Story Plant Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61188-031-1
Fiction Studio e-book ISBN: 978-1-943486-33-5
“An outstanding first novel, and a wonderful thriller.... I'm looking forward to James LePore's next work; this one was a gripping read that I would recommend to anyone.” - Blogcritics
“James LePore has written a fascinating suspense story of power and treachery, broken relationships and redemption…. I highly recommend this compelling suspense story filled with vivid characters and haunting storylines.”
– Bella Online
“Nothing could have torn my attention away from this story. A World I Never Made by James LePore is a must read for thriller fans!”
– Cheryl’s Book Nook
“James LePore writes in an exciting and most readable style. He is an artist at building the suspense as the story progresses to its ultimate conclusion. There is just enough doubt about the possible outcomes to keep the reader wondering and turning pages. A World I Never Made is a fine tale filled with love, adventure, mystery and suspense.”
– Mainly Mysteries
“James LePore knows how to spin an international thriller tale that slowly reveals an inner, fascinating depth to each character and to the developing connections between each and all.”
– Crystal Book Reviews
“Author James LePore has created a remarkable, gripping tale of suspense in his debut novel.”
– Feathered Quill Book Reviews
“An unputdownable novel.”
– Everything Distills into Reading
“James LePore has created a plot so gripping, so absorbing that you literally cannot put it down and on occasion even begin to imagine yourself in the character's situation.”
-An Amazon reader
“It was interesting from start to finish with lots of twists in between! A must read!”
- A Barnes & Noble reader
“My favorite kind of book, one that grabs you from page one and takes you on a wild ride that doesn't let go until the last word.”
- A Goodreads reader
Pat Nolan, an American man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan’s and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help. This sends Pat on an odyssey with Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective, that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists.
Juxtaposed against this story is Megan’s story. A freelance journalist, Megan is in Morocco to do research when she meets Abdel Lahani, a Saudi businessman. They begin a torrid affair, a game Megan has played often and well in her adult life. But what she discovers about Lahani puts her in the center of a different kind of game, one with rules she can barely comprehend, and one that puts the lives of many – maybe even millions – at risk.
A World I Never Made is an atmospheric novel of suspense with brilliantly drawn characters and back-stories as compelling as the plot itself – a novel that resonates deeply and leaves its traces long after you turn the final page.
“Jim LePore is a great discovery.” - William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob
James LePore is an attorney who has practiced law for more than two decades. He is also an accomplished photographer. He lives in South Salem, NY with his wife, artist Karen Chandler. He is the author of six other novels, the national bestseller Blood of My Brother, the national bestseller Sons and Princes, the national bestseller Gods and Fathers, The Fifth Man, the national bestseller No Dawn for Men (with Carlos Davis), and God’s Formula (with Carlos Davis), as well as a collection of short stories, Anyone Can Die.
“The key to this exciting thriller is the cast.” - The Mystery Gazette
From A World I Never Made:
Paris, January 2, 2004
I don’t owe you or anybody an explanation, but I think you’ll appreciate the irony of a suicide note coming from a person who has abhorred tradition all of her life. I met a young girl on the street the other day who looked into my eyes and told me that Jesus was waiting for me in heaven. She was fourteen or so, selling flowers on the Street of Flowers, and had the look of a young Madonna. The red roses I bought from her were the last thing I saw before pulling the trigger.
If, as you read this, I am actually with Jesus in heaven, I will be one shocked woman. I doubt it, though. Megan Nolan is no more. Go and have yourself another daughter. It’s not too late, and the odds are very good that she will turn out better than I did. If I were famous, I would be joining the long line of suicides known to history. But as it is, in a matter of days, if not hours, my life and death will be as anonymous and as forgotten as a stray breeze.
P.S. You know how I feel about being buried. Please, no service and a quick cremation. Don’t let me down.
* * *
Pat arrived at his hotel at a few minutes before noon, which gave him just enough time to put the roses into a vase with water and wash his face and hands before going down to the lobby to meet Officer Laurence. When he unwrapped the roses, a prayer card of some kind fell out; he put this in his pocket without thinking much about it. He told the desk clerk that he was expecting an Officer Laurence of the Paris police and pointed to a stuffed chair in a corner where he would be waiting for her. There he sat and began to ponder his strange meeting with the flower girl, but within seconds, or so it seemed, he was interrupted by a tall angular woman in her mid-thirties dressed in a chic dark blue suit over a white silk blouse. Her nose was on the large side and slightly bumpy, and would have dominated her face except that it was nicely in proportion to her high, wide cheekbones and full-lipped broad mouth. The eyes in this face, forthright eyes that met his squarely, were an arresting shade of gray-green that Pat had never seen before. Her gold bracelets jangled as she extended her hand to him and introduced herself with a half smile and a nod of her head.
“Do you speak French, Monsieur Nolan?”
“You prefer English?”
“Mais oui. Of course. You seem surprised, Monsieur. I am not dressed to chase criminals today.”
“I was expecting someone in a uniform. Inspector LeGrand said you were an officer.”
“I am an officer of the judiciary police. In America I would be a detective.”
Pat was surprised at Laurence’s appearance, but it wasn’t at the way she was dressed. Nor was it solely how lovely she was, although she was quite lovely to look at. It was, he realized, how interesting the look in her beautiful eyes was. There was no French arrogance in them, but its opposite, something akin to humility or a complicated, frustrating sadness not unlike his own. This look, whether imagined or real, and the thought it sparked in his overworked mind, took Pat for a moment – a very brief moment – out of himself, a process that on some wider level he observed with gratitude.
“Shall we go?” Laurence said softly, bringing him swiftly but gently back to the grim task at hand.
The ride to the hospital in Laurence’s black Peugeot station wagon was short and quiet. Once there, Laurence spoke rapidly in French to a desk clerk, then shepherded Pat into an elevator which took them to the basement.
“Wait,” she said when they exited the elevator; then, turning, she walked quickly down a long corridor, her high heels clicking on the tiled floor. She disappeared behind double swinging doors, reemerging a moment later and gesturing to Pat to come. It was a long walk for Pat, longer even than the one he had taken twenty-nine years ago to confirm for himself that his wife of eight months was dead. Laurence held open one of the swinging doors for him and he entered a squarish, harshly lit room with a wall of stainless steel body lockers at one end and an autopsy station at the other, where a lab technician in a white smock stood next to a gurney. Pat took this scene in for a moment and then felt Officer Laurence’s hand on his left forearm. At the gurney, Laurence nodded to the technician, who pulled down gently on the pale green sheet. Pat’s eyes went first to the shaved head, then to the crude sutures at the right temple, and then finally to the face, white and stony in death these last four days. It was not Megan. It was a woman generally of Megan’s age and size and coloring, but it was not her.
“This is your daughter, Monsieur Nolan?”
Pat’s mind had stopped working for a second, but it started again when he heard Officer Laurence’s voice. Other voices then filled his head.
My birthday’s coming up. You can bring me a present.
A quick cremation.
Have faith, Monsieur. You will be led to her.
Megan was alive but wanted the world to think she was dead. The world except for Pat and the flower girl on the Street of Flowers.
“Yes,” he answered, nodding, and at the same time reaching out and placing his right hand over the body’s left hand. He pressed through the sheet to feel for the heavy silver ring that he had bought for Lorrie on their honeymoon and then given to Megan when she turned sixteen. To the best of his knowledge, she had not taken it off since. He confirmed its absence, then stepped away from the gurney, keeping his eyes on the unknown woman who had visited Megan on December 30 and killed herself in furtherance of what dark and strange conspiracy – a conspiracy he had now joined – Pat could not fathom. Why, Megan? And where are you?
“She has lost weight from her cancer,” said Laurence.
The detective nodded to the technician, who pulled the sheet up and began wheeling the gurney toward the lockers.
“Detective Laurence,” Pat said.
“I would like to have my daughter cremated today if possible. Can you help me?”
“Yes. Upstairs we will sign papers to release the body. We will call a crematorium from my cell phone.”
“And her personal effects?”
“I have them in my car. I will take you to her room if you like.”
“Yes. I would.”
“Perhaps you would like something to eat first, a drink?”
Yes, I could use a drink, a long night of drinking, Pat thought, realizing, as Laurence stared intently at him that the stunned look on his face was not what she thought it was, sorry that he had had to lie to her.
“No,” he said, thanking her with his eyes for the sympathy in hers. “Let’s get it over with.”