Wednesday, September 28, 2022

NBTM Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Grave Girl by Dan Padavona @DanPadavona @GoddessFish

Grave Girl

by Dan Padavona

GENRE: Mystery/Thriller


Every mind holds a secret. Some are more deadly than others.

Nightshade County Sheriff Thomas Shepherd is a successful model for every law enforcement officer with autism. He leads an idyllic life in his uncle’s old home along Wolf Lake and is planning to marry private investigator Chelsey Byrd.

But when a star athlete’s girlfriend disappears while camping, everyone blames the boyfriend. He’s volatile and dangerous. Did he murder the girl and bury her in the woods?

The sheriff’s gut tells him there’s more to the story than the boyfriend is willing to admit. The more he digs into the case, the more he worries someone is hiding a dark secret.

Is the boy a killer? Or is he the next victim?

Purchase Grave Girl on Amazon


Only one road led to the scenic lookout above Lucifer Falls, and it was winding and treacherous even during the day. At night, Thomas kept both hands on the wheel and leaned forward, ignoring the crick in his neck. It seemed that he drove through a sea of black. Trees sprang out of nowhere and lurched toward his F-150.

Chelsey held the door handle, her gaze fixed on the road ahead, as though she were driving. She yelped, and Thomas slammed his brakes when a shadow darted in front of the truck. The deer bounded through the brush and disappeared.

Slow down, Thomas.”

If I go any slower, I might as well put the truck in neutral. It’s impossible to see.”

She tightened her seatbelt. The truck jounced over a rut. Thomas pulled the wheel when the sloping terrain swept him toward a hundred-foot drop off. The brights did little to drive back the night, and to make matters worse, a fine mist curled along the ground. He hoped it didn’t expand into a full-fledged fog. The road was challenging to traverse as it was.

Darren’s blue Silverado popped out of the darkness. Beside the ranger’s truck, the shoulder opened to a lookout. An iron rail prevented sightseers from plunging off the cliff. The falls roared beyond the rail, and water droplets formed on the sheriff’s windshield. Darren climbed out of the cab and waved a hand over his head. Raven was there too, and by the way she cupped her elbows with her hands, she’d already succumbed to the cold. The ranger flared a flashlight and illuminated a dirt path that followed the hill down to the stream.

Tell me what happened,” Thomas said, hopping out of his truck with Chelsey beside him.

I came out to do my nightly rounds and ensure nobody was on the trail. As I passed the falls and walked along the stream, I found the body in the weeds. I wouldn’t have seen him were it not for the bugs. Fresh body, no death scent.”

That means the killer dumped the body recently. You didn’t spot anyone in the woods?”

No, but I heard a motor pass the lookout just after sunset. Thought nothing of it. If I’d acted sooner . . .”

Interview with Dan Padavona

    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    Before I became an author, I was an avid reader of thrillers, mysteries, and horror. My stories tend to include all three of those genres.

    I like to craft interesting characters. Thomas Shepherd, a sheriff with Asperger’s, is the most unique character I’ve ever created. He adds depth and personality to the tried-and-true dark thriller genre, and he’s been a joy to write about.

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    As I did in the bestselling Wolf Lake series, I made certain that Grave Girl told a gripping, tense story, yet kept the pervading undertones of redemption, understanding, and the powers of friendship and love. I’m a positive person, and while I love to give readers a good scare, I also want to give them hope.

    What was the hardest part of writing this book?

    The biggest challenge to any of the Thomas Shepherd books is staying realistic and true to his character. I know parents of children on the autism spectrum and have spoken with many people with Asperger’s. In my stories, my goal is to present Asperger’s as a unique character trait, not as an affliction. As we’ve learned through autism awareness, people on the spectrum can achieve great things and serve society in a noble fashion.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I always most enjoy writing the dialogue for the auxiliary characters, in particular Scout and LeVar. Scout is a fifteen-year-old girl who recently regained her ability to walk after spinal surgery, whereas LeVar is a nineteen-year-old reformed gang member who now works for the sheriff’s department. On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, yet they’ve forged an undying friendship and are a joy whenever they are together.

    Were there alternate endings you considered?

    Without giving away spoilers, I admit that I wasn’t sure who the killer was until I was halfway through the book. I hedged my bets between two characters as both fit the part. In the end, I settled on my villain. But yes, the story could have gone in a different direction.

    Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

    I’m fortunate to know members of law enforcement and medical examiner assistants among my readers. Though I conduct my own research online, I’m often contacted by readers who are experts in their fields to make adjustments. These are often minor procedural changes, but I always prefer to implement thema s doing lends greater realism to my stories.

    What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

    These days, I read more thrillers and mysteries than horror. I’m also a huge fan of epic fantasy and recently finished the fourteen-book Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan. I greatly enjoy Patrick Rossfuss, but I fear he will never finish his Kingkiller trilogy.

    Which brings up an important lesson for prospective authors. Always treat your readers with kindness and respect. It’s unacceptable to leave a series unfinished.   

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Dan Padavona is the author of The Wolf Lake series, The Logan and Scarlett series, Darkwater Cove, The Scarlett Bell thriller series, and The Thomas Shepherd Mysteries. Many of his novels rank in the top-10 in Amazon’s thriller and mystery categories. He is a husband, a parent, and proud member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

When he’s not writing, Dan enjoys photography, biking, weightlifting, and storm chasing. Dan has videotaped tornadoes from New York to Oklahoma and Texas and was nearly swept up by a strong twister outside Sweetwater, Texas. A self-proclaimed ice cream and gelato lover, Dan admits to spending too much time in the gym, compensating for his questionable nutritional decisions.

Connect with Dan Padavona

Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Twitter



$25 Amazon/BN GC 

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Stormy Vixen said...

Great interview, Dan! I enjoyed the excerpt and Grave Girl sounds like a thrilling, edge of my seat read that I won't be able to put down!

Thanks for sharing it with me and have a wonderful day!

Bea LaRocca said...

Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading Grave Girl, it sounds like a thrilling story.

Dan Padavona, said...

Thank you to everyone for the kind comments!

Sherry said...

I love the cover and think the book sounds interesting.

LeonieT said...

Great excerpt!

Marcy Meyer said...

The cover looks great. I enjoyed the excerpt.