A haunting tale of suspense, rendered with the masterful skill only Barker could muster.

After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child—this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She’d creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn’t the first, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. It was no different from the others. He’d find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject “D” waits, grows, learns. He’s permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.

All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE conjures thoughts of early King and Koontz. A heart-pounding ride that creeps under your skin and will have you turning pages long into the night.

“J.D. Barker is a one-of-a-kind writer and that’s a rare and special thing. Stephen King comes to mind and Lee Child, John Sandford. All one-of-a-kinds. Don’t miss anything J.D. writes.”
—James Patterson, #1 International Bestselling Author

“A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind!”
—Jeffery Deaver, NY Times Bestselling Author

“I don’t say this lightly: J.D. Barker is a force to be reckoned with.”
—Tosca Lee, NY Times Bestselling Author


This was a book I needed to write. After completing the 4MK series, such a dark series, something light was required to scrub out some of the hard to reach places of my brain. I had fun writing 4MK, but there were many moments when I pushed my MacBook across the desk, sat back, and said, “holy fuck, did that really just come out of my head?”

If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, you’re in for a treat. My publisher managed to get David Aaron Baker to narrate this one. He’s best known for audio versions of the ODD THOMAS series for Dean Koontz – another of my all-time favorites.

I think you’ll find this book is a bit of a departure for me. It takes place over decades rather than days and moves at a slightly slower pace than some of my other works. If you’re a fan of those faster-paced thrillers, no worries, I’ve got more on the way, I just wanted to try something a little different. It’s not only a throw-back to the ’80s but also a homage to one of my favorite novels, GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens. In many ways, this novel is me paying respect to those I grew up reading. The stories that shaped me – those books I read under the covers with a flashlight over and over again.

Most of all, I wrote this one for my little girl. One day, when she’s a little older, I’d like her to know not all of Daddy’s books end in a dark place. Some do have happy endings. But much like life, sometimes you have to stumble through the dark to find the light, that little Ember lighting the way.


Posted by J.D. Barker

Mailing List

Sign up for J.D.’s newsletter for news, previews, and more!