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A Short Time to Die

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  63 reviews
In this electrifying thriller, two women from opposite sides of the country find their lives inextricably bound--by blood, by fear, and by a merciless, murderous revenge . . .

Walking home on a foggy night, Marly Shaw stops in the glare of approaching headlights. Two men step out of a pickup truck. One of them is her stepfather. A sudden, desperate chase erupts in gunshots.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  233 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Adrian Dooley
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this one was a little unusual. Unsure as to whether it was for me or not, after a few chapters it had drawn me in and held me for its duration.

Marly Shaw is a teenager in a small town in rural New York. On her way home from a dance, she is chased by her stepfather and his father, Del and Zeke Harris. Part of the Harris family, the family that have ruled and terrorised Charon Springs for as long as people can remember.

The chase ends with the two men dead and Marly terrified for her life as s
3.5 Stars

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Deep in Central New York in village ruled by a crime family, Marly escaped her stepfather and his father, but she is nowhere to escaping their grasp. When some bodies turn up almost fifteen years later, Marly's story will slowly start to unravel.

I found the story of Marly quite interesting, and also the murder mystery itself was quite nice. I thought I had figured it out quite early on, but some questions remained unanswered f
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The intertwined story of two women. Vanessa Alba is a detective with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's office in California. She and her partner are investigating the deaths of 2 bodies found in the local mountains. Their search leads them to Charon Springs in Central New York. The town is under the rule of the Harris crime family and their extended clan. It is while visiting Charon Springs to investigate that the detectives learn of the families activities, and of the life of Marley Shaw.

Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, thriller
Another sleepless night!

The remains of two bodies have been washed out of the mountains (most likely the Santa Cruz Mountains) into Santa Clara County and the police are investigating. Specifically Detective Vanessa Alba and Detective Jackson Wong.
The bones are four or five years old. A DNA FBI data base search confirms that the bones belong to a Louise and Troy Rasmussen, a mother and son, part of the Harris clan.
Their investigations lead them back into 'them thar' hills to Charon Springs, New
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Once upon a time, she had been a listener in the snow, savoring life in a frozen landscape. Now she had grown up. She cried for her father, who had never had a chance, and for her mother, who had no inner compass to guide them out of harms way. Vicious human nature had robbed Marly of her place in this world and made her hate this lovely valley that had both molded her and driven her away.

What are you capable of when defending your family? Marly Shaw lives in upstate New York with her mother an
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley.

The publisher just offered me this book which I hadn't planned on reading. Seemed a bit too thrillerish from the blurb. My goodness was it good. Sat down and read in a couple of hours, staying up far too late to finish before bed. The book follows the townspeople of a small town in Central New York in two time periods thirteen years apart tied together by the cruel reign of a local warlord basically. In the year 2000, the Harris clan led by Zeke and
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 Stars

We begin our book with a chase through the woods. A young girl is being chased by two men who are firing a gun at her. She escapes, but is she really safe?

This book has some real characters of depth, especially the woman, Marly and Vanessa. While Marly’s story begins with a chase through the woods in central New York State, Vanessa’s picks up thirteen years later in California.

Marly’s life is ruled by the Harris family. Terroristic and cold-blooded the Harris clan rules everything that g
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author uses a slight variation of the format of -- then, year 2000, and now year 2013 - alternating chapters. Knowing the status of Marly, the main character, from high school in 2000 to her life in 2013, leaves the intervening years in question. How did Marly manage to get from here to there? Bickford does a great job of using this somewhat more unusual format to keep the reader [me] interested throughout the book. Crimes, murders, dysfunctional families, apathetic police, all add up to a g ...more
Becc Nelson
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book goes back and forth between the past and present and at the end the two merge to an exciting conclusion. Throughout the author keeps you in suspense as you try to understand how past and present will come together, leaving me wanting to keep reading but not wanting the story to end. This is a classic story of good conquering evil in a way you would never expect. Looking forward to hearing more from this author!
Martha Brindley
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A well written story, set in upstate New York, about a town controlled by a local family of thugs. The book flits between two time periods, thirteen years apart. It was well written and had good characters. Marly is a good lead characters and the plot moved at a thrilling pace. My first read by this author but I will look out for another one. A good suspenseful book for fans of thrillers. Thank you Net Galley for my copy.
Steven Zacharius
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure---this is a book published by us at Kensington Publishing. That being said, it's a wonderful story about a small town which is controlled by a bunch of redneck thugs. Unfortunately for them, one of the young women in the family is smart enough to try and get away from her family, to get retribution and start a new life.
In 2000, 17-year old Marly is in New York, walking home one night after a school dance when her stepfather, Del Harris, and his father, Zeke, begin shooting at her, and this event ends with both men dead, and Zeke’s wife, Rosie, convinced Marly was responsible for their demise. Fast forward to 2013, when the bones of two people have been discovered in California and identified as Del’s sister, Louise, and her grown son, Troy. Investigators then fly to New York to interview members of the Harris ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this page turner. I liked the way the author told the story focusing on different characters and weaving the past and present. Her descriptions of settings were especially vivid. I can't wait for her next book.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Kensington Books & NetGalley. I received a galley Kindle e-book A Short Time To Die by Susan Alice Bickford for review.

The beginning is in a small town. Secluded enough from prying eyes and powerful magistrates to get away with murder. They are ripe with inbred mafias. It is rare that anyone escapes from these cloistered holes long enough to tell their stories. Successful escape is unheard of. The odds are a million-to-one.

A Short Time to Die is ripe with strong females. Pro
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-fiction
This compelling debut novel takes the reader on a thrilling ride from California to upstate New York. The discovery of bones in a ravine near the San Francisco Bay Area lead investigators to uncover the secrets of a severely dysfunctional family in a small New York town. Strong writing, well fleshed out characters and an atmospheric setting kept me turning the pages. Bickford deftly weaves together two timelines as the story moves back and forth in time between the present-day investigation of s ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an intriguing debut thriller set in two time frames 13 years apart. In 2000 young Marly Shaw is walking home from a local dance in Charon Springs,New York after her step father, Del, fails to pick her up as had been arranged. En route she is attacked by two men who follow her in a truck and her life changes forever.
In 2013 two bodies are found in California and they are identified as Louise and Troy from Charon Springs. Part of the Harris crime family who rule the town and related to Del
Edith Maxwell
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Bickford leads us along an intriguing and suspenseful path through a severely dysfunctional family and ingrown small upstate New York town with a tale of murders, revenge, and a smart, strong young woman determined to get out. When detectives from the West are brought in to investigate the mystery of bones found at the bottom of a remote northern Californian cliff, Bickford unravels the threads of the story one by one. The book moves gradually through the past to meet the present head on, in wel ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Harris clan controls Charon Springs, New York. Anyone who crosses them ends up beaten or dead. In 2000, Marly Shaw is attacked by her step-father Del Harris and his father, Zeke. The event is terrifying and at the end, Del and Zeke are dead. Marly runs from her hometown knowing the Harris clan will find out the two men are dead and blame her, even though it was not her fault. She thinks she has escaped, but nobody ever really escapes the Harris family.

Flash ahead to 2013. Two members of the
Irene Adam
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a free advance e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Wow!! A fantastic book with strong female characters. It grabbed me at the first sentence and didn’t let go until the very end. An amazing thrill ride. I couldn’t put it down as I anticipated what was going to happen next. Full of twists and turns, dysfunction, lawlessness, danger, and mayhem. The action and suspense never quit. The entire town of Charon Springs, New York, is terr ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book "A Short Time to Die" from NetGalley for my honest opinion.
First this is a book I probably would not have bought. I don't usually read this type of book. I am so glad that I received this book to read because I really loved it! I went to look up the author and this is her first novel - wow! I want to read more! Anyway this book held my attention from the beginning to the end. I was sad that it ended and that is how I know it was a good book. The story starts out i
Sharon May
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this great debut thriller!

The book is told in two different voices 13 years apart. Marly Shaw is a teenager growing up in Central New York in the Harris family that is holding the area hostage to their violent ways. The police are powerless, the family breeds among themselves, and no one can get away. Marly is coming home from a dance when she is chased by two men, one of them her stepfather. Both die and Marly
Jay Williams
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazing story that lays bare the activities of a criminal clan from a small town in New York. Elements of the narrative bounce in time and location as the reader develops an understanding of the evil deeds that have transpired, and the impact on the people involved. The suspense remains high from page to page, with many different kinds of danger for the people involved. Marly is the young woman trying to save herself and her family. Vanessa is the detective trying to solve the deaths of two p ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a thrilling suspense novel! Marly Shaw is on her way home when her stepfather and step-grandfather (members of the Harris family that runs the rural town of Charon Springs, New York) chase her in an attempt to kill her. Remarkably, the men end up dead and Marly is suspected of covering up their deaths, even though if was not her fault. Years pass, and the bodies of two members of the Harris clan are found in California.Detectives Jack Wong and Vanessa Alba are tasked with identifying the bo ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Marly Shaw, of Charon Springs, New York, has missed her lift home and is now being chased by two men.
Detectives Vanessa Alba and Jack Wong, are investigating why two members of the Harris criminal clan ended dead up in California, thirteen years later, a long way from Charon Springs.
The story tales what happened between these two dates.
An interesting thriller with a lot of unlikeable characters but it still made for a good read.
A Netgalley Book

Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fast-paced and riveting from beginning to end. I picked this up and couldn't put it down, ignoring everything else. The main character, Marly Shaw, faces innumerable villains - all family. The main characters are complex and well-developed, the plot is suspenseful, and the settings are vivid. A compelling story. I am looking forward to more from this author.

I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Kensington Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Received through FirstReads...
This was on the way to four stars, but the ending was just too neat, and not very believable. When I started the book, I was thinking it wasn't going to be something I would enjoy. I thought it could use a few more pages at the beginning, introducing the characters, etc. I did really appreciate the excellent job the author did of bringing the claustrophobic, hopeless atmosphere of the setting to life. You could picture these people, and their surroundings.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Short Time to Die is the debut novel by Susan Alice Bickford. Ms Bickford takes the reader back and forth in time neatly tying events together. Some edge of the seat moments and the rest of the time the reader feels so invested in the characters they don't want to put the book down. Can't wait for the next story by Ms Bickford. I was given an early copy to review.
Stacey Harrell
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A big thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Normally, I'm not a big fan of books that switch back and forth in time. But this one did it perfectly. Great characters, a great heroine, and a suspenseful story that grabs you from the beginning. This is a new author for me, but I'll be looking for more from Susan Alice Bickford!
Paulina L.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shay Williams
Wow! I am still trying to come up with the words to describe this book. It has to be one of the more unusual books that I have ever read. And one that will suck you in from the very first scene.

This book focuses on two women, Detective Vanessa Alba and Marly Shaw. Vanessa is investigating the discovery of two sets of bones that were discovered in California in 2013. Marley is trying to overcome her past and provide safety for herself and her family. Her story begins back in 2000 in a tiny town i
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Susan Alice Bickford was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Central New York.

After she discovered computer graphics and animation her passion for technology pulled her to Silicon Valley, where she became an executive at a leading technology company.

She now works as an independent consultant, and continues to be fascinated by all things high tech. She splits her time between Silicon Vall