Out of the Darkness

The material on the dust jacket of the book describes it better than I can:

“We always kill the thing we love.

An ex-college professor turned freelance journalist, Liz Connors used to make a good living writing about true crime. But the recession has visited Liz with a vengeance. The magazine that is her main source of income has folded, and her financial future looks grim. So when Griffin Marcus, an extraordinarily successful true crime writer, asks her to work with him on a book about a series of grisly slayings known as the Merrimack Valley killings, she’s game.

Someone out there is killing good Catholic girls and posing their mutilated bodies at various scenic points along the Merrimack River in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with decorative ribbons tied prettily around their necks. Marcus and the police are certain they have their man—a sleazeball named Henry Kmiec with an unsavory penchant for dead prostitutes. But Liz isn’t satisfied. Something doesn’t feel right about the case, and besides, it’s never been her nature to leave well enough alone. Pulling on a few loose threads, Liz comes upon some evidence that points her in a whole new direction. What happens next is a series of startling events that lead Liz deeper and deeper into the dark psyche of a serial killer, into a world where pain is the currency and death is the ultimate price.”

Out of the Darkness is my personal testament to the value of recycling. I had originally wanted to write a non-fiction book about some unsolved murders of young women that had taken place in western New England. I did a lot of research for that project, and then found out that a very-well known true crime writer had signed with a major publishing house to do a book on the exact same subject. The market wouldn’t bear a competing volume. So... I made the research I did the basis for a novel. I fictionalized it heavily. And I was pleased with the result.

The real-life murders, as far as I know, remain unsolved.

Richard Lipez, a fine mystery writer under the name Richard Stevenson, reviewed this book for New York Newsday. He called it a mystery novel for adults, which I think is one of the nicest things anyone's ever said about my writing.

"Solidly researched. The plot's the thing in OUT OF THE DARKNESS."
-- The New York Times Book Review

Selected Works

Nonfiction
“This book is, quite simply, remarkable journalism and remarkable writing.”
--Robert B. Parker
"Taut with suspense...crackles like a bestselling novel." -- Barry Reed, author of The Verdict
Fiction
"Susan Kelly's maiden mystery is fresh and free-spirited with lively characters, snappy dialogue...and a suspenseful plot." -- Washington Post
“Spinetingling... noteworthy... brings the horror of being a victim into sharp focus.”
--Publishers Weekly
“Thought-provoking... a gritty, bittersweet story with added depth and dimension.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A page-turner with action and suspense." -- SSC Booknews
"A winner for fans of literate, witty mysteries." -- Tony Hillerman
"The Summertime Soldiers has love, sex, and murder and most of all, a heart." -- Boston Herald