J.K. Winn is a published novelist, playwright, and poet. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
The Scent of Suspense
There are many different avenues for structuring a thriller, but I chose of design my suspense novel, Out of the Shadow, around the olfactory sense. We all know the sense of smell is powerful and at the same time, often unconscious. Because of that, it's not unusual to experience a memory triggered by a forgotten odor. Our sense of smell is potent enough to determine whom we are attracted to, or repelled by, and acts as one of the most important deciding factors in choosing a mate. Even when it's outside of our awareness, it influences many of the choices we make and what we do with our lives.
With that in mind, I decided to use a whiff of cologne as the precipitating incident that sets my heroine Becca on the trail of the perpetrator. A single sniff causes her to experience thoughts and feelings which send her on a downward spiral, making her aware, even though she has only fragmented memory, that a traumatic event took place earlier in her life, and the person responsible for that crime is also behind her recent rape and her husband's murder. It soon becomes clear that her only hope of solving the current crimes and protecting herself from this faceless menace is to follow the olfactory thread back to the time and place in her life where it originated.
I'm hoping you'll find this concept intriguing enough to want to follow Becca's quest to discover this criminal's identify before he can do any more damage. And, if you enjoy this read, I hope you will also check out the soon-to-be-released sequel, Night of the Shadow, Book Two in the Shadow Series, this spring.
Out of the Shadow
Two women. One goal. To uncover the truth no matter the cost.
A survivor of rape and her husband's murder, all Becca Rosen wants to do is move on with her life, but how can she when she's being stalked by a psychopath with an attitude---and an agenda. The police are no help because they're convinced, with her history of mental illness, Becca has faked the rape to get away with murder. On top of that, Becca has begun to have flashbacks of childhood abuse, possibly at the hands of the rapist. Not knowing where to turn, and feeling like she might go crazy again, Becca hires psychologist Sarah Abrams.
Three men come into Becca's life around the same time. While each of these men has his charms, Becca can't be certain whether one of them is the perpetrator. Or could it be someone else? Together Becca and Sarah start on a course of hypnotherapy to discover the abuser's identity. Will their work reveal the real killer before it's too late, or will Becca fall prey once again to this demented criminal?