Authors: Marlene Perez
"What was that all about?" Ryan asked.
I linked arms with him. "I'll tell you all about it at Slim's."
I was holding hands with Ryan when Dad and Mr. Bone arrived. On reflex, Ryan dropped my hand, but I linked our hands again. He gave me a sheepish grin.
"Daisy," Dad said. "We heard what happened. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Dad," I replied. "It's all under control."
"So what's going to happen to Ms. Tray?" Poppy asked.
Ryan's dad said, "She's been arrested and is cooperating with the authorities. That's all I can tell you right now."
"I heard she'd been gathering intel for the Scourge for years," Poppy said. "Daisy was the first person to suspect her."
The chief nodded. "That's true," he said. "She'd probably still be blackmailing people if it weren't for Daisy."
My father said, "I guess you can take care of yourself, Daisy. You suspected Ms. Tray all along, but I believed everything she said."
"I didn't suspect her at first," I admitted. "I didn't
Ms. Tray, but I hadn't a clue that she was involved with the Scourge."
"You're not just saying that to make me feel better?" Dad asked.
I shook my head. "Not at all. I didn't trust her, but I didn't suspect her for a long time. Almost too long."
My dad suppressed a yawn.
"It's late," I said. "Let's get you home."
"I was thinking we could grab a milk shake at Slim's," Dad said. "Or are you too tired?"
"All of us?" I said, glancing at Ryan when I said it. I still wasn't too sure if my dad's newfound trust of Ryan was going to last.
of us," Dad replied. "My treat."
Even the chief came with us to Slim's. Dad ordered enormous milk shakes of every flavor.
Since the place was almost empty, Slim came out from the kitchen, carrying a huge platter of appetizers.
"Anybody hungry?" he said. "On the house."
"I'm starving," I said.
"Daisy, are you okay? You look like you've been in a fight," Slim said.
My dad chuckled. "She has. You should have seen her before she got cleaned up."
As I sipped my shake, I wondered what the next few months would hold.
"I can't wait until graduation," Ryan said suddenly.
"Why is that?" I said. Why was my boyfriend looking forward to our possible separation?
He took my hand. "Because then we'll both go off to college and leave all this craziness behind," he said.
Poppy snorted. "Fat chance of that," she said. "This is Daisy you're talking about. She's a trouble magnet."
"Hey, I'm sitting right here," I said. "Besides, I predict smooth sailing from here on out."
"Did you have a premonition?" Rose asked.
"No," I said. "But I know I'll do my best to stay out of trouble until I graduate."
My dad put his hand on my hair. "I have confidence that Daisy can take care of herself, no matter what trouble she ends up getting into."
"Thanks, Dad," I said.
Now that the Scourge was back, there was no doubt that my senior year was not going to be the calm year I'd hoped for.
Lil was back in her usual corner. I fished out a few quarters and went to see if I could get a clue about what the rest of the year held in store for me.
I hadn't forgotten about my promise to her, either. I punched in a random selection—E17—and waited to see what would happen. Nothing.
Lil had gone silent. No matter what I tried, she wouldn't play.
"She's pining," Flo said. "If I didn't know better, I'd say she was in love. She either doesn't play anything or she plays love songs. The depressing kind."
As if she heard, Lil broke into "Love Is a Losing Game" by Amy Winehouse. When that song ended, "Alone" by Heart came on, followed by "Since I Don't Have You" by the Skyliners.
"Wow, she is depressed," I said. Then, in an effort to cheer Lil up, I searched the song list and punched in my choice.
James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" came on. I hoped Lil understood what I was trying to say.
It seemed she did. "Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold came on.
I went back to the table.
"Something wrong?" Dad asked.
"Lil," I said. When he looked perplexed, I clarified. "The jukebox."
"I'm following you so far," he said.
"I know it sounds weird, but she's a friend of mine," I said. I told him about the hints Lil had given me in the form of songs.
"She's definitely special," Dad said.
"She's sad," I said baldly. "And I want to help her. I need to research ways to bring her back."
"Research?" Dad brightened. "I can help you with that."
"Awesome," I said.
"I've been thinking about writing a book," Dad said, with a shy smile. "About my experiences."
"That's great, Dad!"
The Giordano family was finally complete. My dad had accepted that I wasn't a little girl any longer and was ready to help me solve mysteries, even if it meant a little danger.
With the help of my family and friends, I'd solve the mystery of Lil's beginnings and maybe even find a way to get her out of the jukebox.
"Only in Nightshade," Ryan said in my ear.
"Only in Nightshade, what?" I asked.
He gave me a kiss, and then shrugged. "I guess we'll find out," he said.
I couldn't wait.
Thanks to all the fans who've written and sent e-mails. Your enthusiasm is greatly appreciated.
is the author of
Love in the Corner Pocket, The Comeback,
and the Dead Is series, including
Dead Is the New Black,
which was named an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She lives in Orange County, California, where rumor has it, she spends a lot of time online, or playing Bejeweled, or writing novels.
How well do you know the DEAD IS series?
Take this quiz to find out!
1. What are Nightshade High's school colors?
a. black and red
b. red and white
c. purple and pink
2. What is the first song the jukebox plays in
Dead Is The New Black,
and who is it in reference to?
a. "Big Mouth Strikes Again" by the Smiths—Penny
b. "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar—Samantha
c. "Here Comes Your Man" by the Pixies—Ryan
3. Where did Daisy and Ryan's first kiss take place?
a. under the stairs at school
b. at the morgue
c. on Daisy's front porch
4. What is Nightshade's school mascot?
a. sea monster
5. Which of the following is
one of Samantha's accessories when she sports her goth look?
a. wheelie backpack coffin
b. ankh pendant
c. pink skull bikini
6. What activity did young Daisy enjoy but had to give up?
7. The hooded figure at the Nightshade City Council whom Daisy calls Skull is actually
a. Chief Mendez
c. Mort Bone
8. Which character wears a cowboy hat?
a. Cassandra Morris
b. Officer Denton
c. Beatrice Tray
9. What song is played by both Lil the jukebox and the band Side Effects May Vary?
a. "Walking with a Ghost" by Tegan and Sara
b. "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las
c. "Rock 'n' Roll High School" by the Ramones
10. Daisy first discovered her psychic powers while
a. playing Frisbee
b. making dinner
c. making out with Ryan
11. Ryan's eyes are
a. green and intense
b. blue and glassy
c. amber and eerie
12. In moments of stress or anger, Daisy's psychic powers sometimes get out of control. Which of the following is not something Daisy caused to happen?
a. a bag of popcorn kernels exploding
b. the contents of a candy dish shooting into the air
c. the phone flying out of Poppy's hand
13. What is the name of the boutique where Sam works?
a. Tete de Mort
b. Ye Olde Coffin Shoppe
c. Shifters R Us
14. Gage's ghost haunts
a. the Eternal Rest Room
b. the Tranquility Room
c. Poppy's bedroom
15. The Giordano girls break into which teacher's house?
a. Mr. Krayson's
b. Miss Foster's
c. Mr. Davis's
16. Two of Daisy's favorite treats are
a. milk and cookies
b. chocolate and coffee
c. celery and peanut butter
17. What gift does Ryan give Daisy for her seventeenth birthday?
a. a gold locket that once belonged to his mother
b. an ankh bracelet
c. a kitten
18. Samantha's dad looks like which movie star?
a. Tom Hanks
b. Robert Pattinson
c. George Clooney
19. Who was Penny's junior prom date?
a. Duke Sherrard
b. Wolfgang Paxton
c. Tyler Diaz
20. Where did Daisy vacation with her mother, grandmother, and sisters the summer after her junior year?
c. The Jersey Shore
21. When she returns from vacation, Daisy is surprised to find her boyfriend has more
a. facial hair
22. Which slogan cannot be found on any of Flo's T-shirts:
a. "I LIKE CHILDREN—FRIED."—W.C. FIELDS.
b. WOMEN WHO PAY THEIR OWN RENT DON'T HAVE TO BE NICE
c. NO PARKING ON THE DANCE FLOOR
23. A doppelganger of which Nightshade resident is in a cage at the city council meeting?
a. Miss McBennett from the post office
b. Mrs. Wilder, elderly matriarch of the Wilder clan
c. Mrs. Mason from Daisy's mom's garden club
24. Daisy gives cooking lessons to
b. Nicholas Bone
c. Natalie Mason
25. Which movie did Rose watch over and over when she and Nicholas broke up?
Truly, Madly, Deeply
An American Werewolf in London
House of Dracula
26. From whom does Daisy first hear the gossip that her father is back in town?
27. Rose's summer job with Dr. Franken requires her to visit many
c. nuclear power plants
28. Ryan and Sean get into a fight during a game of
1. b; 2. c; 3. b; 4. a; 5. c; 7. c; 8. a; 9. c; 10. b; 11. a; 12. c; 13. a; 14. b; 15. c; 16. b; 17. a; 18. c; 19. a; 20. b; 21. b; 22. c; 23. a; 24. c; 25. b; 26. a; 27. b; 28. c
24–28 correct: "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco
You know Nightshade so well, you might as well be on the Nightshade City Council!
18–23 correct: "Wonderful" by Adam Ant
You could be a resident of Nightshade. See you at Slim's!
12–17 correct: "Somewhere Around Midnight" by Airborne Toxic Event
You're ready for a little midnight mayhem. Keep reading!
11 or fewer correct: "Borderline" by Madonna
Just like Daisy, you need a little practice!