Hello, readers! Sue Vincent was kind enough to invite me to write a guest blog post about my brand new historical mystery novel, Breadcrumbs and Bombs. Thank you so much, Sue!
Breadcrumbs and Bombs is a novel that deals with genealogy, WWII, and the Ethnic/Sudeten Germans who were living in an especially dangerous place during the war. The story is set in four places: Sacramento, California, in current times, where a young American man is tracing his family’s roots; the former Sudetenland during WWII; Prague, Czechovslovia also during WWII; and Bavaria, Germany, during and after the war. With all those settings, I needed multiple point-of-view characters and needed to create those characters’ worlds. Not an easy thing to do. But I had lots of fun with this project. Many mornings I woke up with the story and characters vivid in my head, almost as if I were still asleep and dreaming.
The research I had to do for this book was mind-boggling. Interesting, but also very sad and horrifying. What I learned is especially interesting for me because my mother’s family was among the Ethnic Germans who were expelled from the Sudetenland and relocated to Germany. They had never lived in Germany before, and I remember my aunt telling me that the Czechoslovakians didn’t want them and the Germans didn’t want them. It’s hard to think about their suffering, but I hope my book will help tell the story that many have kept quiet about for too long.
So, what is the book’s description?
Breadcrumbs and Bombs
Click image or title to go to Amazon
Twenty-eight year old Lucas Landry, a Sacramento, California native, is a counseling psychologist specializing in drug abuse treatment, yet couldn’t save his own opioid-addicted father. His feelings about his father and his death get complicated when he discovers his father hid many secrets about their ancestry from Lucas and his brother. Lucas embarks on a journey to find answers: What secrets had his father hidden, who are the Landrys, and where did they come from? Are Lucas and his estranged brother destined to repeat their ancestors’ mistakes? A hidden attic in Lucas’s father’s old Victorian house is a goldmine of memorabilia and clues from the past, clues which seem to lead to Nazi Germany and the former Sudetenland, breadcrumbs to other lives.
Ten year old Christa Nagel is an ethnic German living in the Sudetenland near the Polish border in 1943 with her parents and five younger siblings. When her father is conscripted into the Wehrmacht, leaving Christa and family alone to fend for themselves, she is horrified and worried for him. After a while, though, she’s not sure which is worse, fighting in the war or trying to keep their family together and safe. When the war ends, she and her family, as well as millions of other ethnic Germans face expulsion from their home, marched away into the unknown.
Fifteen year old Ilse Seidel, a German girl living in a small Bavarian city, knows more about danger than anyone her age should know. She’s survived bombings, lost loved ones, and witnessed Jewish friends being carted away from their homes. She wants nothing to do with the war or with soldiers. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she finds a wounded soldier in need of help.
Lucas is determined to assemble these breadcrumbs, find out how their stories intertwine, and reveal his ancestry. Will what he learns make him feel better about himself and his family, or worse? Breadcrumbs and Bombs is about secrets, lies, prejudice, betrayal, guilt, love, genealogy, and what it means to be a family.
I hope all of you will get a copy, either in paperback or as a Kindle download. Please tell your friends and family about it, too. And, thank you, again, Sue Vincent, for allowing me to share the news about my book!
“This is a compelling book, at times heartwarming and other times heartbreaking. It follows the lives of several families under Nazi occupation in the Sudetenland in the final year of WWII and Lucas Landry who is trying to find his own family’s roots in the aftermath of his father’s death. Susan Finlay skillfully weaves the various story lines together and keeps you reading on.” Amazon review by Valerie Tate
About the author
Besides her story telling, Susan Finlay’s passions include photography, hiking, and traveling. Susan has two grown functional offspring who, having left the nest, are making their own success in the world. Susan resides in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area with her husband and their three pampered cats (though whether they own the cats or the cats own them remains another unsolved mystery in its own right).
Before becoming an author, Susan earned a degree in business, worked for some years as a Bank Auditor and later under the Bank Secrecy Act performed suspicious activities investigations.
To date, she has nine published novels and more stories yet to tell. This novel represents the first book in her Tangled Roots historical mystery series. She has written four books so far in her Outsiders mystery series, In the Shadows, Where Secrets Reside, Winter Tears, and The Forgotten Tomb. She has two books so far in her Bavarian Woods time travel mystery series, Inherit the Past and Tanglewood Grotto, and has initial novels in two other series, Liars‘ Games in her Project Chameleon suspense series and The Handyman in her Chambre Noir mystery series.
Susan began blogging in October 2013. You can read articles by Susan and her guests, on various topics, on her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and on Twitter.
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Also by Susan Finlay on Amazon
There is a stranger amongst the residents of the cave-riddled village of Reynier, France. Suspicious, they believe there’s only one reason Maurelle Dupre would be lurking in their small village—she’s a gypsy, a thief. But a former Chicago detective turned mystery author, Dave Martin, who happens to be visiting his French grandmother, isn’t so sure about the beautiful stranger when happenstance causes them to meet. He wonders why she seems so frightened and distrustful. He knows he shouldn’t get involved. The last time he trusted a woman in distress, the consequences resulted in the loss of his detective’s shield and his wife. But, as always, the detective in him can’t seem to leave well enough alone.
However, what Dave couldn’t know is how persuading Maurelle to reveal herself will ultimately unveil something far worse than mere theft.
In the Shadows is a story of trust, belonging, and murder. It’s the first book in a mystery and suspense series.
In Reynier, France, a sleepy hillside village peppered with ancient picturesque troglodyte cave dwellings, the locals value their privacy and their quiet life. Few tourists know it exits, which suits the locals just fine.
One day, after a torrential storm, a townswoman happens across a terrified soaked toddler sitting alone in the woods. She brings the toddler into town, but no one recognizes the child. Suspecting the child’s parents—rare tourists perhaps—must be lost or in trouble nearby, the locals organize a search party to find them. Their search leads instead to the discovery of a murder victim, another stranger, in one of the caves. As the investigation gets underway, the situation heats up. The residents of this once peaceful close-knit village find themselves terrorized by a possible serial killer. Facing their own mortality, they wonder whether the killer is an outsider, or one of their own? And who will be the next victim?
Captain Pascal Goddard of the local Gendarmerie has his hands full; he must solve the biggest murder case the region has ever seen. The residents will not let him rest until he uncovers the killer’s identity, putting a stop to the killing so a frantic village can return to normal. But as the list of suspects grows, some begin to worry that past history will paint them as guilty even if they are not; at least not of murder.
Gendarme captain Pascal Goddard looks forward to taking a break from work to focus his attention on his wife Chantal and the birth of their first child. Two weeks before their baby’s due date, a couple who recently moved into a troglo in the nearby village of Reynier, France, report their baby missing. When Chantal finds out, worried for the safety of their unborn baby and for the missing baby, she begs her husband to find the child. Hours later, the unexpected happens to Chantal.
Torn between sitting at Chantal’s bedside and praying for a miracle or doing his job and fulfilling what may be her last wish, Goddard must decide soon; the missing baby, if abandoned out on the snowy hillside or left in Reynier’s labyrinthine cave system, won’t survive for long.
He brings in the Gendarmerie’s canine unit and personally interviews the short list of suspects, including the baby’s parents and her five-year-old brother. With few leads, and severe weather threatening to impede the investigation, Goddard is anxious. And then, three more people—including the baby’s brother whom Goddard has become fond of—disappear. Now Goddard puts his own life in danger to find them all.
Seventy-nine-year-old Fabienne Laurent’s biggest fear is that her family will notice her memory problems are getting worse. If they do, she’s sure they’ll send her to live in a nursing home, away from everyone and everything she loves. That’s what she and her husband did when her own mother’s dementia caused them too much grief. Not taking care of her mother the way a daughter should is one of her biggest regrets, but she can’t undo the past. At best, she can keep her own family from making the same mistake, at least until they have no choice.
With that decision made, she’ll have to cover up her illness as long as possible. Maybe that won’t be a problem. They haven’t noticed, so far . . . . But, she soon discovers it might not be as easy as she’d hoped. While helping her daughter and son-in-law renovate their new hotel in the small French village of Reynier, she finds mysterious journals that lead them to the unearthing of an old tomb deep inside the town’s caves—and also to the remains of a woman who was murdered twenty years ago. That discovery turns her world upside down, because Fabienne not only knew the victim, but also had a motive to kill her. She must find a way to recover lost memories and convince herself and everyone else that she didn’t do it.
The Outsiders series is also available as a four book box set
Juliet Powell, a former child-prodigy and math professor, wants her old life back—the life where she was in love and happy, the life where she was safe and sheltered, the life where she was well-respected and admired. What she has, instead, is a life in hiding and only partially protected under the witness protection program. She tells herself she will eventually adapt to her new life, but with each new identity comes more stories and more chances of getting them entangled. She’s getting further and further away from who she really is.
When she blows her cover yet again, her handler warns her this is her last chance. She needs to blend in like a chameleon and play the game, but how can someone who has always believed in honesty suddenly become a convincing liar?
Compounding her problem with this new move, a political maneuver not of her choice and not within the usual rules of witness protection, ensconces her in the role of principal at a Denver high school full of gangs, drug dealers, and disgruntled employees. And then, when she discovers that a stranger is watching her and her young son, and her handler can’t or won’t move her, she must decide whether to run away and take her chances, or stay and fight to make the school safer.
Liars’ Games is a witness protection romance suspense novel and the first in a series. The author is working on the next book in the series, tentatively titled ‘The Secret Town’.
This book’s unofficial sequel is Winter Tears, the third book in the Outsider’s Mystery series. It’s a cross-over book that briefly connects the two series.
Joshua Clayton abandons his lavish vacation in Paris when a terrible betrayal forces him to take inventory of his life. Avoiding going home, he accepts a temporary job as handyman for an elderly woman, Paulette Lapierre, in a small French village, but ends up as her caregiver in the final days of her life.
When he stumbles across human remains on Paulette’s property, the secrets she had hoped would die with her come to the surface. A decades old murder filled with lies, love, and twists draw Joshua into the investigation. But the deeper he goes, the more nothing is as it appears.
Joshua and Paulette must race to find the killer before the killer finds them.
The Handyman is the first book in a new women’s fiction/mystery, thriller and suspense series.
When laid-off California architect, Max Hollander, inherits his grandparents’ house in Bavaria, it seems like the perfect opportunity to start over. If all goes well, he’ll sell it and make enough money to tide him over. More importantly, he hopes taking his antagonistic son Ryan on the trip will help rebuild their trust in each other and maybe even give them a chance to investigate a longstanding mystery that has haunted their family.
Twenty years ago while Max’s mother was staying at her parents’ house in Riesen, Germany, she and her father disappeared, never to be heard from again. Now, as they search unsuccessfully for that same house, Max and Ryan become lost until they serendipitously meet three Germans who help them find it. But their luck is short-lived: before day’s end they will get swept back in time . . . with no way to return to the present.
Realizing the same thing may have happened to his missing relatives, Max and companions set out to find them. Their quest soon embroils the hapless group in a murder investigation that widens the rift between father and son and places both lives in danger.
Inherit the Past is a story of family, love/relationships, guilt, and redemption. It’s the first book in a time travel historical mystery series. The second book is already out, and it’s ‘Tanglewood Grotto’. The third book is in the works.
Buried lies and tangled secrets threaten the lives of two time traveling families in the sequel to Inherit the Past. Seventy-six-year-old Lotte Furst doesn’t know who she can trust. Her time traveling brother (the only person who can operate time portals) was supposed to send her back home—to 2009—but he double-crossed her. She only got partially back. Within days, she was again in 1789 Bavaria, stuck and in grave danger.
And why? Before her failed attempt to get home, she had written a letter confessing to a murder she didn’t commit. The letter was meant to help fellow time traveler, Karl Kimmel, and atone Lotte’s past mistakes. It shouldn’t have affected her future, since she was supposed to be out of harm’s way. Now that her good deed has backfired, Lotte is on the run and hiding in a grotto like an animal because, if caught by the Bavarian Feldgendarms, she’ll go to prison. Her only hope is to find her wily brother and persuade him to send her back where she belongs.
Karl knows where her brother is and Karl owes her. Trouble is, Karl lives in a big town where danger of capture looms. Plus, he has a granddaughter who wants to see Lotte caught and brought to justice. Lotte’s visit with Karl sets off an explosive chain reaction affecting everyone she knows in the past—including estranged family members she originally time traveled with four months ago. People go missing. People die. And secrets get spilled.
Tanglewood Grotto is the second book in a time travel historical romance series. The first book is ‘Inherit the Past’. The third book is in the works.