D. A. Spruzen grew up near London, England, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teaches writing when she’s not seeking her own muse. In another life she was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Her short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, and she is currently hard at work on the next book in the series, Lily Takes the Field. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia with a Jack Russell terrier who doesn’t know he’s old and doesn’t know he’s small. I just finished reading her first novel so I know you’ll love Not One of Us – this week’s Great Read!
Rose, a widow and mother of three adult children, is a founding member of the Salton Symphony and one of a group of seven volunteers who call themselves the “Symphony Slaves.” As the story opens, she is in the hospital recovering from a concussion after being found unconscious outside her friend Judy’s house. Rose cannot remember how she got there, although she remembers finding Judy bludgeoned to death. This is only the first of several murders that rock the normally dull Salton, a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.
Alternate chapters comprise segments of the killer’s journal in which she recalls her childhood and reveals the warped logic that enables her to eliminate those who threaten her hard-won lifestyle. She overcame her destitution with the single-minded ruthlessness that drives her to kill again and again when things go wrong. The journal converges with the narrative as the story progresses and shows the terrible fallout that can result from child abuse; but it also suggests that it is not inevitable—her sister is not a killer, after all. This woman’s intelligence and drive have worked for her and against her.
This psychological suspense, the first of a trilogy, focuses on the characters’ inner lives and the social constraints that bind them. Each Symphony Slave changes as her complacency is shaken by dark events she never imagined could touch a community like Salton. And the way it all ends . . . pleases no one.
What do readers say?
“Someone is killing the lady volunteers of the Salton Symphony and the reader wants to know who it is. This novel grabbed me from the very first chapter and just wouldn’t let go. Author, DA Spruzen does a fantastic job of building mystery and suspense by letting us into the head of the killer as well as letting us into the lives of the Salton Symphony volunteers. Getting to know each of these characters, their personal problems/secrets/desires was my favorite part of Not One of Us. Spruzen knows how to develop a character and let the reader know her and feel her. In that way, it’s very much a piece of women’s fiction wrapped up in a mystery. I loved every minute of it. And now, having finished, I’m looking forward to reading the next in this trilogy. Recommended especially for readers of psychological mysteries.” – Karen Cantwell, author.