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About the Book
The Color of Fear
By Judy Alter
Alter Ego Press
Paperback: 64 pages
May 17, 2017, $3.99
Series: Kelly O’Connell Mysteries
The Color of Fear marks Judy Alter’s return to mystery fiction and the Kelly O’Connell series after an absence of more than a year. This time, the indomitable Keisha narrates the short tale wherein Kelly and her family live under the threat of infant Gracie’s kidnapping. The story serves as a reprise of many of the previous novels in the series, as Keisha, in her search for the kidnapper, recalls Kelly’s earlier adventures. Keisha remains outspoken and independent as she balances her need to protect Kelly and her family with her love for new husband, José Thornberry. Some but not all of Kelly’s friends and foes from previous stories appear here, along with such new characters as Clyde, the guard dog, and Cowboy, the homeless guy with a soft heart.
Guest Post from the Author
The Fear of Kidnapping
My new novella, The Color of Fear, is about the kidnapping of an infant, a subject usually taboo among cozy writers. I’ve heard it said you can kill off as many people as you want in a novel, but you’ll lose all your readers if you touch a child or a dog. I hope readers will think my handling of this sensitive enough to warrant reading. I once wrote a serial novel with an author who had a baby rescued from a house fire but ended that chapter with “Pray for the other children.” In what seemed a heartless move, they all perished in the fire, and I’m not sure the book was any better for eliminating them.
I’m not sure where the idea of a kidnapping came from except that fear of losing a child is universal, and fear of kidnapping particularly so. When I was a child in Chicago, a young girl about my age was kidnapped from her second-floor bedroom in a northern suburb. The assailant used a ladder to get to her. Her body was later found, and her killer arrested, but I lay awake in my second-floor bedroom many a night, worrying about men with ladders.
When I was a young mother, the fear became more real to me. My four children are all adopted, and I was always afraid a biological parent would find us and come snatch their child. Before the phrase was common, I was a helicopter mom. I knew fear and the way it can color your reactions, causing you to distort ordinary actions and see threats everywhere. That was forty years ago, and I think we’re even more prone now to worry over children. Social media keeps us unfortunately informed of kidnappings across the country.
The Color of Fear is about neither random kidnapping nor that of a biological parent. It’s about revenge. But more than that, it’s about what fear can do to a once-happy family, turning each family member inward until they are isolated beings coincidentally living in the same house. Fear too often trumps love.
The novella gives me a chance to bring back the primary characters of the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries who have been absent for a year and a half. Not only did I take a break from them, due to health problems and a major move, but Kelly herself took a break from real estate (and fiction) to have baby Cynthia Grace Shandy. And it’s Gracie who is the focus of this novel. The indomitable Keisha narrates and brings her own quirky humor to what could be a dark tale.
Please welcome back Kelly, Mike, Maggie and Em, Cynthia and the ever-present Otto, and of course Keisha and her new husband Joe. The rest of the clan is waiting in the wings for another appearance. If you’ve not met these folks, the novella offers a great introduction.
About the Author
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right. She is also the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.
Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame. http://judyalter.com/
Blog URL: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/judy.alter
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