Domestic Thrillers

What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs

By George Ebey

This summer, Catharine Riggs brings us WHAT SHE NEVER SAID, the second novel in her Santa Barbara suspense series.

People are dying at a luxury retirement community—and not from natural causes. Welcome to Serenity Acres, where the super-rich go to die. This elite Santa Barbara enclave may appear bright and immaculate, but behind the iron gates, and beneath the manicured landscapes, lie dark secrets buried by golden shovels. The uber-wealthy can afford designer clothes, expensive cars, and an extravagant retirement, but even the richest among them can’t keep their secrets buried.

The Big Thrill recently checked in with Riggs to learn more about this new domestic thriller.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

I like writing characters who are at a crossroads in their lives. Characters who have spent years hiding their personas behind a cloak of invincibility only to find themselves vulnerable. Characters who are facing a crisis and are forced to question their life choices. The psychological suspense genre allows me to apply an outside threat in order to expose a hidden wrong or uncover a buried secret and see how my characters react. It’s like shoving a stick into an ant hole; which way will the vermin run?
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The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda 

By Millie Naylor Hast

The perfect home. The perfect family. What if it’s all a lie?

Jane Harris lives a beautiful, upscale life in Orange County, but exactly one year earlier, her elder daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident. Re-emerging from a haze of anti-depressants, the still-grieving Jane is determined to reclaim her life and family.

However, her husband, David, who has planned a memorial service for Mary, spends long days and nights at the office. Their younger daughter, Betsy, poised to graduate high school, seems distant and secretive. Jane’s family has changed without her. And Mary’s death may not have been as accidental as it seems.

How far will someone go to keep a family together?

And what would motivate an author to take a deep dive into this perfect world?

Kaira Rouda says she is “a product of the American suburbs. The setting I’m most familiar with is a gated community within a small, suburban town where people are fixated on keeping up with the Joneses and making sure everything seems perfect. I’m fascinated by what’s below the surface of seemingly perfect lives. That’s where my stories begin.”
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The String by Caleb Breakey 

By Charles Salzberg

Maybe it was in the stars that Caleb Breakey, who started out as a budding sports journalist, would wind up writing a crime thriller. After all, how many people do you know who, soon after returning from his honeymoon, wind up as a suspect in a bank robbery?

“My wife Brittney and I, just back from our honeymoon, were in a bank I’d been going to since I was a kid, to deposit our wedding checks. It just so happened that someone was robbing it while we were there. We made the deposit and drove away in a yellow Mustang, with a ‘Just Married’ sign on the back of it. Someone described our car to the police and they chased us down as we were headed out to Brittney’s family for a surprise dinner. We were pulled over on an overpass during rush hour traffic. They had me get out of the car, put my hands on my head, and drop to my knees. We were cuffed and read our rights. And the really weird thing was that one of the police officer’s daughters was the flower girl at our wedding—not that that did us much good.”

In the end, after concluding that the Breakeys had nothing to do with the robbery—just a classic case of wrong place at the wrong time—the police apologized. “They said, ‘Hey, these things happen and is there anything we can do for you?’ I said, ‘Well, this is still our honeymoon, so do you mind if we take a picture with you?’”

For a writer, nothing goes to waste and Breakey wound up writing about the incident for the “Here Comes the Bride” edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
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One Small Sacrifice by Hilary Davidson

By Guy Bergstrom

It can be impossible to ever know the full truth about a crime. Eyewitnesses don’t have perfect recall, and fingerprints and DNA evidence aren’t the magical solutions that shows like CSI would have you believe.

But how far would you go, and how much would you risk, to seek out justice and prevent future victims from being murdered—without locking up the wrong person?

That tension is at the heart of the new novel by Hilary Davidson, ONE SMALL SACRIFICE, told from alternating points of view: the detective and the suspect.

ONE SMALL SACRIFICE debuts a new hero, NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling, coming after Davidson wrote the acclaimed Lily Moore series.

Davidson has won the Derringer, Crimespree and Spinetingler awards along with two Anthony’s. Impressive—though she didn’t start out writing fiction.

She began her writing career as a journalist, publishing 18 travel books. That background gave her a bit in common with the other point-of-view character in her latest thriller: Alex Traynor, a wartime photojournalist suffering from PTSD.

The Big Thrill caught up with her in the middle of her book tour for her new publisher, Thomas and Mercer, to ask her about the debut of her latest character.
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Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova

By Nish Amarnath

Approximately 6.7 million women face struggles with fertility in the US alone, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. That makes up about 11 percent of the country’s reproductive population. The global in vitro fertilization business is valued at roughly $16.7 billion and is projected to reach a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2 percent by 2026.

Despite this billowing market and a proliferation of fertility clinics and agencies that ensure anonymity for egg donors, legal systems are often ill-equipped to deal with personal, emotional, and spiritual conflicts that can arise in various permutations and combinations through the process.

In her debut novel, HER DAUGHTER’S MOTHER, accomplished New York City-based writer Daniela Petrova deftly weaves the sensitivities of psychological conflicts embedded in this reality into an intriguing web of domestic suspense.

Lana Stone has everything going for her—Bulgarian beauty, smarts, a coveted gig as an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a loving, long-term relationship with Columbia University professor Tyler, and an apartment at the verdant Morningside Heights neighborhood near the Columbia campus. At least, that’s what one would assume if meeting Lana for the first time.

But things are not as they seem. To begin with, Lana can’t get pregnant. After years of struggling to conceive, Lana and Tyler resign themselves to the last resort, a choice that eats into a sizable chunk of their savings: using an egg donor.
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Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

By Austin S. Camacho

If you’re looking for a powerful psychological thriller and an emotionally complex story with more twists and turns than a corkscrew, look no further than Kimberly Belle’s DEAR WIFE.

The central plot line of this novel follows a woman creating a new identity for herself while escaping an abusive marriage. However, as the author explains, she’s really telling three stories here. The central heroine is Beth Murphy on the run from her controlling and abusive husband.

“For months she’s been planning her escape,” Belle says. “Saving grocery money, thinking through the various strategies, coming up with a plan. One day when her husband is at work, she finds her chance. She steers her car westward to leave a trail of clues, then doubles back and disappears into Atlanta. It’s essential she make no mistakes, because Beth knows as soon as her husband finds her, she’s dead. She’s an abused woman in the midst of reclaiming her strength, so while she probably wouldn’t be the best conversation partner at a cocktail party, she makes a kick-ass heroine. Brave. Determined. Stronger than she realizes. Willing to risk everything for her freedom and the chance to rebuild her life.”

Beth does make some interesting decisions and friends, folks like her who are running from their own secret past. Despite everything she’s been through, she never forgets to be kind.
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New York Minute by Bob Mayer

By Dan Levy

Considering that his latest book, NEW YORK MINUTE, is Bob Mayer’s 77th published novel, it might be hard to believe that he can still find new avenues of character development to explore.

In fact, the protagonist in Mayer’s latest novel mirrors much of his own life—both lived in the Bronx in the 1970s, both went to West Point, both are Special Forces veterans. However, a health discovery in Mayer’s personal life helped give rise to Will Kane, a hero with an unusual inner battle to fight, in addition to the conflicts that surround him.

In this The Big Thrill interview, Mayer shares more about his prolific writing journey, and gives us insight into his new thriller, NEW YORK MINUTE.

You seem to have a wide variety of interests relative to your fiction writing. Why does that appeal to you as opposed to taking a single character and exploring him across 20 to 30 novels?

My career would be an example of bad advice to aspiring authors. I’ve written whatever has interested me, including nonfiction. Don’t do that! Or do. Rules are made to be broken. I’ve written a lot of science fiction, including the almost 3-million copy selling Area 51 series. I started in the thriller genre with the Green Beret series, and now I’m back there, so I’ve completed an interesting circle.
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Her Secret Son by Hannah Mary McKinnon

When Josh’s longtime partner, Grace, dies in a tragic accident, he is left with a mess of grief—and full custody of her seven-year-old son, Logan. While not his biological father, Josh has been a dad to Logan in every way that counts, and with Grace gone, Logan needs him more than ever.

Wanting to do right by Logan, Josh begins the process of becoming his legal guardian—something that seems suddenly urgent, though Grace always brushed it off as an unnecessary formality. But now, as Josh struggles to find the paperwork associated with Logan’s birth, he begins to wonder whether there were more troubling reasons for Grace’s reluctance to make their family official.

As he digs deeper into the past of the woman he loved, Josh soon finds that there are many dark secrets to uncover, and that the truth about where Logan came from is much more sinister than he could have imagined…

Author Hannah Mary McKinnon spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, HER SECRET SON:
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The Art of Deception by Louise Mangos

Art college dropout Lucie arrives in a Swiss ski resort looking for work – but instead finds Mathieu.

Handsome, charismatic and from a good family, Matt seems like the perfect man. But as Lucie soon discovers, he has a dark side – one that will drive their relationship to a dramatic conclusion, and tear the life she has built for herself and their son apart.

Left fighting for her freedom in a foreign prison, and starting to lose her grip on reality, Lucie must summon all of her strength to uncover the truth and be reunited with her son before it’s too late.

The clock is ticking…but who can she trust?

The Big Thrill caught up to author Louise Mangos for a quick discussion about her latest thriller, THE ART OF DECEPTION:
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Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.

BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf recently took some time to discuss her latest thriller, BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND, with The Big Thrill:
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Widows’ Revenge by Lynda La Plante

Against all the odds, Dolly Rawlins and her gangland widows managed the impossible: a heist their husbands had failed to pull off – at the cost of their lives.

But though they may be in the money, they’re far from easy street.

Shocked by her husband’s betrayal, Dolly discovers Harry Rawlins isn’t dead. He knows where the four women are and he wants them to pay. And he doesn’t just mean getting his hands on the money.

The women can’t keep running. They have to get Harry out of their lives for good. But can they outwit a criminal mastermind who won’t hesitate to kill?

Especially when one of them has a plan of her own…to kill or be killed.
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The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace  

By Basil Sands

Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, award-winning mystery writer Cathy Ace is now proudly Canadian, though she keeps her homeland in her heart. Her novels and short stories, often featuring Welsh sleuths rooting out murderers at home and abroad, have been produced for BBC Radio 4, honored with the Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery, and shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Arthur Ellis Awards.

Though Ace is best known for her Cait Morgan traditional mysteries and her WISE Enquiries Agency cozies, her latest release is a sharp stylistic departure.

Ace took some time to chat with The Big Thrill about THE WRONG BOY, a gritty, atmospheric psychological thriller about a murder investigation that exposes the dark underside of a picturesque Welsh village.

Cathy, tell us about THE WRONG BOY.

Thanks for allowing me the chance to focus on my 13th novel—I’m hoping it’s a number that’ll turn out to be lucky for me. It’s easier to tell you that I didn’t want to write a police procedural. One of the lead characters is a Detective Inspector days from retirement. The DI is married to a psychotherapist, who is most definitely not retiring. At the heart of the story is a trio of women—three generations of the Jones family—who live and run a pub in a remote Welsh clifftop village. The book is about how the discovery of human remains close to the village impacts their lives in unexpected ways…with deadly results.
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Missing Daughter by Rick Mofina

Life can change in an instant. For Ryan and Karen Lane, it happens on the morning they discover their 12-year-old daughter’s window open, their beloved Maddie missing from her bed.

Police investigate. Suspicions swirl. A teenage boy admits he was outside her bedroom window the night she disappeared. A halfway house for convicts recently opened in the neighborhood. The Lane family is thrown into turmoil, then detectives turn their sights on them.

No one is ruled out. Not Karen, with her tragic past, who argued with her daughter. Not Ryan, with his violent streak. Not Maddie’s 13-year-old brother, Tyler, who heard voices in her room the night she vanished.

Days, weeks, months, then agonizing years go by without answers, the Lanes fearing that Maddie is gone forever…until a stunning twist shocks everyone, plunging the family deeper into a world of buried secrets whose revelations threaten the very foundation of their lives.

The Big Thrill caught up with award-winning author Rick Mofina to discuss his latest thriller, MISSING DAUGHTER:
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House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

Divorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, she and Pete Conley have a perfectly blended family. To celebrate their anniversary, they grab some precious moments of alone time and leave Pete’s son Kip, a high school senior, in charge of Leigh’s 14-year-old daughter Chrissy at their home.

Driving back on a rainy Friday night, their cell phones start ringing. After a raucous party celebrating his college acceptance to Duke and his upcoming birthday, Kip was arrested for drunk driving after his truck crashed into a tree. And he wasn’t alone—Chrissy was with him.

Twelve hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip is charged with manslaughter.

Kip has always been a notorious troublemaker, but he’s also a star student with a dazzling future ahead of him. At first, Leigh does her best to rally behind Pete and help Kip through his ordeal. Until he changes his story, and claims that he wasn’t driving after all—Chrissy was, and he swears there is a witness.

Leigh is stunned that he would lie about such a thing, while Pete clutches onto the story as the last, best hope to save his son, throwing his energy and money into finding this elusive witness. As they hurtle toward Kip’s trial date, husband and wife are torn between loyalty to their children and to each other, while the mystery of what really happened that night intensifies.

Former trial lawyer-turned-author Bonnie Kistler took a break from writing to speak with The Big Thrill about her latest book, HOUSE ON FIRE:
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Only When I Sleep by E. V. Lind

By George Ebey

This month, E. V. Lind brings us her new domestic thriller, ONLY WHEN I SLEEP. It’s the first of a planned trilogy from the pseudonymous author, who has penned more than 40 titles—including several USA Today bestsellers—under another name.

Discovering she’s pregnant gives Beth Campbell the impetus to break free of Detective Dan Henderson’s narcissistic and brutal control, but Dan won’t let go easily. Terrified, she runs for her life, but is her refuge even more dangerous? When Beth finds the diaries of a woman who’s been missing since 1942, the ghosts of the past are unleashed on her present with menacing fury.

Meanwhile, forced to assimilate back into “normal” life in Riverbend, Oregon, war-weary veteran Ryan Jones is laden with survivor’s guilt. Which is why he’s pissed when he ends up with a secretive, vulnerable housesitter he’d be a fool to trust. His plans for a quiet life are shattered by Beth, the undead, and her homicidal ex, and Ryan is thrust back into a protector role to save them both. Hunted in the present, haunted by the past—they must learn to trust each other to survive.

The Big Thrill recently checked in with Lind to learn more about her new thriller.

Tell us about your main character, Beth Campbell. What has her journey been like up until now?

Beth Campbell’s life had few complications until the death of her parents in a road accident. Grief-stricken, she gave up finishing her studies and returned home, and since that time she has cleared her parents’ debts and continued to live simply in the family home while working in a local diner. Broken in spirit and directionless, she was ripe pickings for narcissistic detective Dan Henderson, who carefully groomed her before beginning to control everything she did, said, wore, or thought. Only when she discovered she was pregnant did she find the courage to break free of Dan’s growing violent control of her.
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Sophie Last Seen by Marlene Adelstein

By Millie Naylor Hast

Can you imagine how a mother would feel if her only daughter went missing? How she would feel, six years later, if the child still hadn’t been found? Author Marlene Adelstein took on these questions in her debut thriller, SOPHIE LAST SEEN.

Jesse Albright is a grief-stricken, self-destructive mess. Her daughter, Sophie would be 16 now, and Jesse haunts the mall where Sophie disappeared—where for only a minute or two—she took her eyes off her daughter. The guilt is unbearable. Every scrap of discarded paper or bit of rock seems to carry a clue as to where Sophie is, to the point that she hoards trash by the boxful. Her marriage has fallen apart, but she won’t give up on her daughter.

Sophie’s best friend, Star Silverman, begins work at her father’s bookstore, where Jesse also works, and an uncomfortable alliance begins. Sophie’s disappearance haunts Star as well, and she hides her own secrets that may hold the key to Sophie’s whereabouts. Tension builds to a boiling point as these two wounded souls come together to discover the truth.

New York Times bestselling author Beth Hoffman says SOPHIE LAST SEEN is “a gripping tale of heartbreak and eternal hope.” USA Today bestselling author Alison Gaylin calls it “unique, mysterious, and thoroughly absorbing.”

The Big Thrill caught up with Adelstein to learn more about her engrossing story.
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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

By K. L. Romo

One problem with having bipolar disorder is that sometimes people think you’re crazy. Even your own husband. And especially when you suspect you’re living next to a murderer.

In Peter Swanson’s new psychological thriller, BEFORE SHE KNEW HIM, Hen Mazur and Lloyd Harding have just moved to their new house in West Dartford, 45 minutes from Boston. Hen will use the converted warehouse down the street as her art studio—she’s a printmaker and illustrates children’s books. This new house and neighborhood will give her a fresh start.

Hen hasn’t had an “episode” for two years, since she started the medication cocktail that mended her broken brain, stabilized her moods, and tempered her paranoia and crippling depression.

At a neighborhood barbeque, Hen and Lloyd meet their next-door neighbors, Mira and Matthew Dolamore—another couple who doesn’t have kids and weren’t planning on any. The neighbors are pleasant enough, Matthew even charming. Until Hen notices a Junior Olympics fencing trophy on Matthew’s office mantel. It looks just like the trophy stolen from Dustin Miller, a young guy murdered in his apartment. Is it a coincidence that Dustin graduated from Sussex Hall where Matthew is a teacher? No way. But if Hen goes to the police, will anyone take her seriously?

Spying on Matthew is the only way she can prove he’s a murderer, and what she discovers terrifies her. To get the proof she needs, she must get to know him better. Is he a vigilante protecting women from abuse, or a psychotic killer?

How ironic that the only one who believes Hen’s accusations about Matthew being a killer is Matthew.
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One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt

Her son accidentally kills a man.

They cover it up.

Then everything goes wrong.

When eighteen-year-old Joshua Mayo takes a man’s life in a horrible accident, he leaves the scene without reporting the crime to the police. He hopes to put the awful night behind him and move on with his life. But, of course, he ends up telling his mother, Karen, what happened.

Karen has raised Joshua on her own in Cedar Rapids, Iowa–and she’d thought they’d finally made it. He was doing well in school and was only months from starting college. After hearing his dark confession, she is forced to make a choice no parent should have to make, one that draws them both into a web of deceit that will change their lives forever–if they make it out alive….
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The Sidewinder by Simon Maltman

By K. L. Romo

In his new mystery/thriller The Sidewinder, Simon Maltman inserts the murders of two former band members into the lives of the fictitious former nineties rock group, Sidewinder. Although the members have split and now lead separate lives—a politician, a policeman, a journalist, and a session musician—they reunite to investigate who murdered two of them, and why.

Maltman let The Big Thrill pick his brain about his love of music and how THE SIDEWINDER came to be.

You’re a member of the band The Hung Jury. What compelled you to write a mystery about former members of a band? Did you pull any of the story from real life?

I’ve always been in various bands since I was a teenager. Yes, I still play with a few groups now. There are definitely a couple of real-life stories I’ve popped into this book, and I have done that in the past too. I am a big fan of lots of different types of music; music tends to play a big part in my writing. Writing THE SIDEWINDER gave me the chance to have music as a central part.

I had the initial idea for the book in the shower one day—a nineties band where former members are suspiciously dying. The main arc of the story came quickly, actually mostly before I got dried. I then roughly planned-out the story before I started writing.
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Avenue of Regrets by R. J. Pineiro

I was happy once. I just didn’t know it. I had a family. I had friends. I had a good job. And one day it all ended.

There are defining moments in people’s lives, times forever etched in our minds. Some are good. Others not so. For David Wallace, there was no worse time than receiving the news of his family’s death while confined to a jail cell on murder charges.

Seven years later, David has moved on with his life, having started a non-profit shelter for battered women, still haunted by the indiscretion which changed his world forever. But there are dark forces in play demanding a reckoning. As he’s besieged by past demons, David discovers enemies and crimes so heinous and so far reaching, they threaten to propel him down another avenue of regrets.

The Big Thrill caught up with internationally-acclaimed author R. J. Pineiro to discuss his newest thriller, AVENUE OF REGRETS:
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Who I Am by Sarah Simpson

Andi met Camilla at university. Instantly best friends, they shared everything together. Until their long-planned graduation celebration ends in tragedy…

Years later, Andi is living a seemingly perfect life on the rugged Cornish Coast with her loving husband, happy children and dream home. Yet Andi is haunted by a secret she thought only she knew.

Someone out there is bringing Andi’s deepest fears to life. And she knows there’s no escaping the past that has come back to haunt her…

You trusted me with your secrets, you told me everything, you thought I was your best friend… but you have no idea WHO I AM.

Gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns from the first page to the very last, this stunning psychological thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love.

Author Sarah Simpson met with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest psychological thriller, WHO I AM:
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Pushback by John E. Stith

Ordinary Hijacked by Extraordinary, With Comedy

By K. L. Romo

Dave Barlow is just an ordinary guy whose existence is suddenly hijacked by wildly extraordinary circumstances.

When Dave takes his new love, Cathy, to the high school reunion he’s not even sure he wants to attend, he’s shocked that not one person remembers him. And he doesn’t recognize them either. Is he losing his mind? After all, he’s long suffered from PTSD—first from witnessing the murder-suicide of his mother and father when he was a boy, and then from the horrible car crash that killed his fiancée and left him mangled, both inside and out. Maybe he needs to go to therapy more often?

But hours before the reunion, someone had fired two bullets into his car door and then turned the holes into a smiley face. At first dismissing the damage as a random act of vandalism, Dave now realizes that the reunion fiasco was a set-up, and the two hateful acts are connected. As he tries to piece the puzzle together, eerie things continue to happen. Someone isn’t just trying to ruin Dave’s life—they’re trying to kill him. Can he determine who is behind the vendetta against him and stop it before they stop him?
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Kauai Killer by R. Barri Flowers

KAUAI KILLER will take readers from life on the mainland to the beautiful paradise of Hawaii in a suspenseful and psychological domestic drama of love, obsession, vengeance, and murder.

Ian Butler, 35 and a successful stockbroker, loved his gorgeous wife Suzanna, who was three years younger, and wanted nothing more than to see her get past unwarranted fears of infidelity on his part. But after doing a colleague an innocent favor, Ian’s life turns upside down in ways he could never have anticipated in his worst nightmares.

Suzanna is shot to death in their home and Ian is arrested and charged with her murder, implicated by the victim herself in a 911 call. Though the evidence points toward guilt, a good defense lawyer wins him an acquittal.

Relocating to Kauai, Hawaii, Ian starts a new career as a writer of financial thrillers and begins a relationship with an attractive artist named Jeri Chen, while keeping his painful past where it belongs.

Unbeknownst to Ian, Jeri has secrets of her own. With a new identity, she is on the run from a hitman working for a notorious Dallas, Texas, drug kingpin. She wound up on Kauai, where life was laid-back and people minded their own business.

But the past found a way to catch up to both of them in ways neither could have expected, placing their lives in danger and their future in doubt.
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What She Gave Away by Catharine Riggs

Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game. Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite pastime. Devious and unpolished, the formidable loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns.

Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.

Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.

The Big Thrill had the opportunity to speak with author Catherine Riggs about her debut novel, WHAT SHE GAVE AWAY:
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Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell

By Jaden Terrell

Academia isn’t known for its acceptance of genre writers. We’re all familiar with the stereotype of staid professors at a faculty party looking with disdain at the lowly thriller or romance author. But David Bell, bestselling thriller writer and associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University, has received only support from his colleagues. He knows some people categorize genre fiction as lesser, but the line between literary and genre fiction is often thin. “I understood that there is that difference,” he acknowledges, “but I never got too hung up on it.”

Bell’s father helped shape his eclectic literary tastes. He recalls, “My dad read all the time when I was growing up, and he read a lot of popular fiction. He read Westerns, he read mystery novels, he read spy novels, and so I was always interested in that. When I graduated from college and had more time to read on my own, I started reading more and more mystery writers and thrillers. There was a time not long after college when I read just a ton of Elmore Leonard books and Robert B. Parker and people like that, so I never thought you had to choose between the two. I think sometimes these differentiations between what is literary and what is genre are artificial, and I think it’s probably harmful more than anything else.”

Bell is both the director of the university’s MFA program in creative writing and the author of eight novels from Berkley/Penguin. His work has been translated into numerous foreign languages, and his 2011 novel Cemetery Girl won the prestigious Prix Polar International de Cognac for best crime novel by an international author. Asked how he balances his work at the university with his life as a bestselling novelist, he says, “I like to teach. And honestly, I’m not sure I could be doing this if I had a different kind of job. I mean, I’m expected to publish—publish or perish, and all that—so there’s time for writing built into my schedule. It’s really ideal.”

Let’s welcome Bell to The Big Thrill to discuss his new release, SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER.
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Her Greatest Mistake by Sarah Simpson

By Terri Nolan

Sarah Simpson has a decade of experience within the mental health field working with vulnerable people at difficult times. As a private psychological therapist and a consultant for a regional group of family solicitors, she has supported families through times of relationship breakdown and divorce.

It’s natural then, that her debut novel draws from this practice. HER GREATEST MISTAKE is a domestic thriller filled with psychological tension and twitchy, nerve-ending emotion.

Eve and Gregg are the perfect couple. Or so it seems. But when the shades are drawn, their relationship is a study in how a seemingly perfect marriage can be toxic. She is held prisoner in a world of abuse by a truth known only to her. Eve had made detrimental choices in life based on misunderstandings; hindsight cruelly judged her. This perceptual outlook almost seals her fate. Eve’s plight and her need to protect her son drives her resolve to escape by any means.

What was Eve’s greatest mistake? Marrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive? Simpson took time out of her schedule to share some insight about HER GREATEST MISTAKE with readers of The Big Thrill.
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My Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay

YOU CAN ONLY HIDE FOR SO LONG…

Lizzie Bradshaw. A student from the Lake District, forced to work away from home, who witnesses a terrible crime. But who will ultimately pay the price?

Emma Taylor. A mother, a wife, and a woman with a dangerous secret. Can she keep her beloved family safely together?

Stella Taylor. A disaffected teenager, determined to discover what her mother is hiding. But how far will she go to uncover the truth?

And one man, powerful, manipulative and cunning, who controls all their destinies.

The Big Thrill spent some time with author Sanjida Kay discussing her latest thriller, MY MOTHER’S SECRET:
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Empty Promises by James M. Jackson

Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

His client is to testify in a Chicago money laundering trial. He’s paranoid that with a price on his head, if the police know where he’s staying, the information will leak. Seamus promised his business partner and lover, Abigail Hancock, that he’d keep the witness safe at the McCree family camp located deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s woods.

Abigail is furious at his incompetence and their relationship flounders. Even his often-helpful son, Paddy, must put family safety ahead of helping his father. Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back Abigail. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hitman is on his way.

EMPTY PROMISES author James M. Jackson spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller:
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Sanctuary of Lies by Chad Bishop

There are 4.7 billion searchable sites that make up 10% of the web; the other 90% is dedicated to the “Dark Web.” Within that environment there is a thriving economy where everything is for sale: Sex, Armies and Code for hire. Well-known companies buy and sell for governments and NGO’s (non-governmental organizations). They appear as benign legal boutique companies and consultants, but their true purpose is to be the middlemen/cyber lynchpins for these illicit goods and services.​

Isabella Nunez​ owns a computer firm in Brooklyn with her lover Jacob Costa. Accepting her infertility, they have a blue nose pit bull called Justice as their “child” and live simple lives as techy nerds. Isabella’s idyllic life is shattered when several days after her lover’s ex-wife, Simone Johns’, reported death, Simone sends Jacob an email to come save their child, which he didn’t know they had.

SANCTUARY OF LIES author Chad Bishop took time out of his busy schedule to discuss his latest thriller with The Big Thrill:
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Killer Choice by Tom Hunt

By Karen Harper

The shadow of Hitchcock looms large in KILLER CHOICE, the debut novel from Tom Hunt. The fast-paced domestic thriller centers on Gary and Beth Foster, a happily married couple whose lives are upended when Beth—pregnant with their first child—is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. A sliver of hope comes in the form of an expensive treatment abroad and a stranger who offers to cover the cost, but there’s one small catch: in order to collect the cash and save Beth’s life, Gary must commit a cold-blooded murder.

On the eve of KILLER CHOICE’s release, Hunt sat down with The Big Thrill to talk about the thorny path he laid out for his protagonist, and his own journey from unpublished novelist to debut author.
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