When I wrote The Heat of the Moon, I never dreamed I would write five more books about Rachel Goddard, a young veterinarian who discovers that everything she believed about her family was a lie.
I thought it was a stand-alone psychological suspense novel. When my agent failed to sell it in New York despite strong interest from editors at two major publishers, I gave up hope that it would ever see print. But Poisoned Pen Press bought it, it won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2006, and I found I had more to say about Rachel.
Her story continued in Disturbing the Dead, Broken Places, Under the Dog Star, Bleeding Through, and Poisoned Ground. I was able to dramatize Rachel’s evolution from the frightened young woman in The Heat of the Moon to the strong, fulfilled person she is at the end of Poisoned Ground.
Now I feel I’ve told her story and have no more to say. Yes, I could go on finding mysteries for her to get involved in, but the most important part of her story, the arc of her personal development, has been told. Some writers produce one fresh, entertaining book after another in a long series, but I don’t think I could do that. Rachel’s psychological development was always what I cared about most, and mysteries without that element would feel hollow to me. I won’t say I’ll never write about Rachel (and Tom Bridger) again, but fornow I need to move on.
My great love is psychological suspense, and I want to get back to it and write more books in the vein of The Heat of the Moon. I love stories about individuals caught up in events beyond their control and understanding, struggling to make sense of what’s happening to them and ultimately finding their way to an answer. I’ve learned a lot about suspense from writing the Rachel books — my ability to maintain tension and suspense from beginning to end has always been praised by reviewers and readers alike — and I think I can put what I’ve learned to good use in something new.
I appreciate all my readers, and your praise and encouragement have meantthe world to me. I hope you’ll be willing to read what I write in the future. Striking out in a new direction is scary, I’ll admit. Even a series with a modest following is a sure thing, and leaving it behind makes me feel as if I’m back at square one, starting over. But I trust that if you liked the Rachel books you’ll also like the next novel I produce.
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If you haven’t read my Rachel Goddard books, they aren’t going anywhere. They’re all available in print, e-book, and audio formats, and they’re in many libraries. Please visit my website at http://www.sandraparshall.com for more information and reviews of all the books. Start with the first (available for only 99 cents as an e-book download) and read them in order to better understand Rachel and her personal journey. If you enjoy them, please let me know! Nothing bolsters a writer’s spirits while she’s sitting alone at the computer more than a complimentary note from a reader.
The Rachel Goddard Mysteries in order
The Heat of the Moon
“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly
“A captivating tale of suspense.” —Booklist
“Stylish, original, compulsively readable... Sandra Parshall explores the darkest side of family love and longing with pitch-perfect, highly engaging characters and a stunning end-game surprise. ” -- Judith Kelman, bestselling author of psychological suspense
Disturbing the Dead
“Fast-paced, chilling, and compulsively readable.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Edge-of-the-seat suspense.” —Library Journal starred review
“A terrific, tangled skein of unraveling family secrets and hidden murders, beautifully plotted and excitingly told.” —Diana Gabaldon, author of the international bestselling Outlander series
“Grips readers with a suspenseful plot that will leave them breathless.” —Library Journal starred review
“A suspenseful tale distinguished by its sharp prose.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
“Broken Places is a tense exploration of how past acts can come back to haunt the present. It kept me guessing till the very end.” —Margaret Maron, bestselling author of the Judge Deborah Knott mysteries
Under the Dog Star
“Spine-chilling tension from cover to cover.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Tense and compelling…one of the un-put-downable reads of the year.” —Deborah Crombie, author of the bestselling Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid mysteries
“Combines nerve-wracking suspense with a twisty mystery.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Marvelous storytelling.” —Julia Spencer-Fleming, author of the bestselling Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries
“Parshall expertly maintains tension until the surprising conclusion.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A fast-paced plot with plenty of false leads keeps the reader turning the pages.” —Publishers Weekly
“Parshall perfectly plumbs the well of humanity in a small town, where longstanding feuds and deep-seated jealousies drive dark deeds—from backstabbing and betrayal all the way to bloody murder.” —Erin Hart, author of the Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire mysteries