These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them (Isaiah 42:16).
After setting out on a forced vacation, and literally running into a moose, Manhattan Assistant D.A. Samantha Knowles finds it’s not so bad being stranded in a quirky but intriguing Adirondack town. But when her three-year prosecution against convicted killer, Harlan Styles begins to unravel, she’s thrust into a whirlwind of haunting memories, fear, and danger. And suddenly, Haven isn’t so safe, after all.
With no future in Haven, and no way to escape the small town, teacher Zack Bordeaux fears he’s doomed to a life of mediocrity.
Haunted by the deaths of his wife and son, landscape artist Jonathan Gladstone feels bound to an estate he both loves and loathes. But when Zack and Jonathon meet Samantha, their lives take on a different course.
Three lives intertwined, tied together by dangerous circumstance and the faint echoes of an elusive hope. To make it through, each must find their way to the Light that’s found only on the other side of darkness.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed…and He guided them to their desired haven.
Spaghetti legs, Daddy called them, spindly appendages that kinked when stressed—like now.
Samantha Knowles leaned against the table for support as Bailiff Don Hunter came to the front of the courtroom. “All rise.” Judge Normandy entered, his limp necessitating a much longer plod from his chamber to the bench. Soon, the wait would end—three years of sleepless nights, endless days of preparation, postponements, and courtroom theatrics by defense attorneys. After three interminable years, Justice would now show its face.
As the judge took his bench, the crowd silenced to await his summation. Sam glanced at the defendant’s table where a calm Harlan Styles sat, a wart on the cheek of humanity, an insulated icicle against the rising heat, tried and convicted—the rest up to Normandy’s guillotine.
She fingered her notes, though she didn’t need to see them—the image of Kiley’s tiny, battered body tattooed on Sam’s brain, a brazen scar, indelibly etched on her heart.
Judge Normandy spewed his rhetoric—penal codes entwined with case facts, cold, distanced from the victim, yet succulent to Sam’s ears. In spite of their dry, unflavored essence, she feasted on his words—each pursuant finding heaped upon the other and topped with the last morsel, “The court can find no other just rendering than life imprisonment.”
Victory should taste better, like syrup over pancakes—not this metallic aftertaste.
A woman’s scream silenced the murmurings, and Sam turned with the rest of the throng toward the source. Kiley’s mother, Brenda Smith, had leaned over the rail and grabbed Styles’s sleeve while Don Hunter ordered her to step back.
Brenda was weak—just like Mama was weak. Brenda Smith deserved the same fate as Styles. Too bad stupidity wasn’t a felony.
The DA stood in the back of the courtroom. Without a word, Abe Hilderman, her boss and second chair, abandoned Sam to shake the DA’s hand. A simple, “Good job, Counselor,” would have been nice, even a slap on the back. Nice, but not necessary. Abe often said that Justice was its own reward.
Emboldened, Sam stepped closer as the deputy handcuffed Styles. He saw her, pulled free, put his shackled hands on the prosecutor’s table and leaned into Sam’s face, his cologne lethal… a designer blend—suede, water, and moss—like Daddy’s. Sam fixed her stare into steel-gray eyes, magnets that drew her headlong toward a spinning saw—Styles’s demeanor, a calloused calm…except for his lips… parched, purple–tinged lips that formed his threat. “Keep your light on, Miss Knowles.”
Her spaghetti legs wobbled. Three years of lamp-lit nights had failed to chase away the recurring dreams—dreams Sam kept secreted from everyone, especially Justine,Sam’s best friend. How, then, did Styles know she kept a light on all night?
Nike: Linda, I know you pretty well and we’ve become friends in real-time and real life, not only online professional friends. I’d like everyone to get to know you the way I do. So, let me ask you a couple of questions about your writing. You utilize humor in this novel right from the get go when your heroine, Manhattan Assistant D.A. Samantha Knowles encounters a moose. Tell us about humor as a writing technique in this novel.
Linda: I tend to be a humorous person myself and infuse humor into all my novels, subconsciously as well as intentionally. I’ve never been able to take myself too seriously. I believe no matter how bad things get, if I can laugh, I’m okay! Once, when I really thought I’d lost my sanity completely, God sent a unique person my way to make me laugh at myself. I call him my angel on a supermarket bench.
My character, Samantha Knowles, also has a strong wit. She sees the humor even in the darkest of situations. In contrast, Jonathan Gladstone, a Rochester type character, struggles to find wit within himself, but is drawn to Sam’s sense of humor.
Nike: What do you want your readers to take away from THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS?
Linda: When God called me to write over a decade ago, I sat down and wrote a poem called The “Song of Peace.” On my first presentation of my book at a ladies’ meeting, I read the poem and stumbled upon a line that said, “there is light on the other side of darkness.”
The working title of this book was Dawn’s Hope. The publisher changed the title not knowing about my earlier poem. God seemed to be saying, “See. I knew what the title of your first book would be, even then.”
As Sam learns, God is control. He knows what we need even before we know we have need of it. I hope readers will learn the value and beauty of trust in God, a God who comforts us, even when we forget to call on Him.
SONG OF PEACE
Praise the Lord most when
you cannot sing
Though broken, you are
Praise the Lord when Hope
There is light on the other
side of darkness
Praise the Lord and believe
Look at His creations and
give Him praise
for the stars shine
brightest in the night
Though defeat seems imminent
Praise Him still
Praise Him though sorrow
The vast Horizon meets the
sky undefined yet limitless
Your Deliverer hears
He will lift you High above
the troublesome sea
A native of Central New York, Linda Wood Rondeau graduated from North Syracuse High School and later Houghton College. She moved to Northern New York where she met and married Steve Rondeau, her best friend in life, and managed a career in human services before tackling professional writing. After thirty-four years of marriage, she has relocated to Jacksonville, Florida to start a new adventure…leaving rural America to live in a city of one million. Of course, the more favorable temperatures allow her to follow another great passion–golf.
While writing is her greatest passion, the author takes even greater pride in being a wife of one patient man, the mother of three, and the grandmother of nine…not to mention the owner of a very adorable cat.An award winning author, The Other Side of Darkness is Linda Wood Rondeau’s first published novel. She is the founder of an on-line support group for writers, Pentalk.