About the Book
Book: A Shadow on the Snow
Author: JPC Allen
Genre: YA Mystery
Release date: December 1, 2021
Nineteen-year-old Rae Riley can barely believe her gamble paid off. After spending seven months investigating the identity of her father and whether he tried to murder her mother, Rae has been accepted by her dad, Sheriff Walter “Mal” Malinowski IV, and his immediate family with open hearts. And for the first time in her life, Rae is making friends, jamming with three cute cops who play outlaw country music.
But someone is leaving Rae threatening notes, reminding her of her late mother’s notorious past when Bella Rydell wrecked homes and lives during the few years she lived in rural Marlin County, Ohio. Fearing the threats will make Mal and his family reject her, Rae investigates the mystery on her own. But her amateur sleuthing may cost her the father she’s always wanted when the stalker changes targets and takes dead aim at Mal.
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About the Author
JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Her Christmas mystery short story, “A Rose from the Ashes”, was a Selah-finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference in 2020. Online, she offers tips and prompts to ignite the creative spark in every kind of writer. She also leads workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State. A Shadow on the Snow is her first novel.
More from JPC Allen
“Write what you know.”
This piece of advice is given to a lot of beginning writers. But many writers are successful concocting stories in fantasy worlds or researching 18th century Russia and writing brilliant historical fiction. I’ve never been comfortable in any genre but mystery, and the more I’ve written, the more I’ve come to write what I know. There’s only one me, and if I pull from my experiences, I hope to give my mysteries a unique touch.
A Shadow on the Snow is set in southeast, or Appalachian, Ohio, because that’s where I grew up. I based Wellesville on St. Clairsville, the town I lived in as a kid. The library my main character Rae Riley works in looks like the library there, and the courthouse is right across Main Street, just like in my novel.
Until I was thirty, my mom’s parents lived out in the country on a ridge between St. Clairsville and the Ohio River. Their home was my favorite place on the planet, so when I needed a farmhouse for Rae’s family, I modeled it on Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I’m sure when my sisters and cousins read about the breezeway that runs between the house and the garage and the steps that lead from it to the outside door to the walkout basement, they’ll instantly know where I got my inspiration.
None of the characters are exact copies of real people I know, but I do use traits of real people to bring my characters to life. Aaron has my oldest child’s enthusiasm for science. Jeanine shares qualities with my youngest sister. Jason Carlisle is based on a man I saw once at my youngest child’s soccer game. All the other dads who coached wore baggy t-shirts and shorts. This man looked like he’d stepped off a yacht with perfectly styled hair, a navy blue windbreaker, and tailored white shorts. In my fictional Marlin County, where most men consider a plaid shirt without a tear to be formal attire, I thought a man who is fashionable would be an interesting contrast to the other characters.
Rae has a lot of me in her. She works at a library, which I did for ten years, but I was a children’s librarian, instead of a check-out clerk. She’s interested in photography and horses like I am. Both of us are shy, don’t like to inconvenience people, and worry what others think of us. However, I have never had the courage or the nerve to set a trap for a stalker, and that experience, as well as the most heart-pounding scenes in my book, are pure inventions. There’s a limit to writing what you know, and as a mystery writer, I’m very glad I can write about crimes without having to experience them!
The first thing that got my attention was the main character worked at a library. I worked at one for fifteen years and have to say it was my dream job. When Rae is describing some of the patrons that visit the library I laughed. There was always this one customer that none of us liked. We each took a turn waiting on her and then went to the back room to scream. The author does an excellent job of making me feel like I was standing beside Rae as she shelved books anticipating who would come up to the counter for help.
I was quite intrigued by Rae and her new discovery of who her dad was. I’m not sure if that was a good thing, since other family members were not as welcoming. That pattern continues in the town as Rae is treated badly but several locals. There is a big mystery surrounding her mother which I couldn’t wait to unravel.
Mal is an interesting character who Rae finds out is her father. After all these years she finally gets to know him. I like that he took to Rae and always worried about her safety. He has good reason to worry since someone is sending her threatening notes. Her mother was not liked in the town and her death seems to be surrounded in secrets. If I was Rae I would tell my dad who happens to be the sheriff that someone is stalking her. Mal has some relatives that are not very law abiding citizens so maybe they are stalking Rae. The author does pique my interest as Rae becomes more suspicious of who is behind the notes. Like her, I jotted down suspects trying to figure out who the guilty person was.
The action is good as danger gets closer to Rae. The faith element is scattered throughout the story and showed how Rae turned to God for comfort. The story picks up speed towards the end and I was anxious to see how it would conclude. I loved how the author demonstrates about forgiveness and how important family is. The relationship between Rae and her father is very special and reminds us that it is never too late to reconcile.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, JPC is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path, a signed copy of A Shadow on the Snow, and a bookmark based on the artwork of an Ohio artist!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.