Cynthia Hamilton: One of the Top 50 Indie Writers You Need To Be Reading
July 19, 2019
Wonderfully crafted stories filled with a host of complex, fully realized characters
Cynthia Hamilton has recently embarked on a mystery series and has become hooked on working in this genre. The author does extensive research for all her books and her latest are no exception.
To gear up for Spouse Trap, the first book in the series, she took a detective course and spent countless hours investigating Guam, “virtually” living there so she could navigate her protagonist through a quickie divorce, with a little mayhem on the side.
Spouse Trap, set in her hometown of Santa Barbara, California, is the prequel to the series. It tells the story of how Madeline Ridley becomes Madeline Dawkins, and the dual careers she forges after going to hell and back. It was released in February 2013 and has received very enthusiastic feedback.
Because of what she put her heroine through in the first installment, the author realized Madeline needed to have martial arts training in the subsequent books. To that end, she has taken up karate, a discipline she has fallen in love with – so much so, she incorporated her instructor into her latest book.
The author’s other works include Lucky at Love, Alligators in the Trees, Golden State, and her first non-fiction Once Upon a Lyme... which chronicles the onset of a mysterious illness and the unexpected dividend of becoming a writer.
To learn more about the author and to sign up for updates to the series, please visit cynthiahamiltonbooks.com.
Appearances can be deceiving. And in Southern California, where the sun shines almost every day and make-believe has its own industry, it’s hard to tell what is real and what is merely illusion. Two inquiries come to MDPI on the same day that seem like fairly straight-forward missing person cases. But it doesn’t take long to discover there’s nothing ordinary about the disappearance of two beautiful sisters from Minnesota and an estranged heiress who has never touched her eight-figure fortune.
While Madeline’s partner, Mike Delaney, heads down to Los Angeles to search for his cousin’s vanished girlfriend and her sister, Madeline heads to San Luis Obispo in hopes of picking up a twelve-year-old trail at a Catholic boarding school. Their separate pursuits lead them into a world where a frightening reality hides behind a glossy veneer. With several lives hanging in the balance, Mike and Madeline are faced with daunting odds and ruthless criminals who will kill to keep what they have taken.
Two dead husbands. Accident, suicide or murder?
Life in beautiful Santa Barbara County will never be the same for two grieving widows. One is serving a lengthy sentence for the bizarre tractor death of her much older, land-rich husband. The other is convinced her husband’s death was no suicide.
During Madeline’s four-month convalescence, Steven Ridley—her jailbird ex—manages to get parole on the pretext of retraining inmates for their reentry into society. He has the audacity to enlist Mike’s help to find out if inmate Lindsay Bartholomew had been set up to take the fall for her husband’s death.
Santa Barbara D.A. Conrad Adams makes a personal appeal to MDPI on behalf of Natalie Sheckle, hoping Madeline and Mike can prove whether her husband took his own life, or if someone stitched him up for his own murder.
Never ones to shy away from longshots or lost causes, the duo dives into both cases.
But now they must figure out what secrets these two men took to their graves.
Imagine you have the perfect life: money, position, influence, an enviable marriage. Then you awake in a hotel room – alone, unclothed, a splitting headache, and no idea how you got there. Welcome to Madeline’s world…
Madeline Ridley had all she’d ever dreamed of: a handsome, successful husband, a place at the top of Santa Barbara society, every luxury money could buy. In all respects, her world was perfect…until one horrible night when everything unraveled.
When Steven Ridley comes home in the middle of a weekday and throws a sheaf of damning photos at her, Madeline’s comfortable world collapses in a swirl of blackmail, sabotage and deceit. Hoping to convince Steven of her innocence, Madeline drives to his office and unwittingly stumbles onto a scene that makes her realize who the real enemy is.
From that point on, Madeline Ridley deconstructs herself, reverting back to Madeline Dawkins in order to salvage what’s left of her life. In the process, she discovers where her true strengths lay, and with those, she steels herself for the battle of a lifetime.
Madeline’s dual professions as event coordinator and private investigator cross paths during the most lavish affair of her career—a weekend-long fortieth birthday extravaganza for the wife of a famous film director.
A simple background check after the disappearance of precious family jewels quickly turns into a murder investigation, and before Madeline and Mike can put the pieces together, another body turns up. As the Santa Barbara police and sheriff’s departments search for clues, the Mad Dog P.I.’s use their own methods to untangle the crimes, discovering some unsavory truths behind the glittering façade of their clients.
Adding to Madeline’s already overflowing plate, the D.A. informs her that Rick Yeoman, one of the men who had abducted her three years earlier, has been prematurely released from prison after cutting a deal with the Feds.
Besides fearing reprisals from the man she helped to convict, his parole also triggers the reappearance of soulless Lionel Usherwood, lured out of his hideaway by the call of revenge.
When Yeoman’s body surfaces in Lake Cachuma, Usherwood moves on to the next target: Madeline.