#BlogTour | #Extract: Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia @QuercusBooks #LeaveNoTrace

leave no trace cover.jpg“Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the boy – who is no longer a boy – walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior.

There, language therapist Maya Stark is given the task of making a connection with this boy/man who came back from the dead. But their celebrity patient tries to escape and refuses to answer any questions about his father or the last ten years of his life. In many ways he is old far beyond his years; in others, still a child.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world – but at what cost to herself?”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Leave No Trace blog tour.  Leave No Trace is the latest release from author Mindy Mejia and was published by Quercus Books on 4th September 2018.  I read and reviewed Mejia’s fantastic The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman last March and thoroughly enjoyed it, so Leave No Trace sits high on the wishlist.

I am thrilled to have an extract from the book to share with you today.  So without further ado, grab yourself a cuppa and dive straight in…

The patient faced the back of the room with his hands on the cement block wall in a push-up position. From the way he stoodwith h is shoulders tensed and legs braced it looked like he was trying to move the entire wall. I took a step closer and noticed his hospital shirt was torn at the bottom and he’d used the missing strip to tie his hair back.

‘Hello, Lucas.’

He remained still for a second, but then surprised me by turning his head. I saw his face in person for the first time.

He wasn’t a boy.

My brain stuttered on that one thought for what felt like a stupidly long time as our eyes met and held. Why did all the media keep calling him a boy? Lucas Blackthorn looked at least as old as me and stood a foot taller. His cheeks were hollow and shaded with the beginning of a beard. His skin was a deep reddish tan, not the pasty white of most of our long-term patients, and his eyes conveyed things that no first session speech therapy could have drawn out: intelligence and caution mixed with undisguised curiosity.

Moving slowly and deliberately, I walked to the bare mattress between us. There was no table, so we’d have to start the flashcards on the bed. He watched my progress, studying my hair. The short, pixie-cut combined with its dyed color grabbed a lot of patients’ attention. One of the men in ward two, a lifer named Big George with a traumatic brain injury, even liked to touch the ends of it that swished in front of my ears. I made sure he stuck to the left side so he didn’t get distracted by the tiny silver hoop earrings along my right ear. Lucas noticed those, too. I watched him catalog every part of me, absorbing the appearance of this outsider to his room, like someone would analyze a newly discovered insect. His gaze paused on the blue fabric bag I carried, his expression unreadable now.

I put a hand on my chest and waited until his attention snapped back to my face.

‘I’m Maya.’ Three syllables. Slow rate, distinct pronunciation. I didn’t smile. I’d never trusted strangers who smiled at me – they always wanted something.   Patting the place where my pulse beat too fast, I nodded and said it again. ‘Maya.’

He swiveled back toward the wall, dismissing the insect. I glanced behind me where Stan was shaking his head through the lead glass. Shrugging, I started to pull out the flashcards when suddenly Stan’s face changed. His eyes widened and his mouth opened in a warning I couldn’t hear.

I hesitated and before I could turn around, a giant force threw me into the wall and something was being looped around my neck. The metal door shrieked as Stan wrenched it open and I was pulled back, my body turned into a human shield. The thing around my neck tightened and I panicked, unable to breathe. Lucas had my arms locked behind me in an impossibly strong grip. I fought against it, desperate to free myself.

‘Keys,’ he said in a hoarse voice. I bowed my body against his, trying to find some slack in the cord around my throat, but met only a column of unyielding muscle. If anything, the cord grew tighter.

My vision started to contract, black creeping in at the edges. I kicked viciously, striking his shins so hard they should have snapped in half, and used the rest of my oxygen in the process. The last thing I saw before everything went dark was Stan’s hand, holding out his ring of keys.

Doesn’t that sound good?!  I’m really looking forward to reading Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia was published in the UK by Quercus Books on 4th September 2018 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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mindy mejia.jpgMy name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss.)

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia (@MejiaWrites) @QuercusBooks

9781784295769.jpg“Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she’s found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.

Sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie’s dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives, Del’s, Hattie’s high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the Hattie behind the masks, and what happened in that final year of her life. . .

Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity; about the line between innocence and culpability; about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman blog tour.  The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is written by new author Mindy Mejia and published in the UK by Quercus Books.  My thanks to Olivia Mead at Quercus for asking me to be a part of the blog tour.

When I read the blurb of this book, I just had to read it.  Then I saw the cover design and heard the title and it was a foregone conclusion.  Interestingly, this book is being released in other parts of the world with the title ‘Everything You Want Me To Be’.  Having read the book I can see why it’s been called that but I much prefer the UK title.  I think it works on so many different levels.

Anyway…regular readers will know that I have a penchant for Japanese and German crime fiction.  What trumps both of those settings is my love of crime fiction set in small town America.  I just LOVE IT! No, I mean REALLY LOVE IT!!  I like to read books that feature a Sheriff, I like to see how the Sheriff copes with a major investigation with next-to-no high-tech resources at hand, I like to read about a small town crumbling under the suspicion of it’s neighbours.  The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman was a great read for me and one I devoured in the space of two short days (I’m a slow reader, that’s quick!).

Hattie is 17 going on 27.  She’s very different to her peers.  She’s an actress and a good one at that.  So good that her acting ability seeps into her everyday life and relationships.  Each chapter is told from a different perspective; you have Hattie before her imminent demise. Sheriff Del Goodman who is a family friend of Hattie’s parents and is working flat out to solve the murder.  And Peter Lund who has recently moved to the sleepy farming town of Pine Valley with his wife, Mary.

I really enjoyed the way that the story is built up.  Each chapter provides you with that little extra piece of information that wasn’t known before.  I found Hattie a very difficult character to like and I’m still not 100% sure about my feelings for her.  At times I became quite fond of her and at other times she seemed to be the most unlikable character in the story.  My favourite of all the characters was Peter Lund who may not be the popular choice among other reviewers.  I felt Peter had ended up in a life that was not his and one he would not have chosen for himself, and I sympathised with him.  His emotion felt very real to me.  I also liked Del Goodman for his good, honest attitude and his battle with his emotions whilst trying to find the killer of his friend’s daughter.

This story is primarily a love story but it’s also very much about manipulation and those we choose to show our true selves to.  Would I recommend this book?  Definitely.  I finished reading The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman several days ago and it’s still very much with me.  It’s a haunting tale and heartbreaking in places too.  Very much recommended.

Four out of five stars.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia was published in the UK by Quercus Books on 9th March 2017 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Mindy Mejia received her MFA from Hamline University and published her first novel, The Dragon Keepers with Ashland Creek Press. She lives and writes in Minnesota.  The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is her first book to be published in the UK.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook |