The Control: A Psychological Thriller with a Twisted Ending
I did not kill my professor. But someone did.
What Readers Are Saying About The Control!
"What a roller coaster of a ride! I read The Control in one sitting.” -Katie L., NetGalley
"This is absolutely the BEST book I've read this year." -Helene S., VINE VOICE
"The final 15-20% of the book was wild! What an ending." -Jenny M., NetGalley
"...had me on my toes the whole time!” -Reviewer, NetGalley
"It had me hooked from chapter one." - Bron P., NetGalley
"The ending.... I didn't see it coming...you still won't know how it actually ends until you get there." - Reviewer, NetGalley
I did not kill my professor. But someone did.
It's the dead of night when I regain consciousness in my psychology professor's office. I don't know what I'm doing here or why my favorite teacher is slumped over, dead at his computer with his head caved in.
When I stumble over to him on shaking legs, I bury my face in my sleeve to mute the smell of death. But as I lean in to see what he was working on when he was killed, the psych profile on his screen is what makes me wretch. The assessment is about one of his students--someone he describes as mentally ill, losing control, and capable of extreme violence. I scroll to the top of the document, and when I get there my stomach freezes because the name I see is my own.
I stagger away from my professor's cold body, eyes filled with tears. He was my teacher and trying to help me. There's no way I was the one who murdered him. But if it wasn't me, who was it? And more importantly, why did the killer let me live?
The Control is a psychological thriller--a dark story of nightmares, deception, and love that will keep you guessing until its unforgettable, twisted ending.
A Sample from The Control
WHEN I WAKE from my nightmare, I’m sitting in a dusty office. Across from me, on the other side of the desk, my psychology professor, Benjamin Mooken, is hunched over his laptop. At first, I wonder if he’s taking a nap. But his caved-in skull and the dried blood on the back of his neck tell me otherwise.
There is no response.
The black hands of the wall clock tell me it’s three in the morning—the time when demons are supposed to roam the land of the living, according to old superstitions. But there are no evil spirits here. Only scattered piles of paper cluttering a large wooden desk, an open drawer with a notebook sticking out of it, and an empty cedar chest on the floor. Adding to the chaos around me, every wall is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stuffed tight with artifacts and tidbits from more countries than I’ll ever visit in my lifetime.
“Professor Mooken?” I say, louder this time.
I stand up and reach toward him. My shaking hand is covered in itchy, dried blood.
“This isn’t real,” I assure the unmoving professor. “You’re fine. All of this is…fine.”
But Professor Mooken isn’t fine.
Not at all.
I press on his shoulder, enough to wake him, but he still doesn’t move.
My heart beats hard and erratic—a prisoner pounding inside my chest, desperate to escape his cage. While Mooken remains motionless—a cold stone statue only resembling a man.
Despite his stillness, the dead weight of his hand on the keyboard continues to cause the letter m to be typed over and over. Because of this, the document on his screen is filled with that single letter from top to bottom.
A low hum floods my nervous system, and my body buzzes.
With two fingers, I lift Mooken’s icy hand from the keyboard, treating it like a disgusting bug I have to touch. I’ve watched enough television shows and read enough mysteries to know better than to disturb a dead body. But I need the letters on his screen to stop.
They remind me too much of how Mooken used to make his awkward hmmm sounds in the middle of his lectures when pondering a point his students weren’t getting.
Being this close to a dead person, my body revolts at the heavy cocktail of copper, feces, and urine in the room—a combination I’ve never encountered before.
Well, once before. But that was so long ago I sometimes wonder if it wasn’t another one of my nightmares.
But my stomach tells me the scene in front of me is real. My guts convulse and threaten to spew everything from inside of me, and I swallow hard, choking back my sickness…barely.
I bury my nose in my sleeve, breathing through my mouth. Other than the shallow in-and-out of my air, the room is quiet.
Inside my head, however, things are very loud.
Along with the loud buzzing, my father is telling me to run.
Leave now and save yourself, boy. Before they blame you for all of this.
I ignore him and stare down at Mooken.
After five minutes, his screen starts to fade to black, but I move the mouse, and the screen returns to full brightness.
I lean over my professor’s body like I’m showing a dead man something he might find interesting. I hold the mouse lightly in my hand and scroll up. There are so many pages of mmmms that the document appears to stand still as I scroll. I climb through a hundred pages of that single, lonely letter before I make it to the substance of the file and slow down to skim its contents. I scan blocks of Mooken’s text, reading snippets from the bottom up.
chronic sleep deprivation…
disruptions in personal affairs…
My head throbs as I continue further up the document.
auditory and visual hallucinations…
irrational anger and suspicion toward therapist…
potential for extreme violence…
formal evaluation recommended…
I speed to the very top of the document to see who Mooken was evaluating, and my stomach freezes when I read my name.
But this can’t be. I didn’t kill the professor. I know this for certain.
Professor Mooken was my teacher and trying to help me. That must be why I came here tonight—to get his help.
Not to kill him.
The delete key stares at me, cooing, tempting me to erase my name—to fix this.
But I can’t do that—not yet, at least.
I disable Mooken’s screen saver, stagger to the other side of his desk, and sink back into the leather chair.
When I check the clock on the wall, fifteen minutes have passed.
My phone vibrates in my pocket, and on reflex, I check it. As happens so often lately, it’s a missed call from my father, who suffers from dementia and calls and texts daily.
I love and miss my dad, but I can’t deal with him and his altered, severe personality right now.
My present situation is too dire, although there are still a few hours before other professors and students begin entering the building to start their days.
I squeeze my eyes shut to help me remember the events that led me here, but when I do, I hear my father giving me advice again, yelling at me, ordering me.
“Not yet,” I say through clenched teeth. “I need to remember what happened first.”
My father quiets to a whisper in my head as I sift through everything I know.
First and foremost, although I’m not his murderer—someone killed Professor Mooken.
More significant than that, they ended his life and spared mine.
Images swim and swirl through my brain—ghosts of memories fighting to be seen.
I close my eyes tighter, forcing them to line up in an orderly queue. Some shove their way to the front, assuring me they’re more important than the others, but I force each memory to show itself one at a time in the order it occurred.
Finally, the bedlam calms down, and memories begin to play against the back of my eyelids—a choppy movie hastily assembled in my head.
I settle deeper into Mooken’s guest chair.
I watch, and I remember.