She tried to forget the horrors of war–but her quiet hometown conceals a litany of new evils.
Sergeant Camille Waresch did everything she could to forget Iraq. She went home to Eastern Washington and got a quiet job. She connected with her daughter, Sophie, whom she had left as a baby. She got sober. But the ghosts of her past were never far behind.
While conducting a routine property tax inspection on an isolated ranch, Camille discovers a teenager’s tortured corpse hanging in a dilapidated outbuilding. In a flash, her combat-related PTSD resurges–and in her dreams, the hanging boy merges with a young soldier whose eerily similar death still haunts her. The case hits home when Sophie reveals that the victim was her ex-boyfriend–and as Camille investigates, she uncovers a tangled trail that leads to his jealous younger brother and her own daughter, wild, defiant, and ensnared.
The closer Camille gets to the truth, the closer she is driven to the edge. Her home is broken into. Her truck is blown up. Evidence and witnesses she remembers clearly are erased. And when Sophie disappears, Camille’s hunt for justice becomes a hunt for her child. At a remote compound where the terrifying truth is finally revealed, Camille has one last chance to save her daughter–and redeem her own shattered soul.
Praise for Little Falls:
“The tight, well-constructed plot complements the searing portrait of Camille as she deals with the guilt she feels over her daughter and her general rage at the world.”
—Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review
“Little Falls snaps with suspense from beginning to end. With skilled execution of setting and plot, Elizabeth Lewes shuttles the reader between continents on a thrilling journey that reveals haunting secrets. I couldn’t put this book down!”
—Margaret Mizushima, author of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries, including Hanging Falls
“A dark, dangerous read populated by distinct, well-drawn characters. The tormented heroine is a woman on the edge and fascinating in her unpredictability. You’re rooting for her, afraid for her, but never fully confident that she won’t succumb to her multiple demons. There is a desperate sense of urgency right up until the very end.”
—P. J. Tracy, New York Times bestselling author of the Monkeewrench series
Genre: Mystery, Rural Noir
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: August 11th 2020
Number of Pages: 311
ISBN: 1643855069 (ISBN13: 9781643855066)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Elizabeth Lewes is a veteran of the United States Navy who served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. An analyst and linguist by training, she now practices law in Seattle. Little Falls is her debut novel.
Q&A with Elizabeth Lewes
What was the inspiration for this book?
The basic idea of a property tax inspector who sees too much came to me while I was reviewing documents for work. (I’m a tax lawyer by day.) The deal concerned a property in Little Falls, New York, so I was reviewing property tax returns. In the process, I learned that in much of New York state, property tax collectors/inspectors are community members and, in some cases, taxpayers drop off payments at the collector’s home. That’s when it occurred to me that property tax inspectors must see all sorts of interesting things, particularly out in the county! A few days later, I had this image of a female veteran who finds a body that plunges her back into her memories of Iraq. And that’s how Camille Waresch was born!
What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?
A lot of folks are not ready to try to understand the complexity of being a woman in our society, let alone a female veteran. Despite coming up in a relatively progressive age when many women have been told that they can be whomever they want to be and encouraged to execute on that, there are still very rigid ideas of what women, and particularly mothers, should be. Finding people in the publishing industry who get it, who understand that women are as different and diverse as men, that most women do not fit any mold, and that readers do want to read those complicated and sometimes not endearing characters has been excruciating at times.
What do you absolutely need while writing?
To hear the characters! I can’t tell you how many scenes I’ve started and then scrapped because I couldn’t hear Camille telling me the story.
Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?
Not at all! My days are very full, so I whip out my phone and jot down plot notes or snippets of scenes whenever they come to me. (I’m typing this while my children and husband are having three different conversations in the car at the same time.) I also have a bad habit of writing in the bathroom—it’s the only place I can reliably hide from my children and clients for a few minutes! However, I always start with an outline to develop most of the plot and sit down several times during the course of the book to order/reorder scenes and fill in gaps in the plot using my outline.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
That’s a hard question! I love the sheer grit and determination that my MC, Camille, has, but she is also rigid in a lot of undesirable ways. I kind of love to hate Lyle, Camille’s not-quite brother-in-law. He seems like a complete disaster, but has very much unplumbed depths. I also have a real soft spot for Camille’s daughter, Sophie. She is a mess and has suffered a lot because of her mother’s choices, but she definitely inherited her mother’s grit. She also inherited quite a bit from her father that I hope to explore in more books.
Who is your least favorite character from your book and why?
The apparent villain, Jimmy King. He’s a petty show-off who thinks he’s a brilliant con. He is, unfortunately, so similar to a lot of people I knew in the military….
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?
Little Falls is set in the Okanogan because I became entranced with the county after hearing a good friend’s stories about his hunting cabin in the woods out there. After driving to Tonasket in a snowstorm to pick up a couple of beef one winter, I fell in love with the place and knew that it was Camille’s home. However, since I’m not from there, I spent a ton of time getting to know how Okanogan County looks and feels, even smells. I hope the reader can feel the dirt under their nails and smell the pines dripping sap in the searing summer heat!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Listen to women, especially those of us who have been in a man’s world and lived to tell the tale!
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a fifth-generation Oregonian and Washington transplant who spent six years in the Navy as a linguist. After the Navy, I went to law school and have spent the last 10 years learning (then unlearning) how to write like a lawyer.
What’s next that we can look forward to?
I am currently working on the next book about Camille and Sophie. In PERSECUTION, a woman who claimed to be searching for money Camille’s ex stole years before ends up in Camille’s protection before being brutally murdered. What Camille learns about the dead woman’s past in the Okanogan and elsewhere forces Camille to confront her own choices and pain, but will she do it fast enough to avoid the same fate?
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Enter To Win!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Lewes. There will be five (5) winners. Three (3) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each receive LITTLE FALLS by Elizabeth Lewes (eBook). The giveaway begins on September 1, 2020 and runs through November 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.