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About Sue Coletta
Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org awarded her Murder Blog with “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (Murder Blog sits at #5 — 2018-2021). She also blogs at the Kill Zone, Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers" (2013-2021).
Sue lives with her husband and two spoiled guinea pigs in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, Grafton County Series and Mayhem Series (Tirgearr Publishing). She also writes narrative nonfiction & true crime (Rowman & Littlefield Group). She's multi-published in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. She's also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter. And recently, she appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series Storm of Suspicion. In November 2021, Sue will be a panelist at the New England Crime Bake.
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Titles By Sue Coletta
Shawnee Daniels — forensic hacker for the police by day, cat burglar by night — ignites the hellfire fury of a serial killer when she unknowingly steals his trophy box.
Shawnee Daniels breaks into the home of Jack Delsin, a white-collar criminal accused of embezzling money from his employees' retirement fund. In Robin Hood-esque fashion, her intention is to return their hard-earned cash, but she stumbles across a shocking spectacle. Jack has secrets, evil secrets, secrets worth killing over.
A deadly game of cat-and-mouse torpedoes Shawnee's life. Can she outrun the killer, prove she's innocent of murder, and protect those she loves before he strikes again?
Described by readers as SILENCE OF THE LAMBS meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, WINGS OF MAYHEM is a whirlwind of heart-thumping, non-stop action that takes your breath away. Impossible to put down.
A serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author Sage Quintano, and she barely escapes with her life. Her husband Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff.
Sage buries secrets from that night, secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.
Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko's desk. A strange caller torments Sage — she can't outrun the past. When Sage's twin sister suddenly goes missing Sage searches Niko's case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.
Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?
Female killers are often portrayed as caricatures: Black Widows, Angels of Death, or Femme Fatales. But the real stories of these women are much more complex. In Pretty Evil New England, true crime author Sue Coletta tells the story of these five women, from broken childhoods, to first brushes with death, and she examines the overwhelming urges that propelled these women to take the lives of a combined total of more than one-hundred innocent victims. The murders, investigations, trials, and ultimate verdicts will stun and surprise readers as they live vicariously through the killers and the would-be victims that lived to tell their stories.
Looking for inspiration on how to murder your characters?
With this handy research guide, no longer will you need to search for ways to murder your characters, or stare at a blank screen while you mull over the character development of your antagonist. Many of the murder methods listed in 60 Ways to Murder Your Characters come with ways you can use them in your novel, short story, or flash fiction.
From the basics, like a shotgun blast to the head to the more creative ways to commit murder on the page, this research guide will help bring your crime scenes alive.
Let’s face it. Being an author isn’t an easy endeavor. Crime writing is even harder, because we need to ensure our stories ring true. That’s why I’ve given you the exact measurements for how to dissolve a body in lye or acid, for instance. If I can help your stories ring true, then I consider it a win. Don't let the preview fool you. There's all kinds of information in this guide.
If you check out my blog, you’ll find endless posts on research, forensics, and police procedures. Let my passion for crime help you. One element of my psychological thriller/mystery, Marred, that readers found the most chilling were the crime scene details and forensics.
Don’t take my word for it.
What others are saying about Marred as it relates to this guide…
“Coletta’s carefully researched writing style and whip-smart dialogue brings the reader inside a world of >b>unthinkably gruesome murders, crime scene forensics, and criminal psychology as Sage and Niko try to stop a brutal, twisted killer. The intrigue builds through many plot twists and turns, and Coletta’s vivid, heart-stopping descriptions are so jarringly real that there are several scenes I'll never forget.”
“Be prepared to accompany Niko and his team to some grisly crime scenes; even if the descriptions are not too stretched, you clearly see that Sue Coletta is serious about her research.”
“The twists, turns, and hidden clues keep you immersed in pure story right from the heartbreaking prologue to an end you’ll never see coming. But what impressed me most—and this is coming from a person who spent a lifetime as a real-life homicide detective and forensic coroner—is the accuracy of detail in the crime scenes and how well woven the forensic evidence is.”
“There’s no doubting the amount of research that’s gone into this story. The vivid, disturbing and grisly descriptions of crime scenes and the forensic details are chillingly detailed. A well-structured, dark and suspenseful plot, which makes it easy to get caught up in the narrative and be drawn to Sage.”
“Sue Coletta isn't going to spare you the gory details or an honest look behind the crime scene tape. She's a well versed author in all things crime who indelicately dumps you into the middle of a life which has been disrupted, disturbed, and marred by the evil acts of a solitary man.”
“I pre-ordered this book and, as soon as it downloaded to my Kindle, I began reading. I couldn't stop reading. I finally finished it in the middle of the night and enjoyed every page. Ms. Coletta's forensic details are superb.
Need Research to Help Your Stories Ring True?
Look no further. In Crime Writer’s Research you’ll find countless hours of research that I’ve compiled into one handy guide to help other crime writers, or any author who has a murder, crime, or police procedures in their books. Let my passion for crime lend credibility to your story.
In Crime Writer’s Research you’ll find information on serial killers, police procedures, a rare never-before-seen interview with a real-life undercover operative, and so much more.
Take a look at the Table of Contents:
Seven Phases of the Serial Killer — This chapter discusses what the serial killer experiences, his inner desires and fantasies.
The Terrifying World of Serial Killers — Unlike the previous chapter, we’ll concentrate of how serial killers are classified by the FBI and how you can use this knowledge to write a more realistic antagonist.
What Happens at The Body Farm? — I’ll take you inside the forbidden place where the dead litters the earth.
Blood, Bodies, and Bugs — In this chapter you’ll learn what happens to the body after death; what affects rate of decomposition; life cycle of blowflies; how to estimate time of death, etc.
What Happens Inside an Autopsy Suite? — Specifically, the careers of individuals who work in an autopsy suite and what their job entails.
Exceptions to Search Warrants — There are exceptions to search warrants, and your detective needs to know what they are, including but not limited to Terry Stops, Exigent Circumstances, Custodial issues, Abandoned Property, etc.
Crime Writers’ Boot Camp: Jurisdiction — In order to investigate a homicide, a detective needs to determine if the crime scene is within his jurisdiction. We concentrate on Subject Matter Jurisdiction, then move on to…
Crime Writers’ Boot Camp: Jurisdiction Part II — Nexus, Territorial Jurisdiction, and more.
Police Procedures: United States vs. Canada — Two detective friends sat down with me to discuss the differences between the US and Canadian police procedures and law.
Why Dogs are Such Fantastic Trackers — Ever wonder how your best buddy can tell when you've petted the neighbor’s dog? Now you’ll know why. Plus, learn how to print your dog in case of emergency.
Forensics: Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences — Forensic breakthroughs and how to tell if a skeleton is male or female.
Psychopaths & the Criminally Insane — Have a psychopathic killer in your story? Read this chapter.
If She Walks Like a Victim — What our body language tells potential attackers.
Candid Interview with an Undercover Operative — Using an alias, this undercover operative comes forward to discuss what happens behind the scenes of a sting. We also cover how he deals with the "theatre of crime," family life, befriended the suspect, the inner workings of undercover work, etc...
Badass in Heels: Self-Defence Moves — Learn techniques to make your protagonist a badass in heels.
Murder, U.S.A. is a compilation of excerpts from thirty-one full-length crime fiction novels. Each mystery, thriller, or suspense novel in the collection is set somewhere in the United States; together, the collection offers a "murder tour of the nation" to readers of all sub-genres of crime fiction. Organized by setting and labeled by sub-genre, the collection features pieces of romantic suspense, cozy mystery, legal and corporate thriller, paranormal mystery, historical mystery, dystopian suspense, near-future thriller, medical mystery, traditional mystery, political procedurals, hard-boiled/noir, international thriller, and psychological suspense.
Excerpts from Patrick Balester, Stephen Brayton, Joyce Ann Brown, Craig Faustus Buck, James R. Callan, Lance Charnes, Sue Coletta, G.G. Collins, Diana Deverell, Lesley A. Diehl, Pam Eglinski, Kristen Elise, Ph.D., Elaine Faber, Sunny Frazier, M.M. Gornell, Michael Hebler, Dorothy Howell, Gay Kinman, Tracy Lawson, Sheila Lowe, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, Kathy McIntosh, Kelly Miller, Cathy Perkins, Sara Rickover, Carole Sojka, Linda Thorne, and Will Zeilinger.
Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn't make them any less real. Or deadly.
When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels' feet, she's compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He "claims" he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.
While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she's ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.
Can Shawnee find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?
Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bonds their family unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won't stop till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.
But can she solve his cryptic clues before it's too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?
With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.
As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.
When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave.
The infamous Mr. Mayhem is not your average serial killer. Reminiscent of the beloved Hannibal Lecter, minus his thirst for flesh—eating humans is just plain rude—Mr. Mayhem storms on the scene with style, grace, elegance, and a zest for life unlike any other. Impeccable manners also help. He may commit murder, but there's no reason to be impolite about it.
Accompanied by his loyal crow companions, Poe, Allan, and Edgar, his crimes strike fear in the hearts and minds of folks across Massachusetts' North Shore. When Shawnee Daniels — cat burglar extraordinaire and forensic hacker for the police — meets Mayhem in the dark, she piques his curiosity. Sadly for her, she leaves behind an item best left undiscovered. Or is it serendipity by design?
Color him curious, but he yearns to examine the psychology behind her life choices, tough girl routine, witty banter, and unique double-life. In a different time and place they may even become friends. But unfortunately, their predicament defines the risk.
The stakes are too high to stop now.
For reasons authorities cannot fathom, these seemingly unrelated murders will go down in history as the most impressive killing regime of all time. His coup de grace, if you will. Even if it means permanently erasing Ms. Daniels from the equation. All the pieces are there if the authorities look hard enough. The question is, will they? The only new wrinkle is Shawnee Daniels, and she may be his toughest opponent yet ... if she's clever enough to play the game.
READERS' CHOICE AWARD WINNER
On a picturesque fall morning in Grafton County, New Hampshire, a brutal murder rocks the small town of Alexandria. In the backyard of a weekend getaway cabin, a dead woman is posed in red-satin, with two full-bloomed roses in place of eyes.
In her hand, a mysterious envelope addressed to Sheriff Niko Quintano. Inside, Paradox vows to kill again if his riddle isn't solved within 24 hours.
With so little time and not enough manpower, Niko asks his wife for help. But Crime Writer Sage Quintano is dealing with her own private nightmare. Not only did she find massive amounts of blood on the mountain where she and her family reside, but a phone call from the past threatens her future—the creepy mechanical voice of John Doe, the serial killer who murdered her twin sister.
Together, can Niko and Sage solve the riddle in time to save the next victim? Or will the killer win this deadly game of survival?
Five missing boys and an adult corpse found in the town's water shed was only the beginning for Sage and Niko Quintano. After a hooded-stranger gives their son, Noah, a stuffed animal—the exact Christmas moose given to all the missing boys days before their abductions—their lives spiral downward into uncertainty.
Could Noah be the next boy to go missing?
As they piece together each cryptic clue, the future looks more and more grim. But what they soon discover blows everyone's mind, the truth teetering on the unfathomable.
What does it all mean, and where do they go from here?