Featured: Lake of Bad Dreams by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Featured: Lake of Bad Dreams by Susan Clayton-Goldner Purchase:

Review: The truth is much more complicated, illustrating just how devious the twists of fate and the human heart can be.

When Detective Winston Radhauser receives a frantic call, ‘shots fired at Mountain View High School’, he and his partner are on the scene in less than four minutes.

Chaos greets them.

Screaming students run in every direction. Some hide behind bushes. One boy has fallen into the memorial fountain, his arm bleeding so profusely it turns the water red. Others lie on the ground, blood seeping into the concrete in dark pools.

Procedure demands first responders wait for SWAT to clear the building, but Radhauser enters, fearing more injuries and loss of life. In the band room, two students, one dead, the other barely breathing, lie in front of the shattered windows. In Practice Room #4, another boy and girl are dead. Sprays of blood splatter the cinderblock walls and shell casings litter the floor.

Radhauser kneels beside the girl’s body. A cell phone, with a hot pink Hello Kitty cover, peeks from the pocket of her blood-stained hoodie. In her childlike right hand, nails chewed and painted an innocent shade of glittery pink, she holds a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun, her fingers still curl around it.

It’s easy to believe fifteen-year-old Kristina Sterling is the shooter. Everyone does. Everyone except Detective Radhauser.

Susan Clayon-Goldner

Meet Susan Clayton-Goldner:

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware, and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.

Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona’s Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991–purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy rode, trained, and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career.

Through the writing process, Susan has discovered she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014. Her novel, A Bend in the Willow was released in 2017 and is a Readers’ Choice Best Books of 2017 winner.

She has just finished her 11th book in the award-winning Winston Radhauser mystery series and is working on #12. She has also completed a stand-alone thriller, called Tormented, which won the Rone Award for best thriller, and a novel based on her journey to love and forgiveness with her alcoholic and abusive father entitled Missing Pieces.

After spending 3 years in Nashville, Susan and Andy enjoyed a quiet life in Grants Pass, Oregon, with her growing list of fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. Andy died from a massive brain bleed on March 10, 2021.

For months afterward, Susan couldn’t write about anything except grief. She found the grief road to be rocky with many potholes, but she is now writing again. Somehow she knows the writing will be what brings her back to life. When she isn’t writing,

Susan enjoys making quilts and stained-glass windows. She says it is a lot like writing–telling stories with fabric and glass.

Review by Lora S:

This is the eighth book in the Winston Radhauser Mystery series by Susan Clayton-Goldner. In its way, it was so creepy. Not so much because of the terrifying subject matter – in this one Radhauser takes on a school shooting situation – but perhaps in some ways despite the bright determined normalness of the small town and its high school where the shooting occurred.

One morning in early October Detective Radhauser and his partner receive a call that shots have been fired at nearby Mountain View High School. They are there in less than four minutes. Amid the confusion, Radhauser finds students bleeding into the fountain outside the school, cowering in closets and under stairwells inside the school, and dead and dying on the floor of the band room upstairs.

As he interviews the witnesses, he receives a picture of a girl in a pink hoodie firing away out the band room window. What appears to be the same girl is lying dead in one of the practice rooms off of the band room. Apparently, she has killed herself. Or someone has tried to make it look as if she had. But when he talks to the other students and her parents, he is given a very different picture of a girl who would never even think of doing anything like that.

This is a tough case for Radhauser. The girl does appear to have a few possible enemies. She went out with the newest star quarterback of the football team just a few days before the shooting – a boy who is found dead in the same practice room with her – and his regular girlfriend and her brother are angry about that.

The quarterback also may have enemies. The captain of the football team and previous star quarterback is not happy that the younger boy has all but replaced him on the field. And his mother definitely holds a major grudge.

But the truth is much more complicated than that, illustrating just how devious the twists of fate and the human heart can be.

Please click HERE to find Lake of Bad Dreams on Amazon.