Cover image for You only die twice
You only die twice
Buchanan, Edna.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, 2001.
Physical Description:
292 pages ; 25 cm
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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The Los Angeles Daily News has dubbed Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Buchanan "the Queen of Crime." The number one New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell calls her "outrageous and unrivaled." Nearly every reader and reviewer who has gotten a good taste of her exceptional Florida noir agrees: No one captures the steamy, vibrant, and lethal intensity of Miami better than the unsurpassed Edna. And no fictional investigator has more life, depth, character, and savvy than her peerless creation, crime reporter Britt Montero.

The perfect, nude corpse of a beautiful woman washes up on a pristine Miami Beach -- her body tanned and shapely, her nails elegantly manicured. The problem is that the victim, Kaithlin Jordan, was murdered ten years ago. And her convicted killer -- her husband, R. J. Jordan, scion of a wealthy and powerful South Florida family -- sits on death row, just weeks away from his execution.

Newspaper reporter Britt Montero recalls the high-profile murder trial that heated up a volatile tropical city like the merciless August sun. Even without a body, the prosecution's case against Jordan seemed airtight and the jury enthusiastically bought into it. Now R.J. is preparing to walk -- benefiting from the murderous "largess" of whoever drowned his wife in the ocean off Miami Beach -- and Britt's boundlessly curious nature is energized once more by a slew of questions that suddenly need answers. Did Kaithlin frame her husband for murder -- or did she simply efficiently flee an abusive marriage? And why, after successfully reinventing herself, had she returned to South Florida, only to meet a very bad end in deep turquoise water?

Impulsive and explosive, with a turbulent love life and a unique, highly charged relationship with this singular metropolis erected between swamp and sea, Britt is only truly happy when she's involved in a juicy murder story. And this one has the right smell and feel...and threat. Because somewhere in the tangle of an enigmatic beauty's bizarre life and even stranger rebirth -- somewhere between the sparkling gold coast glamour and flashing neon sleaze -- are secret passions and buried solutions that could doom an overly inquisitive journalist with a tendency to leap before she looks. After all, this is Miami, where anything is possible...even dying twice.

Author Notes

Edna Rydzik Buchanan was born in 1939 near Paterson, New Jersey. She attended creative writing classes at Montclair State Teacher's College.

Buchanan was one of the first female crime reporters in Miami. Her police reporting for the Miami Herald won her a Pulitzer Prize in 1986.

In 1979, Buchanan produced her first book, Carr: Five Years of Rape and Murder; From the Personal Account of Robert Frederick Car III. This nonfiction book recounts the story of a convicted rapist and murderer. In 1987, she published her memoirs, The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat. That book was followed in 1991 by Never Let Them See You Cry: More From Miami's Hottest Beat.

Buchanan's crime novels include Nobody Lives Forever and Pulse. She is perhaps best known, however, for her mystery novels featuring a Cuban American crime reporter, Britt Montero. These titles include Contents Under Pressure; Miami, It's Murder; Suitable for Framing; Margin of Error, and Act of Betrayal. She has been a contributor to several magazines, including Fame, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan and Rolling Stone.

Buchanan has received awards from the American Bar Association, National Newspaper Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Kaithlin Jordan washes up dead on a Miami beach. Just another tourist turned murder victim? Not quite. Jordan was presumed dead 10 years earlier, and her husband, millionaire businessman R. J., was convicted of the crime, although the body was never found. One problem: the body found on the beach hasn't been floating in the ocean for a decade. Miami reporter Britt Montero, who found the body, grabs on to the exclusive story; her first interview is with the now-exonerated R. J., who is as arrogant and loutish as he was portrayed in the original murder trial. As Britt pieces together the events of a decade past, she follows Kaithlin's activities in the years when she was supposed to be dead. The seventh Britt Montero mystery is a fascinating amalgam of red herrings, misdirection, and guilt by personality. Buchanan, who's won a Pulitzer Prize for her crime reporting and has been nominated for two Edgar awards, continues to flesh out her heroine's personal life--meddling Mom and a succession of Mr. Wrongs--while presenting intricate mysteries that reflect current social issues. In this case, it's the fallibility of our well-intentioned justice system and the possible execution of the innocent. An intelligent, thoroughly entertaining crime novel. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

When the body of a beautiful woman is found floating offshore, seaweed in her hair, veteran Miami News police-beat reporter Britt Montero gets the call in an engrossing who-was-it that soon becomes an equally intriguing whodunit. Britt senses a good story in the making, and when the body remains unclaimed and foul play is established, she is sure of it. A fingerprint check identifies the well-cared-for mermaid as Kaithlin Jordan of the prominent department store family. One problem: she's been dead for 10 years, and her husband is scheduled to be executed for her murder. Kaithlin flourished at the family's flagship store and was rumored to be the brains of the outfit. Britt's mother, a longtime employee, trained her, but avoids queries about the young woman. Once again Britt enlists staff photographer Lottie Dane and cigar-chomping police detective Emery Rychek, along with News librarian Onnie and the rest of her support network, to uncover the woman's past. Drawing on her own rich experience as a Miami reporter, Buchanan (Pulse) charts Britt's determined pursuit of the truth. The reader is along every step of the way, even if things go a bit over the top as the outwardly tough Britt continually struggles to balance the problems of daily life and possible romance with the horrors she encounters in the all-consuming job she loves. Agent, Michael Congdon. (Apr. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The body of a woman is found washed up on the sands of Miami Beach, apparently a murder victim. News reporter Britt Montero is one of the first people on the scene, and as she begins to investigate the death, one brick wall after another prevents her from finding the truth. The corpse turns out to be that of Kaithlin Jordan, killed years ago by her husband, who is sitting on Death Row but who is now obviously innocent of the crime. In the ten years since he was found guilty of her death, Kaithlin had moved to Seattle, established a new identity, but had returned to Miami for some reason that had resulted in her demise. Buchanan is a reporter in Miami and brings a gritty realism to her knowledge of both the inner workings of a newspaper and the ambiance of that city. This is a well-plotted whodunit that, literally, keeps the listener in doubt as to who the real killer is until the very last chapter. Sandra Burr is an excellent reader, giving the myriad characters distinctive and realistic voices. You Only Die Twice would make one heck of a movie, but, for now, we will have to be content with this spellbinding audiobook. Recommended for all public libraries. Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



You Only Die Twice Chapter One Hot sand sizzled beneath my feet. An endless turquoise sea stretched into infinity. Bright sailboats darted beyond the breakers, their colors etched against a flawless blue sky. Playful ocean breezes kissed my face, lifted my hair off my shoulders, and ruffled my skirt around my knees. The day was perfect, a day to die for. Too bad about the corpse bobbing gently in the surf. She appeared serene, a drifting, dreaming mermaid, narrow-waisted and full-breasted, with long slim legs: an enchanting gift from the deep. She wore seaweed in her hair, which was long and honey-colored, streaked by brilliant light as it swirled like something alive just beneath the water's glinting surface. Had she been caught by the rip current, that fast-moving jet of water that races back to the sea, or did she plunge from a cruise ship or a party boat? Perhaps she was a tourist who went wading, unaware of the sharp drop-off only a few feet from shore. But if so, why was she naked? Clearly she was no rafter drowned in a quest for freedom and a new life, or gold chains and designer jeans. Her fingertips and toenails gleamed with a pearly luster, as though polished to perfection by the tides. This woman appeared to have lived the good life. None of the grotesqueries that the sea and its creatures inflict on the dead had overtaken her yet. Obviously she had not been in the water long. I had overheard the initial radio transmission on the "floater" while working on a story at Miami Beach police headquarters. My ears had perked up. My name is Britt Montero, and I cover the police beat in this city where everything is exaggerated, where colors are too vivid to be real, where ugly is uglier, beautiful is breathtaking, and passions run high. Every day on this job, I see new faces. Many are dead. My mission is to chronicle their stories and preserve them permanently -- on the pages of the newspaper of record, in our files, and on our consciousness, forever. My editors at the Miami News share a somewhat different view of my job description. As a result, I had been dutifully poring through tall gray stacks of computer printouts in the police public information unit. The art department planned a locator map for Sunday's paper, to accompany my piece on the crime rate. My task was to compile the crime statistics zone by zone and identify the scene of every rape, murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. I hate projects based on numbers. If words are my strength, decimal points are my weakness. Calculating the number of violent crimes per hundred thousand population has always been problematic for me. Is it 32 crimes per 100,000, 320 or 3.2? A live story on a dead woman is infinitely more intriguing. Studying the body more closely, I could see that we shared characteristics in common. We were close in age and appearance. My plans, to bodysurf and sunbathe today along this same sandy stretch, had been ruined by the DBI (Dull But Important) project I had agreed to complete on my day off Her plans had also been ruined. All of them. Permanently. Some quirk of fate had delivered us both to the coastal strip I had yearned for, sun on my shoulders, sea breeze in my hair -- but it wasn't the day at the beach either one of us had in mind. Along with a lifeguard, two uniformed cops, and a growing crowd, I watched a detective trudge toward us across the sand. Emery Rychek was an old-timer, one of the few holdouts who had not opted for guayaberas when Miami Beach police dress codes were relaxed. Unlit cigar clenched between his teeth, his white shirt open at the throat, his shapeless gabardine jacket flapping in the breeze, Rychek handled more than his share of deaths, most of them routine. Young cops want sexier calls, not grim reminders of their own mortality. Rychek never seemed to mind the unpleasant tasks that come with a corpse. "So, you beat me here, Britt," he acknowledged, his voice a gravelly rumble. "I was at the station, working on a story about the crime rate. I heard it go out." Rychek chewed his cigar. His smelly stogies often came in handy, to mask the stench of corpses gone undiscovered too long, though colleagues routinely debated which odor was more nauseating. No need for him to light up here. This corpse was as fresh as the sea air. "Well, lookit what washed up." He appraised her for a moment, fierce eyebrows raised in mock surprise, then turned to the cops. "Whattaya waiting for, the tide to go out and take her with it?" "Thought maybe we should leave her like she was till you guys took a look," one said. Rychek shook his head in disgust as the two cops stripped off their shoes and socks, rolled up their pant legs, pulled on rubber gloves, and waded gingerly into the sun-dappled shallows. Green water streamed from her hair as they dragged her ashore. Her pale half-open eyes stared hopefully at the sky, her expression reverent. Her only adornment was a gold earring, the delicate outline of a tiny open heart. Excellent, I thought. Distinctive jewelry is a good start for those of us trying to identify the dead. But this woman's youth and beauty guaranteed she'd be no lost soul. I dreaded the cries of her loved ones, sure to appear momentarily, frantic with grief, hearts breaking. “A great body is a terrible thing to waste,” one of the cops muttered. Rychek ignored him, as he straddled the naked woman, cigar still clenched between his teeth. He grunted as he tugged her pale form one way, then the other, seeking wounds or identifying marks. I watched, painfully aware that there is no modesty, no privacy in... You Only Die Twice . Copyright © by Edna Buchanan . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from You Only Die Twice by Edna Buchanan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.