someone else dies.
Red Haze is a haunting psychological thriller that hovers between the spectral and the natural, blurring the lines between remembrance and regret, dedication and obsession, justice and revenge.