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What dark secret is hidden in her past? What evil has been handed down through the generations?

Emily Burton found happiness in a small, picturesque town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Her sense of peace and security is shattered when she’s brutally attacked, and an innocent person is murdered. The authorities believe the incident is random, until Emily becomes the target of further violence and threats.

With the help of her enigmatic neighbor, she uncovers an eerily similar crime that dates back 60 years. Could there be a connection between the two attacks? Did malevolence stretch its deadly arm across generations?

Emily is convinced there’s a link, but she needs to find it before it finds her.

Author A. J. McCarthy spent a few minutes with The Big Thrill discussing her latest mystery, LEGACY OF FEAR:

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

The biggest challenge was building the plot based on a kernel of an idea. I took a few separate roads before I could come up with something that felt right to me. The biggest opportunity was the chance to return to Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island to connect with my beautiful chosen setting.

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

The plot was the first to take shape, although it passed through many phases of rewriting. The stew was started and put on a back burner for a while. Before it was returned to the heat, some ingredients were removed and others were added, including characters and setting.

What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general?

People often ask me whether I plan on writing a series; it seems to be in demand. In the past, I’ve always written standalone novels, and could never imagine doing otherwise. But, if someone asked me the question about LEGACY OF FEAR, I would have to say, as I was finishing the novel, a tiny trickle of an idea made its way into my brain, and I can now answer with a rousing “Perhaps!”


The Three Rs—Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic—are the cornerstones of A. J. McCarthy’s life. The first began at a young age when she devoured novels by Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, and other masters of mystery and suspense. The second was a passion born later in life, and the third was a major part of her full-time career. Born and raised in Quebec, Canada, she loves to travel, learn new things, and spend time with her family. The author of three published novels, A. J. is simultaneously working on two other works-in-progress in the suspense mystery genre, while juggling ideas for a few others.

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