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Book Cover: THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S UNDERWATER ASSETSDonna and Jack Craig’s hard-earned vacation on a secluded resort island turns out to be anything but that when they stumble onto a dead body—and a plot to consolidate the world’s financial assets under the control of a geopolitical investment consortium.

Assassinations. Conspiracies. Espionage. Terrorism. It has it all.

Josie Brown recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest adventure thriller, THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S UNDERWATER ASSETS.

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?

Author Photo: Josie Brown

Josie Brown

Thanks to my access to the many real-life, real-time foreign affairs scenarios already taking place, my “what if…” scenarios folder is bursting. In all honesty, I could write three books a year! Of course, I’d never have time to sleep, so that’s off the table. Releasing a novel a year in the Housewife Assassin series is easily doable.

A summer of mayhem was spread over the series’ three previous books, the last of which ended with Donna and Jack having finally set off on a long-awaited tropical island vacation, just the two of them: no family, friends, or bad guys to chase down—

Scratch that. There are always villains, even in paradise.

In this case, if it isn’t the international bankers meeting to come up with creative ways to hold onto the wealth they manage, it’s a cabal of terrorists who want to steal it out from under them.

This book presents a twist: unlike the other HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN books, there is no jet-setting, no family concerns, and no ops team as a backup. Instead, there’s a cyclone headed directly at them and they have no way to communicate with the outside world, let alone with each other when not face-to-face.

In essence, their tropical paradise becomes a locked-room thriller.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

Through my research, I noticed the growing trend of terrorism’s use of illicit financial flows (IFFs). I felt the anti-money laundering countermeasures tried by wealthy nations might make a good topic.

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?

It’s taken over a decade, but now film and TV have embraced the idea of a suburban mother who is also a paid assassin. Traditional publishing is always last to the party. In a way, that worked out for me since it’s been my bread and butter.

Despite what iteration the premise takes — or, for that matter, what literary genre — the joy in reading a series about a long-time couple who love each other with great fierceness is anticipating how and when the relationship is challenged. In this novel, each snaps for a different reason. Whereas Jack’s honeytrap issue has always been the thorn in Donna’s side, Jack’s bone of contention is with the one man who is a constant in their lives and is emotionally drawn to Donna. The series’ ongoing relationship triangle doesn’t just test their friendships but Jack and Donna’s marriage.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

If I have fun with a book’s creation, I know the reader will, too. In this novel, I’ve salted the plot with enough possible suspects to keep readers guessing who is the puppet master.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

I’ll be putting the finishing touches on a contemporary stand-alone thriller caper with a damaged female protagonist who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, with everyone coming after her because of something they think is in her possession. Because of her past, she’s equipped to protect herself. The revelation is about who she truly is and how she finds out.

Lots of fears, lots of tears, and a whole lot of fun.


Novelist, journalist, and playwright Josie Brown is the author of the 24-novel Housewife Assassin’s Handbook series (Signal Press; previously optioned for television); ​8-novel Totlandia episodic series (Signal Press); ​3-novel Extracurricular episodic series (Signal Press); the 2-novel True Hollywood Lies series (HarperCollins); as well as Stand-alone novels The Candidate and The Baby Planner (Simon & Schuster) Her novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (Simon & Schuster), was optioned by producer Jerry Bruckheimer for television.

She is the host of the syndicated Author Provocateur Podcast, in which she’s interviewed 80+ authors, including Jane Smiley, Samantha M. Bailey, David Baldacci, Lisa Barr, Allison Brennan, Robert Dugoni, Barry Eisler, Tess Gerritsen, Lee Goldberg, Jon Land, John Lescroart, James Rollins, Daniel Pyne, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Brad Thor, and Debra Webb, to name a few.

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