The latest installment of D. K. Hood’s Detective Jenna Alton and Deputy Kane series—HER BROKEN WINGS—is set in October, allowing the author to give in to her love of Halloween and all its creepiness.
Hood describes the plot with this elegant synopsis:
“The sound that wakes her from sleep is unmistakable—someone is in their house. She listens as heavy footsteps start up the stairs, and as the bedroom door is flung open, she doesn’t even have time to scream…”
It’s coming up to Halloween and a strange mist descends on Black Rock Falls. The weather isn’t the only strange thing happening. Someone is turning the Old Mitcham Ranch into a Halloween theme park. With the locals believing the old ranch is cursed, Sheriff Jenna Alton just knows something bad is coming. As the townsfolk set up their Halloween displays, it’s difficult to tell what is real and what is murder.
With any series, a reader’s first question is usually, “Do the books need to be read in order?”
While Hood assures me the stories are all standalone, with no cliffhangers, she adds that there is an ongoing subplot following the two main characters, Jenna Alton and Dave Kane. To understand the dynamics of the team and Kane and Alton’s past lives, she notes that most readers find it better to read the novels in order.
Given the police procedural nature of the stories, the series could be open-ended. Without revealing any spoilers, Hood says, “I’ve already written the last scene in the last story, whenever it happens. I wrote it after [finishing] Don’t Tell a Soul, the first in the series, and now I’m writing book nine.”
While amateur sleuth series set in small towns can struggle with the Cabot Cove syndrome, the challenge with a police procedural/thriller can be to develop new and different crimes for the characters to solve. Like many authors, Hood draws from real life experience, especially the headlines, to develop her plots and her characters. The idea for HER BROKEN WINGS came from a news headline. The subject of the news report, Hood notes, provided the theme for her to weave her story around.
Slowly revealing the main characters’ ongoing backstory also adds a freshness to the stories. Detective Alton’s backstory (former undercover DEA agent, hiding from cartel assassins) creates a fascinating character, and sheriff, for a small town in Montana. Kane has an equally intriguing past. When asked how she decided to create such high-level former positions for both Alton and Kane, Hood laughs and says, “I’m a, ‘Think outside the box’ writer. I’m like this in everything I do in life, so why have one former special agent on the team when I can have two? The more intrigue and mystery the better.”
Backgrounds like theirs certainly make interesting characters. Hood muses about writing a prequel and telling a story about Jenna’s past, something she might discuss with her publisher.
She speaks briefly about Bookouture, a digital arm of a traditional UK publisher. “Working with Bookouture is like being part of a team, all working together with one goal—that being to produce the highest quality product. They, and I mean everyone I’ve met, have been amazing.”
Sounds like Hood might have that prequel discussion soon and readers of the series should keep an eye out for the book.
The chemistry between Alton and Kane is a key component in the series. Hood created Kane and Alton as best friends rather than romantically linked. They spend most of their time together, she notes. There is an attraction between the two, but Kane is mourning his wife, who was killed in a car bombing.
“Kane isn’t the type of man who rushes into anything. He can’t commit to Jenna one hundred percent, so he’s taking things slow,” Hood says, adding that she wasn’t interested in taunting the readers into a will-they-or-won’t-they scenario. Instead, she uses the evolving relationship “to show Kane’s pain and strength of character and Alton’s resolve to be there for him, no matter how long it takes.”
HER BROKEN WINGS adds FBI agents Blake and Carter to the cast of characters. Hood says she loves these characters and could see a spin-off series about them. “They have such interesting twisty backgrounds as well.”
The FBI agents fit into the operations of the Black Run Falls department via the field office in Snakeskin Gully, some three hours from Black Rock Falls. They become the go-to FBI agents for Sheriff Jenna Alton. Rather than cameo roles, the agents may become continuing characters as they are included in the draft of her next novel in the series.
While the FBI agents can provide new processes, forensics consistently features in the series. Hood says she’s fascinated by forensic science. Introducing the latest technology adds an interesting element to the story. “Forensics feature in the solving of most crimes, […] a natural progression of the storyline.”
What’s next for Hood?
“I’m enjoying writing book 9 in the Kane and Alton series.”
If the past books in the series are anything to go by, I’m sure readers will enjoy devouring it.
The Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY and Amazon Bestselling Author of The Detective Kane and Alton Series, D. K Hood lives very quietly with her husband and has a beautiful garden filled with birds and water dragons.
She loves writing about the rugged beauty of Montana and her interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years.
With many stories, waiting for her to write, she looks forward to sharing more exciting crime thrillers with her readers.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.