Tag Archive | Mystery

Detective Blanchette Mysteries by Marguerite Ashton

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Series:
A Detective Blanchett Mystery
Author: Marguerite Ashton
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

 

Promised Lies

Book 1

51QnCiY8IuLDetective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate…

Her sister Celine has recently been murdered and her parents are on the brink of divorce. Now she’s lead on a multiple murder investigation.

Six months after Lily’s sister’s death, the bodies of two young women are discovered. One look at the way the bodies have been posed and Lily knows her sister’s killer is back.

And she’s determined to get him.

When Lily visits the family of victim Tanya O’Neal, she learns the woman had arranged to meet a man going by the handle CtryGeek23 on the social networking site Scatter.

Lily thinks finding the man behind the account is key to solving the case.

But CtryGeek23 is very clever, and Lily has her work cut out for her. As she digs around, clues point her to a local brewery where she discovers the body of another young woman.

The more Lily digs, the more she thinks there is more than one murderer at work, and CtryGeek23 is the mastermind.

But who is he?

And how will they catch him?

As the investigation comes to life, death hits closer to home, and Lily discovers she may not be who she thinks she is at all.

Filled with plot turns, suspense and mystery, Promised Lies will leave you wondering how well anybody knows anyone…

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Her Final Watch

Book 2

515V1P1PMbL._SY346_Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …

Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily’s usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she’d killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss’s son who’s hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn’t for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah – placing Lily’s life and her unborn child in danger.

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

December 10, 2015 4:13 p.m.

      Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.
      In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she needed to do was make it through this last night, and she’d be allowed to be who she was; a mom just doing her job.
      After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had, it would be hard to detach. Towards the end, she’d learned things she’d wished weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.
      Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take on another undercover assignment.
      Click.
      Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the backless white dress she wore at his request.
      The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind her, breathing heavily.
      She turned and handed Mikey his drink. “Your gin and grapefruit.”
      Mikey took the drink and pulled Ariel down on the bed next to him. His hand, smooth like velvet, traced over her dark brown skin, along the length of her arm and rested on her thigh. “I had a shitty day.” He loosened his tie, removed his gun and put it on the ottoman.
      Ariel stole a glance at the weapon, thinking of ways to grab it before he did. Just in case. “Wanna talk about it?”
      “I had my talk with Pop. He wants me to get married and have kids so I can take over as head of the family soon. He wants our family to be seen as more law-abiding than the other three families.”
      “Nowadays, no one gets married to have a family. Would he accept a long engagement?”
      “No way. My old man still believes in marrying now, ask questions later.” Mikey took a sip of his drink and sat it down on the nightstand table. “My father asked my mother to marry him on her seventeenth birthday.”
      “I’m sure you’ll find a woman who’ll accept you for who you are, who won’t care about the lifestyle you lead, and who knows when not to ask questions about your business.”
      “You always say the right things. Why won’t you let me take care of you?” he asked, planting a kiss on Ariel’s full lips. “This is my third time asking you to be with me.”
      Ariel wanted to wipe off the lingering citrus taste from her mouth but didn’t out of fear. She had already been spotted by one of Surace’s men and couldn’t believe that she was still alive. Probably because Ariel, at any moment, could tell the boss things that the other person was doing, clearing herself from any suspicion and allowing her to keep her cover. Even that wasn’t a guarantee.
      Drops of rain peppered the window facing out at the bare branches of a willow tree. Wind hissed against the cabin.
      Ariel stared into Mikey’s almond-shaped eyes. The olive tint of his skin masked his fiery temper. Things were getting heavy and out of control for a first time U.C. like herself.
      She undid the strap on her stilettos and let them drop to the floor. “Because your ex-girlfriend is in charge of my money and I need every penny. I wanna make my money and maybe one day get out. It’s a dream of mine to stop escorting and waiting tables at the club.”
      “If you get with me, you won’t need money.” Mikey cupped Ariel’s chin and squeezed. “Why do you keep turning me down?”
      “I’m not turning you down.” She pulled out of his grip and rubbed her chin. “I don’t want to ruin my friendship with your ex. She’s my bestie and the only one I can trust in this business.”
      “You don’t trust me?”
      “You’re a dangerous man.”
      “I’m only dangerous to those who cross me.”
      Ariel wanted to ask Mikey if he’d kill her but decided against it. It was best to redirect the conversation and talk about what he enjoyed the most. Him. “What’s it like to kill someone?”
      Mikey pulled Ariel back on the bed and laid on top of her. “When I put my finger on the trigger, it’s like foreplay. With each pull of the trigger, that’s the build-up. Once my target is dead, I’m satisfied. For me, it’s a lot like sex.”
      “Has anyone told you you’re crazy?”
      “Yeah. They never lived to say it again.”

 

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About the Author:

A1I-1HlW2hL._UX250_When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.

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Q&A’s with Marguerite Ashton:

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

One of my favorite characters is Detective Lily Blanchette in Promised Lies. She’s got a lot going on. So, I’d like to think about what a day in Lily’s life would be like if her life weren’t in so much chaos.

My main character Lily is a workaholic like her dad, Collin. She works at a medium-sized police station in rural Wisconsin with her best friend and partner, Morgan. Between chasing leads—the coffee shop and McGinley’s Irish Pub is the local hangout for law enforcement professionals when they need to relax and blow off steam.

At home, she wakes up with her new husband. They are still getting to know each other’s personal spaces in their marriage. If her husband has time in his schedule, he tries to impress his wife with his culinary skills while she focuses on her latest remodeling idea for her Victorian home.

On Lily’s day off, she enjoys time with her dad, which is sometimes hard when their two schedules don’t match up. While enjoying their favorite pastime together, fishing along the banks of the Rock River, their conversation would be:

“Hey Dad, watch your pole you’ve got a nibbler.”

“Nah, the river is running fast near the bottom so it just looks like it. Crank up 2 reels off the bottom and you’ll see.”

“There’s more to the Bagdenol case. That wasn’t a suicide.”

“Lily, this is our time to relax our minds, and put a filet in the skillet for supper tonight.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to relax.”

“I understand. Just remember one thing, always go with your gut instinct. By the way, I agree with you about the Bagdenol case.”

“Thanks.” As Lily adjusted her fishing pole, she felt a firm tug. “Wait, get the net. I think I’ve got one.”

“Reel him in. I want fish tonight, not another meatloaf.”

 

Describe your writing style.

When writing my books, if an idea for another book hits me, I jot it down in one of my many notebooks. When it’s time to go over the notes, I talk it out with my husband. For the law enforcement side, I contact my cop friends to see if I can get away with the story line.

Sometimes I’ll be editing one manuscript, or working on the latest promo and the idea hits, and I write the scene. But it helps me to let it flow, then organize it later.

 

What are you passionate about these days?

The arts and becoming a foster mom for dogs until they find their forever home.

 

Advice they would give new authors?

Being a writer isn’t easy. Our job is to write every day and be prepared to repeat the process of creating a book over and over. My tip to writers is to give it your ALL.

A – Ask questions about yourself and your writing. Make sure that this is something you want to do.

L – Listen to the answers. Sometimes the reply is not what you’d expect or want to hear.

L- Learn from those answers. Then take the appropriate steps to master your art.

 

What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

When writing my books, if an Idea for another book hits me, I jot it down in one of my many notebooks.

When it’s time to go over the notes, I talk it out with my husband. For the law enforcement side, I contact my cop friends to see if I can get away with the story line.

Sometimes I can be editing one manuscript, or working on the latest promo and the idea hits, and I write the scene. But it helps me to let it flow, then organize it later.

 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

It’s a process…Writing Her Final Watch was tricky. I had to find a way to work Lily’s pregnancy in the story and allow her to work in the field. That’s when I turned to my friends in law enforcement. They helped me understand what my heroine, could and couldn’t do. After I did my research, I put myself in Lily’s shoes and focused on what would be important to her. No matter how much she loved her job, her motherly instincts would kick in. And I think I’ve managed to find a balance between the two.

 

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Addicted to avocados.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

For me, there was never that one moment. I had several. A lot of it had to do with my self-doubt as I tried to decide if I was making the right decision. My strong desire to write was something I felt from the inside. For me, I have to write every day. Even if it’s just making notes on another book or working on my blog.

If I miss more than a day, I start to get cranky.

The one thing that keeps me writing is David Baldacci. His story helped remind me that success can come with persistence and continual improvement.

 

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

Coming up with a title for any of my books is a process. I’ve tried to make it easier, but I haven’t had any luck.

I write down the first words that come to my mind and start crossing out the ones that don’t work for me. If I run out of suggestions, I go to my husband or mentor. It took me three days to come up with Her Final Watch. Promised Lies took a year.

 

Who designed your book covers?

Endeavour Press designed Promised Lies and Her Final Watch. Judy Bullard is the designer for my YA mystery series.

 

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I do see writing as a career. It’s very important to me and the challenges that come along with it.

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, I wouldn’t change anything. In fact, it kept me focused on what to write in my upcoming book, The Parolee.

 

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Gabrielle Union as Detective Lily Blanchette.

 

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I want to thank you for giving Detective Lily Blanchette a chance to invade your personal reading space.

 

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Secrets? by Christer Tholin

SECRETS BANNER

 
Series: Stockholm Sleuth Series
Author: Christer Tholin
Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller

 

Secrets?

Book 2

“Dammit! She’d made a huge mistake. She’d never make it out of here – they were going to kill her.”

ebook_375x600In the crime novella SECRETS?, fledgling private investigator Elin Bohlander takes on what looks like an easy assignment — at first: to determine if her client’s boyfriend is having an affair with another woman. To do this, Elin follows him to a secluded cabin in the woods, where she soon discovers that what’s actually transpiring is stranger than anyone thought. Having ventured too far, she’s stumbled upon a hornet’s nest and put her life at risk. But it’s too late. Can Elin win the unequal fight against a gang of brutal child molesters?

SECRETS? is the second, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series. In the previous novel VANISHED?, Elin and her colleague Lars solve their first case together.
If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin’s sleuth series.

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Excerpt:

      “I was attacked,” she finally gasped.
      “What? Are you hurt?” Elin couldn’t believe it. Maja was extremely well trained—she could perform any self-defense move in her sleep. And what did this have to do with the car?
      “No. They only threatened me.”
      “That’s lucky.” Elin breathed a sigh of relief. At least, Maja was unharmed. “But who threatened you? Now please! Tell me the whole story from the beginning.” Elin gave her a penetrating look. “All right, Maja?”
      Maja blew her nose once more and leaned back. “Yeah, OK. So I was walking out of the studio on my way to the underground. Since it was still so light out, I took the shortcut through the park. There was no one in sight other than that guy who’s been following me for the past few days. He was sitting on a bench in the middle of the park. I was trying to decide whether to turn around. But then I thought, ‘This is my chance to find out what this is all about,’ and I walked right up to him. He immediately stood up, and it was only then that I noticed he was wearing a mask. I wanted to go back right away, but when I turned around, there were three other guys standing before me, all with masks as well. I tried to escape to the right, but these guys already had a knife at my throat, and they were restraining me on all sides. Then they pulled me off the path and down into the bushes, and one of them whispered that I should keep my trap shut. I was sure they were going to rape me, and I was desperately trying to figure out how to break free. But then one of them—a tall guy, definitely over six feet—said that they just wanted to talk to me. I didn’t really believe that, but I waited to see what they would say.”
      Elin stared at her, spellbound.
      “I need something to drink,” Maja said.
      Elin rose and went to the kitchen. She had an uneasy feeling for some reason. Four guys, of all things, and one of them very tall. That was surely no coincidence. But why?
      Elin handed Maja a glass of water. Maja drank eagerly. “And what did they want?” asked Elin.
      “They claimed I’d followed them in my car. And that they didn’t like having someone sneaking around behind them. This would be their first and final warning. If they saw either me or the car nearby again, our next meeting would proceed without a lot of talking. They said they’d make short shrift of me.” Maja had tears in her eyes again, and she let out several sobs. “I had to confirm that I understood. I obviously said yes. After that, one of them hit me in the stomach full force, and I blacked out. When I came to again, the four of them were gone.”
      “God, how awful! I’m so sorry—I’m sure they were the same guys I was observing. I just don’t understand why they reacted so viciously. I’ve already put the whole thing to rest. Honestly, Maja, I didn’t want to pull you in. I’m sure it was me they were after.”
      “Yeah, that much was clear to me by then. But did you go back to the cabin another time? You only told me about two surveillances. And the men didn’t see you at all, did they?”
      “Well, yes, they did. The second time, they stopped briefly next to my—I mean, your car. I ducked right away, but they might have written down or photographed the license plate number. I’m sorry—that was my mistake. The first time, I did better and parked around the corner. I’m sure they didn’t see the car that time. Then the day before yesterday, I was there again for the third and last time because I just couldn’t get the whole business out of my head. I wanted to get through the surveillance quickly, so I drove the car down the dirt road to the fork where it turns off to the cabin. On their way back, they obviously drove by your car, but I was hoping they didn’t see it.”
      Maja sighed. “But they did. Did you find anything out?”
      “No, that’s why I put the whole thing to rest. The assignment is done. I just wanted to make sure one more time that nothing new had come up. But it was the same game as the other times: working together on their computers, four guys in two cars—nothing more.”

 

Vanished?

Book 1

“He could only hope he’d get out of here in one piece.”

Cover_final_engl_400x600To come to terms with his recent divorce, Martin, an attorney in Berlin, plans a peaceful vacation – two weeks in a Swedish summer house seem to be the solution. It won’t be peaceful, however, and those two weeks will change his life forever. He takes a liking to Liv, a Swedish woman whom he meets in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, they don’t get to have their first date – Liv disappears under mysterious circumstances. Martin begins his search but soon realizes he can’t find Liv in a foreign country by himself. He hires two private investigators, and their discoveries make everything seem even stranger.

The complexities in this suspenseful criminal case lead to a hunt across Sweden. Martin comes close to finding answers, but his search lands him in very real danger, eventually leading to the first deaths. Soon he‘s wondering if he can get Liv and himself out of this situation alive.

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Excerpt:

      They left the house and ran to the driveway. There they heard the sound of an engine rapidly approaching.
      “Damn, somebody’s coming. Quick, into the woods!”
      They rushed behind the house and into the trees, where before them was a narrow path. Martin tried to keep his voice muted: “We’ll cut through the woods to my car. Follow me!”
      He followed the wooded pathway for a short stretch, then veered to the right through the trees. It was muddy and difficult to negotiate; that meant they weren’t going to make headway very quickly. “We have to try not to make any noise.”
      Liv nodded.
      They moved slowly around the house. The vehicle had now arrived; it was the black pickup.
      “Shit.” Martin cursed. Liv held on firmly to his shirtsleeve. “Shouldn’t we try to escape through the woods instead?”
      “Do you know your way around here?”
      “No.” Liv looked around. “How far is it to my summerhouse?”
      “Liv, we’re in Dalarna, really close to your husband’s summerhouse.”
      “What?” Liv opened her eyes wider and pressed her hands to her mouth.
      Martin looked at her: “To my car?”
      She nodded.
      They kept moving cautiously through the woods, able to hear the driver getting out and going up to the house. It couldn’t be much longer until he noticed that Liv’s things were missing; then he would go into the cellar and…
      Gradually they put more distance behind them and approached the driveway. Martin looked back and believed they could now leave their cover without risk. It went faster on the driveway; Martin’s shoulder ached with every step, but now was the time to keep his teeth clenched. Just as he unlocked the car, he heard a sound from the house. The man had come out the door and roared something that Martin didn’t understand. Liv looked at him with horror. As fast as they could, they climbed into the car. Martin started it; unfortunately, he still had to turn it around, and there was very little space to do so. Twice he backed up until he could finally drive off. At that very moment, the engine of the pickup revved behind them. He looked in the rear-view mirror; the truck was already approaching them. He hit the gas. The car reacted and lurched forward with a jerk. Martin drove as fast as he could; Liv was frightened; she held on to the armrest and looked around from back to front.
      “Faster! Please!”
      “I’m trying to.”
      Martin pushed the pedal harder. The main road lay in front of them – he knew he wouldn’t make the curve at that speed. Even so he kept driving at the same velocity; a brief glance revealed the pickup directly behind them. The engine was loud, and the black steel fenders in front of the hood were coming dangerously close. At the intersection to the main road, Martin braked slightly, hoping to make it onto the dirt road without landing in the ditch. Gripping the steering wheel with all his strength, the Audi swung around, and it looked like they would make it. But the pickup had other plans. It didn’t intend to make the curve. The driver swerved slightly to the right and rammed the Audi from the side just as they reached the bend. The Audi’s rear end slung around towards the woods. Liv screamed, both airbags deployed and Martin braked with everything in his power. The car came to a stop diagonally across the road.

 

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About the Author:

ChristerThe author grew up in the North of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein. Today, he lives together with his family in Stockholm, Sweden, where he works as management consultant.

Already for ages he has been a great fan of crime stories and therefore, had the desire to write his own crime story with the characters acting in Sweden. This crime-fiction is available under the title “Vanished?”.

The crime novel starts at a slower pace – like Martin’s holidays, but the tension goes up more and more. It comes to a number of surprising turns giving new impulses to the story. Apart from that, the lovely country Sweden is described with the view of a foreigner.

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Smothered by M.C. Hall

SmotheredBlitzBanner-1

 
Title: Smothered
Author: M.C. Hall
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery

SmotheredFifteen years ago, Kitty Holbrooke was set to be the greatest child star since Shirley Temple. Days after completing her debut film, the young girl was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night. The next day, a rambling ransom note appeared in the family’s mailbox, but as the family scrambled to gather the money, police discovered Kitty’s body. Due to the media circus surrounding the case, changing testimony from key witnesses, and police missteps, lead detective Andrea Bennett was never able to bring Kitty’s killer to justice, and the case that rocked a nation went cold.

Today, an online tabloid has uncovered Kitty Holbrooke’s shocking case files including never-before-seen police interviews, confidential emails, secret text messages, and sealed grand jury transcripts. The Internet explodes as fans devour and comment on each piece of new evidence, desperately hoping that they, too, can help solve the mystery.

Loosely inspired by the Jon Benet Ramsey case, this unique, thrilling mystery is told through police transcripts and documents, and will keep readers guessing until the very end.

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Excerpt:

Interview: Katherine Holbrooke, January 26, 2002

Katherine Holbrooke: Did you need a picture? The other detective said you needed a recent photo. I hope these are acceptable. I also have two headshots, but in those, she has stage makeup on, and since she still has her baby fat, the headshots have been Photoshopped to make her look a bit thinner. This one is from a week ago. I printed it out for you. She looks so precious, doesn’t she? I hope we find her soon. [Cries]

Lieutenant Andrea Bennett: For the record, this is Lieutenant Andrea Bennett. I’m here talking to Katherine Holbrook. It is 11:28 in the morning on January 26th. Katherine’s nine-year-old daughter Katherine Holbrooke Jr., also known as Kitty, was discovered missing just over an hour ago.

Thank you, Mrs. Holbrooke. I’m sure these pictures will help. We’re doing a search of the neighborhood now, but we’ve put out an Amber Alert and the media will be on top of the story soon enough. They’ll want the description and the photos.

Katherine Holbrooke: The media. [Blows her nose] Do you think that’s really necessary? Ryan thinks she just wandered away somewhere. He said the other officer told him that’s probably what happened.

Lieutenant Bennett: The other officer said that? Son of a [Inaudible] I don’t know. She might have gone somewhere without letting you know. Lord knows, my own kids have done that enough times to drive me crazy. But we don’t want to jump to any conclusions. Her disappearance could be something else. Does she have a history of running away, or “wandering off,” as you put it?

Katherine Holbrooke: No. She’s never done this before. She’s such an intelligent little girl. I don’t know that she would… [Pauses]

What should I wear? Should I change now or wait?

Lieutenant Bennett: Excuse me?

Katherine Holbrooke: You said the media would be called in. I know how these things go, especially in California. They care more about appearances than they do about people. They wouldn’t give a damn about Kitty if we looked like you…

Lieutenant Bennett: If you looked like me? You mean if you were black? What exactly are you trying to say, Mrs. Holbrooke?

Katherine Holbrooke: No! Goodness no. That’s not what I meant at all. It’s just that you’re in uniform and you are sort of… Well, you have quite a natural look don’t you, and those shoes…

Lieutenant Bennett: These shoes are police issued, ma’am, and trust me, if I have to run after a suspect in this case, you’ll be glad I’m wearing them.

Katherine Holbrooke: [Sighs] Now I’m afraid I’ve offended you. All I’m trying to say is we don’t want to look like ragamuffins on TV. If Kitty’s really missing and the press are called in, I should try to look my best, shouldn’t I? Appearances matter. Thank goodness, she is… [Trails off]

Lieutenant Bennett: Thank goodness, she’s what?

Katherine Holbrooke: Nothing. Well, I only mean to say that she’s a very attractive girl. She’s famous, or she will be soon, anyhow. That should help, shouldn’t it?

Lieutenant Bennett: I see.

Katherine Holbrooke: I didn’t mean anything by it, Lieutenant. Only if she is missing, well, you know what people in Hollywood are like. God, listen to me. I don’t know what I’m saying or what I’m talking about. I must be in complete shock. God. My God! Who took my baby? Where is she? Why isn’t she in her bed? [Cries]

Lieutenant Bennett: You didn’t offend me, Mrs. Holbrooke. It’s understandable. You want to do whatever you can to find your child. You’re not wrong about the media, either. I might not care as much, but I would probably want to look my best too, if it were me.

Please stop crying, ma’am. I know this is upsetting, but it would help if you could try to calm down. Can you give me a description of the events leading up to the moment you realized your daughter Katherine had disappeared? Where were you yesterday?

Katherine Holbrooke: Yesterday? Yesterday, I woke the girls at around 7:00, their usual wake-up time. Then, we dropped off Ally at the middle school. Kitty and I went to her school. We got there around 8:00. I waited there while she completed her lessons for the day, and then at 12:30, I took her to the salon. She had an audition later that afternoon, and they wanted her to have a tan. Skin cancer causes wrinkles, especially if you start tanning when you’re young. So, we went to Sally’s over on fifth for the works—spray tan, leg waxing, eye lash extensions, and eyebrow plucking.

Lieutenant Bennett: Let me break in, just to get this straight. She was only in school from 8 in the morning to just after noon?

Katherine Holbrooke: Yes. [Sniffles] That’s correct. Don’t judge me, Lieutenant. I care hear the doubt in your voice.

I’m a good mother. Kitty was a child star. She has classes half days only. She misses a lot of school because of filming, not to mention auditions, and classes for acting, singing, and dance. Oh, and she has gymnastics. She goes to a highly recognized private school and she has a tutor on set when she’s filming. Her education is a top priority.

 

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Author Bio:

MCHall_Megan Cassidy Hall writes books for adults under the name MC Hall, and writes books for children and young adults under the name Megan E. Cassidy. In addition to writing, Megan works as an English professor teaching a variety of courses including Creative Writing and Children and Young Adult Literature. Megan’s novels include Always, Jessie, The Misadventures of Marvin Miller, and Smothered. Her poetry and short stories have been featured in numerous publications including Bete Noire, Pilcrow & Dagger, and Centum Press’s 100 Voices.

All of her short work can be found on her website.

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In 2016, Megan co-founded 50/50 Press with her husband Stephen Hall. You can visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

 

Guest Post by M.C. Hall:

Inspired By vs. Based On

 
When I was doing research for my novel Smothered, I came across an article by Lauren Bradford entitled “My Family was Traumatized First by a Murder and then by the TV Serialization.” In the article, Bradford describes her experiences with the media after her mother was murdered by her father and his mistress. In addition to living through the trauma of her mother’s death and her father’s imprisonment, Bradford also had to endure the publication of a book written about the case and a TV drama based on the book.
 
Both the book and television depiction were filled with errors. Bradford writes, “In the midst of trying to come to terms with the imminent release of the drama, our family endured the PR and social media build-up with sleepless nights and tearful days, while those responsible were being congratulated for a ‘brilliant’ production.”
 
It was articles like these that made me carefully consider how I wrote my novel. The murder case in my book involves a young girl who goes missing. A ransom note is sent to police, but a few days later, her body is found hidden in a shed on the corner of her family’s property. Because the book is set fifteen years after the murder, all of these details are given in the first five pages of the book.
 
Because of the premise of my novel, I’ve had several people ask me, “Is the book based on the JonBenét Ramsey case?” My answer is always, “No. Absolutely not.” I will admit that parts of the book were inspired by that case, particularly the detail of the ransom note I mentioned above. But other pieces of the novel were inspired by different cases throughout history, including the trials of Lizzie Borden, the Menendez brothers, OJ Simpson, and Casey Anthony.
 
As the victim in Smothered was a young actor, I also was also inspired by stories of various child stars such as Shirley Temple, Jackie Coogan, Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, and Lindsay Lohan.
 
But taking inspiration from real life is incredibly different than basing a novel on one person’s story. Books and movies “based on” true stories are often only thinly-veiled fictionalizations, sometimes changing only the names and a few small details, while keeping the rest of the case intact.
 
In contrast, in novels of films that are “inspired by”, the writer may take an idea from an actual event, but the rest is fiction. Nothing in the book or movie happened, and the writer does not claim, “this is what could have happened.”
 
In this way, the murder mystery I wrote isn’t that much different from my other novels. My first book, Always Jessie was inspired by my own struggle recovering from eating disorders. I wanted to depict a girl going through a recovery process that was similar to mine, but Jessie is nothing like I was at sixteen, and her story was not based on my own. My second book, a middle grade novel called The Misadventures of Marvin Miller was inspired by some of the humorous stories my father told me about his childhood. Again, Marvin is his own person and things like my father’s “fireworks story” took on a life of its own.
 
Similarly, in Smothered, I started with an idea, and then created wholly fictional characters and a plot that didn’t follow any actual events. I didn’t want Kitty Holbrooke to be just like Jon JonBenét Ramsey, Charles Lindbergh Jr., or Caylee Anthony. I wanted to start with an idea, ask “what if,” and let the characters dictate where the story went from there. I hope that’s what I accomplished, and I hope people enjoy the book as a fictional story that has just a few hints of real life.

 

Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

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Title:
Hunger Moon
Series: The Huntress/FBI Thrillers #5
Author: Alexandra Sokoloff
Publication date: October 24th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Revenge has no limits.

HMSpecial Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.

Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted…

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Excerpt:

The sandstone spires reach like alien fingers from the depths of the canyon.
         The gorge cuts through the Arizona tablelands, a vast, prehistoric gash. Inside lies a 230-million-year-old natural wonder: a cathedral of wind-carved sandstone walls in every possible hue of red, gold, and white, adorned with the gleaming black curtain-like sweeps known as canyon varnish. Ancient ruins of cliff villages nestle in natural caves at impossible heights. Sedimentary deposits lie in distinctive round piles, like stacked pancakes.
         And the famous double sandstone spires rise 750 feet from the canyon floor, at the exact junction of de Chelly and Monument Canyons.
         Navajo legend says the taller spire is the home of Spider Grandmother, the goddess who created the world. She stole the sun and brought fire to the Anasazi. At the beginning of time, monsters roamed the land, and she gave her children, Monster Slayer and Child-Born-of-Water, power to kill the monsters and protect the First People.
         Her stories are only told in the winter months.
         And only to those who will listen.

A bleak sky, streaked with white, stretches over the desolate South Rim of the canyon. There will be snow tonight.
         The grinding of a pickup truck grates through the silence.
         A four-door Tundra. Tonneau cover over the bed. Two men dressed in camouflage inside. Fast-food and jerky wrappers litter the wells at their feet. In the back seat, a cooler packed full of beer.
         And three rifles, three-inch twelve-gauge magnums, strapped to the padded back-seat gun rest.
         Hunters, driving the rim.
         The front-seat passenger sets his sights on something moving ahead of them, leans forward greedily. “There we go, there we go.”
         The driver follows his gaze, fixes on what he is tracking. Not a deer, but a young girl, shining black hair underneath the hood of her parka. Schoolgirl’s backpack on her shoulder.
         On the men’s faces, something crude and capering.
         “That’s some tasty-looking pussy.”
         “Oh, yeah, that’ll do.”
         “Let’s go.”
         “Get her.”
         The driver swerves the truck over to the side of the road, squealing brakes.
         The girl hears the sound, stiffens, is starting to run before she even completes the glance back.
         The truck skids to a stop in the snow. The doors fly open; the men are out of the car, grabbing for their rifles.
         The girl runs for the rocks, but her pursuers are bigger, faster. Two of them, grown men, against a teenage girl.
         They move forward into the strong wind, a military-style formation, heavy boots crunching in the sandy snow.
         They pause at the rock outcropping, looking out over the boulders. The girl seems to have disappeared. Then a scrabble on the rocks betrays her. Hearing it, the men grin at each other.
         The driver rounds the rock first, his mouth watering. He is already hard in anticipation . . .
         The tire iron bashes him across the face, breaking his jaw. He staggers back, howling inarticulate pain.
         The girl kicks him viciously in the knee, crumpling him, then swivels as the second hunter rounds the edge of the rock. She slams the tire iron against the side of his head.
         Now both men are collapsed on the ground, moaning and cursing.
         She steps forward, no longer feigning that youthful, hesitant gait.
         She lifts her arm and uses the tire iron on their skulls. Two, three, four blows, and there is no more moaning. Thick crimson drops spatter the snow. Her breath is harsh. Her face is ice.
         There is only the wind, swallowing the sound of her breathing.

Cara stands at the edge of the canyon, looking out at the spires of Spider Rock, the vast open gorge.
         Below her is an icy crevasse. The canyon has any number of them, deep splits in the rock wall where whole sheets of the cliff have broken away. Behind her is the hunters’ pickup truck.
         Their bodies lie at her feet.
         She drags one, then the other, to shove them over the cliff’s edge, stepping back to watch each body hurtle down into the crevasse, tumbling into oblivion.
         The snowfall tonight will cover all trace of them. Later, birds and animals will pick the bones clean.
         Another offering to the canyon, and the gods and ghosts that haunt it.

 

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Author Bio:

AlexAlexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, Cold Moon, Bitter Moon, Hunger Moon – now in active development as a TV series), and the supernatural Haunted thrillers (The Harrowing, The Price, The Unseen, Book of Shadows, The Shifters, The Space Between). The New York Times Book Review called her a “daughter of Mary Shelley,” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written three non-fiction workbooks: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors,  Stealing Hollywood, and Writing Love, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (www.ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA West and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. In her spare time (!) she performs with The Slice Girls and Heather Graham’s all-author Slush Pile Players, and dances like a fiend. She is also very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But not an addict. Seriously, it’s under control.

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Christmas in The Sisters by Becki Willis

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Title: Christmas in The Sisters
Series: The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series Book 6
Author: Becki Willis
Genre: Cozy Mystery

The latest book in the Award-Winning The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series!

Xmas-3_388x600Madison Reynolds can’t wait for Christmas this year. Rebuilding her life as a single mom hasn’t been easy, but after a challenging twelve months, she’s excited about the holidays. She and her twins have settled quite nicely here in The Sisters, renovations on the house are complete, her business is slowly growing, and, best of all, Chief of Police Brash deCordova is in her life. Visions of the perfect Christmas dance in her head.
 
The tinsel begins to tangle when someone targets the community for a series of ‘Christmas Crimes.’ Homes are broken into and wrapped gifts are stolen from beneath trees. Even vehicles loaded with presents aren’t safe, particularly on a lone stretch of highway. Things like this just don’t happen in Naomi and Juliet. Torn between solving the rash of burglaries and shutting down the gambling ring that’s active in the area again, Brash does the only thing he can: he hires In a Pinch to help with the investigation.
 
Finding the common link between cases is like finding the bad bulb on a string of lights. Every lead is a short circuit. The frustration mounts when Madison and the Angel Tree she’s involved with fall victim to the crimes. Only the worst kind of Grinch steals from needy children!
 
Brash has plans of his own for the perfect Christmas. With the help of a new jewelry store, he thinks he’s found just the right gift for Madison, until the Grinch strikes again. This wasn’t the surprise he had in mind.
 
Ready or not, Christmas is on its way, and time is running out to create the holiday of their dreams. As the house fills with unexpected guests, Madison and the twins honor favorite traditions from the past while creating a few new ones of their own.
 
Who has time for being kidnapped by men in Santa suits and bad beards?
 
This is one Christmas that no one in The Sisters will ever forget!

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Excerpt:

      Emergency lights clashed with the festive Christmas scene.
      Beyond the police car’s glaring strobe, cheerful strands of twinkling white icicles dripped from the eaves of the house. Each porch post was wrapped in green. A profusion of multi-color lights sprang up in the yard, garnishing every bush, every bird feeder, and every tree in sight.
      Wedging the cruiser into a slim niche between a Ford Expedition and a Pontiac Grand Am, Brash deCordova came within inches of a gigantic inflatable snowman. The chief of police picked his way between a stand of lighted candy canes, a herd of reindeer, and an animated gingerbread man. The obstacle course led him to the front porch, where a trio of wooden carolers greeted him, and a motion-activated wreath began the first bars of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
      It came as no surprise when the doorbell twinkled out the tune of Jingle Bells. Brash shook his head in wonder. The Hutchins certainly loved the season.
      The door swung open and a plump woman motioned him inside. “Brash! You’re here.” The relief in Vanessa Hutchins’ voice was palatable. “Come in, come in.” She turned slightly away and bellowed down the hall, “Larry! The police are here!”
      “I’m sorry to come calling like this, Vanessa,” Brash apologized, tugging the cowboy hat from his auburn head. “Larry tells me you’ve had some trouble.”
      “I’ll say! Look! Just look at that!” She flung her arm toward the massive Christmas tree centered at the front windows. Dozens of bulbs, baubles, and ornaments covered every tip, illuminated by hundreds of miniature white lights. A red and green tree skirt peeked from beneath the lower branches.
      “Nice tree,” Brash murmured, wondering how it kept from collapsing.
      “Nice? It’s empty! Glory be, someone stole all our presents!”
      A groove of worry puckered the officer’s brow. “All of them? How many did you have under there?”
      “You mean an exact number?”
      “For now, an estimate will do.”
      Vanessa cocked her head to one side, mentally tallying up the gifts. “At least thirty. I’m almost done with my shopping. Or I was, until this happened!” She gave another emphatic wave toward the barren tree skirt.
      “Calm down, Nessa,” her husband said, coming into the room carrying a steaming mug. He thrust it at his wife before offering his hand to Brash. “Brash, thanks for coming out so quick. Vanessa, take a few sips of hot chocolate and try to relax. Everything is going to be all right.”
      “All right? You’re not the one who shopped for those gifts. And you didn’t wrap a single one of them, Larry, so don’t tell me to calm down!” Her voice rose with every word, both in pitch and volume.
      “Can we have a seat?” Brash suggested.
      Appalled by her lack of manners, the frantic woman immediately turned apologetic. She fussed around the officer, fluffing a snowman afghan at his back and producing a Santa-shaped ottoman for his feet. Brash politely settled among the excessive holiday pillows, grimacing when he activated one with music. Over the digital notes of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, he struggled to sound professional. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
      “We were robbed, that’s what happened!”
      “Were there any signs of forced entry?”
      “The back door was jimmied open, if that’s what you mean,” Larry Hutchins offered. “We didn’t touch anything, in case you want to dust for prints.”
      “Smart thinking. Was anything else taken?”
      “Not that we’re aware of. We checked the gun case, jewelry box, desk drawers where we keep the checkbook, that sort of thing. Everything else seems to be here.”
      “They were only interested in the presents,” his wife concurred. Hot chocolate already forgotten, she had taken to wringing her hands.
      Brash jotted down notes in his trusty little notebook. It traveled with him everywhere he went, tucked into his shirt pocket. “Take me through this evening. We need to establish some sort of timeline.”

 

Don’t miss the other books in The Sisters, Texas series!

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Chicken Scratch

Book 1

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When The Stars Fall

Book 2

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Stipulations and Complications

Book 3

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Home Again: Starting Over

Book 4

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Genny’s Ballad

Book 5

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About the Author:

BeckiBecki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published eleven books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction and Best Audio Book, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

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Deadspeak 2 by Ruth Bainbridge

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Title:
Deadspeak 2
Series: Deadspeak Mysteries Book 2
Author: Ruth Bainbridge
Genre: Mystery/thriller

 
BookCover_DeadSpeak2Things look different when you’re dead.

It’s Halloween and a group of teens throw a party at Harbinger Falls’ most celebrated haunted estate. It’s all fun and games until a session with a Ouija board guides the partygoers to the body of a young girl hidden in the attic.

Detective Kimberly Trent is assigned the case and quickly discovers that all is not as it seems. First, there’s the connection between the death and a string of petnappings terrorizing the neighborhood. Then there’s the suicide note that only leaves more questions than answers. A visit from Kimberly’s ghostly friend Griff Lindon sheds an unwelcome light. It seems she’s had a run in with the newly deceased who tells her she’s been murdered.

This is the second in The Deadspeak Mysteries. The entries are meant to be read in sequential order and do not standalone. In each book, you’ll find a new murder for Kimberly Trent to solve. You’ll also find the continuing search for who murdered Kim’s sister Elizabeth. Each book will take you closer and closer to finding out the identity of The Hex Killer, the serial killer who ended Elizabeth’s short life. It will also bring you to the heart of the evil that’s come back to life to wreak revenge.

Excerpt:

“This reminds me of when I was in summer camp and stayed up all night trying to contact the dead,” Julie Welch commented.

Mia or no Mia, the time had arrived and the Ouija board was placed in the center of one of the folding tables.


“You did that, Mrs. Welch?” Angie asked.


“Of course,” Julie confessed with a giggle. “I lived for those summers, and the camp counselors had no idea what we were up to. They only wondered why we were all so tired in the mornings.”


The atmosphere of the Halloween Party had changed. Ever since the announcement, things went from Party Central, to an eerie, expectant quiet. The music was turned off and the food lined up on the rented tables was bereft of pawing hands.


The six rested their fingers lightly on the planchette. “Remember: no cheating! Understood?” Mrs. Welch warned.


The participants nodded in agreement as the woman with the highlighted blonde hair inhaled deeply.


“Hello? Is there anyone with us?” Julie asked, starting off the questioning.


A soft scrape… and … movement! Infinitesimal at first, the planchette picked up speed.


Yes.


“What the—” Gen started. A loud moan interrupted the moment.


“Yes, I’m here,” a deep voice bellowed.


Fear spread quickly as attendees sprang up from their chairs and readied to run. Another unearthly groan penetrated the air. Angie latched on to Glenn’s hand.


Footsteps.


Someone was climbing the basement stairs.

 

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Author Bio:

AuthorPhoto_DeadSpeak2Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury, and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

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Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

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 Title: Gone Daddy Gone
Series: Sloan Monroe Mysteries #7
Author: Cheryl Bradshaw
Genre: Crime Mystery, Thriller

From New York Times bestselling author Cheryl Bradshaw:

A single moment is about to change Sloane Monroe’s life forever …

ebook-2_400x600On an early winter morning, college student Shelby McCoy walks the quiet, snowy path back home. A tree branch snaps in the distance. Then another. A man is there with her, following close behind, whispering her name. She looks back, sees him gaining on her, and runs. Who is this man, and why is he carrying a gun?

*Can easily be read as a standalone!

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Excerpt:

 

The man stood across from Bonnie and Hank’s hotel, watching everyone say goodbye. From the looks of things, Cade appeared to be returning to Wyoming, and Sloane would stay behind.
Good.
It would be much easier for him to divide and conquer this way.
He took one last drag on his cigarette and flicked it to the ground, stubbing it out with the bottom of his shoe. He thought about leaving, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from Cade and Sloane, holding hands, standing together beside the truck for one last embrace. The embrace was long. Too long. It made the man uncomfortable.
Get on with it already.
Leave.
Viewing such tenderness between two people turned his stomach, like a virus had entered his body and quickly spread.
Anger.
Slow, festering anger.
His heart beating faster and faster.
He reached out, clutching a tree for support, inhaling and then exhaling and then inhaling again.
Focus.
Remember what you’re here for and why.
You’re in control.
It’s all going according to plan.
Cade gripped the handle of the door, but then leaned back to Sloane, whispering something in her ear. For a moment it looked like she might cry, but she didn’t.
Seeing the display of emotion between them was almost like witnessing two lovers on a movie screen, a magical connection that seemed too unrealistic to be real. For a fleeting moment the man was reminded of a time in his own life when he too had been in love. A time so long ago, he strained to remember it.
Over the years he’d been with plenty of women. A few of them he’d even cared for on a marginal, detached level. The rest served a single purpose—a warm body on a cold, lonely night. He had only ever felt real love for a woman once, and that woman had been his wife, and when he lost her, he lost everything.

 

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About the Author:
 
cherylbwA New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Bradshaw writes in the genres of mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, and supernatural suspense. To date, she has published almost two dozen novels and novellas, including her New York Times bestselling mystery series based on a sassy, OCD challenged private eye named Sloane Monroe. In 2013, Bradshaw’s fourth novel in the series, Stranger in Town, was a finalist for a Shamus Award, and that same year, book three in the series, I Have a Secret, won best thriller of the year from eFestival of Words. She was raised in California and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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An Interview with Cheryl Bradshaw:

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in California and consider myself to be a California girl, although I’ve lived in Utah longer. I go back often, mainly because I miss being by the ocean.

 
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Driven, passionate, creative, nurturing, full of life

 
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

Reading and writing has always flowed through me in a way that made it obvious it was a talent I needed to explore. As a child I read books that were above my school grade. One of my teachers was concerned and approached my mom about it, but my mom understood that I was mature enough to handle reading books meant for a slightly older audience. By the time I reached high school I was writing and publishing short stories and poems. Then for almost two decades I stopped writing for the most part while raising my daughter and picked it back up in my thirties. Now I publish several novels a year.

 
How long have you been writing?

I’ve been published since 2011. It took a couple years for me to hit the USA Today bestselling books list, and about a year later I hit the New York Times bestsellers list. I’ve also been a finalist for awards, including a Shamus Award. It’s been an amazing journey.

 
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

It depends on the book. I spend the most time researching forensics so I can be as accurate as possible with my descriptions, but it’s always surprising the interesting things I end up looking up. For example, yesterday I watched videos on how to protect yourself from a frontal attack in a parking lot, and I actually learned a few things that are beneficial for me to know!

 
What inspired you to write this book?

My fans waited quite a while for me to write it. It’s the seventh in my Sloane Monroe series, and one thing I wanted to do was to bring back several of the secondary characters I’ve used throughout the series that they’ve been missing. It worked out really well, and I was thrilled to give my fans what they wanted.

 
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

It was so much fun bringing old characters back that I’ve used in previous books in this series. They added a lot of flavor to the plot and weaved in and out of the story well.

 
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Sloane Monroe is driven by justice and seeing things through to the end. She’s a methodical character, who sees clues in different ways than most, and this ability allows her to solve even the hardest cases, where others fail. She’s flawed, of course, and struggles with OCD and anxiety, which sometimes works to her benefit, and other times cripples her. By layering her personality she comes across as a real and authentic, which makes her a lot of fun to write.

 
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

It’s a combination of both. I usually create main characters at the onset of starting a new book and then allow my secondary characters to be created as I’m writing their part in the story.

 
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

People who know me assume that Sloane Monroe is me. She is in many respects, but she also isn’t. I feel like there’s a piece of me in every character I write. As humans we are all multilayered, not single layered, and this aspect rings true for me in many of my characters.

 
A day in the life of the author…

It rarely the same two days in a row! A typical work day has me checking and responding to fan mail in the morning, working with my assistant on things we’re doing, dealing with different promotions I’m running or planning to run, and checking my social media. Once that’s done I write for the rest of the day.

 
Describe your writing style.

I believe I do a good job of keeping the action moving in my books and writing good cliffhangers to keep my readers turning pages. It’s always nice when my fans say they had only planned to read a couple of chapters and ended up staying up all night because they couldn’t put the book down. I don’t think there’s a compliment better than that!

 
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I attempt an outline, but it’s always loose. For me personally, I find if I outline too much it takes away from the spontaneity of my characters and the plot. So I generally have an idea of what the next three chapters I’m working on will be, and then I allow my characters to take it in the direction it seems like it needs to go.

 
What can we expect from you in the future?

More Sloane. Always more Sloane! But I also have other a few other series I write as well, and I’m toying with the idea of starting a witch series once my ghost mystery series is finished.

 
What makes a good story?

Good characters and a good plot, characters fans connect to on a personal level.

 
What advice would you give to new authors?

If you’re just starting out, take time to research the genre you’re writing in. I spent a year familiarizing myself with the mystery and thriller genres while I was writing my first book, and it paid off in ways I couldn’t imagine.

 
What are you passionate about these days?

Aside from writing, I’m passionate about traveling and seeing the world, and I often find inspiration for my writing by visiting places I haven’t been to before. Recently I spent time in Spain and Amsterdam. Both places offered a unique perspective and insight into how others live across the world.

 
What do you do to unwind and relax?

I usually listen to relaxing music or watch a television show or see a movie that doesn’t require me to do much thinking and allows me to tap out, even if it’s just for a small amount of time. I also spend time with those I love, and that’s usually all I need to rejuvenate.

 
What is something unique/quirky about you?

My personality, I suppose! I’m an INFJ, which is the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, and classified as The Advocate. Less than 1% of the population is this personality, and while I enjoy being unique, I’ve always felt like I’m a lot different than most from a young age. As a writer, it seems to work to my benefit though, so I’ll take it!

 
What are some of your pet peeves?

Things like people not canceling the microwave out when they’re finished cooking, so it sits there at :15 forever (haha), bad drivers or drivers who sit in the fast lane and never pass, and people who lack compassion and kindness for others.

 
What kind of world ruler would you be?

I’m a blue (The Color Code), and not just a little blue, I’m pretty much a full-blown blue personality! This makes me reliable, creative, and practical (sometimes TOO practical, haha) so I surround myself with yellow personality types who help pull out my often reserved playful side. I’m not a big risk-taker, but as a ruler I would consider all options before making what I believed to be the best decision.

 
Who is your hero and why?

It’s honestly hard to choose one, so I’m going to list two here. The first would be Abraham Lincoln. I quote him at the beginning of every story I write. He was an impressive man, with values I admire. The second is the Dalai Lama, who I was fortunate enough to see in person last year. What an amazing man he is. He continually discusses compassion in his speeches, and I’ve always felt that if we had more compassion for others, the world would be a more peaceful, happy place.

 
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

I’d spend it with those I love, eating my favorite food, sharing memories, and letting those closest to me know how much I care for them before I made my exit from the world.

 
What book do you think everyone should read?

The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama

 
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

If we’re talking one of my books, Sloane Monroe was the first character I created and the one my fans connected with first, so she will always be special to me in many ways. I still love writing her too and allowing her to grow and develop through the series.

 
What are you currently reading?

The Crime Book

 
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

  • Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  • Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie
  • The Godwulf Manuscript – Robert B. Parker
  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama
  • Codependent No More – Melody Beattie
  • Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
  • The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin

 

 

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