MYSTERIES & SUSPENSE:
BREADCRUMBS AND BOMBS (Book One in the Tangled Roots Series) will be released in early January, 2013.
Twenty-eight year old Lucas Landry, a Sacramento, California native, is a counseling psychologist specializing in drug abuse treatment, yet couldn’t save his own opioid-addicted father. His feelings about his father and his death get complicated when he discovers his father hid many secrets about their ancestry from Lucas and his brother. Lucas embarks on a journey to find answers: What secrets had his father hidden, who are the Landrys, and where did they come from? Are Lucas and his estranged brother destined to repeat their ancestors’ mistakes? A hidden attic in Lucas’s father’s old Victorian house is a goldmine of memorabilia and clues from the past, clues which seem to lead to Nazi Germany and the former Sudetenland, breadcrumbs to other lives.
Ten year old Christa Nagel is an ethnic German living in the Sudetenland near the Polish border in 1943 with her parents and five younger siblings. When her father is conscripted into the Wehrmacht, leaving Christa and family alone to fend for themselves, she is horrified and worried for him. After a while, though, she’s not sure which is worse, fighting in the war or trying to keep their family together and safe. When the war ends, she and her family, as well as millions of other ethnic Germans face expulsion from their home, marched away into the unknown.
Fifteen year old Ilse Seidel, a German girl living in a small Bavarian city, knows more about danger than anyone her age should know. She’s survived bombings, lost loved ones, and witnessed Jewish friends being carted away from their homes. She wants nothing to do with the war or with soldiers. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she finds a wounded soldier in need of help.
Lucas is determined to assemble these breadcrumbs, find out how their stories intertwine, and reveal his ancestry. Will what he learns make him feel better about himself and his family, or worse? Breadcrumbs and Bombs is about secrets, lies, prejudice, betrayal, guilt, love, genealogy, and what it means to be a family.
IN THE SHADOWS (Book One in The Outsiders Series) was released on October 30, 2013. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon.com, and it’s available in paperback on Barnes and Noble.com.
There is a stranger amongst the residents of the cave-riddled village of Reynier, France. Suspicious, they believe there’s only one reason Maurelle Dupre would be lurking in their small village—she’s a gypsy, a thief. But a former Chicago detective turned mystery author, Dave Martin, who happens to be visiting his French grandmother, isn’t so sure about the beautiful stranger when happenstance causes them to meet. He wonders why she seems so frightened and distrustful. He knows he shouldn’t get involved. The last time he trusted a woman in distress, the consequences resulted in the loss of his detective’s shield and his wife. But, as always, the detective in him can’t seem to leave well enough alone.
However, what Dave couldn’t know is how persuading Maurelle to reveal herself will ultimately unveil something far worse than mere theft.
In the Shadows is a story of trust, belonging, and murder.
WHERE SECRETS RESIDE (Book Two in The Outsiders Series) was released on March 26, 2014.
In Reynier, France, a sleepy hillside village peppered with ancient picturesque troglodyte cave dwellings, the locals value their privacy and their quiet life. Few tourists know it exits, which suits the locals just fine.
One day, after a torrential storm, a townswoman happens across a terrified soaked toddler sitting alone in the woods. She brings the toddler into town, but no one recognizes the child. Suspecting the child’s parents—rare tourists perhaps—must be lost or in trouble nearby, the locals organize a search party to find them. Their search leads instead to the discovery of a murder victim, another stranger, in one of the caves. As the investigation gets underway, the situation heats up. The residents of this once peaceful close-knit village find themselves terrorized by a possible serial killer. Facing their own mortality, they wonder whether the killer is an outsider, or one of their own? And who will be the next victim?
Captain Pascal Goddard of the local Gendarmerie has his hands full; he must solve the biggest murder case the region has ever seen. The residents will not let him rest until he uncovers the killer’s identity, putting a stop to the killing so a frantic village can return to normal. But as the list of suspects grows, some begin to worry that past history will paint them as guilty even if they are not; at least not of murder.
WINTER TEARS (Book Three in The Outsiders Series and Book Two in The Project Chameleon Suspense/Mainstream Series) was released on June 16, 2015.
Mystery in a French village . . .
Gendarme captain Pascal Goddard looks forward to taking a break from work to focus his attention on his wife Chantal and the birth of their first child. Two weeks before their baby’s due date, a couple who recently moved into a troglo in the nearby village of Reynier, France, report their baby missing. When Chantal finds out, worried for the safety of their unborn baby and for the missing baby, she begs her husband to find the child. Hours later, the unexpected happens to Chantal.
Torn between sitting at Chantal’s bedside and praying for a miracle or doing his job and fulfilling what may be her last wish, Goddard must decide soon; the missing baby, if abandoned out on the snowy hillside or left in Reynier’s labyrinthine cave system, won’t survive for long.
He brings in the Gendarmerie’s canine unit and personally interviews the short list of suspects, including the baby’s parents and her five-year-old brother. With few leads, and severe weather threatening to impede the investigation, Goddard is anxious. And then, three more people—including the baby’s brother whom Goddard has become fond of—disappear. Now Goddard puts his own life in danger to find them all.
THE FORGOTTEN TOMB (Book Four in The Outsiders Series) was released on May 21, 2017.
Seventy-nine-year-old Fabienne Laurent’s biggest fear is that her family will notice her memory problems are getting worse. If they do, she’s sure they’ll send her to live in a nursing home, away from everyone and everything she loves. That’s what she and her husband did when her own mother’s dementia caused them too much grief. Not taking care of her mother the way a daughter should is one of her biggest regrets, but she can’t undo the past. At best, she can keep her own family from making the same mistake, at least until they have no choice.
With that decision made, she’ll have to cover up her illness as long as possible. Maybe that won’t be a problem. They haven’t noticed, so far . . . . But, she soon discovers it might not be as easy as she’d hoped. While helping her daughter and son-in-law renovate their new hotel in the small French village of Reynier, she finds mysterious journals that lead them to the unearthing of an old tomb deep inside the town’s caves—and also to the remains of a woman who was murdered twenty years ago. That discovery turns her world upside down, because Fabienne not only knew the victim, but also had a motive to kill her. She must find a way to recover lost memories and convince herself and everyone else that she didn’t do it.
The Forgotten Tomb is a story about family bonds, aging, regrets, trust, and forgiveness.
The Handyman (Book One in The Chambre Noir Cozy Mystery Series) was released on November 26, 2015.
Twenty-six-year-old Joshua Clayton is on a lavish vacation in Paris with his parents, his gorgeous fiancé and her parents. He soon discovers a terrible betrayal, driving him to leave. Putting distance from them while he sorts through his emotions, he accepts a temporary job as handyman for an elderly woman, Paulette Lapierre, in a small French village.
Unfortunately, Paulette doesn’t tell him until he arrives that she’s dying and has hired him because she also needs a strong and reliable caregiver. Though he’s not happy being misled, he’s not ready to go home and deal with his troubles, and reluctantly agrees to do double duty—as caregiver and handyman—and stay with her until the end.
The job isn’t easy, there are age-and-cultural differences, and Paulette lives far outside town in a hilltop troglo cave home. But an unexpected friendship develops with the free-spirited retired dancer, and eventually new romance with a young semi-reclusive baker, Isabelle Bernot.
Only, as Josh gets to know Paulette better, he discovers she has secrets she’d hoped to take to her grave. As those secrets surface the three of them are inexorably drawn into an investigation that changes everything and everyone.
LIARS’ GAMES (Book One of The Project Chameleon Suspense/Mainstream Series) was released on July 8, 2014.
A genius college professor who hates lying is stuck in witness protection, along with her three-year-old son. Through a political maneuver, she ends up working as a principal at a high school full of gangs, drug dealers, and disgruntled employees. She’s in over her head and terrified, especially when she finds out a stranger is watching her and her son, but her handler can’t or won’t move her. She must figure out how to survive in a world where everyone seems out to get her. It’s a book that on the surface deals with school violence and fear, but at the heart of it is a woman’s struggle with lying and deception, trust, self-identity, and what at times feels like the moral decline of society.
THE SECRET TOWN (Book Three of The Project Chameleon Suspense/Mainstream Series)
This is a book in progress.
TIME TRAVEL MYSTERIES:
INHERIT THE PAST (Book One in the Bavarian Woods Series) was released on November 8, 2014.
When laid-off California architect, Max Hollander, inherits his grandparents’ house in Bavaria, it seems like the perfect opportunity to start over. If all goes well, he’ll sell it and make enough money to tide him over. More importantly, he hopes taking his antagonistic son Ryan on the trip will help rebuild their trust in each other and maybe even give them a chance to investigate a longstanding mystery that has haunted their family.
Twenty years ago while Max’s mother was staying at her parents’ house in Riesen, Germany, she and her father disappeared, never to be heard from again. Now, as they search unsuccessfully for that same house, Max and Ryan become lost until they serendipitously meet three Germans who help them find it. But their luck is short-lived: before day’s end they will get swept back in time . . . with no way to return to the present.
Realizing the same thing may have happened to his missing relatives, Max and companions set out to find them. Their quest soon embroils the hapless group in a murder investigation that widens the rift between father and son and places both lives in danger.
Inherit the Past is a story of family, love/relationships, guilt, and redemption.
TANGLEWOOD GROTTO (Book Two in the Bavarian Woods Series was released on August 8, 2016)
Buried lies and tangled secrets threaten the lives of two time traveling families in the sequel to Inherit the Past. Seventy-six-year-old Lotte Furst doesn’t know who she can trust. Her time traveling brother (the only person who can operate time portals) was supposed to send her back home—to 2009—but he double-crossed her. She only got partially back. Within days, she was again in 1789 Bavaria, stuck and in grave danger.
And why? Before her failed attempt to get home, she had written a letter confessing to a murder she didn’t commit. The letter was meant to help fellow time traveler, Karl Kimmel, and atone Lotte’s past mistakes. It shouldn’t have affected her future, since she was supposed to be out of harm’s way. Now that her good deed has backfired, Lotte is on the run and hiding in a grotto like an animal because, if caught by the Bavarian Feldgendarms, she’ll go to prison. Her only hope is to find her wily brother and persuade him to send her back where she belongs.
Karl knows where her brother is and Karl owes her. Trouble is, Karl lives in a big town where danger of capture looms. Plus, he has a granddaughter who wants to see Lotte caught and brought to justice. Lotte’s visit with Karl sets off an explosive chain reaction affecting everyone she knows in the past—including estranged family members she originally time traveled with four months ago. People go missing. People die. And secrets get spilled.
Jane Risdon said:
Busy, busy, busy Susan. Good luck with all these and I hope you get a publisher for Chameleon soon. It is a slog when all you want to do is write and share it with like-minded folk…I’m sure you will prevail.
Susan Finlay said:
Thanks! I hope so.
Jane Risdon said:
I am sure you shall. 🙂
All those titles in progress! How do you find the time to write and help everyone with theirs? Like Jane, I wish you every success finding a publisher for Chameleon very soon. Keep at it girl!!
Susan Finlay said:
Thanks, Phyllis! I’m having trouble deciding which book to focus on. I’m excited about all of them.
P.J Roscoe said:
Lots of books in progress – spread yourself too thin – nothing gets finished! Choose one and go for it x
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The Unsinkable Molly Brown also lived in Hannibal for a short time as a young girl. Her house is still there and was pointed out to us just up the street and off to the left.