P.I. Laney Bird is in a fight to save lives when a vanished friend becomes prime suspect after block party turns deadly

How two women will sacrifice everything for their families

Hudson Valley, NY – Emilya Naymark returns to Sylvan with a page-turning domestic suspense, Behind the Lie (Crooked Lane Books, Feb. 8, 2022), where Laney’s closest friend vanishes in the aftermath of a shooting which may implicate Laney’s son.

A transplant to the upstate New York hamlet of Sylvan, all Laney wants is a peaceful life for herself and her son. But things rarely remain calm in Laney’s life—and when her neighborhood summer block party explodes in shocking violence and ends with the disappearance of her friend and another woman, she’ll need all her skills as a PI to solve a mystery that reaches far beyond her small town.

As people closest to Laney fall under suspicion, the local authorities and even her colleagues question her own complicity. And then there’s fifteen-year-old Alfie, her complicated and enigmatic son, obviously hiding something. Even as Laney struggles to bury evidence of her boy’s involvement, his cagey behavior rings every maternal alarm.

Laney’s personal life unravels as she’s drawn into her missing friend’s dark secrets and she realizes she and Alfie are in danger. With treachery blazing hot as the searing summer sun, Laney fights to save lives, her family’s included.

A story that will keep you guessing until the very end, Behind the Lie will not only grip readers, but also reveals the desperately true decisions women make for the sake of their families.

“Behind the Lie”
Emilya Naymark| Feb. 8, 2022 | Crooked Lane Books
Domestic suspense/Mystery
Hardcover | 978-1643858920 | $26.00
Ebook | B094GN9S9D | $12.99

“A captivating story that leads to an emotional
but satisfying bittersweet ending.”

— NY Journal of Books about
‘Hide In Place’ by Emilya Naymark

“Devastating. Immersive. And somehow, still redemptive… A brilliant and tense mystery with heartbreaking characters–and a gasp-worthy solution. Do not miss this! Emilya Naymark is a star.”

— Hank Phillippi Ryan USA Today
Bestselling author of HER PERFECT LIFE

More about Emilya Naymark

Emilya Naymark was born in a country that no longer exists, escaped with her parents, lived in Italy for a bit, and ended up in New York, which promptly became a love and a muse.

She is the author of the novels Hide in Place and the upcoming Behind the Lie, out February 8, 2022.
Her short stories appear in A Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTERY.

When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. You can find her at her website: https://www.emilyanaymark.com/author

Follow Emilya on social media:
Facebook: @ENaymark
Twitter: @EmilyaNaymark
Instagram: @EmilyaNaymark

In an interview, Emilya can discuss:

  • Financial difficulties facing middle-class families: how easy it is to go bankrupt
  • Her Russian and Jewish backgrounds and her Russian culture
  • Cartomancy (a type of fortune telling)
  • The lengths which women will go to protect their families from harm
  • Her first book in the Laney Bird series, Hide in Place
  • Institutions for children and teens with behavioral and emotional difficulties, and how they fail (with real life examples)
  • Society’s obsession with longevity and youth
  • How early trauma can affect a person’s view of the world
  • How the need to control the bad stuff can become a pathology

An Interview with Emilya Naymark

1. Behind the Lie is undoubtedly a mystery and thriller, but it also dives into the world of women and the decisions they make for the sake of their families. Why did you decide to incorporate that into this story?

Behind the Lie is an exploration of how far women go to protect their families. I know many women who have structured their personal and professional lives to better care for their children, often at the expense of furthering their careers and interests.

Much like my characters, I put family first. On a personal level, I have stepped away from promotions and career advancement because I knew it would mean less time with my son if I accepted.

Of course, in fiction I can take this impulse to an extreme, and I had tremendous fun doing it.

2. Your Russian ethnicity plays a role in both of your books. What made you decide to use it for your villains?

GREAT question. To be more specific, my country of origin is Russia, but my ethnicity is Jewish, not Russian. We came to the United States as refugees, the result of extreme, institutionalized anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. In Russia, being anything other than an ethnic Russian meant being a second-class citizen, and this fact was cemented in everyone’s passport, where a person was listed by their ethnicity.

As a child, I grew up with a healthy distrust of Russian authority as being both corrupt and cruel. On the other hand, Russian society in general was very DIY. Consequently, my kneejerk attitude toward both Russian people and Russian culture is that they are smart, crafty, and disdainful of any official rules and regulations. In other words, a perfect recipe for criminals.

I would absolutely love to expand on this in a guest post. Seriously, I can go on and on.

3. Hide in Place is the first book with Laney Bird. How do you incorporate what happened in book one into book two?

I developed such a close relationship with Laney and her son, Alfie, while writing Hide in Place, that it was sheer pleasure to follow them a year later. Alfie is fifteen in Behind the Lie, and as a fifteen-year-old gets into a completely different sort of trouble. Laney is still recovering from the betrayals and drama that befell her in the first novel and she has an emotional journey to complete before I’m done with her.

But it’s her friend and neighbor, Holly Dubois, who really captured me and needed her story told. Nobody can be as pink and perfect as Holly without hiding some craziness.

4. Tell us a little bit about cartomancy and how it plays a role for one of your characters?

Cartomancy is as widely known and practiced in Russia as the Tarot is over here. There is a mystique around it, and many of the people who do it either are or call themselves tzigane. My mother practiced it throughout my childhood and taught it to me.

I made one of my characters a tzigane. Romany is the more widely known term in English. This character is spiritual, religious, superstitious, and fatalistic, and it’s his way of handling having no control over the universe. He believes in the power of the cards to lead him to truth. I can very much empathize with this impulse.

5. You also discuss a lot about the financial difficulties we face as older adults. How does this play out in the series?

Let’s face it, modern life is expensive. Housing costs in New York, which is where my novels are set, are astronomical. Families easily spend 40% or more of their income on rent or mortgages. Many households are one bad illness away from bankruptcy or foreclosure, even with health insurance because of the cost of deductibles and treatments not covered.

I wanted to see how a person already stretched to the limit by emotional difficulties would handle a disastrous financial situation. The answer? Unhealthfully.

6. While I know you’re not a P.I, is there a connection you share with Laney Bird?

My husband was an officer with the NYPD for twenty years. For a portion of those years, he worked as an undercover and a detective. His job and the stories he told are the reason I wrote the books I did. I would have never gone in the direction of crime fiction if I hadn’t had his expertise and connections to rely on. I love writing about crime because the reasons people commit crimes are so varied and compelling.

For me, the whydunit is the interesting thing, and all the years of hearing my husband’s true life detective stories reinforced for me the understanding that what drives people to commit awful acts is truly fascinating.