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In ANCHORED BY DEATH, Police Chief Jo Oliver needed a little time to herself. But when her escape to Wisconsin turns deadly, she teams up with FBI agent Nick Vitarello, hoping to catch the Bow Tie Killer. Their romantic past and complicated present leads them into uncharted territory as they match wits with a psychopath bent on destroying everything they hold dear.

The Big Thrill recently caught up with Catherine Finger to discuss her latest novel, ANCHORED BY DEATH:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Renewal-restoration-redemption. It’s really the message of The Cross—with a few twists thrown in!

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I think anyone who loves a good thriller with a spiritual kick will really love this book. My characters are gritty, imperfect human beings grappling with the vagaries of life. I write with a soft spot for anyone who has faced loss and found beauty in the new growth left behind as the old grass withers away.

Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?

Detective Lisa Bhatt surprised the stew out of me as I wrote ANCHORED BY DEATH! What began as a bit part grew into a really important element in the story and by the end of this instalment of the Jo Oliver Thriller series, Bhatt becomes a solid fixture in my story world. I did not plan that and I cannot get enough of this new character and the dimensions of Josie we see reflected in Bhatt as their relationship develops. I’m happy to say that Bhatt and Josie are going strong as I write book four as well.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

Hold onto your hats Jo Oliver fans—stuff happens in book three! ANCHORED BY DEATH springs from my love of the outdoors in general and all-things Wisconsin. I kept referring to it as a ‘romp through Wisconsin’ to my friends as I was writing it and I hiked, biked, and kayaked every route along the way. I love, love, love the ending and the surprising addition of a bold new character—Lisa Bhatt. Writing this book was a sensory pleasure for me and I hope I’ve conveyed the richness of the Wisconsin landscape along with the complexities of the human heart.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

I love to read and am eclectic in my tastes. At any given time, you will find thrillers; faith-based fiction of all genres; leadership books; relationship books; current and classic works of fiction; and theology old and new on my nightstand and on my kindle. I admire a host of authors I’ve met personally and read everything they write, including: Steven James; Ted Dekker; Sandra Brannan; Willie Nikkel; Janet Evanovich; Charlaine Harris, and many more. I am addicted to strong series writers and read everything written by JD Robb; Sara Peretsky; Sue Grafton; Dee Henderson; Patricia Bradley, and again, so many more. Stephen Berry wows me every year with his historical fiction and I feel like I emerge a little smarter after spending time in his work. Authors willing to share their journey as an artist draw me in completely and I read Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird, and Stephen King’s On Writing at least once a year.


Like her heroine Police Chief Jo Oliver, DR. CATHERINE FINGER is committed to protect and serve. But instead of handcuffs and handguns, she uses her wit and wisdom as a high school superintendent and church and community volunteer in northern Illinois. ANCHORED BY DEATH is the third novel in her Jo Oliver thriller series.

To learn more about Catherine, please visit her website.