Clean but not Cozy: Deadly Choices, a new Thriller from Karen Randau

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An elderly woman with an arrow in her chest. A murdered journalist. A decades-old cover-up. In Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries Volume 3), Rita and Cliff Avery team up again to solve a spate of murders in their picturesque Arizona mountain town of Rim Vista. Rita’s mother Willow delivers gun-wrenching news while falling for the man who could be responsible for four deaths. And Rita must escape a string of life-threatening predicaments thrown at her by an assailant willing to do anything to scare Cliff off the case.

If you enjoy suspense, but don’t care for explicit language or adult scenes, this clean (but not cozy) thriller might be exactly what you’re looking for. Deadly Choices is the third book in the Rim Country Mysteries, but can be read as a standalone.

Karen, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Rita?

Rita Avery is a middle-aged woman raised by vegetarian hippies who legally named her Lovely Rita after their favorite Beetles song, “Lovely Rita Meter Maid.” She married Jared Warren immediately out of high school, who fought in the first Gulf War as a Marine. They had two children. When Rita and Jared were celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary at a movie theater, a disturbed young man shot and killed fourteen people, including Jared. During the next few months, Rita discovered that her entire marriage had been a lie. She found love again, married Detective Cliff Avery, and honeymooned in Scotland, where she decided to try to reunite with her mother Willow after twenty-five years. Now, she is learning that even Willow lied to Rita.

How much do you and Rita have in common?

There is a lot of me in Rita. In many ways, she thinks like me and acts like me. In other ways, she is who I wish I could be. I like her; she feels comfortable to me. While she can be friendly and engaging, she may be difficult to get to know. She is adventurous and can be fun to be around. Most of all, I feel drawn to her because she is an overcomer who believes she can accomplish anything if she is willing to work hard enough.

Do your characters change throughout consecutive books in the series, or do they stay the same?

Rita has had a dramatic character arc in the three books of the Rim Country Mysteries. She started out naïve and shallow, more concerned about fashion than the people around her. In book 1 (Deadly Deceit), she grew into an independent woman who could trust her own instincts. Because of the extreme trauma she encountered in book 1, she now has PTSD and suffers panic attacks. She barely considers fashion anymore, but she can still spot a good deal. By the end of book 3, she has accepted who she is and is overcoming her panic attacks.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

No. All of my characters has elements of people I’ve known throughout my life, but I didn’t specifically create any of them to kill them. Sometimes, I’m sorry I had to do them in.

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

My fictional setting is a picturesque small town in the mountains above Phoenix, Arizona. It is strikingly similar to the town where I live, but I’ve used aspects of other places I also like. I do a lot of research to try to be realistic in the situations, culture, and setting.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Ashley Judd is Rita Avery and David Boreanaz is Detective Cliff Avery.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

The best advice is to write what you know about. That makes it a lot easier to be realistic. I didn’t realize how much I knew about until I started putting it into novels, though. The worst advice I’ve heard is that you don’t need an outline. I outline by books, and then rework the outline as the characters take me in different directions than I planned.

About The Author  

Karen Randau is the author of the Rim Country Mystery series. Her fast-paced novels include Deadly Deceit, Deadly Inheritance, and Deadly Choices, each with intricate plots and lots of action and told from the point of view of protagonist Rita Avery.


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New suspense and character interview: A Game of Deceit by K. A. Davis

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A father’s disappearance never solved, a mother’s secret taken to the grave, a daughter deceived…
Kathryn Landry thinks her life is just about perfect. She is the owner of a successful interior designer business in Newport Beach, California, and she has an attentive, supportive husband. But her world comes crashing down when her husband, Neil Landry, vanishes without a trace… in a situation almost identical to the disappearance of her father twenty years before.

With her father’s disappearance still a mystery, Kathryn is skeptical that the detective assigned to her case will be able to find her husband. Determined to uncover the truth, Kathryn is plunged into a world of politics, high-priced call girls and wealth. As she begins to search for her husband, a decades-old secret her mother took to the grave threatens to destroy all she holds dear. Caught up in a web of betrayals and deceit, and not knowing who to trust, Kathryn must find a way to survive as she discovers the past has a way of repeating itself.

Character interview: Kathryn Landry

Kathryn, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little bit about  yourself? 

I didn’t have the best teenage years after my father disappeared when I was fourteen. I felt pretty lucky when I met my future husband, Neil, in college. He was strong and I was happy to let him take care of me. Once we graduated, I found my passion and started up an interior design company in Newport Beach but let him take control of all the decisions. Once he disappeared, I was lost when it came to how the business side of my company was ran. And then all sorts of terrible things started happening to me, like my apartment being broken into, someone forced me off the road which landed me in the emergency room, and then someone tried to abduct me. Never in a million years would I have thought I could handle traumas like this but I’ve found that I’m a much stronger person than I realized.

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

My assistant, Marianne Patton. She’s a grandmotherly sort, taking strays like me under her wing. I envision my own grandmothers, whom I never had the chance to meet, as being women like Marianne. Marianne also likes to bake and cook and always has food to share with friends. I try to ignore my sweet tooth but it’s pretty hard when she is passing around her delectable treats.

I understand there’s one person you don’t get along with so well.

Detective Mike Williams. I was warned about him after he was assigned to my husband’s disappearance case. He’s a bit chauvinistic and inclined to blame me for my husband leaving instead of doing his job and finding the truth. We seem to butt heads often and I don’t like that he yells at me on occasion. Some people might say I deserve it but I think there are better ways to communicate displeasure.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Kim Davis?

I’d be a lot happier with her if she spent as much time with me as she did with her friends on Facebook! I mean, come ‘on… how many of those people have had their father and their husband disappear without a trace? Instead she relegates me to the dark files of her computer for months, if not years on end. I’ll cut her some slack though, on the amount of time she spends with her granddaughters, Jaidyn and Emory. I’d ignore me too if I had sweet little girls to dote on.

What’s next for you? 

I think I have a chance at finding my happily-ever-after but once again my author is relegating me to the dark recess of her mind. She says there’s a wannabe cupcake baker caught up in the murder of her best friend that needs some help. I’m not giving up though, my story isn’t finished and I have a couple secrets I haven’t shared with her yet.

About The Author

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband, near wildfire country. During the Portola Hills fire in October 2007, she had to evacuate her two young granddaughters, one of whom has Rett Syndrome, as a wall of one hundred foot flames crept towards their home. Thankfully, due to the brave efforts of firefighters, their neighborhood was spared and no loss of life or property occurred. She was able to use that experience to write a harrowing scene in A Game of Deceit.

She writes the Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder blog and has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.


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New suspense from Crooked Lane: No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

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Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life? Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.


About The Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency.

Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie at


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From Carolyn Arnold’s new mystery adventure series: City of Gold

Carolyn Arnold is launching a brand-new adventure series!

Modern-day archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor travels the globe with his two closest friends to unearth treasure and discover legends the world has all but forgotten. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century!

Book #1 is City of Gold.

Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean death…

Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.


Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse—the City of Gold.

Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.




About The Author  

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that never kept her from dreaming big. On par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives outside Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

For more information and a FREE book offer, visit her website:




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