Dying Declaration: A Legal Thriller
by Solange Ritchie
It is my pleasure to welcome Solange Ritchie to
Escape With Dollycas today!
What are three things people don’t know about you?
- My personal motto is “never surrender, never quit.” This stems, in part, from the fact that I was born 3 months premature in the third world country of Jamaica in the West Indies in 1965. I was so small, my dad to the day he died, called me “Miss Dollie” because he could hold me in his palm and like a doll. I spent months in the incubator as a baby.
- When I was 10 years old, I rode an 18 hand high horse, named Blackie and was bucked off (through no fault of mine) spraining both ankles.
- Like my protagonist, Dr. Catherine (Cat) Powers, I believe I am a bit psychic.
What authors most inspire you?
Currently, I love Karen Slaughter and early Dean Koontz, who used to live in my neighborhood in Tustin, California.
What kind of research do I do?
It really depends on the subject matter. For Dying Declaration, since one of the crimes that the “bad guys” in my novel were involved in was sex trafficking, I did a lot of research on that area. It’s actually quite fascinating how different countries traffic women and girls differently and use different routes to move women into the US and other countries.
Likewise, for my second novel, Firestorm, one of my lead characters was a serial arsonist, so for that book, I spoke with firefighters, and did a lot of research into real life arson cases. One of the civil judges I knew in California, was a former firefighter and member of the bomb squad, so I picked his brain quite a bit. When I do research, if I am at a starting point, and research so I eventually get back to that starting point, then I know I have done enough of it, and can start writing. Often, my research binders are thicker than the novel that follows them.
How long does it take to write a book?
This depends. My first book, The Burning Man, took 2 years to write. My most recent novel, called Fiona’s Box, my first foray into Southern Gothic horror, the first whip took 2 months…which is remarkably fast.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Yes, but I do not allow it to alarm me. There are some writers, like Jeffrey Deaver, that write every day and are very formulistic in their approach to writing. I am not one of those people. I always know my beginning and my ending scenes, but I allow the creative juices to flow in the middle parts of my novels. This is when characters really speak to me.
What advice would I give to someone who wants to be a published writer?
Try to join groups where you can learn and get constructive criticism from other writers, such as Mystery Writers of America or Sisters in Crime. Do your research. Follow your heart. Write what you love. Don’t listen to “the haters” out there. If you have the money, hire a good publicist or a good book tour. Never stop polishing your craft.
When I am not writing, what do I like to do?
Well, with a Jamaican father and a French mother, I love to cook. My website, authorsolange.com, features favorite recipes. I think right now, we have recipes for Jerk Chicken and Jamaican Beef Stew that includes spices like allspice and ginger. Two ingredients you don’t see in a normal beef stew recipe. I am a big movie fan, especially thrillers, action, and intellectual smart horror. I am fortunate to have travelled to 19 countries all over the world, so traveling is definitely something I enjoy, especially with some of my travel groups. I love animals, especially dogs, although I don’t own one now, partly because I am so busy with working in trial work and litigation full time and writing part time. In the past, I have had chocolate labs and standard poodles. In Jamaica, my family raised bull mastiffs. Our Levy family coat of arms has bulldogs.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Three places – Japan, Thailand and New Zealand. I recall reading the best seller, Memoires of Geisha, when I was growing up. Such a fascinating glimpse into a different culture. I did a minor in college at the University of Florida in Japanese and Chinese politics. Thailand – because I have seen the gorgeous photos and I know I would enjoy being emersed in the sense of history, the people, the food, and the culture. New Zealand because I would love to see the Northern Lights in person. That’s one on my bucket list.
What is next on the horizon for you?
My next novel in the Dr. Catherine (Cat) Powers series, Bomb Blast, was just released on Amazon. I have a book tour planned for it. In Bomb Blast, Cat, along with US Special Ops agent and bomb specialist, Sam Patterson, are called on by the President of the United States, as two Syrian-born bombers, are hell-bent on causing death and mayhem in US Cities, starting in New York and ending in Los Angeles. She and Sam must bring the killers to justice or die trying.
Also, penned, and ready for publication, is Fiona’s Box that I mentioned above. It tells the story of a small, bejeweled crystal box that holds a demon. When young St. Augustine, Florida, native, Casey Willis, buys a box in a yard sale, the demon inside is released. Soon the local priest, a priest and a Cardinal from the Vatican are called into to fight for Casey’s mind, body, and her soul. But will their prayers of exorcism be enough to banish the beast, or will it grow stronger as time goes by. What tricks does the demon have in store for the three men? I am proud to say that Fiona’s Box has been compared to Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons by advanced readers of this novel.
And, of course, I am penning more Dr. Catherine Powers adventures!
Thank you Solange for visiting today!
Now keep reading for my thoughts about Dying Declaration!
About Dying Declaration
Dying Declaration: A Legal Thriller
3rd in Series
Setting – Florida
Stony Hill Publishers (November 30, 2019)
Paperback : 248 pages
ISBN-10 : 1670430324
ISBN-13 : 978-1670430328
Digital ASIN : B082733F4W
Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers is an FBI Forensic pathologist and special agent with an uncanny sixth sense for bringing murders to justice.
During a vacation in Belize with her young son, Joey, Cat gets a phone call from her boss. Young prostitutes are being picked up, murdered, and left for dead in the Florida Everglades. The first victim does not fit the killer’s modus operandi. She was a legal secretary working for the Fort Lauderdale based international law firm, Black and Knight.
As Cat investigates this and other deaths, they lead back to the firm’s henchmen and to its partners. With the help of another firm employee, Cat discovers a secret web of murder, illicit drugs, prostitution, sex trafficking, corruption, and more. The firm’s partners intend to kill anyone who can lead the law back to them, including Cat.
As the body count grows, powerful people will make decisions that will change lives. Decisions that will destroy families. As Cat uncovers the conspiracy, only one partner, the mastermind, will become Cat’s ally. She will walk away, after seeing that the others are brought to justice.
FBI Agent and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers has a special skill set that helps her get justice for murder victims so when bodies start piling up in the Florida Everglades she is the agent sent to catch the killer. The first victim was a legal secretary at Black and Knight, an international law firm. The other victims are young prostitutes. Cat investigates all the deaths but all clues and evidence seem to lead back to that law firm.
Cat delves in and gets an employee of the law firm to help her and uncovers a vast conspiracy that not only includes murder, but drugs, prostitution, sex trafficking, money laundering, and more putting her own life in danger. Can she survive to get justice for all the lives lost? or will she be the next victim?
Solange Ritchie packs a lot into the 248 pages. She gives a graphic account of what the victims went through and allows readers to travel along step by step with Cat as she follows each clue wherever it leads.
Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers has two sides. The soft side she shows with her son and the tough-as-nails side that comes out when she is on a case. She is intelligent and is said to have a sixth sense. She is strong, well-trained, and thinks on her feet all traits necessary when cornered. She gets assistance from her boss, the regional head of the FBI, Nate Connors. There is some definite romantic tension between them but is a relationship a good idea when lives including their own are on the line? As it was the “good guys” made some mistakes and my heart broke reading the aftermath.
This story had so many layers and so many twists. The criminal characters, the “bad guys”, were complex and were not what they seemed. Who was the mastermind? Who were the lackeys? Who was the muscle? All were psychopaths with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Dying Declaration is a gritty story with some truly scary characters. Some portions were hard to read but the book was almost impossible to put down. I think it would make an excellent movie but I may watch parts through my fingers.
This is the author’s 3rd book featuring Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers, but the first one I have read and it read well all on its own. I found Cat very interesting and would like to read more stories featuring her. The question is do I go back and read previous stories or forge ahead to book 4, Bomb Blast?
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About Solange Ritchie
BORN ON THE BEAUTIFUL TROPICAL ISLAND of Jamaica to a Jamaican father and a French mother, Solange Ritchie (then Solange Levy) immigrated to the United States at age eleven. Since then, she has become a dynamic force for change. Fed up with thrillers that start with a fizzle and longing to see more powerful women as lead characters, Solange decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, she accomplished her ambitious goal by rising each morning to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing, and even spending her vacation time writing. Solange is fortunate to have traveled to over 19 countries in her lifetime.
Words have always been Solange’s passion – now so more than ever.
Solange achieved a successful writing career while doing “last minute trial,” mostly in Southern California. Dubbed “the Case Saver,” Solange handled intense legal motions that either make or break a case, especially in the areas of business, labor, and employment law. In 2014, she received the State Bar of California’s Solo and Small Firm’s Section’s highest award, the Myer J. Sankary Attorney of the Year Award. It is given to only one attorney each year in California.
When Solange was just thirty-seven years old, her first husband, John, died due to gross medical negligence at a leading Southern California hospital. This life-altering experience helped shape her into the person she is today. She began writing creatively to deal with the stress of his hospitalization and his death.
Solange’s first psychological thriller, The Burning Man, featuring FBI forensic pathologist Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers was published in 2015. Her second novel in the series, Firestorm, was released to critical acclaim, on May 15, 2018. Dying Declaration is the third novel in the Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers series. Bomb Blast is Solange’s fourth novel in the series. Solange plans at least two more books in the Dr. Catherine Powers series. A fan of things that go bump in the night, Solange has also penned a Southern Gothic novel called Fiona’s Box, which will be released shortly.
Solange lives in Southern Florida. She enjoys traveling, writing, gardening, time with her family, as well as good food and conversation. Solange is available for speaking engagements. She especially enjoys talking with book clubs. To receive her Sunday blog post, Notes from Solange, just go to her author website, www.solangeritchie.com, and leave your e-mail address. Nothing negative or political is ever posted. Her author website, www.authorsolange.com, includes a blog, reviews, recipes, events, and the latest on Solange’s adventures. Solange welcomes your comments, reviews, and suggestions, and invites you to contact her at:
Author Website Legal Website Facebook Linked In
Twitter: @solangeritchie and @solangeauthor
Purchase Links –
Amazon – B&N – Books-a-Million – Bookshop.org
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”