I’m pleased to announce that the target publication date for my next book, THE MEAN BONE IN HER BODY, is the end of December, and if all goes well, print books will be shipping several days before the official release. MEAN BONE is the first book in my New Royal Mysteries series, my most ambitious project to date, and I’m incredibly grateful to Pandamoon Publishing for believing in it.
I think I can safely say that MEAN BONE is a departure for me in that it is very dark. VERY dark. It is a murder mystery in the fictional town of New Royal, Ohio—a mash-up of Athens (a college town) and Chillicothe (a prison town). The broad premise for the New Royal series is that the institutions of Higher Education and Corrections have joined forces to offer a unique Crime Writing program.
In MEAN BONE, Professor Elizabeth Murgatroyd finds herself saddled with the task of dragging an unstable research assistant, Jeaneane Lewis, through the steps of graduation. Jeaneane is something of a celebrity in the program for having written a provocative essay about finding the bodies of a military widow and her two young children in an icy garden pond—murders that, for better or worse, put both New Royal and the Crime writing program on the map, especially when Lewis dubs the uncaught killer as the “Beast of New Royal.”
However, when Murgatroyd has a one night stand with a man claiming to be the so-called Beast, she realizes that Jeaneane’s version of events is tainted by her ever-changing grasp on the truth. Rather than going to authorities, Murgatroyd seizes on the opportunity to mount her own investigation, following the Beast’s trail as it leads all the way back into Jeaneane’s terrible past.
In the coming weeks and months I’ll post more details about the series, but for now, I want to say that I I’m writing about three subjects I’ve avoided in sustained fiction: academia, mental illness, and Ohio.