Excerpt from Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Best Laid Plans

A Nora Best Mystery #1

by Gwen Florio

Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio X
Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2021, 256 pages

    Jul 2021, 256 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Ian Muehlenhaus
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Print Excerpt


Later – many, many years later – Nora would make a joke of it. You want to go from drunk to sober in two seconds flat? Get a gander of your husband helping himself to his best friend's wife.

And maybe she was sober as she made her way across the lawn, phone clenched in hand, toward the laptop powering the photo montage. Soberer still as she clicked at the phone and then the computer, a quick download, a few more clicks to stop the running carousel, to freeze a single photo on the screen. She reached for the extension cord running from the house, found the plug to the lights. Yanked it.

The lawn plunged into darkness, alpenglow long gone, the only light supplied by the screen with its image of Joe fucking Charlotte.

Nora's voice shattered the silence more thoroughly than any fling of crystal against patio brick.

'Party's over.'

She bolted back through the house, scooping up her keys and purse, past Joe and Charlotte emerging from the bathroom.

'Your fly's open,' she called. 'And there's a big wet spot on your dress.'

Was there? It didn't matter. Worth it, almost, to see the way they leapt apart, launching into stuttering explanations that she didn't have time to hear, intent as she was upon getting the hell out of there, only to confront an issue that nearly foiled her escape before it was begun.

Joe hadn't just selected the truck. He was going to drive the truck.

Not that Nora had any qualms about driving the truck itself, although it would be the biggest vehicle she'd ever operated, larger by several factors than the Prius she'd traded in. But towing twenty-four feet and three-and-a-half tons of Airstream – that was a whole different matter. They'd agreed that Joe would get them out of Denver, through the first couple of weeks of the trip, over to California, up the coast, catching the ferry to the islands off Seattle for some magical days kayaking among seals and orcas. She'd wait to drive until they hit the big empty stretches of eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, taking the wheel when the roads were straight and empty, nobody around to honk their horns in annoyance at the woman of a certain age, hands clutched at ten and two, creeping along like a first-time driver with a parent grinding a foot against an imaginary brake.

All of which she made a split decision not to think about as she slammed the front door behind her, sprinting to Electra, pain registering in her bare toes as she kicked the chocks from beneath the trailer's tires, tossed them atop the suitcases in the truck's roomy rear seat, muttering go-go-go as the engine caught and she disengaged the emergency brake. Light flashed in the rear-view mirror, the house ablaze with it, front door flung open, people streaming out, Charlotte standing frozen as Joe stumbled toward the truck. 'Nora, Nora!'

A great gathering beneath her. The truck rumbled, surged, yanked, Electra resisting. Then not.


The last thing about Joe she'd ever be thankful for: he'd done the guy thing, backed the truck and trailer into the driveway. The first few feet of her escape were a breeze, a straight shot onto the street.

Which at this hour, like the rest of their neighborhood – save the unfolding disaster at their house – lay locked up and buttoned down, houses dark, cars in garages instead of presenting terrifying obstacles on the streets. She took the corners wide and slow. So far so good. Onto the blissfully broad boulevard leading to the interstate, the few cars out and about swerving around her with condescending bursts of speed. She negotiated the on-ramp at fifteen miles per hour, took a breath and hit the gas onto the highway, hugging the right lane, praying as she hadn't since she was a child approaching the confessional with her child's sweaty handful of sins.

Excerpted from Best Laid Plans by Gwen Florio. Copyright © 2021 by Gwen Florio. Excerpted by permission of Severn House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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