So I have this new book out… Actually, I should start from about 6 ½ years ago, when my last novel, THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS, came out. I started working on the next book in my Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series when the new year rolled around. I’m a slow writer at the best of times, and I did not have the best of times for several years. I was sick. One of my kids dropped out of college and needed a massive amount of maternal support. My husband got sick, got worse. Died. Full stop there. When I was able to start working again, it was like squeezing an almost-dry washcloth to get a few drops out. But day by day, drop by drop, I added words, sentences, paragraphs, until I handed in a complete manuscript in January 2019.
My publisher, ecstatic I was back on the scene, decided to hold on to the book and find the exact… perfect… guaranteed New York Times bestselling launch date to release the book. Which turned out to be April 7, 2020.
Oops. As the saying goes, life comes at you fast.
As late as March 11, my publicist and I were still emailing about my tour – flying hither and thither across the country, meeting (hopefully) crowds of readers inside bookstores, shaking hands, passing books back and forth – honestly, it makes me want to dash to the kitchen and wash my hands right now.
A week later, everything had been cancelled. Bookstores were closing their doors to the public, and a week later, pretty much everybody was hunkering down. Like a lot of Americans, I spent hours each day obsessively reading The Times and the Washington Post online, scanning my local paper, and listening to NPR. When I thought about HID FROM OUR EYES -and honestly, it wasn’t often – I’d think, okay, lots of people are stuck at home. What better time to read a book?
And then 10 million people lost their jobs, and I started to consider how much toilet paper and beans somebody could buy for the cost of a hardcover novel. Behind my eyes, a black-and-white Depression era newsreel started playing, starring me as the starving artist in a bread line. Would there be a WPA job for me? All I could remember from that chapter in American History class were the playwrights and the painters, and I couldn’t help but notice no one in Congress was standing up and making speeches about economically stimulating, um, mystery writers.
It’s okay, though. I’m feeling better now. Several bookstores pivoted to online events without missing a beat, and I’ve done virtual talks on Zoom and Facebook live. We’re doing no-contact book signings, with drop shipments (sent to my house, then on to the booksellers) of books and bookplates. And best of all, authors all over the internet are pitching in to help each other, with recommendations, reviews, Twitter shoutouts and – as you see before you – invitations to blog.
So I have this new book out. I hope you’ll take a look, and maybe buy it from your local bookstore (they ship!) or check it out from your local library (they’re working hard to get ebooks and audio books to as many people as possible.) I hope you’ll also stay home, wash your hands, and be safe. Because the one thing we’re all learning is how much we need each other, and how important community is. And we want our community, the readers and writers and book sellers and book lovers, to be here when we get past this thing.
HID FROM OUR EYES 1952. Millers Kill Police Chief Harry McNeil is called to a crime scene where a woman in a party dress has been murdered with no obvious cause of death.
1972. Millers Kill Police Chief Jack Liddle is called to a murder scene of a woman that's very similar to one he worked as a trooper in the 50s. The only difference is this time, they have a suspect. Young Vietnam War veteran Russ van Alstyne found the body while riding his motorcycle and is quickly pegged as the prime focus of the investigation.
Present-day. Millers Kill Police Chief Russ van Alstyne gets a 911 call that a young woman has been found dead in a party dress, the same MO as the crime he was accused of in the 70s. The pressure is on for Russ to solve the murder before he's removed from the case.
Three decades. One perfectly imperfect couple. To get to the truth, Reverend Clare Fergusson must team up with her husband, Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne. The stakes have never been higher.