Friday, October 27, 2017

Mixed Messages: a Halloween Mystery

            I’m using my monthly Novel Spaces post today to highlight the work of another author, Patricia Gligor. Patricia and I belong to a group called Mystery Authors International and each month the members of the group feature one member, that month’s Author of the Month, on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

            Because I’ve had Pat on my blog a few times, I thought it would be nice to feature her work on another blog so I can introduce her to some different readers.

            Today I’m focusing on Pat’s debut book, Mixed Messages. I’ve read it and I can highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery and psychological suspense (in other words, someone who likes a little bit of family drama mixed in with their serial killers).

            Mixed Messages tells the story of a Cincinnati woman who’s got some big problems on her hands:

It’s estimated that there are at least twenty to thirty active serial killers in the United States at any given time. There’s one on the loose on the west side of Cincinnati.

It’s the week of Halloween and Ann Kern struggles with several issues. Her primary concern is her marriage which, like her west side neighborhood, is in jeopardy. Her husband is drinking heavily and his behavior toward her is erratic. One minute, he’s the kind, loving man she married and, the next minute, he’s cold and cruel.

Ann dismisses a psychic’s warning that she is in danger. But, when she receives a series of ominous biblical quotes, she grows nervous and suspicious of everyone, including her own husband.

As the bizarre and frightening events unfold, Ann discovers a handmade tombstone marked with her name, pushing her close to the edge. Will she be the Westwood Strangler’s next victim?

Exciting, huh?

Here’s what Pat has to say about the origin of her story:

One day, shortly after I’d moved into a new apartment on the west side of Cincinnati, I went for a walk in the neighborhood and spotted an old Victorian. I remember standing there, gazing up at the house, captivated. I’ve always loved old houses; they have so much character. Every old house has a history; people have lived there and, in many cases, died there. As I looked up at the Victorian, I found myself wondering what those walls would say if they could talk.

Intrigued, I wanted to find out more about the house and the area so I went to the Cincinnati Historical Society and immersed myself in research. Little by little, I began to come up with plot ideas and possible scenarios. The people who would live in the house and in the neighborhood, the characters for my book, came to me gradually. I drew upon my own life experiences and I took bits and pieces of the lives of people I knew or had read or heard about. A physical characteristic here, a personality trait there. I jotted down those ideas on scraps of paper and it wasn’t long before I had a huge pile, which eventually became a chapter-by-chapter outline.

I fictionalized the house in my mind and on paper to fit the story I wanted to tell, which had slowly evolved. I constantly asked myself questions. What if, in the midst of my main character’s personal struggles, a serial killer is on the loose? What if she has reason to believe he’s after her?

Want to hear more? Here’s a short excerpt:

“Ann tried to shut the door in his face but he pushed hard against it and sent her tumbling backwards. She regained her balance and ran toward her apartment door. The man pounced at her and grabbed her wrist, twisting it. “Stop it!” she yelled. “You’re hurting me!”

He shoved her into her apartment and slammed the door behind them.

She stifled a scream. Please God, she prayed, don’t let the kids wake up. Please help me. Is this him? Is he the Westwood Strangler? Am I his next victim? What can I do? I don’t want to die!”

Want even more? Pat has made a great trailer for the book. I think you’ll like it, especially since Halloween is just a few days away. You can find it here:

I encourage you to get yourself a copy of Mixed Messages. And the best news of all? There are several more books in the series! The first three books in her Malone mystery series, Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business, and Desperate Deeds take place on the west side of Cincinnati. In Mistaken Identity, the fourth book, her characters are vacationing on Fripp Island in South Carolina. Marnie Malone, the fifth book in her series, is set in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina.

You can connect with Pat at the following places:

            Happy reading and Happy Halloween!




Patricia Gligor said...

Thank you so much for your support! And, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading "Mixed Messages." :)

Sharon Aguanno said...

Terrific author and a great series! I have read them all! Enjoyed reading how the series came to be!

Enjoy your weekend!

Marja said...

You never know what will inspire a story. It's all in the author's perception of everyday things, like a house. I've read the entire series, too, and highly recommend it.

Amy Reade said...

You're quite welcome, Pat! Since my day to post on Novel Spaces is the 27th of each month, I thought it dovetailed perfectly with your MAI post. Halloween is almost here!

Amy Reade said...

Sharon and Marja, I'm glad you enjoyed the post about Pat. She's such a wonderful person and a great writer, too. Her debut book was perfect for a Halloween post!

Patricia Gligor said...

You ladies are making me blush but I'll gladly take the compliments. I spent many, many years working on "Mixed Messages" and it will always be my "baby."

Liane Spicer said...

Sounds like a great story!!!

Patricia Gligor said...

Sharon, Marja and Liane, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. When I started to write "Mixed Messages," I intended it to be a standalone novel. I had no idea the book would be the first in a series. But the characters had more to say and do. :)

Evelyn Cullet said...

All the characters in your entire mystery series are so well-rounded, that I feel like I know each one personally.LOL!

Linda Thorne said...

How neat that you threw some support to a fellow author and it sounds like a series to look into. Good timing too with the Halloween bit. Interesting post. Thank you.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

This is an excellent series! I've read each of the novels and recommend these mystery novels to other readers.