The Dana Mulder Suspense Series Book 1 by N Gray Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Deadly Patterns reveal disturbing truths.
My name is Dana, I'm a private investigator and hired to find a missing woman. Thinking it would be a straightforward case like all my others, instead, I'm thrust into a web of kidnappings, deceit, and murder.
The investigation leads me to a prominent doctor who abducts his patients after their surgery, but all the evidence is circumstantial. With the help of my detective brother and his partner, we discover more bodies and link cold cases where we establish a similar MO.
During the investigation, the man who left me for dead is back and wants more.
Can I solve the mystery before we find another body, and before I become the target of a savage maniac intent on making me his?
A fast-paced suspense thriller with unforgettable characters and spine-chilling suspense, DEADLY PATTERN is book #1 in a gripping new series that will leave you turning pages late into the night.
BIANCA STRETCHED HER LEGS. THAT FAMILIAR click in her right knee sent a jolt of pain up her leg; the movement caused her to move her upper body, and pain from her shoulder made her wince. She relaxed one muscle at a time, and, after a few seconds, the pain dissipated. Having another scar once she’d healed wasn’t comforting, but it was just another scar to add to the one that went down her right leg.
When Bianca had first arrived at the hospital, she had shared a room with another patient before being wheeled into surgery. Now she had a private room and wondered whether her insurance had approved it in full, because she didn’t have money to pay the difference should there be an outstanding balance.
Her room was clean with the standard eggshell-colored walls, starched bedding, and repulsive hospital smell—disinfectant mixed with body odor and the lingering stench of a corpse or two.
Her shoulder throbbed, and the joint felt tight. She tried to move it, but it was strapped tightly in a sling against her body. It was an old sports injury that had worsened when she had fallen. She couldn’t remember how she had fallen on the sidewalk; she was walking one second, the next thing she had woken in the back of someone’s truck. The kind man had offered to take her to the hospital. The next day, she was scheduled for a rotator cuff repair.
Gently massaging against the bandage on her shoulder, she felt something, and wondered whether the orthopedic surgeon had done an arthroscopy as he had promised or if he had gone full on butcher on her arm. She shuddered at the thought.
Footsteps sounded; a light knock on the door was followed by a nurse beaming at Bianca as she entered. “Morning, my name is Mary, and I’ll tend to you today. How ya feeling?” The nurse wore a tight white bun on top of her head, had clear crystal-blue eyes, and a warm smile to match her happy demeanor. She carried a blood pressure monitor and reached for Bianca’s arm. Her powdery perfume wafted in behind her, causing Bianca to stifle a sneeze.
“Okay, I guess. When will I see the doctor?” Bianca sat up, using her uninjured arm. Her right arm throbbed in the sling as she moved even though she kept it still. She leaned against the pillow, breathless. She could stay where she was. She didn’t have the strength to sit all the way upright; that position was as good as it would get.
“He’s busy with other patients, but you’ll see him soon,” Mary said while leaning Bianca forward, fluffed her pillows then helped her lay back again. “You comfy now?”
Bianca nodded. “And my dad, is he here yet?”
“No, but I’ll send him in the moment he gets here.” Mary squeezed her knee through the starched bedding. “Don’t fret. I’m sure he’ll visit you soon.” She cocked her head with a sympathetic smile. “You hungry?”
“Not really. Maybe thirsty.” Bianca felt blood drain from her face. The sudden movements didn’t agree with her, and bile rose, which she swallowed, tasting the bitter aftereffects of the anesthesia.
Mary smiled knowingly. “It’s just the morphine. It makes patients a little nauseated soon after the procedure. Don’t panic with what I’m about to do.” Mary lifted the bleached covers. “I’m just going to remove the catheter.”
Bianca felt a gentle tug on her lower body but didn’t notice the little tube leaving her. She did have an overwhelming need to urinate though.
Mary unhooked the bag from the side of her bed and placed it on the trolley that stood against the far wall.
Bianca relaxed, hoping the feeling would disappear, but it didn’t, and she needed to go. “Okay, I need the bathroom now.” Bianca slowly sat upright.
Mary smiled, pulled the covers all the way back and helped her off the bed.
Bianca wobbled slightly, but Mary steadied and guided her to the small bathroom in the corner.
Once Bianca was done and back in bed, Mary left the room but returned after a few seconds, wheeling a trolley full of food and a glass of juice to Bianca’s bedside. She set the plate of food onto the over-bed table with cutlery and a plastic cup with three capsules. “Eat.” She sat in the chair beside the bed and watched intently.
“Are you going to watch me eat the whole time?” Bianca lifted the lid to see scrambled eggs and toast.
“They say eggs and dry toast go down easier on the first day. Don’t mind me. I’m here to ensure you’re okay and can eat something before you take your pain meds.” She jerked her chin at the plastic cup holding the capsules.
Bianca ate slowly and sipped even slower on the orange juice then paused until the nausea passed before she continued eating.
Mary watched Bianca the entire time. Frosted-colored eyes gleamed at her once she finished. “Now for your medicine, it’ll help with the pain. I promise.” Mary pushed the plastic cup closer along with the half-full glass of orange juice.
Bianca swallowed one capsule at a time, finishing the orange juice.
Mary removed the plate and glass and handed her the remote for the television against the wall opposite her bed.
She flicked through the channels—all six of them—eventually stopping on a cartoon about a mouse. Bianca’s eyelids felt heavy. Her skin tingled, and her body relaxed one muscle at a time. The medication took its hold on her.
When Mary closed the door behind her, Bianca’s eyes fluttered open, alarmed when she heard the door shut with a distinct sound of a lock turning.
Bianca’s heart hammered against her chest. Why was she locked in?
Devil Mountain The Dana Mulder Suspense Series Book 2
Devil Mountain reveals hidden secrets, suspicion, and murder.
I'm asked to assist in the search for Johnny's sister only to discover she’s dead and her two daughters are missing. To make matters worse, I unearth the remains of someone connected to the man hunting me down.
Can I solve the murder before Travis strikes again, or will he finally get what he wants?
A fast-paced suspense thriller with unforgettable characters and spine-chilling suspense, DEVIL MOUNTAIN is book #2 in a gripping new series that will leave you turning pages late into the night.
Chasing Evil The Dana Mulder Suspense Series Book 3
Travis is bent on keeping me as his trophy, but the tables have turned and I'm hunting him.
Travis is still after me. His cat and mouse game will never end until one of us is dead. All I know is it's time to take my life back.
Which of us will survive?
A fast-paced suspense thriller with unforgettable characters and spine-chilling suspense, CHASING EVIL is book #3 in a gripping new series that will leave you turning pages late into the night.
N Gray is a South African author living in Cape Town. During the day, she is a spreadsheet wizard, creating dashboards, and tables with trending analysis in search of any anomalies. (Yes, she still has a day job). At night, she types on her curved keyboard creating fictional characters that some may love, and others you want to kill yourself. And for fun, she goes to the beach with her daughter and hubby, or take the fur babies for a walk.
She writes in multiple genres; her first three books are collections of short stories ranging from light horror to paranormal and a thriller.
In 2019, she released her first full-length novel, Ulysses Exposed, centering around Blaire Thorne, an assassin with amnesia who hunts and kills the monsters in Sterling Meadow.
In 2020, she joined other USA Today Bestselling authors to produce the Notorious Minds Boxset. Her contribution, Nightcrawler, is exclusive to this boxset and is the prequel to her Dana Mulder thriller series.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Since I was little, I’ve always loved writing. I wrote my first short story when I was eight or nine on my mom’s typewriter and always wanted to do more with creative writing. Then with most of us, life happened, and I had to work, and life got busy. I hadn’t written in a long time, but it was always at the back of my mind. When I read it was possible to self-publish, I knew I had to do this or regret it for the rest of my life. In 2015 I had more time on my hands and started writing short stories again. In 2017, I self-published my first book and I haven’t looked back since. I still have a day job, I’m an analyst, and I’m aiming to become a full-time writer.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I have a wicked sense of humor that I try to add to my books, along with little Easter eggs.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I’m from South Africa and stayed in Chicago for six weeks which was quite a big deal back then. I also won a Star Award at my previous company and I travelled to Dubai – the best part was going to the Abu Dhabi Ferrari World.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Where were you born/grew up at?
Johannesburg, South Africa. I love the sea and we moved to Cape Town in 2017—I need my walks on the beach.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
With my daughter and hubby
Who is your hero and why?
My mom, she’s no longer around but she loved to read and got me hooked. And I miss her every day.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
A chilled one who hates conflict, and people who hurt animals and others.
What are you passionate about these days?
My writing—boring I know but I’ve taken it more seriously this last year and want to get my bookie-babies out there.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
A walk on the beach, Netflix, or something with my daughter.
How to find time to write as a parent?
It’s difficult, but I get up really early to do some marketing and write before work starts. Now that the world has gone bonkers, I work from home which cuts travel time and that gives me extra hours to write.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Disciplined, dedicated, not too serious.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Only after I published my Urban Fantasy series. Before then it didn’t feel real, but now it does—and people are buying my books (love you, guys).
Do you have a favorite movie?
Silence of the Lambs
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Definitely my Blaire Thorne books.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
None yet, only a retreat to my office (with the door closed)
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What inspired you to write this book?
I write in 3 genres; Urban fantasy, Horror and Thriller. I’d started a series in each except for Thriller and after researching I got the idea to write four books.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More in each genre. I like to alternate between the three genres to keep me from getting bored
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not yet. I’m currently working on those.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Deadly Pattern?
Dana Mulder was an analyst for the FBI but after her encounter with Travis, she became a Private Investigator where she didn’t need danger pay. She’s clever but also afraid after her attack even though she comes across as brave. But as much as she knows she shouldn’t be doing some things; she always gets herself into trouble.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I’m a panster and I write on the edge of my seat, so I come up with my characters on the go. I have a broad outline of what I want but the detail happens when I sit behind my pc and type.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
How Dana grows and becomes the woman she was always meant to be.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Dana is one for justice and serving the law, but every once in a while, she bends her rules to get the bad guy behind bars.
Travis on the other hand takes justice into his own hands and kills people he thinks are bad, and not necessarily are.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I was looking for something analytical because Dana was an analyst, and Travis kills in patterns—to him, even though it’s not as clear to others.
Who designed your book covers?
My hubby. I can do it to a point, then he takes over and makes them better.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I love my books and they’re all professionally edited.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That it’s hard to write thrillers. The novella was relatively quick, but the three books took time. Thriller stories progress slowly which is hard for me to write—I have a short attention span and if I get bored I’m afraid my readers will too--so I prefer to write fast-paced stories.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ooh, tough one, I hadn’t considered anyone yet. Perhaps Mila Kunis, she looks small and fragile but when pushed she will fight back.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
My thriller series are quick reads yet are satisfying and a thrilling ride.
How did you come up with name of this book?
I guess I came up with the plot and title at the same time. I can’t explain it, they just come to me.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
When we learn more about Travis –I think I’ve created a likeable killer.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend it with Travis and ask him questions about his childhood and what really happened. (hint, you learn more about him in the 3rd book)
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
My imagination, but it’s also a combination of research into serial killers.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
They hijack the story; I never know where it’s going to go until I sit down and write it.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Dana is in all of us, we don’t like bad things happening to those we love and are always up for the challenge. And, we love solving mysteries, putting one bad guy away after the other.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, I’ve written a few that I need to go back and edit and perhaps publish once I’m done with the thriller series.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
For Dana’s books, a rose scented candle. For Travis’s novella, sandalwood.
What did you edit out of this book?
For the first book (Deadly Pattern) nothing, I made a few tweaks here and there but it’s the original story. Now the second book (Devil Mountain) is a different story, I rewrote about twenty-thousand words; I didn’t like where the story was going and didn’t think the readers would appreciate it. I love the way it turned out now. And at the time of writing this, I’m about eighty percent through Chasing Evil, and it’s getting pretty exciting.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell. I’ve read almost all of their books. I enjoy their writing style and how they keep coming up with new stories.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
I’m ambidextrous. As I write one book, I’m always thinking of the next book to write. I’m a shy introvert (unless you’ve known me for like fifteen years, only then do I come out of my shell). I love hearing that readers have enjoyed my books—it really makes me glad.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, Anne Rice, Blake Pierce, H.P. Lovecraft, Dean Koontz, Cheryl Bradshaw, Laurell K Hamilton, Lauren Beukes, Karin Slaughter
What book do you think everyone should read?
Savages by Shirley Conran; it’s about survival and that everyone can do it.
How long have you been writing?
On and off for years, but seriously from 2017
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
The main characters come to me at the same time, so I have to write down before I forget.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Usually different types of murders (morbid I know, but there’s interesting stuff out there). It helps to give me ideas which I turn into my own words. I don’t base my stories on real murders, I only use certain elements.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, even though I still have a day-job, I see writing as my other job and I love it.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It’s very competitive and marketing is a skill on its own.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Yes, I read at night. I alternate between the genres I write in; horror, UF and thrillers.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I need music as it helps me focus. If there’s silence my mind wanders.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I prefer to write one at a time and finish it, then I start on the next one. Or I go back on the previous one to fix or add before it goes to my editor.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Savages by Shirley Conran. I read it in high school and a few more times afterwards. It’s one of my favourites that I can read over and over again.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Outline in my book with a pen and then I write on my computer.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Blaire Thorne from my UF series. I just love her. And now that she has her memory back, she’s actually funny. I can’t wait to write the fifth book.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
Yes, I love everything about it, even though I still struggle with the marketing aspect because it’s a completely different ball game. One should do what they love because it won’t feel like a job. My days fly by when I write and it’s so rewarding at the end when I press that “publish” button.
A day in the life of the author?
Currently, I wake early to do some marketing. Wake my daughter so she can start her school day (via online learning now that Corona has messed up our schedules). I do what I need to for my day-job. Then when I’m done, I write/revise which ever book I’m working on at the time. I usually switch my pc off around seven at night as I struggle to write at night. I’m more an early morning writer.
Advice they would give new authors?
Don’t stop trying!
Describe your writing style.
I’m a panster with minimal plotting.
What makes a good story?
Keeping the reader interested from the first word. I’ve stopped reading books because there was too much fluff in the story and it became boring. A story can still be good and fast paced.
What are they currently reading?
I’m reading two books at the moment; The Heretic by Joseph Nassise and Amazon Decoded by David Gaughran.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I do a broad outline for the three books in the series, then I break it down stating what will happen in each book, then I get going and write.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Thinking they will be rich and have a bestseller. Or they don’t need an editor. And ninety five percent of writers have to work hard at selling their books. It’s only those five percent who get a large advance.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I guess that will be me; I’m very hard on myself and I like to push myself, but I need to be kinder because I’ve accomplished so much even though some days it doesn’t feel like it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to bring a combination of the two. With that said, I do tend to bring in horror elements and so far, I haven’t heard any complaints.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To start publishing earlier. I feel I wasted time by not doing it sooner.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
That hopefully I’m getting it right.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I can write a book a month, but I don’t publish it then. I leave it to “simmer” while I write the next one. Then I go back to it, fix it, edit it and then send it to my editor.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No, I think writers’ burnout and become exhausted. We need to step away from our computers every day to either go for a walk or do some other activity. One cannot write full steam ahead and expect perfect results each time. Writers need to take breaks, rest and do other things that happen outside of the home (if at all possible, these days).
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