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Secrets and deceptions are uncovered as Detective Ebony Jones and Attorney Jessie Martin investigate a suspicious drowning in the murky, majestic Hudson River. But this time, the victim is someone near and dear to them both. Was it an accident, suicide or something more sinister?

“Three strong women follow their own inexorable paths to justice in THE EMPTY KAYAK, and it’s a pleasure to cheer them on. THE EMPTY KAYAK is not only a compelling and believable mystery, but a sharply drawn portrait of women’s friendships.” — Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of House on Fire

Jodé Millman recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE EMPTY KAYAK.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
A friend was telling me how her daughter had been the roommate of a man who had drowned in the Hudson River. Or been drowned by his fiancee. I discovered that I knew the man who had been the killer’s previous fiancee and also knew many of the people involved in the crime. It was a terrific drowning that caught national attention, and demanded that it be told in fictional form.

Jodé Millman

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
The true crime upon which my books are based must strike a chord with me. I must have a personal connection to the crime, or have close connections to it. The crime must be one that captures my imagination and allows me to insert my cast of series characters into it. It’s a …what would they do if? situation. It’s a very emotional process…making the connection with the story and then bringing it to life with my characters.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Coldplay always plays in my head when I’m writing.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
I hadn’t read any books with a pregnant protagonist and thought it would be fun to throw legal, medical, emotional and professional trials at her! Hence, Jessica Grace Martin was born. And no, it isn’t my alter-ego!

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope that readers will understand that there is a gray area in the law. It is not black and white. In the three crimes upon which my novels are based, each of the killers got away with murder. I was only allowed to frame the first novel with this result (the protagonist was declared mentally incapable of standing trial). But in the others, I needed a resolution that would make the readers pleased they’d spent the time with my plot and characters. I also want them to step away from the book having learned something new. I enjoy learning and love to learn from other’s novels and I hope readers do so with mine.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I’m on the hunt for a new crime!


Jodé Millman is the multi-award-winning author of THE EMPTY KAYAK, HOOKER AVENUE and THE MIDNIGHT CALL, which are the first two installments in her true-crime inspired “Queen City Crimes” Series. She’s an attorney, a reviewer for, the host/producer of The Backstage with the Bardavon podcast, and creator of The Writer’s Law School, which she has presented to international writers and arts organizations, trade groups and libraries. Jodé lives with her family in the Hudson Valley, where she is at work on her next legal thriller. Discover more about Jodé, her work, and sign up for her newsletter at

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