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The Reader Can Feel Her Pain

James E Smith
James E. Smith Jr. Author Interview

1989: What Happens When A Killer Returns For Revenge is a haunting crime thriller that follows a woman who is determined to find the man that murdered her husband. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to create this vision of accomplishment and happiness, while also providing some background for Nicole, to get the reader to feel the joy and happiness that she felt at the beginning of the book, so when she finds her husband dead, the reader can feel her pain and understand why she went on this journey.

I also, wanted show how his death not only affected her, but how it impacted his partner as well. I wanted to show that not only was Sgt Allen close to Marcus, but how he was equally, if not even closer to Nicole. The goal was to show the internal struggle as he dealt with not only the death of his friend, but also the re-emergence of the Penny Murderer, and a new partner who doesn’t trust him.

Nicole is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

She is a combination of both fictional characters and people I know. I wanted her to be both strong and vulnerable. I wanted to showcase her strength and determination, while also showing that she is a “real” person, hopefully creating someone that readers could relate to. I wanted her to be a “normal” person, someone readers would leave saying, I know someone like her or could see how she could be real. This was the same model I applied to all my characters.

I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was the mystery planned or did it develop organically while writing?

It was a combination of the two. I started with a general outline, it was pretty basic, because I didn’t want to write myself in a corner. I wanted to give myself the ability to adapt the story as I went along. The story ended up playing out in real life. Every event that occurred, did so from the characters perspective. I tried to immerse myself in them and take on their behaviors and tell their story not how I thought it should, but how I thought they would react and act.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on the follow-up to 1989: What Happens When A Killer Returns For Revenge. This was just the beginning, there is still so much more left of the story to be told. It will potentially be available towards the end of the year.

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For three years a serial killer known as the Penny Murderer terrified Monroe, Georgia. His signature was leaving a note on the body starting with “A penny for your thoughts.” Detective Mike Allen and his team tracked down and arrested Samuel Johnson for twelve murders. Throughout the trial and even after his conviction Johnson always proclaimed his innocence. The controversial trial divided the city, and things exploded when he was found dead in his cell shortly afterward. A cover-up?
Old ghosts are awakened almost thirty years later when Allen’s original partner on the Johnson case, Marcus Jones, is found dead. Attorney Nicole Jones, Marcus’s wife, starts to be suspected of his murder, so she goes on a dark journey to find out who really killed her husband and why. She experiences a roller coaster of emotions upon learning that both he and former partner Mike Allen had kept many disturbing secrets from her.
Meanwhile, Allen’s own investigation takes him in a different direction as he tries to solve who murdered Marcus, all while dealing with a new partner who not only questions his every move, but also the actions taken during the original investigation. Is this a new killer? Or did they get it wrong all those years ago and send an innocent man to jail…?
In this page-turning novel, complex characters and unexpected plot twists will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out what will happen next.

1989: What Happens When A Killer Returns For Revenge

Nicole Jones has her work cut out for her. Her life hasn’t been easy, but she has managed to achieve great things and has done so despite the tragedies that haunt her. When she loses her husband, the secrets they have been hiding for years begin to rise to the surface and threaten Nicole’s very future. A murderer has made an appearance and seems hell bent on ruining the lives of everyone associated with a case from the past. Nicole, lonely and confused but determined, makes it her mission to find out who is behind these copycat killings and who stole her husband from her.

James Smith’s 1989: What Happens When a Killer Returns for Revenge, takes readers on a thrill ride that unfolds over decades and through the lives of everyone involved with the Penny Murders. The trail of despair left by these murders has inched its way into the lives of Nicole, her husband Marcus and everyone around them.

Right out of the gate, Smith hits the mark with this fantastic thriller. I enjoy a mystery with as little fluff as possible, and Smith delivers that and much more. This dark and engaging thrill ride draws readers into the lives of Nicole and Detective Howard. The steps the two take to find out who is responsible for killing Nicole’s husband are extensive and keep readers on their toes. When I can predict the killer in the first half of a book, I am disappointed to say the least. Smith, however, has managed to keep me guessing to the very last page–definitely a page-turner.

Smith’s characters are written with an intensity that keeps readers invested in every move they make, and he balances their appearances well throughout the plot. I appreciated the glimpses into the past, and the character development moves along at a nice clip. Readers will become attached to Nicole and her plight from the first chapter of Smith’s work.

James Smith’s 1989: What Happens When a Killer Returns for Revenge is a haunting crime thriller that will appeal to murder mystery fans. While it stands as a fairly long novel at just shy of 400 pages, Smith’s writing is a quick read. Readers will find themselves devouring the mystery surrounding this new onslaught of murders. The ending of Smith’s work will leave readers guessing and, as I have become fully invested in the characters, I am hoping to see more from Smith in this series.

Pages: 392 | ASIN: B08R6G856J

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