Excerpt: When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica @MaryKubica


Release date: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Park Row



A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

I have a special treat for you guys today, I have an excerpt from Mary Kubica’s upcoming book! If you would like to follow along with the tour and read the excerpts in order, check out TLC Book Tours for the full schedule.


July 1, 1996

Egg Harbor

The boxes are plentiful.  There is no end to the number of cardboard boxes the movers carry through the front door, delivering them to their marked rooms: living room, bedroom, master bath, stomping across our home in dusty work boots.  Sixteen hundred square feet of space needing to be filled as Aaron and I divvied up our gender-appropriate tasks, he directing the movers with couches and beds while I unpacked and washed the dishes by hand and placed them in the cabinets.  I watched the many laps they took, each man’s head beginning to glimmer with sweat.  Aaron’s too, though he hardly carried a thing, and yet the authority in his voice, the obvious clout as grown men trailed him through our home, heeding his every word, was enough to catch my eye.  I watched him round the home time and again, wondering how I was so lucky to have him all to my own.

It wasn’t like me to be lucky in love.  Not until I met Aaron.  The men who came before him were deadbeats and drifters, bottom-feeders.  But not Aaron.  We dated for a year before he proposed.  Tomorrow we celebrate two years.  Soon there will be kids, a whole gaggle of little ones spinning circles at our feet.  As soon as we’re settled, Aaron always said, and now, as my eyes assess the new home, the sprawling landscape, the sixteen hundred square feet of space, three bedrooms – two vacant and left to fill – I realize the time has come and like clockwork, something inside me starts to tick.

When the movers’ backs were turned, Aaron kissed me in the kitchen, pinning me against the cabinets, hands gripping my hips.  It was unasked-for and yet very much wanted as he kissed with his eyes closed, whispering that all of our dreams were finally coming true.  Aaron isn’t one to be sentimental or romantic, and yet it was true: the cottage, his job, leaving the city.  We’d both wanted to get away from Green Bay since the day we were married, his hometown and my hometown, so that two sets of parents showed up at our door on any given day, unsolicited, waging a secret battle as to which in-law could occupy the most of our time.  We hadn’t gone far, sixty-seven miles to be precise, but enough that visits would be preempted with a simple phone call.

Tonight we made love on the living room floor to the glow of candlelight.  The electricity had yet to be turned on and so, other than the dance of candlelight on the white washed walls, the house was dark.

Aaron was the first to suggest it, discontinuing my birth control pill, as if he knew what I was thinking, as if he could read my mind.  It was as we laid together on the wide wooden floorboards staring out the open windows at the stars, Aaron’s prowling hand moving across my thigh, contemplating a second go.  That’s when he said it.  I told him yes! that I am ready for a family.  That we are ready.  Aaron is twenty-nine.  I am twenty-eight.  His paycheck isn’t extravagant, and yet it’s enough.  We aren’t spendthrifts; we’ve been saving for years.

And even though I knew it wasn’t possible yet, the pill in my system nipped any possibility of pregnancy in the bud, I still imagined a creature no bigger than a speck starting to take form as Aaron again let himself inside me.

July 9, 1996

Egg Harbor

Our days begin with coffee on the dock, bare feet dangling over the edge, downward toward the bay.  The water is cold, and our feet don’t reach anyway.  But as promised, there are sailboats.  Aaron and I spend hours watching them pass by, as well as sandpipers and other shorebirds that come to call, their long legs wading through the shallow water for a meal.  We stare at the birds and the sailboats, watching the sun rise higher into the sky, warming our skin, burning off the early morning fog.  Heaven on earth, Aaron says.

As we sit on the dock, Aaron tells me about his nights at the chophouse that steals him from me for ten hours at a time.  About the heat of the kitchen, and the persistent noise.  The rumble of voices calling out orders in sync.  The sputter of boneless ribeye on the grill, the dicing and hashing of vegetables.

His voice is placid.  He doesn’t complain because Aaron, ever easy-going Aaron, isn’t one to complain.  Rather he tells me about it, describing it for me so that I can see in my mind’s eye what he’s doing when he’s away from me for half the day.  He wears a white chef jacket and black chef pants and a cap, something along the lines of a beanie that is also white.  Aaron’s been assigned role of saucier or sauce chef, one that’s new to him, but no doubt comes with ease.  Because this is the way it is with Aaron.  No matter what he tries his hand at, things always come with ease.

About the Author:

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL and PRETTY BABY.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.



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