Joanne Fluke, Can't Get Enough of Her! - Dark Streets
One author I can’t get enough of is Joanne Fluke, author of the popular Hannah Swenson mysteries!
What happens when you mix baked goods with murder? You get Hannah Swensen and her best-selling series of cozy mysteries. Each book is packed with a great story and delicious dessert recipes, as this small-town baker solves yet another murder in this otherwise quiet, small town of Lake Eden, Minnesota. But what some people aren’t aware of is that long before Hannah Swenson came into being, Joanne Fluke wrote…suspense thrillers! I’ve enjoyed some of them and I think you will too!
Originally published in 1990, DEAD GIVEAWAY tells the story of another small-town Minnesota woman who makes the mistake of leaving home and finds herself surrounded by a series of grisly murders!
Ellen Wingate thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she learns the millions she’s inherited comes with a super-exclusive condo in the mountains outside of Las Vegas. But leaving Minnesota for paradise turns out to be the ultimate nightmare. Trapped with her neighbors in a freakish winter avalanche, a chilling discovery at the bottom of an indoor pool signals a frightening turn of events. A ruthless killer has infiltrated the Deer Creek Condos. With each killing more terrifying than the last, the panicked survivors face almost certain death. Their only hope is to band together to escape the unrelenting pursuit of a deadly intruder, but trusting each other could be their most fatal instinct…
Then there’s VIDEO KILL. Originally released in 1989, It’s the story of scriptwriters Erik Neilsen and Tony Rocca who write a screenplay called VIDEO KILL, a shocker about a psycho who videotapes beautiful actresses as he murders them. Alan Goldberg, acting head of Cinescope studios, wants it. But only his tightwad uncle can make the deal — and he’s just not interested.
Then a young starlet is stabbed to death in her shower, Hitchcock-style. The only thing the killer leaves behind is a gruesome video of the murder. Suddenly, the horror movie becomes real life…again and again, in a dark and twisted nightmare no one, not even the police, can stop…
Then there’s 1984’s WINTER CHILL. Like the Hannah Swensen series, this novel takes place in small-town Minnesota but that’s where the similarities end. This dark novel was well-received and translated for readers around the world when it was released in 1984. Here’s a plot summary:
First there was the terrible snowmobile accident that took little Laura Larsen’s life, put her rugged father in a wheelchair and drove her poor mother nearly mad with grief.
Then pretty Becky Fischer, playing with the huge saw in the old icehouse…and Jenny Powell, her small body lying grotesquely twisted in the moonlit snow…
Soon there are more horrible accidents. Then the rumours start-these are not coincidences at all, and someone is picking off victims one by one. As winter deepens, the search for answers will reveal a killer whose blood runs colder than the blinding snow….
Was a murderer stalking the silent streets of the little Minnesota village? Was a maniac lurking in the icy shadows? Could anyone save the children when someone wanted them dead, buried forever in the…WINTER CHILL!
Joanne also wrote teen suspense thrillers under the name of Jo Gibson. Several were released in 2014.
In the volume re-released as OBSESSED, This novel features both THE CRUSH and THE CRUSH II in one volume. Both tell the tale of Michael Barton and an over-zealous secret admirer who will go to desperate ends to win his love.
THE CRUSH: Michael Barton is smart, sweet, gorgeous—the total package. There’s just one problem. One of the girls has been harboring a secret crush on Michael for years. She’ll do anything to be his girlfriend. She’ll beat the competition…to death.
THE CRUSH II: Michael Barton has survived the advances of a psychotic stalker. Now he is free from her web of lust and lies. But Michael has a surprise waiting for him. His secret admirer is still out there. Plotting her next move. And if Michael thinks he can escape her this time, he’s wrong…dead wrong.
The collection entitled AFRAID features both DANCE OF DEATH and THE DEAD GIRL in one volume. Both include tales of young women whose lives have been touched by supernatural elements in the most disturbing ways possible!
DANCE OF DEATH: They were the most gorgeous shoes Donna Burke had ever seen. An exquisite pair of scarlet high heels. And allegedly cursed. According to the old shopkeeper, the shoes endowed their wearers with incredible talent—and horrible misfortune. But that doesn’t stop Donna’s friends from buying them. One size kills all.
THE DEAD GIRL: Julie Forrester is a dead ringer for her cousin Vicki. They could pass for twins—except for the fact that Vicki isn’t alive anymore. Now, when Julie goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in Colorado, everyone keeps mistaking her for her cousin. Late at night, she even dreams about Vicki. Reaching out from the grave. Trying to come back. With each passing day, Julie fears she’s becoming someone else. Someone sick. Someone deranged. Someone dead.
The final collection, TWISTED features three Jo Gibson classics—MY BLOODY VALENTINE, THE SÉANCE, and SLAY BELLS. All detail what can go wrong when teenage girls get together around holidays… they start dying!
MY BLOODY VALENTINE: It’s Valentine’s Day, and everyone at Hamilton High is excited about the big dance. Six girls are competing to be Queen of Hearts. Unfortunately, someone is taking aim at the contestants—and it’s not Cupid. Unless Cupid is a deranged killer with a sharp knife and a deadly message.
THE SÉANCE: There’s nothing like a killer party on Halloween—especially when it’s in a secluded lodge in the woods. But when Jennifer Larkin’s friends insist on holding a séance, it’s anything but a game.
SLAY BELLS: The new Crossroads Mall is the place to shop this Christmas. So when a snowstorm traps Diana Connelly and her friends inside, they don’t even mind staying the night. Until Diana’s friends begin to die.
Joanne Fluke has over 30 backlist suspense titles that her publisher, Kensington, is slowly re-issuing. Fans of her cozy Hannah Swenson series will surely enjoy reading these suspense thrillers! Try one today!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Visit them at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or www.tclotempio.com