by Karen Randau GENRE: Mystery/Thriller
A cocoon of naiveté shatters on Rita Warren’s thirtieth wedding anniversary, when a terrorist murders her ex-Marine husband Jared and thirteen other movie goers. Ensnarled in a cover-up that puts her in an assassin’s crosshairs, Rita must unravel a web of lies and connections that date back to Jared’s service in the Iraq war – before a mysterious kidnapper returns Rita’s daughter Zoe one body part at a time. This fast-paced story is one you won’t want to put down from beginning to end.
Through a stunned haze, I saw him look down at me and disappear. He returned with Zoe over his shoulder and rushed down the hill toward a black pickup parked on a narrow side road.
At last, I gulped in air and jumped to my feet. I remembered my gun, and pulled it from my purse. While running toward him, I forced a bullet into the chamber and fired. Missed. I continued running until he turned Zoe toward me, and I lowered my gun. He dropped her into the bed of the truck, slipped a gun from under his shirt and pointed it at me.
“Take the antiquities certificates to the same park bench. No tricks this time. You have until noon tomorrow.”
“I’ll do whatever you want, but please don’t take my daughter. She needs a doctor. Take me instead if you think you need a hostage.”
Gunfire cracked behind me, and the man grabbed his left arm. Blood oozed from between his fingers. “If I see any cops, I’ll kill her. Then come after you.” He slid behind the steering wheel, and I turned to see Cliff at the top of the hill, his gun by his side.
I ran toward the dust stirred up by the truck as it sped away and shouted into the wind. “This is about my necklace?”
The opening tragedy for my debut novel, Deadly Deceit, is ripped from the headlines. We hear a lot about the criminals and outraged people after acts of terrorism, but we don’t hear much about the people left behind, forgotten in their darkest days as they struggle to piece together their shattered lives and emotions.
That’s the story I wanted to tell.
In Deadly Deceit, Rita Warren’s husband is shot in front of her, during popcorn and previews on their thirtieth wedding anniversary. Now alone and stalked by a mysterious man on a Harley, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her thirty year marriage. She has to unravel a complex web of lies that leaves her questioning her entire marriage, the character of her husband, and everything she thought she knew about herself.
If that weren’t enough, she develops a serious case of PTSD that she must overcome to save her daughter from a deranged kidnapper before it’s too late.
While in hiding, she spends a few days in a women’s shelter, where she discovers both the courage to overcome and her life’s purpose.
The message of Deadly Deceit is that we all have it in us to overcome even the worst things that happen to us. We could give up and live in debilitating fear, as Rita was tempted to do. Or we can put one foot in front of the other and refuse to let any awful and traumatic event destroy us, our life, or our freedom. Rita chose the latter.