Suspicious Circumstances

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES: the Amazon Bestselling Police Procedural
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Reporter Lara Kelly is anxious to put her journalism career on the right path. When a man shows up in her office with a video that appears to show a woman falling to her death she’s intrigued, but suspicious. The man claims he went to the police and that they refused to investigate.

Unsure if the tape is a hoax, Lara proceeds cautiously. When she pulls together enough evidence to print a story about an apparent suicide, the local police captain is furious.

Detective Tymen Farraday, the newest cop in a precinct plagued by scandal and rumours of corruption, is ordered to investigate and discredit the reporter if necessary. When potential evidence is stolen and Lara is attacked, Farraday is forced to put his grudge against reporters aside and work with Lara to solve the murder while trying to protect her from the killer.

Just when they think they have the evidence to arrest a suspect, two more murders turn the investigation in an unexpected direction.

The guilty have already shown that they’ll stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

In a town where one person holds all the power, not even the police can be trusted.

And their prime suspect isn’t the only person Lara and Farraday need to worry about.

* What are they saying? *

“SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES has to be one of the most satisfying mysteries going that grips the reader from beginning to end. Ruttan has a spellbinding style.”
NY Times bestselling author Clive Cussler

“..there is never a dull moment. It’s a hard book to put down.” – Tony Hillerman, Edgar Award-Winning and New York Times Bestselling Author of Skeleton Man

Here is the new voice, and what a voice! Eloquent, sassy, compassionate and written with a style so assured it’s hard to believe it’s a debut… This is talent writ huge.” – Ken Bruen
Edgar Nominated and Shamus Award-Winning Author of The Guards

“Sandra Ruttan’s SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES is crime fiction with booster jets–a white-hot blazing ride sure to slam you down some of the darkest, twistiest back alleys that ever corrupted a small city’s secret heart.” – Cornelia Read, Author of A Field of Darkness

“Sandra Ruttan’s SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES soars. It is complex, exciting, and elegant. In musical terms, it’s listening to Bach. I’m in love with Lara Kelly, the smart, strong, vulnerable protagonist. Her detective lover better move fast or I’m in there. A gripping adventure, a large cast of marvelous characters, and twists that follow turns. Read it. You’ll love it too.” – Robert Fate, Author of Baby Shark

“Secrets and lies, new murders and old, all unravel and unwind within the pages of SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES to create a complex and compelling crime-fiction debut. Sandra Ruttan has a keen eye for description, a wonderful ear for dialogue, and an acute instinct for the nuances of characterization.” – Anne Frasier, USA Today Bestselling Author of Hush

“Suspicious Circumstances is… a compelling read that makes me wish it wasn’t a debut just so I could go out and buy her other books…

“This book has two big strengths going for it: its characters and the twists in the plot. The two main characters Ty and Lara have an easy chemistry between them. At one point a minor character says that the two of them have sexual chemistry. I’m not too sure if that’s the case though. Not yet anyway, if these characters are used again in future novels it could develop into that. They do have an ease and comfort around each other. Their dialogue is filled with banter that rings true and brings out other facets of their personalities. Almost all of the characters are developed through dialogue which is one of the most natural and realistic ways for an author to develop a character. They really are great together and I hope to see at least one more book with the paring. To Ruttan’s credit also she lets their relationship unfold naturally and doesn’t rush them into situations where they might kiss, hug, sleep together or have a touch that lingers just a second too long. Their personalities click in many ways before they even slightly suspect or begin to admit to themselves that there is chemistry there.

“The simple premise of the plot and Lara and Ty’s subsequent investigation is a first cut that strikes deep. It exposes a conspiracy of corruption that extends further then anyone thought was possible. Ruttan proves to be very adept at twisting the plot and yanking the rug out from under her characters with the continuous revealing of information. The reveals in this book are like a popcorn machine. They start off slow then very quickly speed up to maintain a relentless pace that rarely falters and never lets up.”
Mysterybookspot Review

“Ruttan clearly has the potential to be a very successful author… I did like how the relationship between Lara and Ty developed and how careful Ruttan was to keep Lara within the realm of reality as far as not overstepping the line between reporting and being a part of the police investigation. Lots of talent which I expect will be realized!”
Maddy Van Hertbruggen, Mystery News (Feb/March 2007)

“SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES questions our conventions, perceptions, presumptions, and even, when all is said and done, the possibility of our redemption. Ruttan’s background as a reporter no doubt honed the spare punch of her writing style, but it also prompts her to examine the squirrely nature of “reality” with a scathingly jaundiced eye. In this yellow-journalism age of Photoshop and infotainment, soundbite and truthiness, that’s a Good Thing.

The next time someone asks me why I read crime fiction, I will hand them a copy of SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES and say, “Two words: Sandra Ruttan.”

This is not a book for the faint of heart, but boy oh boy does it take on the stuff that matters.”
– Cornelia Read, Edgar Award-Nominated Author of A Field of Darkness

“Ruttan has made one big mistake in my eyes, she waited too long to bring her writing to us. She is talented in the way that a natural musician is talented, making all the notes seem effortless. Characters that feel very real, and a wonderful sense of timing, Ruttan brings it all and leaves it on the page. Lucky us. And unlucky me, because now I have to wait for the next one…” – Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine (Jan/Feb 2007)

Sandra Ruttan’s debut mystery is filled with twists and turns to satisfy any reader of crime fiction. Reluctant allies work together, not even completely trusting each other in a town enveloped in secrets.” – Lesa Holstine, Lesa’s Book Critiques (Jan 21, 2007)

“I don’t normally pay much attention to blurbs, but when you see Ken Bruen and Robert Fate both on the same cover, you really want to see what’s inside…Cozy fans beware, this is one police procedural with the real stuff.” – Jack Quick, BookBitch (Jan 7, 2007)

“Ruttan’s debut mystery is a fascinating combination of police procedural and investigative journalism. As her two interesting characters work together, the reader follows their dogged efforts. This is a well-developed, enjoyable crime novel. Watch for more efforts from Ruttan, who shows a great deal of skill in developing an intriguing, complicated story.” – Lesa Holstine, BookBitch (Jan 7, 2007)

“What keeps Ruttan’s impressive debut moving is the strength of writing, quality of character and atmosphere that is created. In dealing with an entire community, Ruttan has a great deal to cope with and manages to not only sift through what the reader needs to know, but never shies away from or forgets the important details. This is a big novel, with a large cast and multiple motivations, but it’s written clearly and plotted subtly, making for an engrossing ride.” – Russel D McLean, Shamus Award-Nominated Author of The Lost Sister

“I expect other readers and reviewers will comment here on the strong characters and rewardingly complex plot, so I’ll leave that to them. What I want to emphasize is the striking style in which Sandra writes: It’s episodic, cinematic, and highly effective. Most unique is her method of advancing the storyline almost entirely through dialogue. That dialogue is neat, crisp, precise, and where appropriate, witty. There is very little physical or narrative description, but when it occurs it’s well done, as for example when introducing a new character or place. Although I was occasionally confused by dialogue without the usual tag lines (the he-said, she-said stuff), that’s a part of her unique style, which can only grow smoother with practice and should make her a stand-out in our crowded field.” – Diana Bane, DORTHORYL (Jan 5, 2007)

“Sandra Ruttan has graced the world of psychological thrillers with this fast-paced, absorbing tale, fraught with corruption, murder, mistrust, a number of unconscionable villains and two exceptionally likable protagonists, all craftily entangled in a delightfully twisted plot. Sit back and be prepared to get lost in this riveting story, because you won’t want to put it down until you’ve turned the very last page.” – JB Thompson, Author of The Mozart Murders

“SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES grabs you by the throat on a storm-swept cliff’s edge, and never lets go. Sandra Ruttan writes with a machine gun rhythm that pulls you through every unexpected twist and dark turn in her complex and richly drawn debut. Don’t have plans when you sit down to read this tasty, dazzling thriller. Every page of SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES leaves you gasping-and begging for more.” – Bill Cameron, Author of Lost Dog

“SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES twists and turns and twists again, leaving the reader breathless and unsure which end is up. And that’s just the beginning. Ruttan’s deft touch intrigues and satisfies, making her a powerful new force in the mystery field.” – JT Ellison, Author of All The Pretty Girls

“In a town plagued by corruption and peopled with citizens afraid to talk, cop Tymen Farraday and reporter Lara Kelly form an uneasy alliance to investigate a mysterious videotape which hints at the death of a woman. In SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, Sandra Ruttan has created a gritty suspense novel driven by realistic dialogue and a knowledge of the unpredictable legal system. She also explores the potential for evil in the human heart, even as her protagonists, emotionally guarded but touchingly brave, try to delve into that very depravity. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES is a plot with endless twists and turns, lots of unexpected heroes and villains, and enough unanswered questions to keep you reading to the very end!” – Julia Buckley, Author of The Dark Backward

“Sandra Ruttan weaves a delicious tale of cops and reporters. I learned things about both that I never expected. A real treasure.” – Sharon Wildwind, Author of Some Welcome Home

“SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES is by turns riveting, haunting, funny and chilling. The plotting is masterful, the characters absolutely crackle with life. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been so drawn into a story. Fantastic debut!.” – Tracy Sharp, Author of Repo Chick Blues

*** TICO Publishing no longer holds the rights to SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES. Enjoy the updated Kindle edition, or purchase used print copies from Amazon and eBay. A print paperback edition is coming soon.