Tag Archives: suspense

Behind the Scenes of Bitter Truth


Mystery and suspense writers joke about law enforcement flagging our internet searches. For the murder in the opening pages of Bitter Truth, I spent hours looking up ways the killer could dispatch the victim from a distance or with a time delay. 

Truth told, it’s a little creepy looking at weapons sites on the internet. There are some disturbing subcultures. If you want to know what a “TEOTWAWKI kit” is, first try to guess. Then I’ll tell you at the end of this post.

On the upside, I discovered you can buy “Batman Batarang Throwing Knives.” I’m not a weapons person (although I love a good kitchen knife) but these are, well, if you’ll pardon the pun, they’re very “sharp looking”! 

Back to the research… So many options for a fictional murderer! I decided it would be dramatic to have the killer use a poisoned dart. So I studied various types of poisons. And blowguns, because he could fold it up and not look suspicious. How long would he need to practice with something like that? And how close would he have to be?

It could work. I wanted it to work. 

Then I thought about the character of the killer, his goals and his style. 

All he needed was a sniper rifle. 

There went all my fancy plans! But you never know, a poison dart may show up in a later book. Nothing’s ever wasted. 

And the answer to the mystery question is…
“TEOTWAWKI” = “The End Of The World As We Know It” 

Yikes! It’s good to be prepared for emergencies, as Green Dory Inn character Nigel Foley would attest.

Still, in these days following Easter I’d rather focus on the One who laid down His life on the Cross to save us and took it up again in triumph three days later. His purposes are best, His promises are true, and His love never fails. As the Bible says, our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15).

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What are readers saying about Bitter Truth?

“A nice assorted cast of possible suspects, and lots of twists in the plot that will keep you guessing.” ★★★★★
Jeffrey C. Reynolds, blogger and reviewer

“Recommended reading for all who love a good puzzley story.” ★★★★★
Violet Nesdoly, author, blogger, and reviewer

“I definitely recommend this book!” ★★★★★
Amy C. Blake, author and Goodreads reviewer

“Lots of twists and turns. A must read!” ★★★★★
Charlene, Goodreads reviewer

“A fun and thought-provoking read” ★★★★
Miranda S., Goodreads reviewer

“I did NOT see the ending!!” ★★★★
Trudy C., Goodreads reviewer

"Janet Sketchley’s tight writing is full of homey details—nicely appointed rooms in a seaside inn on the shores of beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada, cups of coffee, tea, and fragrant baking—disarming us for the plot’s next whiplash development." ★★★★★
Violet Nesdoly, author, blogger, and reviewer

If you like clean Christian mystery and suspense, read Bitter Truth today! This link has international options for major ebook retailers and Amazon for print: books2read.com/bitter-truth.

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It’s Release Day!

Happy “book birthday” to the newest Green Dory Inn Mystery, Bitter Truth! The paperback version sneaked onto the scene early, and now the ebooks are live too.

What readers are saying about Bitter Truth.
Click the image to reach the buy link or click here to for more about Bitter Truth.
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Review: False Pretense, by Heather Day Gilbert

False Pretense, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2022)

Missing persons, unexpected power flickers, and sightings of a creature from West Virginia folklore… except the huge grey Mothman is being seen by trustworthy witnesses. And the winged creature isn’t just a guy in a costume, because it flies. More troubling still, its appearance seems to coincide with the disappearance of two local women—women who look a lot like Tess Spencer.

Mysteries keep finding Tess. She’s solved three as an amateur sleuth, earning enough respect from the police in her small town that Detective Zeke Tucker has hired her as admin assistant. Sure, it’s a desk job, but Zeke values her insights on active cases.

As Tess begins to suspect this case may be personal, she’s also concerned about her mother-in-law’s health and the dirty politics being played by her husband’s rival. As readers of the series know, Tess isn’t one to allow anyone to mess with her family.

I’ve liked Tess from book one. She’s a smart, brave, loyal, self-reliant woman of faith. Since she lives in a state where it’s allowed to conceal-carry a weapon, she takes a handgun and sometimes a knife into danger.

Favourite line:

I’ve always felt the woods are my native environment, a place I can be protected from the pressures of life. Now something—maybe some age-old evil, if I let my imagination run wild—has invaded our area. [Kindle location 539]

The mystery in False Pretense offers enough clues for readers to feel like we’re part of the investigation. I came up with a few ideas, but they were definitely off-base. Fans of the series will be glad to spend time with Tess and her family again, and will be hoping to finally learn the truth about the mysterious Axel Becker. And while this finishes the series, it left me wanting to go back and read again from the beginning.

Readers of the author’s Barks ‘n Beans mystery series will recognize a few mentions of those characters. I enjoy seeing nods like this to other fictional friends. 

False Pretense is a satisfying finale to a mystery series filled with heart and truly likeable characters. If you’re new to the Murder in the Mountains series, you could start here without feeling lost. But I’d encourage you to start with book 1, Miranda Warning, and enjoy the development of characters and relationships through the full series.

Author Heather Day Gilbert writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. To quote her bio on the Goodreads site, “She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love.” For more about the author and her work, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.

[Review based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher, because I couldn’t wait to read the copy I’ve preordered. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.]

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Less than 30 Days!

The clock is ticking down! With Bitter Truth releasing later this month, I had the chance to chat with blogger Jeffrey C. Reynolds about the novel, writing in general, and a few other things. And I may have let slip something about the print version that’s not yet been shared… come join the conversation!

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Review: Tears in the Desert, by Karen V. Robichaud

Tears in the Desert, by Karen V. Robichaud

Tears in the Desert, by Karen V. Robichaud (Word Alive Press, 2020)

From the aptly-named Desolation Creek in the Australian Outback to a lighthouse in Blackheart Bay, Nova Scotia, this novel’s descriptive details draw the reader in with a strong sense of place.

Told in present tense from the point of view of Raine Hunter, both as a child and as an adult, the voice is sure, strong, and taut.

The first part of the novel introduces the trauma in Raine’s childhood. The second two thirds of the book, part two, bring Raine back to her hometown to care for her widowed brother Quinn’s children after he goes missing. Rumours hint that he killed himself or skipped town, but Raine blames the hostile neighbouring family for abducting or harming him.

Raine’s tragic experience as a child shapes her into a bitter person with poor social skills. Because we see the event first, we can be patient with her brusque—rude?—behaviour and hope she’ll discover a positive change. We may even find some of her interactions funny. This woman has no clue how to interact with children. I had to be careful her crankiness didn’t jump-start my own. 😊

Raine is in that difficult place, spiritually, of not being able to fully walk away from God while not being able to press in with Him either.

After the story, I found myself thinking about some of the more extreme characters: the eccentric, the hostile, the bullying… and the unconditionally accepting. Some of the latter modelled Jesus’ love far better than most of us do.

Tears in the Desert is a winner in The 2021 Word Awards for work published in 2020. It’s Canadian author Karen V. Robichaud’s sixth novel. For more about the author and her work, visit kvrobi.wixsite.com/karen-v-robichaud.

[Review copy from the public library.]

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Heaven’s Prey 99-cent Ebook Sale

Readers in Canada and the US can get a digital copy of Heaven’s Prey (Redemption’s Edge # 1) from December 9-13, 2021. Buy yours here: books2read.com/heavens-prey.

Readers in other countries, I’m sorry this is geographically limited. I was unable to set up other sale pricing with one of the vendors. Will figure something out for next time!

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New Mystery Novel Available for Preorder!

Come back to the Green Dory Inn for another mystery! Bitter Truth releases in March 2022.

Who would want Ciara dead? And why? Landon’s quest for the truth will uncover secrets and betrayal that could cost her life.

Digital preorder discount price is $2.99 USD or international equivalent for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Apple, Google Play, and a few other places. A print version will also release in March without preorders. Here’s an international link for the ebooks at various stores: books2read/bitter-truth.

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Cover Reveal: Bitter Truth

Who would want Ciara dead? And why? 

Against all odds, Landon Smith and her ordinary-hero neighbour Bobby Hawke survived a murderous plot six weeks ago. Now, she’s determined to leave solving mysteries to the experts—like handsome local police officer Dylan Tremblay.

But when a friend is nearly killed in a daring daylight attack, Landon can’t sit this out. Not when she knows the anger of being a victim.

Her faith tells her to leave room for God’s vengeance. Her heart says to retaliate. 

The fight to expose Ciara’s enemy will uncover secrets and betrayal that could cost Landon her life.  


And now… the cover!

Bitter Truth, A Green Dory Inn Mystery, Book 3

Pre-orders coming soon, for release in March 2022.

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99-cent Ebook Sale: Unknown Enemy

Unknown Enemy: The short read that kicks off the Green Dory Inn mystery/suspense novels.
A young woman with a traumatic past...
A lonely widow...
And a prowler who's up to  no good.
99 cents for Kindle, Kobo, etc until September 24, 2021. books2read.com/unknownenemy

About the Book

Landon Smith vowed never to return to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Despite her faith, the memories might undo her.

But a shadowy figure has been skulking around the Green Dory Inn—seen only by her friend Anna.

Loyalty demands she stand by this woman who’s been a second mother to her. No matter the cost.

With the police unable to find solid clues, and the incidents escalating, Landon must help Anna discover the truth about the prowler and stop him. Before he turns violent.

Unknown Enemy is a novella-length read. Hidden Secrets and the books to come after are all novel-length.

99-cent ebook sale ends September 24, 2021
Get your copy now!
International buy links: books2read.com/unknownenemy