Sunday, March 5, 2017



A relaxing trail ride turns tragic when Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers discovers the body of a popular county commissioner in her Pennsylvania woods. Inconsistencies surround the horrible accident, but before she can investigate further, she’s pried away by a plea for help from her best friend whose son has been deemed a person of interest in a homicide over a thousand miles away. When he vanishes without a trace, his mother begs Zoe to help clear him and bring him safely home. The task takes Zoe out of her comfort zone in a frantic trip to the desolate canyons and bluffs of New Mexico where she joins forces with the missing boy’s sister and a mysterious young Navajo.

Back at home, Vance Township’s Chief of Police Pete Adams must deal not only with the commissioner’s homicide, but with an influx of meth and a subsequent rash of drug overdoses in his rural community. Bodies keep turning up while suspects keep disappearing. However little else matters when he learns that half a continent away, a brutal killer has Zoe in his sights.


Welcome to Book Five

As I was preparing to start this blog tour, I reached out to my readers on Facebook and asked them what topics they would like me to write about. A great many of the responses contained questions about the problems of being five books into a series.

There are definitely pros and cons about writing the fifth (actually sixth now) book as opposed to writing the first. Or writing standalones. When I was on books two and three (Lost Legacy and Bridges Burned), I was focused on the pros. I already had a base cast of characters and a setting. I didn’t have to work out their backgrounds or create a new world in which they would live. This gave me a huge jump start. Plus I like Zoe and Pete, Sylvia, Wayne, Nate, Earl, and all the rest of the regulars. I enjoy spending time in their heads.

However, there are definitely a few problems that no one tells you about in the writing workshops and how-to books, most of which focus on getting that FIRST book published.

For starters: reintroducing these characters. Over and over again. I know them. My regular readers know them. But there are those readers who pick up the third or fourth or fifth book first. They don’t know the characters or the setting. How do I introduce Zoe and Pete and the gang to the newbies without boring those who are already familiar with them?

My method has been to keep it simple. Start the action early and let the new readers meet everyone on the fly. I’ll drop a mention of their occupations at the first opportunity, but then allow the new reader to learn by tagging along. A bit of back story here. A memory of something that happened a few months ago there.

I should mention, I have a fabulous editorial team who help me immensely with this. They point out when I haven’t properly introduced a recurring secondary character. Usually I could swear I have, but when I go back and reread my manuscript . . . oops.

The trickiest part is with characters who had been suspects in previous books. If you see “Joe” running the local diner in book four and then go back and see him as a prime suspect in book two, the red herring factor is ruined. Other than having a lot of transients in town, showing up, being suspects, and then moving on, I don’t know of a good answer. I do send a lot of earlier suspects away, never to be heard from again. But some of them come back. I guess I hope other readers are as forgetful as I am and don’t realize they’ve seen that guy before. Plus I try to have a number of other red herring characters who don’t show up again. It’s definitely tricky.

My editors help here too. Early on I had a character just vanish without explanation. I received a note on my manuscript: “What happened to Rose?”

That question actually triggered this fifth book, No Way Home. Rose, Zoe’s best friend, had vanished by the time the second book came out. I knew she’d taken her kids out west to recover, but wasn’t going to mention it. However, since my editor asked, I added a line about the trip out west in Lost Legacy. And again in Bridges Burned. All the while, I was hatching a plan to follow up on that throw-away explanation.

It helps that I love the west. It also helps that my best friend lives in New Mexico and opens her home to me whenever I can get out there for a visit.

I mean “research trip.”

The result? In No Way Home, Rose begs Zoe to fly to New Mexico with her to find out what has happened to Rose’s missing son and his girlfriend. Reluctantly, Zoe travels over a thousand from her comfort zone (and from her budding romance with Pete) to be plunged into a foreign world of canyons, bluffs, and one mysterious—and potentially deadly—Navajo.


Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. Circle of Influence, published by Henery Press, was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and for the David Award for Best Mystery of 2014. Lost Legacy, was released in September 2014 followed in April 2015 by Bridges Burned, which has been nominated for the Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel. With a Vengeance, the fourth in the series, was released May 3, 2016.

Connect with Annette:

Website  |  Blog  Facebook  |  Twitter 
Buy the book:
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble