By Basil Sands
“It seems the boogeyman comes in many flavors.”
Bestselling writer D. K. Hood knows how to write boogeymen—and her latest thriller, HER SHALLOW GRAVE, is set to chill. It’s winter in Black Rock Falls and as tourists flock to the small town to take in the snowy mountain peaks, one visitor makes a sickening discovery. Parts of a young woman’s frozen body are found hanging from a tree on the outskirts of town. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate and is soon alerted to similar discoveries nearby. With no missing persons reported, the body count continues to pile up, making Jenna and her deputy fear Black Rock Falls is being used as a dumping ground for bodies. As the killing escalates, Jenna begins to wonder if she has finally met a killer she can’t catch.
Hood’s writing style is straightforward, well-paced, and constantly moving. Fans of many different thriller genres will find her stories right in their wheelhouse. They will also notice that she loves to write about the rugged beauty of Montana and her interest in criminal forensics is more than just surface deep.
HER SHALLOW GRAVE is packed with pristine nature as the setting—grisly murder meets relentless justice. She talks more about it in this The Big Thrill interview.
What do you hope readers will take away from HER SHALLOW GRAVE?
I like to include current topics in my stories and this one centers on the vulnerability of the homeless. How they often vanish and nobody cares what happens to them. If it shines a light on their plight, well then, that’s what I’d like readers to take away from this book.
What attracts you to writing thrillers?
The excitement of creating a thriller is what I enjoy most about this genre. If my heart is racing as I’m writing the story, I know the reader will be right there alongside me in the adventure.
Your books are not for the feint of heart or the cozy mystery audience, are they?
No, not at all. I want my readers to keep the lights on when reading my stories, and be on the edge of their seats jumping at shadows. If I achieve this, then I’ve written a good story.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I love the forensics side of writing crime novels and found the study of cryogenics fascinating. The forensics involved in determining cause and time of death in frozen bodies was very interesting.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
My main character is Sheriff Jenna Alton, and I write her as a no-nonsense leader with compassion and strength. It takes a tough person to investigate murders, but I didn’t want a character who could fight six men at once and jump over tall buildings in a single stride. I wanted her to have a vulnerability but be tough on the outside with the ability to delegate duties to her team. She cares deeply for the victims and is determined to bring a killer to justice, no matter the personal risk involved.
Are any of your family or friends surprised when they read your books and discover the level of violence your mind is capable of?
Ha ha, I’m a sweet little old lady, didn’t anyone tell you? In all honestly, I don’t write actual violence. I set the scene and mood and leave it to the reader’s imagination.
Ah! How Hitchcockian!
I think I give my readers enough information to know what’s going to happen to the victims. The facts are in the autopsies, which are clinical. The intent of the killers in my stories are gleaned from studying the unstable minds of violent psychopaths.
What was it like for you when first having your series published?
Writing crime thrillers for Bookouture (Hachette) is a dream come true for me. I really love writing the Kane and Alton Series. It’s great to “meet” so many wonderful readers from all over the world through my Facebook pages. Their support and friendship is inspirational.
What drew you to your scene and setting?
I love writing about the rugged beauty of Montana, and my interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. It was one subject I enjoyed studying and with the constant advances, it never gets boring.
If you could take the dream writer’s retreat to your choice of location with your choice of one or two mentors/coaches, where would it be and with whom?
Any quiet place would be perfect. As a mentor, well, there are a wealth of writers out there to choose from and far too many to pick just one or even two. But if you insist, David Baldacci and Lee Child.
Final question. This is the question that reveals the heart and soul of D. K. Hood, and reveals to our readers just what truly lies within.
Do you take your toast with butter, jelly, vegemite, or something else?
Oh! And, if you met a talking squirrel, what would you ask it, and would you share said toast?
I like butter and cinnamon sugar on my toast and yes, I’d share it with a squirrel, although if it was talking and I was replying, I figure I’d be ready for a straitjacket.
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 small but beautiful garden filled with birds and water dragons.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.