Behind the Books
I’m going to do something a little different here. Each book has its own page elsewhere, so you can simply scroll down and click the link below the cover for a fascinating plot description :-). But readers frequently ask me things like “Which book should I read first?” “Is this book part of that series?” “How do the books relate to each other?” “Where did you get the idea for that story?”
So, here, I’m going to tell you how all my books relate to each other and give you some behind the scenes insight into how each particular book was born. Remember, if you don’t care about that stuff, just click on the link below the cover and go directly to the book page to read the back cover description.
****And here’s a tip: All of my books can be read as standalones.****
First Do No Evil: Blood Secrets #1
This is the book I call "the book of my heart". I wrote it to honor my mother who died of breast cancer. The wonderful thing about fiction is that we can change our story world any way we see fit. In the world of First Do No Evil, there is a vaccine that can prevent certain types of breast cancer. The vaccine in the book is based on real science, and I hope someday very soon something like it will be available .
Originally, a second book, Confession, was planned as sequel. But I sold that story to a different publisher, HarperCollins, and wound up writing Confession as a standalone. But certain connections between the stories remained and readers insisted to me that First Do No Evil and Confession were really books one and two in the same series. Eventually, I realized the readers were right.
So how are First Do No Evil and Confession connected? The female protagonist of Confession (Faith Clancy) is the sister-in-law of the male protagonist of First Do No Evil (Detective Danny Benson). Readers also get an update on Danny's life at the end of Confession.
Confession (Blood Secrets #2) (Prequel to the Cassidy & Spenser series)
So now you know. Confession is both a part of the Blood Secrets series and a standalone prequel to my Cassidy & Spenser series. It's in Confession that readers first meet Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Caitlin Cassidy. But those two don't get their own series until the next book: Judgment.
What inspired the story behind Confession? The premise of the book is that a wet-behind-the-ears psychiatrist, Faith Clancy, sets up shop and her very first client "confesses" to her that he's the serial killer who's been menacing New Mexico. Maybe he is, or maybe he isn't, but his confession sets quite a chain of events in motion.
You may or may not have read that I hold two doctorates: one in medicine and one in psychology. Although while I was a practicing psychologist, no one ever confessed to me that he or she was a serial killer, I did hear some highly disturbing confessions in my day. Writing Confession was cathartic for me. I took the worst things I'd heard as a psychologist and made them much, much more terrible. Then I allowed my heroine to overcome every fear and beat near impossible odds to put everything right again. And she even got to fall in love along the way.
Quick Schematic for Books
FIRST DO NO EVIL CONFESSION
(Blood Secrets Book One) (Blood Secrets Book Two and the Prequel to Cassidy & Spenser)
(Cassidy & Spenser Book One) (Standalone Novella)
FALLEN NOTORIOUS STOLEN COUNTDOWN
(C&S Book Two) (C&S Book Three) (C&S Book Four) (C&S Book Five)
Judgment (Cassidy & Spenser Book #1)
The first of my Cassidy & Spenser series. This book was really built around the two main characters, Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Caitlin Cassidy.
Spense is a brilliant profiler. As a child, he overcame a learning disability, retraining his brain by solving every variety of puzzle. Now he solves puzzles for the FBI. He's hell bent on getting the bad guys off the streets at any cost.
And Catiy? On her eighteenth birthday her father was executed for a crime he didn't commit. Caitlin became a psychiatrist and devoted herself to the study of the criminal mind so that she could recognize innocence and prevent injustice.
Together, these two become an unstoppable force for justice.
JUDGMENT features a complex plot involving the dark web. It takes place in Arizona and is infused with the flavor of the southwest. Because it was my first book about FBI profilers it involved a great deal of research regarding the FBI in general and profiling in particular...including a workshop conducted by Special Agents at the New York City FBI Headquarters. One of my favorite things about writing this book was getting to go behind the scenes with the FBI and other law enforcement.
Fallen (Cassidy & Spenser Book #2)
The second of my Cassidy & Spenser series. This book takes place in Hollywood and was a blast to write. There's a serial killer on the loose, and he or she is dumping the bodies of beautiful blonds in high profile tourist spots. So naturally, I traveled to La La Land to investigate all the famous spots. I know, poor me. Right?
I do seem to have a thing about working through some of my own fears when I write these stories, and Fallen is a good example. When I was a child I watched a horror movie called "The Wax Museum" starring the late Vincent Price. I had recurring nightmares about wax statues for many years. So in Fallen, I set up a murder that takes place in the wax museum. Then I had my heroes solve the case and put the bad guy out of business. Here's a pic of my husband posing with "Elvis" while I was doing research on the layout of the wax museum and ways one might get away with murder there.
Notorious (Cassidy & Spenser Book #3)
The third of my Cassidy & Spenser series. This book is set in my old stomping grounds: Texas. I was thrilled to be able to showcase the Fort Worth stockyards, and when my editor asked if it was really necessary to include a brief history of the stockyards, I answered : "Yes!"
This is one of my favorites in the series, not only because of the setting, but because we get to know Dutch Langhorne and learn how his deep, dark secrets have a twisted impact on Spense and Caity. There's also a psycho hitman like no other in my books and a very special longhorn bull. And Caity and Spense finally reach a very important relationship milestone. You don't want to miss this one!
Stolen (Cassidy & Spenser Book #4)
Thank you, readers, for making STOLEN a USA Today bestseller & Booksellers Best Winner!
Once again, I love the setting of this book: the majestic Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The inspiration for this story came from a notorious unsolved true crime, but it's NOT ABOUT THAT CRIME so I won't say which case I mean.
What the book is based on is my gut reaction to the way crimes are exploited in the tabloids and even mainstream media. When reporters, bloggers, law enforcement and the neighborhood grocer all speculate so loudly about "who done it", a lot of baseless and harmful accusations can ensnare innocent people surrounding the case.
I'm a pediatrician in my "day job", and so it particularly bothers me when children are caught up in the spotlight and accused, by some, of committing horrific crimes they are unlikely to have had any part in.
In Stolen, one of the main characters was a child at the time a terrible crime was committed. She has no memory of what happened to her poor nanny, but there are those who have made her feel she might be responsible for the woman's death. Is she delusional? Is she a murderer?
What must it be like to grow up wondering? Will she ever know the truth about who she is and what she's capable of?
Countdown (Cassidy & Spenser Book #5)
Finally! Spense is ready to implement his unwinding plan for Caity: Sun, sangria and a whole lot of Spense. They're on leave from the FBI, and there's virtually no crime in Tahiti, so what could possibly go wrong?
Twins. Con men. Fake treasure maps, and of course, murder.
But Cassidy & Spenser are up to the task. The question is, will they solve the caper in time to keep a very important rendezvous on the beach?
Countdown's original plot centered around terrorism. But frankly, the news in the world at the time I was writing the book, hit too close to my heart for me to keep going down that path. Then one day I read an article about a pair of twins in very hot water, and suddenly, things took a U turn. Countdown morphed into a mystery, much lighter in tone than my previous book, with twists and turns galore and not a terrorist in sight. Trust me, in Countdown, you should not believe what you see with your own eyes.
I hope you'll enjoy reading Countdown as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Hush: A Tangleheart Romantic Suspense Novella
You know you have a good friend when you ask, "Would you walk 40 miles in two days with me?" and she says, "Yes!"
And that's exactly what happened when I told my friends, Leigh LaValle, Courtney Milan, and Tessa Dare I wanted to walk to raise money for breast cancer survivors and asked them to join me. They didn't hesitate, and the next thing I knew we had hatched a plot with a goal to raise $10,000 for the cause.
Each of us wrote a novella. Then we put our stories together, for a limited time, into a charity anthology called THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER. The anthology was for sale up until the time of the Breast Cancer Walk. We then donated all the profits to the cause.
Thanks to readers like you, we reached our goal, donated over $10,000, and walked 40 miles in the Avon Walk to End Breast Cancer!
HUSH was originally written for that charity anthology (which is no longer available). HUSH has now been re-written and lengthened and is for sale as a standalone. But who knows? I may choose to revisit the town of Tangleheart someday.
HUSH is a romantic suspense novella utilizing two of my favorite plot devices: friends to lovers and coming home. It's set in fictional small town Texas.
I love these characters! Charlie "Drex" Drexler has come home from war, wounded in more ways than one. His childhood friend, Anna, has grown from a girl into a woman strong enough to help him heal. But when Anna's sister and nephew disappear, Charlie and Anna will have to find them and bring them home safely before a killer ruins their long awaited reunion.