The Story Behind A Winter’s Kill by JK Ellem
17 Jun 2019
By JK Ellem
She has no gun, no badge, and no backup. So when former FBI Special Agent Carolyn Ryder returns to her hometown without realizing that the most wanted serial killer in the country has also moved there, what is she going to do?
With all the strong female leads in my books, I always want to take them out of their comfort zone, drop them into situations that they may have encountered before, but are now totally unprepared for.
Too many crime thriller books today involve a head-strong, street-tough lead character, typically a female homicide detective or police officer who has at their disposal the huge resources of a law enforcement agency that they utilize to catch the killer. However, with my latest crime thriller, I wanted to flip that scenario on its head.
So in A Winter’s Kill, we have Carolyn Ryder, a rising-star within the FBI. She’s young, ambitious, and confident. At times too confident because she’s always had the might of the FBI behind her. But then she resigns, and returns to her hometown to bury her mother and deal with the aftermath. In this close-knit community, she has no reputation, no authority and no say with the townsfolk. To them she’s a stranger, an outsider who left ten years ago to chase her career. So when the body of a young woman is discovered, the local police stubbornly refuse Carolyn’s help. I deliberately stripped away everything that she would have relied upon in the past, then dropped her in an isolated, hostile environment, and taken away all her authority to see how she would adapt.
Undeterred, Carolyn decides to go it alone, and use the only thing she has; her instincts, to catch the killer. But soon she begins to experience the self-doubt, the insecurities and the real fear of having only herself to rely upon.
A Winter’s Kill is very much a story about her personal journey, her regression from someone who thought she was strong-willed, confident and courageous into someone who now doubts her own capabilities. The hunter soon becomes the hunted, and for the sake of her own survival, she must become the person that she always knew she could be.
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