Excerpt from Puppet Child by Talia Carner, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Puppet Child

By Talia Carner

Puppet Child
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Nov 2002,
    260 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2002,
    260 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Chuck had the patience of a geriatric nurse explaining the concepts over and over as if to a dimwit. "That legal logic may make sense to you," she said, "but not to me. This is not justice."

"It's how the system works. You have to connect all the dots in each case." He peered at the papers on his desk. "And even then, you should be ready for all the possibilities."

"Don't you always tell me to entertain positive thoughts?" Rachel spoke with a forced light tone into the bald triangle on his temple. "Now you tell me not to get my hopes up. Which one is it?"

"I want you to reserve your energy for this last time."

"Sure," she said, sarcasm in her voice. "Trust that nice man--that chauvinistic bastard."

Chuck raised his gaze, their eyes locking. "McGillian knows his law; he'll see the light."



Rachel waited in the reception area while revisions were made to the documents Chuck would file in court. She stared blankly at an ashtray. How appalled she had first been at her inability to keep Wes away from Ellie legally. Her ranting and raving subsided in time as the court battles raged on, but giving up the fight had never been an option. Instead, a black hole had opened inside her with an infinite capacity to suck in emotions. Like now.

Chuck came out and placed the papers before her. He stood over her and wordlessly pointed at the places awaiting her signature.

When she was done, he straightened up. He looked shorter standing than sitting. "I just got a call from Henry Ortman. Wes's girlfriend has moved into his apartment as per Ortman's suggestion. Ortman trusts it should put our minds at ease regarding the Fourth of July visit. It won't be unsupervised."

"Ortman 'trusts?'" Wes's lawyer was as sly as his client. "Chuck, you don't buy it, do you? They've tried it before."

"It's the best we can hope for, for now."

Rachel felt the blood rush through her. "All Wes needs do is to send her to the supermarket or to get her nails done and he'll be back to his old tricks."

"Don't you dare deny him visitation before the next hearing."

"One more denied visit won't make a difference--"

He cut her off. "It would--in McGillian's mind--when determining custody. Especially if you have Ortman's guarantee."

How could she take the chance? Rachel got up and flung her jacket over her shoulders. "Chuck, do we still have this appointment with the Assistant D.A.?"

He nodded. "I've filed the complaint in criminal court. The Nassau County D.A. hates to lose cases. In election year especially, he'll prosecute only if he can win, or he won't touch it."

"Do I have to meet with him too? I can't afford more time off work."

"You'll be back at the office by lunch." He paused. "Vince Carducci still gives you a tough time?"

"How can I explain to him the nature of my court appearances? He'll never understand--"

"No one ever does unless they lived through the justice system," Chuck said.

"He'll hit the ceiling when I tell him I'm taking another day off--even though I'm using vacation time--"

"Be there." Chuck's finger touched a thick brown curl on her shoulder. "Put your hair up, and don't look so beautiful. The red suit is too assertive. And no matter what, please don't cry."

At his words, tears gathered up behind Rachel's eyelids. She would not cry. She would wrestle her hair into a French braid. She would use a pale lipstick. But the pain within her would continue to grow fat on her misery.

At the door, instead of his customary handshake, Chuck kissed her on the cheek. "Go to the beach this weekend. Have a date with Gerald. Whatever. Just relax."

"While I send Ellie to Wes?"

"You have a whole weekend with her before Monday. Enjoy it."

Copyright Talia Carner 2002. All rights reserved. For permission to reproduce this excerpt please contact the author at www.taliacarner.com

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh
  2.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin

All Discussions

Who Said...

We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.