Rita Avery works to avert looming disaster from a deadly unidentified pathogen spreading in “Deadly Payload”


With her family in danger and thousands of lives in her hands, Rita must uncover a mystery that goes far beyond a simple attack on her hometown’s water supply

PAYSON, Arizona – Karen Randau’s fourth installment in the Rim County Mystery series opens with dead birds falling from the sky, and the action only intensifies from there.

Rita Avery is thrust into the heart of a deadly mystery when her husband and son fall gravely ill from tainted water, along with hundreds of other people in her town. She deduces that the city’s water supply is the culprit, and begins to investigate what went wrong.

As Rita digs deeper into the puzzle surrounding the contamination, she realizes that a homeless war veteran nicknamed “Crazy Mary” may be a part of the conspiracy, and that the roots behind the attack have something to do with her past. They partner up in an attempt to uncover the truth, but when they come too close, Rita is taken.

Will she escape in time to thwart the next attack and be able to save thousands of lives?
Randau’s signature blend of fast-paced action and twisty suspense will delight readers who are familiar with her work, and those new to the series will find themselves quickly drawn in. Conspiracies, kidnappings and unforgettable characters come together in this compelling story.

Karen Randau started writing as a way of life as soon as a teacher taught her to print Run Spot Run. She received a degree in journalism/public relations from the University of Texas at Austin, and had a career that spanned the industries of high tech, mental health, and nearly three decades at Food for the Hungry. Later, a seed of an idea turned into her debut novel, Deadly Deceit, the first in the Rim Country Mystery series, published in June 2016. The series now also includes Deadly Inheritance (January 2017) and Deadly Choices (July 2017).




More about Deadly Payload

A deranged war vet. A poisoned community. A conspiracy with far- reaching implications. Karen Randau pits Rita Avery against lethal forces determined to keep her from discovering how Cliff and their entire community fall ill from an unidentified pathogen in Deadly Payload: Book Four of the Rim Country Mystery series. Dead birds rain down as Rita, her daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter arrive at the park for a picnic. An unhinged war vet with a severe case of PTSD jumps into Rita’s car raging about a walled in park, being found, and not drinking the water. Rita hurries home, finds her gravely-ill husband and son, and
calls for an ambulance. None is available because hundreds of townspeople are sick.

As her family nears death, Rita races to find the pathogen and how it was spread. She discovers that the attack on her peaceful town was practice for a national strike … and she must stop it before it’s too late. Murder and partnering with a homeless war vet named Crazy Mary — this isn’t how Rita planned her family’s visit!

“Deadly Payload”
Karen Randau | July 17, 2018 | Short on Time Books
paperback | 978-1717360168 | $10.99 ebook |
| $3.99



PressKitAuthorPhotoRandauAn Interview with Karen Randau

This is the fourth book in your Rim County Mysteries series. Is it comforting to return to these characters?
Yes. I know my characters well and enjoy how I’m able to further develop them with each new book. Naturally, I must help my readers get to know them starting with whichever book they read first. I’ve included details from preceding books in each novel to help my readers to understand Rita and Cliff, their relationship, and how important family is to them.

Do you plan out a mystery before you start writing, or does it come to you as you write?
It’s a combination. I start with an outline. Because I enjoy fast-paced books, I keep mind fast-paced. That means I often use up much of the outline earlier than I expected. Also, ideas come to me as I write, and I adjust accordingly. It’s safe to say I know the basic premise and much of the plot. There are “plotters” (those who outline), “pantsers,” (those who fly by the seat of their pants and write as it comes to them) and there are “planters” (those who outline and make adjustments as ideas come to them while writing. I’m the latter.

Did you do any research on outbreaks to prepare for Deadly Payload?
I did a lot of research to prepare for Deadly Payload, not so much on outbreaks as how my outbreak could happen and what would be the response. I researched different kinds of diseases, their progression, and the kinds of pathogens that could cause them. For this book, I also needed to research chemical warfare, terrorism, and spies. With the crazy things I research, I cringe each time I read that Google searches aren’t private.

What books or authors inspire your work?
I enjoy the work of Hank Phillipi-Ryan and Jenny Milchman. Hank takes on the kinds of topics that interest me, and Jenny gets inside people’s heads the way I want to.

How do you balance between making your books connect as a series and making sure new readers won’t get lost?
I include references to past books in the series as a way of both helping to develop the characters for the current book and for explaining how Rita and Cliff got to where they are. Each of the books could be read as a standalone with well-developed characters, setting, and plot. If you read all books in the series, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what makes the characters react the way they do, but you’ll see a character arc in each of the books.

Are any of your characters based on real-life people?
All of my characters have traits of people I know, but none of them is completely one person familiar to me. Rita, the protagonist who narrates the books, has traits of me as well as traits I wish I had and others I’m glad I don’t. The same is true for all of the characters.

How did your nonprofit work help shape your career as a writer?
My career as a writer started when I was in journalism school, and I’ve been writing ever since. Writing wasn’t my main focus as I climbed up the corporate or nonprofit ladder, but I had writers reporting to me and did a lot of editing – so I was constantly improving my craft. When I told a co-workers about an idea floating around in my head, she suggested I had a novel in me that wanted out. I started attending novel-writing conferences and workshops to lean that craft (which is quite different than journalism). I’ve put some of my own experiences in my books. For example, in my first book, I made reference to how different life was for a woman from Honduras – something I knew because of my nonprofit work.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a book about a woman who wakes up from a 20-year coma thinking she’s 17, not 37. She will struggle first to get back in shape (learning martial arts in the process), but then she’s going to set out to solve the mystery of who killed her parents and why – the event that put her in a coma.




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