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When teenager Nikki Jackson’s body is found at an amusement park, just hours after Fourth of July fireworks lit up the night sky, the Lost Creek police rule her death as suicide—a devastating final act from a girl who had lost all hope. But the absence of the knife used to make the wounds on her delicate wrists makes Detective Madison Harper think otherwise. And the partial fingerprint found on the girl’s face proves her right. Someone else was with Nikki in her final moments…

Wendy Dranfield recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, CRY FOR HELP:

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

An insight into childhood poverty. My victim in this book—teenager Nikki Jackson—grows up with selfish parents who choose not to work, which impacts her childhood. I grew up the same way, and the effects on childhood poverty never really leave you.

Wendy Dranfield

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

This book was written during a full national lockdown in the UK, at a time when the coronavirus was spreading fast. It was difficult to focus on writing a novel during this scary time, but persistence paid off.

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

Joyce Carol Oates is my favorite author, and I can read anything she’s written and enjoy it. I read a lot of Stephen King books when I was a teenager, and he introduced me to small-town America, which is where I set my books.


Wendy is a former coroner’s assistant turned crime writer who lives in the UK with her husband and three cats.

The Detective Madison Harper crime series from Bookouture at Hachette UK includes:

Book 1—Find My Child, and book 2—CRY FOR HELP. Books 3 and 4 will follow shortly.

The Dean Matheson crime series is out now on all platforms as well as her two crime series and the YA crime novel The Girl Who Died. Wendy has several short stories published in UK and US anthologies. She has also been shortlisted and longlisted for various competitions, including the Mslexia Novel Competition.

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