Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Day in the Life of Meg Reed by Kate Dyer-Seeley

first-degree-mudderIt had to be mud. Mud—gooey, sticky, oozing mud. Mud squished in the soles of my cute pink kicks that had turned the color of chocolate. Come to think of it, I could go for a pound or two of dark chocolate about now. Instead I huffed and puffed my way up the hill past the haunted old Army hospital and toward the creepy little old lady’s house.

I had no one other than myself to blame. It was entirely my idea to sign-up for my first mud run, aptly named Mud, Sweat and Beers. This is Portland, Oregon after all. You can’t go more than a block without bumping into a pub or artisan coffee shop. Or, worse a team of hipsters. Portland had become a mecca for twenty-somethings, like myself, who were drawn to the city’s laidback vibe, abundant outdoor adventure opportunities, craft beer, and coffee. Unlike me, many of Portland’s newest transplants weren’t interested in building their careers. They were much more focused on hitting the slopes or heading to the coast to catch some killer waves.

I was a serious journalist with a bona fide job writing for Northwest Extreme, one of the country’s leading outdoor magazines. Sure, maybe I wasn’t the most athletic member of our small team, and maybe I wore a tad too much pink, but every time I saw my byline with the words: Meg Reed, reporter, on the magazine’s glossy pages I had to smile. I was living the dream.

Of course at the moment all I could dream about was a double mocha with extra whipping cream. I had to pick up the pace and beat my training mates back to the showers. Let’s just say that I might have taken a bit of a shortcut. It wasn’t cheating. I had been tagging along on the grueling pre-dawn training runs for the past week as an observant journalist, not for the actual workouts. My trainer, Billy the Tank, didn’t see it that way. He pushed me as hard—if not harder—than everyone else. I could almost hear his booming voice and blaring whistle in my head as I hurdled over a waist-high fence and made a beeline for the grassy hill that led to the barracks.

Mud runs had been touted as “fun runs” but in my humble opinion there was nothing fun about slogging through thick, smelly mud, running in wet shoes, and trying to clamber up and over a variety of excruciating obstacles. Where was the fun in that? I’d call my training sessions nothing short of punishment. People actually paid to be tortured like this, I thought as I slid down the wet grass slope.

Fort Vancouver’s historic barracks were in sight. I was almost out of the woods. If all went according to plan I could drown the slimy mud coating every inch of my body in a scalding hot shower and hit the nearest coffee shop before any of my teammates realized I was missing. However not much in my world ends up according to plan. Mud was about to be the least of my worries. I was soon to be in thick of a murder investigation.


First Degree Mudder is the fourth book in the Pacific Northwest mystery series, published by Kensington, November 2016.

When a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .

Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .

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About the author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three. Connect with Kate at katedyerseeley.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of First Degree Mudder. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 2, 2016 at 11:59  AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Claire Britten by Karen Harper

chasing-shadowsI am forensic psychologist Claire Britten. Although a lot of my work in the past has been helping corporations or individuals ferret out fraud, I am now employed by criminal lawyer Nick Markwood here in Naples, Florida. My new job is one I hope won’t take me too far from home, as I’m a working mom, recently divorced, with a four-year-old daughter. I promised myself and my ex that I wouldn’t take an assignment far from home, but here I am at the other end of the Sunshine State, helping Nick prove whether a death was an accident, murder or suicide.

My motto is “The dead still talk if you know how to listen.” If you don’t know, a forensic psych does not do lab or autopsy work but dissects people’s lives, usually after they are dead. I interview people they left behind—enemies, family—sometimes those are one and the same. I’m a handwriting expert and read body language. The thing is, my work can be dangerous if the person I interview is a so-called person of interest or, worse yet, the murderer.

Nick is totally dedicated not only to his law firm, but to a private endeavor called South Shores. When he was a boy, he found his father dead of an apparent suicide, but has always been certain it was a murder, and by a trusted friend. So, besides his public cases, he is on a covert mission to expose the billionaire who set his father up—and ruined lives.

I don’t know whether it’s good or bad that I’m falling for Nick. The dangers we are in here on this first case are pulling us closer together. Who would think that a beautiful Civil War era plantation would be treacherous? Worse, it’s supposed to be haunted. And what are Nick’s ties to the woman he’s defending who owns it?

A day in my life? Every one is different, and lately, dangerous. Although I’ve promised myself that, if I live through this, I will just return to my little girl and my tame fraud fighting—hopefully, mostly on line through my Clear Path website. But the allure of adventure and Nick makes that hard. I love helping people and families in need, but I know I need to help my own family. If I survive this Chasing Shadows case, there is the Mangrove Murder case looming, a case that may change my life again forever.


Chasing Shadows is the first book in the NEW South Shores romantic suspense series, published by MIRA, November 2016.

The dead still talk if you know how to listen. . .

Every case that Claire Britten cracks is a win, not only professionally but personally. The forensic psychologist has spent a lifetime fighting a neurological disorder, and her ability to conquer it is a testament to her razor-sharp intuition.

Nick Markwood is used to winning in the courtroom, so when his latest case is overthrown by Claire’s expert testimony, he can’t help being impressed by her skill. He needs her on the team of his passion project—investigating unusual cases involving mysterious deaths. Her condition doesn’t deter him, and neither does the attraction that sparks between them. . .even if it should.

As they join forces to investigate a murder in St. Augustine, Florida, Claire is thrust into a situation far more dangerous than she’d anticipated, pushing her disorder to a breaking point. Just when she fears she can’t trust her own mind, she discovers Nick’s personal connection to the case—and wonders whether she can trust anyone at all.

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Meet the author
Karen Harper is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romantic suspense and historical novels about real British women. Winner of the 2006 Mary Higgins Clark Award, Karen and her husband divide their time between Florida and Ohio. Chasing Shadows is the launch book for her new South Shores Series with two more books following in February and May.  Connect with Karen at karenharperauthor.com, on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Chasing Shadows. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 1, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Nicki Valentine by Susan O’Brien

skydiveDoesn’t it seem like just when life gets comfortable, something has to rock the boat? Okay, maybe “comfortable” is an exaggeration. I mean, life as a private investigator, single mom, and girlfriend to an unnervingly hot guy is a lot to juggle. But recently, life has felt “routine”. . .in a good, reliable way. That’s why I don’t know what to do about this letter I got from jail.

Part of me wants to pretend it didn’t arrive—that there isn’t an incarcerated mom desperately worried about her endangered daughter, Kat, who just “aged out” of foster care. The other part of me is an expert at worrying, both as a mom and a P.I. And when my worries feel instinctual, they’re impossible to ignore. Kind of like a screaming child when you just got on the phone with your best friend. (No surprise I’m also an expert at differentiating types of screams. What mom isn’t?)

Speaking of best friends, that’s who I need to call about this whole thing: my BFF Kenna. Sure, she can be startlingly blunt and pushy, but I haven’t walked a mile in her six-inch heels. (I have pole danced in them, however, thanks to her shenanigans.) In fact, Kenna’s the perfect match for my more cautious personality. Also, she just finished her private investigator training, so maybe she’ll want to help me out. Now that would be interesting. . .as long as she doesn’t get us into trouble.

The kids will be home from school soon, which means I better get going. I need to finish some work, make snacks, plan dinner, and shower before heading to the bus stop. Not that the other parents/caregivers would judge my frazzled style. (Elementary school bus stops should be more like mini support groups.) But my boyfriend is coming for dinner, and I’d rather smell like soap than the sweaty soccer uniforms I just threw in the washer, at least at this stage of our relationship. Hm. I can’t help but wonder where that’s going, too.

Things are more peaceful than ever right now, but I have a feeling that’s going to change. I’m not sure if it’ll be for the better (excitement, progress, and making a difference!), for the worse (danger, destruction, and failure!), or a mix both. No matter what, I know it will be an adventure.


Skydive is the third book in the Nicki Valentine mystery series, published by Henery Press, November 2016.

Life is finally settling down for private investigator Nicki Valentine, her kids, and her boyfriend Dean. But when a jailed mom seeks help for her endangered biological daughter, who just “aged out” of foster care, Nicki can’t say no.

With Dean by her side and her free-wheeling BFF eager to investigate too, Nicki braves back alleys, drug dens, and the strip-club scene, all while wondering if any risk is too great when it comes to finding a teen in trouble.

As if navigating the mean streets of King County, Virginia, isn’t enough, Nicki also faces the realities of dating as a single mom, including “sleepover” requests she never anticipated. Ultimately—in both relationships and work—Nicki must decide, “How much am I willing to risk for love?”

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About the author
Susan O’Brien has been passionate about reading and writing since childhood, when she started a neighborhood newspaper and escaped tween stress with mysteries. Since covering her first big story (the birth of gerbils next door), she has worked with USA TODAY, PI Magazine, The Parent Institute and others. Her debut mystery, Finding Sky, was nominated for a Best First Novel Agatha Award. Among Susan’s diverse interests are photography, gardening, loud R&B music, healing prayer and reality TV. She lives with her husband and children in a D.C. suburb and donates part of her earnings to missing children’s organizations. Visit her online at www.SkywritingSusan.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Finding Sky. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 30, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride

Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride is the first book in the NEW “Jo Larsen” mystery series. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, December 2016

walk-into-silenceA woman vanishes from a Texas town. Did she simply run off, or is something darker at play?

When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.

But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.

For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.

We are introduced to Jo Larsen whose past haunts her, particularly in this case that she is working, where the past is breaking to be free for both Jo and the victim. What an excellent and well-written plot that bridged two worlds to a conclusion that is worth the wait. This action-packed drama had me immersed in all that was happening from the words written by the victim, from Jo’s internal thoughts and from the supporting players who played a vital part in the telling of this captivating story. The mystery was staged perfectly to pull you in where the deviousness of the suspect was told in the victim’s words. Amid a kaleidoscope of dogged determination and police work, the case took on an interesting twist that truly enhanced the telling of this tale and the culmination exposed a killer with fallout from other contributing factors. Boasting a great cast of characters with engaging dialogue, this grippingly entertaining debut was a fantastic read and I look forward to more adventures with Jo and her friends.

My Musing ~ First Degree Mudder by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley

First Degree Mudder by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley is the fourth book in the “Pacific Northwest” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, November 2016

first-degree-mudderWhen a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .

Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .

I love books where location is key to the overall telling of the story. In Meg’s latest adventure, she becomes involved in another murder investigation when her trainer is murdered. The author does a great job in setting this mystery up where it is anyone’s guess as to who is the killer among the suspect pool where plenty of clues, red herrings and well-placed twists and turns in this fast-paced drama edged towards the killer’s identity. I like how all the scenes came together where the narrative put me in the middle of all the action. Meg is one determined heroine and her search for her father’s murderer constantly plays throughout this series and I suspect we will soon find out who it is. Boasting a wonderful cast, clever dialogue with Portland serving as the backdrop, this is a great addition to this fabulous series.

My Musing ~ Shades of Wrath by Karen Rose Smith

Shades of Wrath by Karen Rose Smith is the sixth book in the “Caprice De Luca” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, November 2016

shades-of-wrathBetween her booming business, her family, and her work rescuing stray animals, home stager Caprice De Luca’s life is packed. But when a murder unsettles peaceful Kismet, Pennsylvania, she adds amateur sleuth to her resume.

Thanks to a wealthy patron, Kismet’s women’s shelter, Sunshine Tomorrow, has inherited a run-down mansion. Now the shelter’s director, Wendy Newcomb, wants Caprice’s decorating expertise. Caprice is happy to help, but when she glimpses a few heated encounters between Wendy and some locals, she fears that Wendy may be in need of protection herself.

When Wendy is found dead inside the old house, Caprice is compelled to poke around in her affairs–and discovers she had her share of enemies. Now, with countless clients, a TV gig that could make her a household name, and rumors of a marriage proposal on its way, Caprice must find time to design an investigation that will lure a crafty killer into the wide open–before someone else winds up in a state of permanent disrepair.

Once again, the author delivers in her latest caper featuring Caprice De Luca. This is a well-staged book with multiple settings that when pieced together created an exciting story filled with murder, mayhem and family dynamics. The mystery was played out as it should with suspects, clues and some very intriguing plot twists that captured the essence of what was happening on the page. I like that the author created a friendly book where all the main characters play a pivotal role in the identification of the murderer. As part of this continuing saga, in this book, the author touches on domestic violence. Bonus to me is the growing relationship between Caprice and Grant, those scenes put a smile on my face. This was a fast-paced with a comfortable tone that became a page-turner as I had to know how this will end. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters, engaging dialogue and an overall feeling of goodness, I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

A Day in the Life with Dan Hetrick by J.R. Lindermuth

shares-the-darkness“You heard about Fred’s niece?” my friend Roger Steinbauer asked as I joined him and his friend Edna Fleming in a booth at Lena’s Diner.

Town has been abuzz with gossip and rumors since the news broke Jan Kepler, Officer Fred Drumheiser’s niece, had gone missing. Jan is a local schoolteacher and an avid birder. Her mother reported her missing after she failed to come home from a birding jaunt.

The additional news Roger shared now gave me a jolt. The search team had found the girl–apparently murdered–in the woods of the Preserve, a tract of woods and bog, just outside of town.

I should explain my interest isn’t idle curiosity. I’m Dan Hetrick, known to my friends as Sticks. I’m a lifelong resident of Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania (well except for my time in the Navy and with the State Police), former police chief of the town and now a county detective. These people aren’t strangers to me. Fred served under me when I was chief. He’s contrary and headstrong, but a good man. Jan’s mother, Sylvia, and me went to school together. They are my friends and must be devastated.

Another person who would be in shock would be Peg Peabody, who was leaving as I entered the diner. Peg, a retired teacher, now operates birding tours, spring and fall. She and Jan were close friends, despite the age difference. Peg had mentored the girl since high school and Jan had assisted with the birding tours in her free time.

I was pleased when Roger informed me Flora Vastine had volunteered to go with Fred and help break the news to Jan’s mother. I’m proud of Flora. I’ve been sort of her mentor since she joined the police department. There was some initial opposition to the hiring of a female officer, but Flora had all the right qualifications. Her four brothers, two of them State Troopers, honed her skills in driving, self-defense and marksmanship. Everything else she did on her own. I’m also pleased she and Corporal Harry Minnich, another of my proteges, are now engaged. Flora had her mind set on that big fellow even before she joined the force.

Later when I conferred with Chief Aaron Brubaker I learned Flora is doing the brunt of the investigation on what happened to Jan. The rest of his troops are busy with a rash of vehicle thefts, illegal timbering and the usual trouble they deal with on a daily basis. I’m glad Aaron had confidence to give Flora point on a murder investigation. Still, it doesn’t stop me from being worried for the girl. Flora is competent, but she also has a tendency to sometimes let her enthusiasm take her off on a lead when she should have back up.

I think I’ll keep an eye on her and the case.


Shares the Darkness is the seventh book in the Sticks Hetrick murder mystery series, published by Torrid Books, September 2016.

Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Office Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.

When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods, Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman’s life, as she searches for clues.

As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there’s some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich, who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.

Still, Flora maintains focus on the murder, and despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds, as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.

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Meet the author
The author of 14 other novels, including seven in his Sticks Hetrick series, J. R. Lindermuth is a retired newspaper editor who now serves as librarian of his county historical society, assisting patrons with research and genealogy. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. To learn more, visit his website at jrlindermuth.net.

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life with Caprice De Luca by Karen Rose Smith

shades-of-wrathI’m so excited about my latest decorating project, a magnificent old mansion that’s a bit rundown. Built around 1930 during the Tudor revival, it was recently bequeathed to the Sunrise Foundation, an organization that helps abused women. The director, Wendy Newcomb–who has made helping victims of domestic violence find a new life her life’s cause–will turn the mansion into a transitional facility. Women who need more than emergency shelter can live there while they train for jobs and put their lives back together. And with my decorating design skills, I will help them feel comfortable there.

I can’t imagine a relationship with a life partner that isn’t filled with respect and trust as well as love. I believe I’ve found that with Grant Weatherford, my brother Vince’s law partner. We’re seriously dating and spending lots of time together. Our cocker spaniels, Lady and Patches–who are brother and sister, like to play frisbee and run in Kismet’s dog park together. Every moment I spend with Grant convinces me we have a future together that includes wedding vows. But there is an obstacle. He’s divorced and we’re Catholic. But I’m trying not to live in the future. . .just dream about it.

My sister Bella needs my help packing up her orders for kids’ Halloween costumes. She’s a wonderful designer and seamstress and her online business has taken off. She’s not only making Halloween costumes for friends’ children but sending orders as far as Alaska! Country Squire Golf and Recreation Club is planning a Masquerade Ball. I wonder if Grant would like to attend it and wear a costume.

Possibly Vince who is dating my good friend Roz Winslow can be persuaded to go with us. My sister Nikki will be catering the ball so she’ll be working rather than dancing. Still, I hope she and Detective Brett Carstead–who suspected her of murder not so long ago–can have a fun Halloween date. Brett needs some fun in his life and I’m sure my sister can teach him how to loosen up and smile more if only he’ll let her.

My long-haired calico Sophia–named after my Nana’s favorite actress Sophia Loren–and my newer adoptee Mirabelle–a beautiful white Persian, are sniffing the air as Bella’s recipe for coconut cake bakes in the oven. It’s a test run for me to try her recipe. Oops, that’s the buzzer for the cake. Signing off until next time.


Shades of Wrath is the sixth book in the Caprice De Luca mystery series, published by Kensington, November 2016.

Between her booming business, her family, and her work rescuing stray animals, home stager Caprice De Luca’s life is packed. But when a murder unsettles peaceful Kismet, Pennsylvania, she adds amateur sleuth to her resume.

Thanks to a wealthy patron, Kismet’s women’s shelter, Sunrise Tomorrow, has inherited a run-down mansion. Now the shelter’s director, Wendy Newcomb, wants Caprice’s decorating expertise. Caprice is happy to help, but when she glimpses a few heated encounters between Wendy and some locals, she fears that Wendy may be in need of protection herself.

When Wendy is found dead inside the old house, Caprice is compelled to poke around in her affairs–and discovers she had her share of enemies. Now, with countless clients, a TV gig that could make her a household name, and rumors of a marriage proposal on its way, Caprice must find time to design an investigation that will lure a crafty killer into the wide open–before someone else winds up in a state of permanent disrepair. . .

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About the author
USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith’s 100th novel is a 2018 release. Her passion is caring for her four rescued cats. . .and other felines who stop by in winter. Her hobbies are gardening, cooking, watercolor painting and photography. An only child, Karen delved into books at an early age. Even though she escaped into story worlds, she had many cousins around her on weekends. Families are a strong theme in her novels in both her mysteries and romances. After writing romances for 20 years, she began writing women’s fiction and cozy mysteries. She hopes to write novels in all of these genres for many years to come.

Connect with Karen at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Romance Website, Mystery Website, and Blog.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a magnifying glass. The giveaway ends November 27, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

The Game with Cara Lindstrom by Alexandra Sokoloff

bitter-moonAs a ward of the court, Cara’s Thanksgiving would be entirely different from the warm holiday we generally associate with the day. This season especially I wanted to remember that not everyone is sitting down to turkey dinners and football and family.

The van turns, rolls up a curved drive toward a low, wide suburban box with two wings, a brown lawn, scruffy palm trees and a dry fountain with a dusty angel. The group home.

She gets out of the van holding her cheap backpack, containing one change of clothes: jeans and a turtleneck, and socks and a sleep shirt. All the possessions she has in the world.

She forces herself to walk up the path to the porch. She is looking at the doors, the windows, the gates, checking escape routes, even as The Game begins. The Game of Normal.

She must play it—play it and win.

She will never go back to jail, ever.

She is fourteen.

Inside the entry hall she glances around quickly, memorizing the floor plan and exits. She has been in the black hole of The Cage for two endless years. But there is nothing she doesn’t know about group homes. She has been on every level. Levels 13 and 14 serve the most troubled children; they are basically small mental institutions. This home is a Level 5: there is no psychiatrist on site, but one will come every week. There will be five other wards of the court, drugged to the gills, and a staff that changes shifts every eight to ten hours. The staff’s stated job is to watch you. Keep you from hurting yourself, the other residents, and other people. Most of the staff works for the paycheck. A few are crusaders. Others . . . others best not to think about.

She will go to school, then straight back to the home. Ask permission for everything: to get food from the refrigerator, to watch TV, use the phone, go into the backyard, or take a shower. Bedroom doors must be left open at all times. The mirrors in the bathroom will be polished steel, not glass, to prevent wards from breaking the glass and slashing their wrists.

But all told, it is better than The Cage. There are windows. There are no shackles. Little things like that. And for the moment, it is safe enough. There are worse things out there than zoned-out kids.

Much worse.

She finds the psychiatrist sitting behind an ugly desk in a long room lined with books. She sits, and he begins the way they always begin.

“How are you feeling today, Cara?”

He is already looking at her neck and it is all she can do not to lunge across the desk and scratch out his eyes.

“Fine,” she says, without inflection.

“I’ll just start by asking a few questions, all right?”

The questions are always the same:

In the past week, did you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Did you feel depressed or sad? Were you afraid of things? Did you think or worry about bad things that you have seen or have happened to you? Did you have thoughts of harming yourself? Did you have thoughts of harming someone else?

Her answers are carefully calculated. Of course she doesn’t think about harming herself. Of course she doesn’t think about harming anyone else. For some of the lesser questions, like Were you sad this week?—it’s safe to answer yes or “once or twice” or “on a few days.” That’s Normal. Every answer she gives is designed to make her appear Normal, just as every question is designed to trick her into seeming Not Normal.

And then come the crucial questions, the ones she must always answer with No.

“Are you seeing anything that shouldn’t be there?”

You mean the shadows that are more than shadows?

“No.”

“Are you hearing voices?”

Just the moon talking, and the air, and the lizards . . .

“No.”

“Any flashbacks?”

Like the monster in my room?

“No.”

“Nothing that scares you?”

“No,” she says.

No matter how she answers these questions, They will give her medication anyway. All the group home kids are medicated. She wants the medication. She would like it to work.

She sees things, of course she sees things, and hears things too, ever since The Night.

According to Them, the things she sees aren’t real. So they give her drugs to make them go away.

The problem is, they don’t.


Bitter Moon is Book 4 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, which should be read in order! Books 1-3, Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, and Cold Moon are  currently on sale on Amazon US for $1.99 each. Amazon Prime members can read Huntress Moon for free. Published by Thomas & Mercer, November 2016

FBI agent Matthew Roarke has been on leave, and in seclusion, since the capture of mass killer Cara Lindstrom—the victim turned avenger who preys on predators. Torn between devotion to the law and a powerful attraction to Cara and her lethal brand of justice, Roarke has retreated from both to search his soul. But Cara’s escape from custody and a police detective’s cryptic challenge soon draw him out of exile—into the California desert and deep into Cara’s past—to probe an unsolved murder that could be the key to her long and deadly career.

Following young Cara’s trail, Roarke uncovers a horrifying attack on a schoolgirl, the shocking suicide of another, and a human monster stalking Cara’s old high school. Separated by sixteen years, crossing paths in the present and past, Roarke and fourteen-year-old Cara must race to find and stop the sadistic sexual predator before more young women are brutalized.

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Meet the author
Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning, Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of twelve bestselling supernatural and crime thrillers. The New York Times has 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 suspense and horror scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios (Sony, Fox, Disney, Miramax), for producers such as Michael Bay, David Heyman, Laura Ziskin and Neal Moritz.

She is also the author of the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks, based on her workshops and blog. Her Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series follows a haunted FBI agent on the hunt for a female serial killer, smashing genre clichés and combatting the rise of violence against women on the page and screen. Connect with Alexandra at http://AlexandraSokoloff.com.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win an audiobook of the first three books in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, and Cold Moon). Huntress Moon is a Voice Arts Award winner for Best Narration, Mystery & Thriller. The giveaway ends November 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!