Excerpt: Girls Like Us
From the author of the bestselling THE BANKER’S WIFE comes GIRLS LIKE US — a new, edge-of-your-seat thriller about an FBI agent investigating a string of murders, who in the process discovers her late father may be the prime suspect. Rife with tension and surprises, Cristina Alger’s novel is garnering early critical praise.
While GIRLS LIKE US isn’t out until July 2nd, I’m thrilled to share the first couple chapters below!
On the last Tuesday in September, we scatter my father’s ashes off the coast of Long Island.
Four of us board Glenn Dorsey’s fishing boat with a cooler of Guinness and an urn. We head east, towards Orient Point, where Dad and Dorsey spent their Saturdays fishing for albacore and sea bass. When we reach a quiet spot in Orient Shoal, we drop anchor. Dorsey says a few words about Dad’s loyalty: to his country, his community, his friends, his family. He asks me if I want to say anything. I shake my head no. I can tell the guys think I’m about to cry. The truth is, I don’t have anything to say. I hadn’t seen my father in years. I’m not sad. I’m just numb.
After Dorsey finishes his speech, we bow our heads for a few minutes of respectful silence. Ron Anastas, a Homicide Detective with the Suffolk County Police Department, fights back tears. Vince DaSilva, Dad’s first partner, crosses himself, muttering something about the Holy Spirit under his breath. All three men go to mass every Sunday at St. Agnes in Yaphank. At least, they used to. We did, too. Except for a small handful of weddings, I haven’t stepped inside a church since I left the Island ten years ago. I’m grateful to be outside today. The air inside St. Agnes was always stagnant and suffocating, even after the summer heat subsided. I can still hear the whir of the ancient fan in the back. I can feel the edge of the scrunched-up dollar bill pressed against my sweaty palm, bound for the collection plate. The thought of it makes me squirm.
It’s a calm day. They say a storm is coming, but for now, the sky is clear and cloudless. Dorsey holds the silence for a minute longer than necessary. He clasps his hands in front of him and his lips move as if in prayer. The guys start to get antsy. Vince clears his throat and Ron shifts from one foot to the other. It’s time to get on with it. Dorsey looks up; hands me the urn. I open it. The men look on as my father’s ashes blow away on the wind.
The burial is, I believe, what my father would have wanted. Short and sweet. No standing on ceremony. He is out on the water, the only place he ever seemed at peace. Dad always fidgeted like a schoolboy during mass. We always sat in the back so we could duck out before Communion. Dad claimed to hate the taste of the stale wafers and bad wine. Even then, I knew he was lying. He just didn’t want to confess.
After it’s over, Dorsey hands us each a Guinness and we toast. To the too-short life of Martin Daniel Flynn. Dad had just turned fifty-two when he skidded off the Montauk Highway while riding one of his motorcycles. It was just after two in the morning. I imagine he’d been drinking heavily, though no one dared say as much. No sense in pointing fingers now. According to the Dorsey, Dad’s tires were worn, the road was wet, the fog clouded his visibility. End of story.
Read more here.