Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin has plenty of action and suspense with a touch of romance.  Readers are easily drawn into the investigation of this murder mystery that involves the mob and a surprise villain.

The plot starts out with a bang, literally.  The heroine, Kira Vance, a private investigator, arrives to a meeting with her boss/mentor, Ollie Kovack, and the lead defense attorney Brock Logan. Unfortunately, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Shortly after arriving, she witnesses the murder of Ollie and the attempted murder of Logan. Because the trial will not be postponed, Logan asks Kira to take over the case. She finds that Ollie has unearthed relevant information that might throw doubt on the person up for murder. Kira is now more determined to find out who killed Ollie and are they related to the possible new suspect.

Wolfe Securities is hired by Logan to protect all the defense team because of the possible dangers. Knowing this protection will hamper her ability to investigate Kira agrees to it with limitations. She allows Jeremy Owen, a former Marine, who is assigned to dutifully protect her, to be covertly present. As they work together to solve the case of her co-worker Ollie’s murder, both learn to respect what the other does.

The other female protagonist is Detective Charlotte Spears.  She trusts her instincts when it comes to her job and people, which included following leads offered by Kira.  She’s tough, no-nonsense and clever. Dedicated to her job, she’s a terrific investigator and someone who weighs the clues carefully.  Griffin shows the different points of view between the detective and a private investigator. Readers see the diverse sides of the investigation as well as how the two women came to an understanding in regards to sharing information each considered confidential from the other.

Kira is written as intelligent, independent yet a vulnerable young woman, doggedly determined, highly astute and a quick learner.  She is sassy and tough.  This is directly in contrast to Jeremy who is the silent type, appears grumpy, and is very intense.

Griffin is able to create female characters who are capable, intimidating and uncompromising.  She contrasts them with the male lead who are tough yet very placid. Her stories never disappoint. The problem with finishing one of her books is that readers will long for a new story right away.

Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?

Laura Griffin:  It originated when I interviewed a defense attorney for the previous book in the series, Desperate Girls.  She spoke of her investigator who helped in building the case for court.  I was intrigued by that profession, a private investigator, who worked for an attorney. I thought, what if the client was framed and it was the PI who figured out by whom.  I hope this became an interesting murder mystery.

EC:  Was Wolfe Securities based on anything?

LG:  It came about when I was reading about Gavin De Becker who provides security for celebrities, business moguls, and athletes.  The idea is to harden the target, having them take precautions instead of being vulnerable.  Not everyone can have security provided like government officials. I had Wolfe Securities in my “Tracer series.”  Shadow Fall had the head of Wolfe Securities in it. I hope to continue the overlap.

EC:  The setting plays a significant role?

LG:  I put the story in Houston, where I grew up.  Because I had an internship with a law firm there, I had a feel for the place and could describe the behind the scenes stuff. This is a place I know and love.

EC:  Houston has tunnels?

LG:  Since Houston is so hot in the summer, everyone takes the tunnels.  Wearing business attire and high heels anyone going out in the heat would be soaking wet so everyone takes the tunnels.  They are elaborate with many stores and restaurants.  It connects all the downtown major buildings. 

EC:  You have the heroine devastated by Hurricane Harvey?

LG: It was also personal with me.  My parents’ house was flooded and they were displaced for a year.  We helped with the hurricane recovery. It was a pretty intense experience and I know that a lot of people are still feeling the effects of it, now almost two years later. I wanted to show through Kira how relentless rain can create a whole different feeling, a sense of dread. For me, rain had previously felt so harmless.  But after this national disaster there is the feeling of having no control over mother nature.

EC:  The previous heroine Brynn was MIA?

LG:  I did not involve her in this story on purpose.  If a previous strong character is brought in they can take over what is happening. I wanted Kira to be the center of attention in this one.

EC:  How would you describe Kira?

LG:  She is underestimated because of her being petite.  Kira flies under the radar, and literally can slip into and out of places because she is good in blending in.  She uses that to her advantage when investigating.  Very resourceful, outspoken, driven, headstrong, and is hard to pin down. 

EC:  How would you describe Jeremy?

LG:  Very protective, focused, disciplined, controlled, and quiet.  He hides his emotions.

EC:  How would you describe the relationship?

LG:  Both are guarded.  It is the case of opposites attract, a case from different backgrounds.  At the beginning there were trust issues.  Kira bends the rules, is opinionated, while Jeremy is the strong and silent type.  She is small and hates guns and he is from a military background, a former sharpshooter.

EC:  How would you describe Detective Charlotte Spears?

LG:  I like her a lot and would like to write a book where she plays a leading role.  She has a tenacious attitude.  No bullshit, a leader, strong, and determined. I think there will be more ahead for her. 

EC:  You touch on social justice?

LG:  You might mean this quote, “More accused murderers couldn’t afford anything close to that amount and ended up awaiting their trials as guests of the county…Meanwhile, rich guys like Quinn got to await trial at home.” There is a dual justice system where anyone who can afford the right attorney, experienced with good oral arguments for their client, will get a different treatment in the system.  I have seen it a lot after reading stories and speaking with people.

EC: You brought back the sketch artist Fiona Glass?

LG:  Yes.  She was a main character years ago in the book, Thread of Fear.  Her character is based on a forensic Houston artist, a real person that I interviewed.  She has done many high profile cases.  She is an amazing person with great stories to tell.  I bring her back because she is talented and has something amazing to bring back into the investigation.

EC:  Your next book(s)?

  In September the fourth e-book of the “Alpha Crew series” will come out.  It is set in Southern California, starting in San Diego with a SEAL training mission and then moving to L.A. The title is Total Control and will bring back Jake, a SEAL, and Alexa, an FBI agent.

Next summer Hidden will be out.  It is a romantic suspense novel set in Austin.  The heroine is an investigative reporter that butts heads with a detective who is trying to keep the details of a murder out of the news.  THANK YOU!!