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Before the Fall Books
St. Paul Detective Catherine O’Brien finally gets to take a much-needed and deserved vacation with her husband, Gavin. Their first vacation in ten years and it’s to a Minnesota resort for fishing. When one of the town’s citizens is found dead, the local sheriff turns to Catherine for help.
Much to Catherine’s surprise and delight, her partner Louise shows up and together they conduct their own unofficial search for a killer. It’s not long before they find this small resort town isn’t quite as pleasant as they thought.
The mystery keeps you guessing throughout the book. The victim is not well-liked, which means there are many suspects to choose from. Even the local deputy had a reason to want this man dead. The story is filled with deception, betrayal and a stray dog that seems attached to Catherine’s husband. This isn’t how the O’Brien’s planned to spend their vacation.
This is the sequel to the author’s first book, “A Grand Murder” and it picks up right where the first one left off. Although I enjoyed “A Grand Murder”, I enjoyed this even more. The friendship between Catherine and her partner Louise is the best part of this series. They remind me of Thelma and Louise, but these two are on the right side of the law. I can’t wait for the third book!
FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
For reading challenges:
2013 ARC Reading Challenge
2013 E-Book Reading Challenge
2013 Where Are You Reading? Challenge (Minnesota)
Please join me in welcoming author Stacy Verdick Case to Socrates’ Book Review Blog. Stacy is the author of the Catherine O'Brien mystery series. Her second book, “A Luring Murder” was released in December.
1) How did you begin your writing career?
I didn’t start to seriously pursue a career as a writer until I turned 25. That’s when my sister dug up an old goal sheet her, and I had written as kids titled, “By the Time I’m 25.” We laughed at things like I would be married to John Taylor from Duran Duran, but there was one little note that really depressed me. It said, “I will write a novel.” It took about a week after that for me start working on my first manuscript.
2) Are you a mystery reader? Is that why you chose mystery as your genre to write?
Oh yes, I am a devout mystery reader although I consider myself an omnivore reader. If there are words that sit still long enough I will read them, I don’t care what genre they’re in. I love a good romance, horror, literary, self-help, spiritual, reference books, there isn’t anything I won’t read. Anyone who haunts my GoodReads shelf can attest to that.
Originally, I started writing romances, but an editor commented on the high body counts in my books and asked if I’d considered writing mysteries. Then I attempted a romantic mystery but Catherine wanted to be born.
3) Do you have an outline for this series? Do you know exactly how the series will play out?
No, not at all. And outline would imply I knew what these characters are doing. I’m what other writers call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I tried to outline once, but the story just wouldn’t behave, it kept going off on tangents that I didn’t expect. As a writer, you’re either a plotter who knows every nuance of the story before you start, or you’re a pantser who trusts it will all work out in the end.
4) How many books will there be in the series and do you have any other series planned?
I wish I knew. I have a third book waiting in the wings, but I don’t have any idea how many there will be. I’ll keep writing as long as I think I can make a story fresh and fun. If I’m bored I’ll stop because I think the reader will be able to tell that I’m not into it anymore.
I’m not sure I’d try another series. If the characters were compelling enough that I wanted to carry on with them, then maybe. At the moment though there’s no plan for a second series.
5) Do you have any favorite authors and/or books to recommend?
Every year I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. That book is so well written that it’s impossible to find fault with it.
6) What do you think about the sudden e-book explosion? Do you like it?
Anything that gets people reading is wonderful. I have a Kindle and an iPad with all the reading apps. When you read as much as I do they’re convenient. My Kindle is the little bitty one, and it fits so nicely in a purse I am never caught in a long line without a book anymore. I now have one book going on Audio in my car, a paperback on my bedside, and another book on my Kindle. Any way you can squeeze a good book into your day is okay by me.
7) From the time you finish writing a book to the time you actually get it published, how long does it take?
Well, it depends. The first one took 10 years from completion to publication, but that’s how it goes sometimes when you’re starting out.
This book took a lot longer than I had intended because it wasn’t originally the second book. I wrote this book very fast. People wanted to know what happened to Catherine on vacation, but I hadn’t written that book. It was originally scheduled to be released in the spring, but I couldn’t get the story right. Then there was an October deadline, but my father-in-law passed away. I didn’t feel I could properly support a book at that time. Then a November deadline that was interrupted by a medical problem and I wasn’t able to support the book.
The third book was written a few years ago, and it got shunted aside for A Luring Murder. So there isn’t really a set time from completion to publication.
8) How did it feel the first time you were published? What was your first published work?
I was first published in The High School Writer; a short piece which I won a High School Writer award for.
A Grand Murder was my first published novel. If I was under hot lights, and force to be honest, it was a bit of a letdown. That sounds horrible, and I don’t mean to be. It’s just that as a writer, you build that moment up so much over the years that nothing can compare to your expectations and fantasies. George Eliot once said, “Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.” I suspect George was referring to book launch day.
9) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write, read, pray, and believe. Also, it’s a real viper’s den out there, so be kind to yourself. There are a lot of nasty people in the world who would like nothing better than to tear you and your work apart. Make sure your coping network is intact and don’t allow the voices in your head to dog pile on. You deserve better than your own harsh criticisms.
10) What upcoming books can we look forward to seeing from you?
The next book is the one that was originally slated to be book two and has now been recast as book three in the series. Then I might take a break from Catherine for a bit. There’s another story that’s been nagging at me to write it. I think I’ll give that some attention and see where it goes.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us, Stacy.
Thank you so much for having me! I’m so grateful to be part of Socrates’ Book Review.
BOOK GIVEAWAY (INTERNATIONAL)!!!!
How would you like to win a copy of this for your very own? Thanks to author Stacy Verdick Case I can two books to two lucky winners - the first place winner will receive a paperback copy of the book. The second place winner will get an e-book of this fun story.
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The giveaway begins on February 27th (midnight est) and ends on March 13th (midnight est).
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