Our guest blogger today is Ingrid Thoft, author of the Fina Ludlow mystery series (now in development as a series for ABC Studios) about a private investigator working with her three attorney brothers for her father’s maybe-shady Boston law firm. Brutality, the third in the series, comes out June 23. Start with Loyalty, move on to Identity, and get on the hold list for Brutality. In the meantime, here are Ingrid’s thoughts on some books she enjoys:
Old favorite: I’ve never gravitated toward short stories, but since I was a teenager, I’ve loved Trust Me by John Updike. The story centers on trust and betrayal and describes a man and his wife, who is a nervous flier. The man gazes out the window of an airplane and contemplates the rivets on the aluminum wing: “Trust me, the metallic code spelled out; in his heart Harold, like his wife, had refused, and this refusal in him formed a hollow space terror could always flood.” That’s not just flying—that’s life.
Recently read: If you haven’t read Ann Cleeves’ Shetland Island mystery series, you’re in for a treat. The first, Raven Black, introduces Inspector Jimmy Perez as he returns to his place of birth and tries to uncover who murdered a teenage girl on the remote island smack dab between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. Readers may be familiar with another of Cleeves’ wonderful investigators, Vera Stanhope, a crotchety detective played by Brenda Blethyn on the PBS series Vera. Unfortunately for U.S. readers, only one of the “Vera” books, Silent Voices, has been published on this side of the pond. Hopefully, eager readers won’t have to wait too long for the others.
Recently read: Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston tells the story of Justin Campbell, a boy who mysteriously disappears, but is reunited with his family four years later. The Campbell family had always clung to the hope that Justin would be found alive, but when he is, the struggle to make sense of the circumstances of his disappearance and to figure out how to regroup as a family nearly breaks them. Johnston deftly weaves together the points of view of Justin’s parents, grandfather, and brother. The main mystery is solved the day Justin comes home, but it’s just the beginning of a larger mystery: when you’ve reached the deepest depths of sorrow, can you ever really come back? This story isn’t light, but the prose and characters pull you in and don’t let go.
Recently read: Where All Light Tends To Go by David Joy delivered exactly what the best books promise; it transported me to another place that is starkly different from my own stomping ground. Part mystery, part coming-of-age story, the novel follows a young man in Cashiers, North Carolina who struggles to reconcile his family’s criminal enterprise and his love for a girl who might be his ticket to a better life. And the ending? Like a sucker punch, but in a good way.
Up next: After I get back from book tour, turn in the manuscript for book #4 to my publisher, and take a long nap, I’m going to dive into The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. A friend at the Seattle Police Department gave it to me, saying it’s the best book she’s read about violence and personal safety. I’m interested in the tips the book has to offer, as well as the various scenarios it describes. Writers have to look everywhere for inspiration!
Ingrid’s commitment to creating a believable private detective (and believe us, Fina Ludlow is a solid detective) led her to the University of Washington’s certificate program in private investigation. You can read about the Ludlow series adaptation and development for the screen here. The books are set in Boston, but the location for the TV series is reported to be Chicago. We’ll take Fina Ludlow in any city — and we’re glad to have Ingrid Thoft in Seattle!
Ingrid will be appearing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop on Tuesday, June 30, at noon, to sign copies of her books.