One homeless teenager inadvertently kicks off a real-life game of hide and seek, trapping opponents in a web of tangled lies.
Navigating the maze of her newly single life, Chelsea Gray soon discovers her ex-boyfriend was not the only one hiding a deadly secret. Encountering deceit at every turn, how far will she go to uncover the truth before the lies unravel her?
Charismatic Detective Ry James and his partner race against time to hunt down players who make a living by hiding victims in plain sight. While solving the dangerous connections, love is the last thing Ry expected to find. Who can he trust? Who can he protect? And what will happen if he is found first?
Sue Jaskula sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss TANGLED LIES:
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I was in Mexico with a group of friends and a bigger, very entertaining group beside us was having a lot of fun. We created nicknames for some of them and my friends said, “those guys need to make it into your next book.” …and they did.
The “inheritance” twist in the book is inspired by a real-life experience of trying to locate a long-lost cousin who stood to inherit the sizeable estate of his estranged brother.
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 stories flow naturally for me as if the characters are acting them out in my head. Pulling all their twists and turns together into something tangible and entertaining is the fun part. As an English major and a bit of a grammar guru, the editing is like an easter egg hunt for me. So, putting it all together is a challenge I take on with enthusiasm…and lots of coffee!
Rereading and polishing is not as exciting, and promoting is a nightmare.
I can’t say I went into TANGLED LIES or any of my books knowing that particular story drew the year long commitment; I just know, I can’t stop writing, even when I’m tired.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Definitely not. I can’t listen to music when I write; I don’t watch much tv. I suppose many suspense writers inspire me, Karin Slaughter, Linwood Barclay, J.D. Robb, Shari Lapena, to name a few well-known ones, but my characters lead the way in my 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?
My first four books were written with a woman protagonist. TANGLED LIES is the first time I’ve written a suspense with the male as the protagonist (and given him a little romance on the side). I find many police procedurals like to promote a feisty, independent female—my own included. This time Detective Ry James was talking, and it came out well, realistic, believable and very suspenseful.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
TANGLED LIES deals with the crime of human trafficking/sex trade as well as teen homelessness and some real-life issues police face in their day to day lives on the job, all of which are relevant current issues and may shine some light on the realities of the vulnerable.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
My next story starts off where TANGLED LIES ends. While it’s not a series or a sequel, The Woman Downstairs takes the female Detective from TANGLED LIES and gives her a story. I expected it to be a “who dunnit” of who killed a screaming tenant in an apartment building, but it’s turned into a time travel with an investigation that takes Detective Lexi Wilson back a hundred years. I’m so excited to see where this one takes me.
Sue Jaskula’s career spanned many years in a mix of law firm and hospital administrative work before she jumped at the opportunity to take early retirement and pursue a career in writing, a pursuit she entered with energy and enthusiasm. Ecstatic to become a published author at age sixty, she pinches herself every time someone buys one of her books or drops an awesome review. She loves connecting with readers and one of her favorite things is seeing posts of her books being read in faraway places.
Sue and her husband have a home in Grimsby, Ontario. But she feels truly at home at their cottage in Kincardine, Ontario near their adult children and grandchildren. On these shores of Lake Huron, with some of the best walking trails in the country, her imagination soars and her best stories come to life. Learn more at: https://suejaskula.wordpress.com.