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A move to a small town might provide her the solace she seeks—until the once peaceful isolation turns deadly.

After her husband is controversially acquitted of multiple crimes, now-divorced Abbie Forrest escapes to the peaceful rural town of Taylor’s Bend, intent on focusing on her career as a landscape artist. Estranged from her sister and daughter, Abbie tries hard to forge new relationships in the small community without revealing her own secrets.

Town policeman Rupert Perry is attracted to the quiet woman who lives alone on a large block 15 minutes from town. But Rupe is happy with what he has—part-time hours, a friendly, inclusive community, and freedom to grieve for his late wife away from the well-meaning but overwhelming concern of his old friends.

When a series of peculiar and increasingly frightening events threaten Abbie, she is forced to turn to Rupe for help. But will he be able to prevent the escalation of terror as past wrongs demand revenge?

Author Elisabeth Rose spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE SECRETS THAT LIE WITHIN:

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

While researching small town rural policing I discovered that many of the positions are one person and part-time. Major issues are referred to the nearest big town. I didn’t know that and my source, a rural emergency services volunteer, also told me that often ambulances only have one person on board, so if the patient needs to go to the hospital someone else has to drive while the paramedic rides in the back. That meant my policeman hero could handily be occupied for a couple of hours while the heroine was in dire trouble.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

I’ve always loved reading crime stories and mysteries but as a teenager I was hooked on romance by my cousin’s vast collection of Georgette Heyer books. I began by writing romance but am now combining that with crime. I like the psychological aspect of both genres, and enjoy discovering the effects on my characters and how they react under physical and emotional pressure. I write about normal women and men thrust into abnormal situations and how they find strength they didn’t know they had, particularly when protecting their children. My heroines don’t wait around to be saved but like all of us, can’t do everything alone.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

Providing credible motivation for the perpetrators of the crime was probably the most difficult aspect of the story. Tying up the why’s and how’s into a believable time frame took a lot of thinking. I don’t plot my stories, I write and see where I go then pause, sometimes for days, while I work out the next steps. I had a fair idea where it was going when I started this one but the motivations were hazy and I hadn’t worked out any details. All sorts of little things surprised me as I wrote—my characters would reveal something I didn’t know about them, or something scary would happen that surprised all of us.

The biggest opportunity from this story is to set more books in the same small rural community of Taylor’s Bend.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

I’ve had the setting in mind for years. I knew an artist who owned a cottage in bushland near a small country town. She went there to paint and I always wondered what would happen if some oddball or escaped criminal turned up while she was there on her own. I tossed various scenarios around in my head but never decided on anything viable. A year or two ago I read a news item about a court case where the accused was released on a legal technicality, and my story began to take shape.


Multi-published in romance and romantic suspense, Elisabeth Rose lives very happily in Canberra, Australia with her musician husband. Travel is a big part of their lives now that the family has left home. Elisabeth’s original training was in clarinet performance and she now plays in a community orchestra, but she was also a tai chi instructor for twenty-five years. An avid reader, her preference is for a happy ending regardless of genre and is most annoyed if a main character dies or leaves—unless, of course, it’s the villain.

To learn more about Elisabeth and her work, please visit her website.