Explosive news of a crow hunt rings out in the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire, and one hundred crows gather to put an end to it. With so many lives at stake—including Poe’s—Shawnee and Mayhem must work together to stop the trophy hunters before they obliterate the local murder.
Taking on twenty-five experienced hunters armed with shotguns is no small feat. If they fail, Poe may lead his brethren to their death.
No matter what it takes, this group must be stopped.
But what if Shawnee and Mayhem aren’t seeing the full picture? What if these men have secrets worth killing over?
Award-winning crime writer Sue Coletta gave TheBigThrill an in-depth look at the fifth installment of her Mayhem Series, UNNATURAL MAYHEM:
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
At its heart, Unnatural Mayhem deals with poaching, trophy hunting, and animal trafficking—all tough subjects to write about. So, the challenge was, how could I wrap a compelling thriller around these hot button issues and not devastate my readers? No one enjoys dead animals (most of all, me), so it became a balancing act between giving the reader enough detail to ignite a spark within them while shielding them from unnecessary anguish.
The biggest opportunity, for me, is feeling like I get to make a difference. I plan to donate a portion of the proceeds to the brave men and women who fight poaching, trophy hunting, and animal trafficking every day. True heroes, in my eyes.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Plot. I’ve been wanting to write this book for four or five years, but I thought I had to create a whole new cast of characters. It wasn’t until I sat down to write my fifth Mayhem Series book that I realized I already had the perfect characters to tell this story.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
I’ve always loved reading psychological thrillers, so when I first thought about writing the transition was a natural one.
Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?
Yes. Most of it heartbreaking, and all of it needs to change. We must protect the voiceless, Mother Earth’s Innocent Ones. And I plan to do just that…one book at a time.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
UNNATURAL MAYHEM strikes at the core of who I am, what I believe in, and who I want to protect. If we can’t protect species from extinction, what does that say about society as a whole? Of course, I would never beat my reader over the head with this message, but that’s what drives me.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
It’s a long list!
To name a few…
Thomas Harris and Jeff Lindsay taught me that readers can fall in love with serial killer characters if they’re well-rounded enough and have redeeming qualities. Tony Hillerman introduced me to the Diné People (Navajo) in a way that led me to revel in the beauty of their culture, traditions, beliefs, and their inherent connection to Mother Earth. If it weren’t for Hillerman’s Leopold & Chee Series, I may never had taken my Mayhem Series in the direction it’s headed.
Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer’s Digest “101 Best Websites for Writers”) and Writers Helping Writers. Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, Mayhem Series and Grafton County Series (Tirgearr Publishing) and true crime/narrative nonfiction (Rowman & Littlefield Group).
Sue teaches a virtual course about serial killers for EdAdvance in CT and a condensed version for her fellow Sisters In Crime. She’s appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion, and three episodes of A Time to Kill on DiscoveryID (airs in 2023).
Learn more about Sue and her books on her website.