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Déjà vu brings a chill in the case that will make or break more than just her career.

Sheriff Elizabeth Benoit’s worst nightmare returns when her deputies discover a young woman killed in the same circumstances as a death from 25 years earlier. That previous victim was Elizabeth’s best friend and Deputy Kyle Lundquist’s older sister. Elizabeth has spent a quarter of a century trying to nail the crooked ex-sheriff she knows is involved up to his elbows in this unresolved crime.

Deputy Detective Lila Dayne draws on all her investigative skills, but still she can’t pin down their main suspect.

When Elizabeth’s sister goes missing, it’s a no-holds-barred race against time in the showdown that’s been brewing in Eckardt County for decades.

“Winter Austin is a first-rate suspense author, who uses skillful, twisty storytelling that will entertain readers to the very last page.” — InD’tale Magazine

“Suspense, thrills, and chills will keep readers glued to this page-turning sequel in the Benoit and Dayne Mystery series!” — InD’tale Magazine

“If you enjoy watching the ABC show Big Sky, you’ll love this book!” — Goodreads Reviewer

Winter Austin recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, STRAIGHT FOR THE KILL.

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

This is the third book in this series, and the characters are pretty well set, as is the setting. For me, it’s always the plot that needs to take shape, and frustratingly, it only comes in snippets. I don’t discover things until I start writing and get going, because I’m such an organic pantser. My style of writing would drive an organized outliner crazy.

Winter Austin

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

During the process of writing this book, we had a family crisis that actually required a lot of my attention. Oddly enough, the things I’ve learned as an author from research and connections in the law enforcement community and etc. came heavily into play. The emotional upheaval that was taking place did take me away from writing and sucked energy and life out of my desire to write. In the end, I swear it made a better book out of the whole ordeal—which is still ongoing.


Winter Austin perpetually answers the question “Were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name.

A lifelong Midwest gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.

When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them.

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