Because I love to read widely in a variety of genres, I often find myself crossing genres in writing my own novels and short stories. Axes to Grind, the sixth novel in The Instruments of Death series from Crossroad Press, is both a police procedural and a supernatural suspense story. I didn’t intend it to be that way when I began writing the novel, but elements of the preternatural suddenly appeared. That’s the way the cookie sometimes crumbles.
Axes to Grind introduces Merritt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Edmonds. Dan will appear in later novels of the series that tie together murders in northern Wisconsin with murders in Illinois, but this story belongs to Dan Edmonds and Sandy Beech and it can be read as a stand-alone novel. None of my usual suspects make guest appearances. You can probably guess that the instrument of death is an axe. Both the title and the cover give that away, but there are a few surprises along the way that readers won’t suspect.
When I was researching northern Wisconsin for both Axes to Grind and Winds, my supernatural thriller series featuring completely different characters, I uncovered an unusual number of Bigfoot sightings within a three-county area of north-central Wisconsin. Of course, I had to include that fact in one of my novels. Axes to Grind seemed the perfect vehicle. Maybe someday I’ll write a novel about Bigfoot, but Axes to Grind is primarily about demons—personal demons and mythological demons. It’s also about trust and belief and searching for clues outside of one’s normal experience. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
The developing relationship between Dan and Sandy takes center stage in my drama. I like both of these characters a lot. There’s probably a little bit of me in Dan, and Sandy is the kind of girl I’ve always been attracted to. She’s open and honest and more than a little naïve. She’s the kind of girl who’s stronger than she looks because she has an inner strength that sustains her. Not all of my characters survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that come their way, but I hope Sandy not only survives but thrives. She’s my kind of people.
Axes to Grind is the sixth novel in the Instruments of Death series, and there are many more novels yet to come in the series. I have nineteen novels already written or planned. There may even be more.
I love to read and write about forensic science. I also love to read a good mystery, whether I write it or somebody else writes it. My own expertise is in educational psychology and cognitive science, but I met more than a few pathologists when I worked at the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) and I was allowed to play the fly on the wall as doctors talked about interesting cases. I try to combine what I personally know with what I’ve observed and overheard. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I’ve enjoyed telling them. Stay safe, and don’t venture alone into the woods after dark. You never know who or what might be waiting for you.