The Deer Effect
Published by: Eye of the Needle Press
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Buy the Book: Amazon, Audible
Winner of six book awards!
"ONE BRITTLE LEAF FOUND ALONG our usual path proved the days had gone wintry. Papery thin as onion skin--blanched from frosty temperatures and yellowing like the pages of an old Bible, the leaf’s long slender shafts, crooked and dry, painted my world. The blue sky dragged me out that Sunday in December—December 5, 2010, if you must know—when the temperature rose to only forty-two Fahrenheit. What was I thinking?
Hold on. Wait a second. Let me back up just a tad. For your information, I'm dead. Although I speak of myself, make no mistakes. I died this day..."
So the story begins about Hannah Demsey who is found dead near the body of a fawn on the side of the road. Rod, Hannah's husband, sets out on a journey to find the killer. With his faith waning, all truths change when Rod comes face-to-face with the only person who can tell him how his wife really died.
LATEST PRAISE FOR THE DEER EFFECT
Judge 43 in the 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards has this to say about THE DEER EFFECT
"An amazing story that readers everywhere will love, but Christians will especially appreciate. This author has a gift for story. I wasn’t surprised to see that the author won lots of awards since once I started reading I was drawn in right away. The setup gets the reader engrossed in the story, wondering what the outcome will be. I like the author’s attention to small details, such as dry, bleeding lips marking the onset of winter for one character. Overall, the reader will feel gratified by a satisfying read. Nice work."
MORE PRAISE FOR THE DEER EFFECT
“There is definitely an Alice Sebold feel to the cadence of the book, the magic in descriptions, and the pauses that the author uses so brilliantly. “Bobby barked…just once…” The author uses these beats of silence beautifully, conveying so much emotion in the reader. A simple, short phrase like this packs so much depth in the author’s hands.” ~Writers Digest
“Susan Wingate draws you in like a magnet, once I started reading this book. With the way the story line flowed, I had a hard time putting down this book The Deer Effect. I really enjoyed the way Susan drew in her dog Bobby, being a dog lover myself, I know how these lovable creatures can capture your heart.” ~Joseph Cacciotti
“The progression of the characters was awesome and brought a lot of peace and comfort. Worth the read!” ~Love Good Books and Bargains
“Once you start reading, you do not want any interruptions. Susan Wingate has exceptional writing skills in using just the right words.” ~Richard Raymond Davison
“Well, to be honest, I bawled my way through it - for Hannah, for the deer, for her husband and of course, for her dog. Well written and emotionally draining, this book had me riveted from the beginning.” ~Diana Hockley
“Wonderful in every way.” ~The Happy Looker
WE DIDN'T SEE IT RIGHT away. I mean, it was like we saw but couldn't make out the form until we were closer. Bobby spotted it first.
Even as we cornered the bend, the same bend the bikers had appeared from just minutes before, we still heard them. It was like bees swarming a hive.
But then I shook my head, trying to ignore everything that seemed to be bombarding my brain—the run-in with the bikers and the looming separation from Rod. It didn’t work. A tree alongside the road looked like a woman's torso, with appendages sawed off at the thighs and just above her breasts. For whatever reason, the log captivated me, with its bark making it appear like a woman's charred body. I shuddered at the thought.
Tears burned hot out of my eyes. I smeared a wet hand across my face and my snotty nose. I got angrier and cried more.
We quickened our pace, Bobby and I, coming off the slight hill from the turn. Small puffs of steam blurred my vision as each breath escaped my mouth, my nose. I looked down at Bobby. He too had vapor escaping from his glistening, hot snout. It was as though we were in some macabre stage show with the clicking of his nails catching on the tar pavement, making him sound like a tap dancer. Our breathing caught every eighth-count in unison, Bobby syncopating his beat with mine.
“Bobby. I love you. Thanks for always being there, for always walking with me.” I’d said the same words to him countless times. It was a mantra.
Though blue skies played peek-a-boo behind a bank of scudding billowy clouds, the air felt moist. Bobby stopped and shook his coat out hard. A halo of silvery mist jettisoned off him in all directions. And when he stopped, he didn't continue forward but, instead, he dug in his feet, anchoring himself to the ground.
I walked past, assuming he'd catch up.
When he didn't, I had to stop.
“Come on.” I pumped my arm at the words. But he wouldn't move. His snout remained forward, popping up, sniffing the air. The hum of the motorcycle engines seemed to be growing louder but I figured it was my mind still playing tricks on me.
But, Bobby remained frozen. Locked his legs and wouldn't budge.
“Come on.” Still he refused. I pulled harder at his leash. “Come on, Bobby. Now.”
Then he bolted, jarring my arm forward with him.
“Bobby. Good Lord. Stop!”
I finally got close enough to make him stop and see what he had seen, to smell what he had smelled. Bobby continued to pull hard.
My focus locked onto the object.
It was still breathing.
Mist around its nose formed delicate clouds of rapid fire vapor.
I didn't feel my legs jump into a lope but there I was, there we were, running toward a deer that had been hit.
Nearing it, I saw it was no more than six months old, with fading spots in a series of lines on its side.
Someone had hit a fawn.
Those bastards. The motorcyclists, when the engines cut.
As I got closer, it struggled to get up. As if it had fallen on ice it flailed.
The jagged formation of its hip told me they'd busted its spine.
The energy the fawn expended dealt its final blow. The animal fell back, resting its head, straining to breathe. Seeming to understand its fate.
Blood pooled out from under the fawn, forming a widening circle. I put my hands onto the ground, then my elbows, trying to form a boom around it, as though surrounding the blood, capturing its outflow would help.
“Oh. God. Please. No.”
Garnet continued to flow from somewhere near its head.
The fawn tried to scramble up one last time. It bayed like a calf, making a sound like “maa,” and settled its head onto the ground.
Her breathing sounded raspy. The distinct smell of fired iron filled the air as blood continued to leach out of her body. The baby deer was going to die. There was no turning this around.
My heart cramped at the knowledge.
I believe it was then I should have heard the engines gunning too close but nothing else mattered except for this dying fawn. My eyes, my heart, my soul, my total energy was riveted by this animal.
Half on, half off the road, head slumped into the ditch, her eyes began glazing over, fast.
Bobby ran into the street next to the fawn. I pointed and yelled to him to move off the road and to go down into the ditch where he stood with his face toward hers. He whiffled his snout around hers and then, once, licked her. Gently.
She continued to pant but more quietly now.
I laid my hand on her.
“Oh baby,” I said.
That’s when it happened. A flash, blazing around the corner. The same two bikers. Startling me once again back to the world around me, the world outside this small dying deer, to the living world.
But I didn't react fast enough.
My hands flew off the fawn as if surrendering.
The pain came next.
My head flipped back as a handlebar cracked me square in the forehead. Behind it, the second motorcycle appeared, landing a death blow to the fawn. The bike bumped up onto my pelvis and over my chest, crushing my ribcage and snapping my neck as it rolled on and off and over my head.
When my neck broke, it spun my head to the right, toward the deer. My hand fell limp landing over the fawn's spots, across its rib cage.
Our eyes locked. bobby go home.
It was no more than a thought, but perhaps I spoke the words to him. I couldn't tell from the noise of the fleeing motorcycles.