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New Fiction Giveaway: Mystery With a Message is a ‘Fun Beach Read’

Crime Writer Kellye Garrett’s ‘Missing White Woman’ puts Black women front and center with a plot twist you won’t soon forget. Enter for a chance to win a copy.

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photo of novel missing white woman and photo of author kellye garrett
Courtesy Mulholland Books; Carucha L. Meuse
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Do you have a favorite author or a favorite genre such as nonfiction, suspense, romance, mystery, fantasy or historical fiction? share your thoughts in the comments below.

“I wanted to write a fun beach read that makes you laugh a little, surprises you a lot and has lots of Jersey in it,” explains the author. serious subject—the double standard in community and emergency response when Black women versus White women go missing—gets a suspenseful treatment that leaves mystery fans satisfied. I’ll share my enjoyable email chat with author Kellye Garrett, who also wrote Like a Sister and Hollywood Homicide. I’ll also share a link, below, so you can enter for a chance to win a free copy of this spellbinding read.

From the publisher, Mulholland:

The truth is never skin deep.

It was supposed to be a romantic getaway weekend in New York City. Breanna’s new boyfriend, Ty, took care of everything—the train tickets, the dinner reservations, the rented four-story luxury rowhouse in Jersey City with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. But when Bree comes downstairs their final morning, she’s shocked. There’s a stranger lying dead in the foyer, and Ty is nowhere to be found.

A Black woman alone in a new city, Bree is stranded and out of her depth—especially when it becomes clear the dead woman is none other than Janelle Beckett, the missing woman the entire Internet has become obsessed with. There’s only one person Bree can turn to: her ex-best friend, a lawyer with whom she shares a very complicated past. As the police and a social media mob close in, all looking for #JusticeForJanelle, Bree realizes that the only way she can help Ty—or herself—is to figure out what really happened that last night.

But when people only see what they want to see, can she uncover the truth hiding in plain sight?

Enter here for a chance to win a free copy of Missing White Woman

Author Kellye Garrett chats with Sisters:

What got you interested in crime writing?
Two people: Encyclopedia Brown and my mom. I loved that with the Encyclopedia stories, you had a chance to solve the mystery yourself. I remember being so proud when I figured it out. I also really loved the Choose Your Own Adventurebooks.

My mom is a huge reader. Once I got too old to read Encyclopedia, she let me read whatever I wanted on her bookshelves. Of course, that meant I was reading Jackie Collins at like 12, but I also was reading a lot of mysteries because that’s her favorite genre. We all know that representation matters. I was lucky that when I was in high school, Black mystery writers like Barbara Neely, Valerie Wilson Wesley, and Walter Mosley were being published. Seeing them in Borders and Waldenbooks made me know I could one day write a mystery too.

What exactly is domestic suspense, your specialty?
Think of it as neighborhood suspense. The main characters aren’t superheroes, cops, private detectives, spies, and the like. They are everyday people. Your neighbors who find themselves or someone they know in a dangerous situation. They could be missing, stalked, or even dead. And things are never what they seem – sometimes even with the main character themselves. The book Gone Girl is credited with really popularizing the genre.

What did you see missing from the crime genre, and how did you enter that untapped niche?
It’s a very White genre for a variety of reasons. I do think part of it is how our society treats Black women. People reading this know better than anyone: we don’t always get the grace that our White counterparts get. So, the tropes of the domestic suspense genre (missing kids, unreliable narrators, nosy neighbors) aren’t going to affect our characters the same way. You see it with Missing White Woman syndrome compared to how little attention is paid to women of color who disappear. It’s why I wanted to take the Missing White Woman trope and play with what would happen if someone who looked like me accidentally got caught up with a woman whose disappearance has gone viral.

Your debut novel, Hollywood Homicide, enjoyed critical acclaim and numerous awards. Did working as a screenwriter in Hollywood help you bring that story to life?
Yes! I had always wanted to write a novel but was so scared that I tried every other type of writing except poetry. I wasn’t brave enough to attempt my first book until I’d gotten fired from my job working as a TV writer. So, I took my years working in Hollywood as a semi successful, kinda broke, somewhat jaded, always sarcastic TV writer and created a character who was a semi-famous, mega broke, super jaded, always sarcastic former actress.

You shared on X, formerly Twitter, that you began writing the novel in 2011, at the lowest time in your life. Four hugely successful books later, what words of encouragement do you have for sisters who may have deferred a dream or hit a setback?
The thing I love most about Black women is how much we support other people. But we need to support ourselves just as hard. Even today, I still have to say to myself “What if you weren’t talking to yourself right now? What if you were talking to your best friend? Would you be this hard on yourself? Or would you be bigging yourself up because you know how awesome you are?”

What did it feel like to be a newbie in the fiction world and become a breakout star in your 40s?
I’ve wanted to write books since I was 5 years old. My mom still has notebooks with all these stories I started writing as a kid. But I didn’t even publish my first book until I was 38 and my breakout, Like A Sister, came out when I was 43. I had a lot of fear about pursuing my dream, but I know the 5-year-old in me is proud that I finally did. The 45-year-old still can’t believe it. Like I’m shocked to see my name on the cover of a book, and I still can’t believe strangers want to read something that is still a Word document on my laptop.

Why did you co-found Crime Writers of Color?
I’ve always appreciated community. I was lucky to find good communities when I was looking for an agent. So, when I finally got my first book deal for what would become Hollywood Homicide in 2016, I was shocked Crime Writers of Color didn’t already exist. Luckily both Walter Mosley and Gigi Pandian were thinking the same thing, so we all came together to form the group in 2018.

Enter here for a chance to win a free copy of Missing White Woman

Do you have a favorite author or a favorite genre such as nonfiction, suspense, romance, mystery, fantasy or historical fiction? share your thoughts in the comments below.

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