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For five years, high school English teacher Sarah Baker has helplessly watched her marriage become emptier than the bed she crawls into alone each night. But a divorce would leave her in financial ruin, so she stays shackled to the husband who left his vows at the altar.

Then Sarah discovers an escape and takes the ultimate risk, only to find herself chained again—this time in the basement of a remote cabin.

When a grisly teen murder rocks his quiet northwestern town, rough-around-the-edges Sheriff Jeffrey Mills has his hands full identifying the body while facing the mounting pressure of tracking down the missing high school teacher the community is determined to find. In the blink of an eye, a heart attack sidelines him during the search, and Mills faces an impossible choice: skirt the law and lose his one chance for redemption or leave Sarah Baker to her fate.

But one thing is clear: they’re both running out of time.

T. A. Cruz recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, HAVE YOU SEEN SARAH BAKER?.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
The plot took shape first. I had an idea of the story I wanted to tell and ran with it.

T. A. Cruz

What attracts you to this book’s genre?
I love the twists and turns. The constant guessing of how the story will turn out, only to have all your idea rug ripped right out from under you in a way you could never imagine.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was two intertwining timelines: Before and After Sarah went missing. These timelines weave together and lead to a single revelation point, a holy crap moment if you will.

The biggest opportunity was a chance to get in the mind of a captive schoolteacher and push her to the breaking point to see just what a seemingly ordinary person would do to escape.

Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?
There were a few things but revealing some would trudge through spoiler territory so I’ll leave those alone. A tablespoon of dish soap and two cups of cold water works great for cleaning blood off clothes and car upholstery.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Karin Slaughter, just to name a few. Each of these authors have an incredible ability to create such real people thrown in these horrible situations, sometimes by their own doing, and send the readers on a thrilling—sometimes terrifying—ride. This is what I aim for every time I start a new project.


Raised in a small California farming town, T.A. Cruz spent his childhood honing an imagination as vast as the wheat fields stretching around him for miles. With 6 years of military service and passport stamps from around the world, part of him will always be in that little town with a single stoplight and a population of 1500.

A lifelong lover of horror and things that go bump in the night, T.A. Cruz decided it was time to take that passion to the page and shock and terrify others for a change. When not diving face first into another project, Cruz enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and axolotl.

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