Guest Post by Author Andrea Kane + Giveaway

Kane_Andrea_2010-190x300Today it is my very great pleasure to welcome Andrea Kane to Reading Reality. Andrea is the author of not just one of my new favorite series, but one of my favorite ensemble teams, the Forensic Institute team that solves the puzzles and catches the evildoers in her memorable thrillers, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, The Line Between Here and Gone (reviewed here) and my review today of Andrea’s latest FI edge-of-your-seat suspense puzzler, The Stranger You Know.

I asked Andrea if she would write a bit about the creation of the crack (and sometimes wise-cracking) investigative team that makes this series such a terrific (and sometimes terrifying) joy to read.

Here’s Andrea…

Creating a Maverick Investigative Team
by Andrea Kane

I can’t remember the exact moment when the Forensic Instincts team was born. I just know that, rather than a single protagonist, my mind kept jumping from one character to another as I struggled to focus on one. At first, I was frustrated. I knew and understood Casey Woods. She was my strong, female protagonist. She had a background in behavioral analysis and psychology. She was no longer working for someone else— she was out on her own. She was vivid in my fertile imagination. Why then, did I keep flashing to a covert former-Navy SEAL/FBI agent and a hunky gym rat/techno genius? These guys weren’t Casey’s friends or lovers, so why were they intruding on my brewing storyline?

girl who disappeared twiceBecause they belonged in that storyline. In fact, they belonged in every storyline of what soon became the “core three” of the Forensic Instincts team. There would be three new members to that team (don’t forget to count Hero!) before Book #1— The Girl Who Disappeared Twice— was fully written. And, yes, there might be more yet to come.

Once I opened my mind up to the idea of writing an ensemble, rather than a single, protagonist, the floodgates burst open wide. What a completely different, yet completely cohesive, team of brilliant minds with one thing in common— a blatant disregard for the confines law enforcement placed on them that crimped their style. They were all about getting the job done, and getting it done now. Their skills were undisputable, as was their loyalty to each other. You’ll see just how loyal when you read The Stranger You Know, where one of their own is in danger.

line between here and gone goodreadsThere were definitely some highlight moments when I was forming Forensic Instincts. I loved giving Ryan a strategic mind and all the most cutting-edge technological skills, and yet not making him a Dilbert, but rather a smolderingly handsome hunk who attracted women like a magnet, and who was a gym-rat, to boot. Talk about destroying a stereotype! And Marc, with his Special Ops and FBI Behavioral Analysis background, being such an enigma with so many facets to him, including a softer side where it comes to children. Oh, and let’s not forget the non-human-but-human team members— Yoda, the supreme artificial intelligence system created by Ryan but with an hysterical personality all his own, and Gecko, the “little critter” that Ryan built who can crawl his way through physical boundaries to acquire audial and visual evidence that would be an impossibility for a human being to accomplish. Secretly, I think of Yoda and Gecko as C3PO and R2D2.

I could go on and on, but, suffice it to say that each team member became a whole human being to me— compelling, dynamic, and so relatable. I laugh out loud when they bicker like children, and I hunker down and root for them as they take on each challenge— some of which I don’t even know about until those challenges stop FI and me in our tracks.

I guess it’s obvious how much I love writing the Forensic Instincts team. For me, they’re the very best combination of memorable characters and nail-biting plots. The team and their investigations develop more with each passing book. I hope you read all the novels in the series, and that you feel the same magnetism and excitement in reading them as I feel in writing them.


For more information about the Forensic Instincts series, the FBI and my other novels, please visit, connect with me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.


Andrea and TLC Book Tours have graciously agreed to give away a print copy of The Stranger You Know to one lucky US/CAN winner. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane

stranger you know by andrea kaneFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Series: Forensic Instincts #3
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Date Released: September 24, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.

College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they’re posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life—a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath’s desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey—a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won’t stop until he makes sure she’s dead.

My Review:

The title is a clue. It’s also a double play on words, both that the killer is a stranger that Casey Woods knows, and that people are often stranger than anyone can know. In this particular instance, quite a bit stranger.

girl who disappeared twiceAlso this third case that the Forensic Instincts team is investigating (after their awesome beginning in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice and equally compelling followup The Line Between Here and Gone) the two cases that the team is investigating are both about a stranger, and about someone that team leader Casey Woods knew all too well.

The kidnapping, rape and murder of her best friend 15 years ago was the impetus for Casey’s founding of Forensic Instincts in the first place. It may also be linked to the cold case that a dying father has asked them to re-open.

But when a serial rapist and murderer starts taunting Casey on the phone, linking new crimes to her past and to a psychopath definitely behind bars, the team scrambles to figure out what the link is between a prisoner supposedly without privileges and a killer who is definitely on the loose. Both of whom want revenge on Casey and are determined to torment her by killing an ever-tightening circle of women who look just like her.

The tension ratchets up higher and higher as the team brings all of their formidable talents to bear on catching the killers; while the shadowy assailant continues to stay one step ahead of them and his motive remains unknown.

Just when it seems that they have finally caught a break in the cold cases, they discover that they have only played into the hands of a convicted serial murder.

line between here and gone goodreadsEscape Rating A-: What makes the Forensic Instincts series so awesome is the team dynamic. Although this case turns out to be about Casey Woods and her past, the way it gets solved requires the talents of every member of the FI team, except possibly the dog.

The FI team is an absolutely marvelous example of the “Five-Man Band trope”. (See for complete explanation) If you have never previously delved into tvtropes, be prepared to lose at least an evening.

The story in Stranger is primarily of the suspense/thriller type. The reader follows the team and they solve the puzzle. We don’t know anything until they do. We might guess, but we don’t know, although we do get a couple of extra clues that they don’t, which is what separates this story from a true mystery.

Nevertheless, this is a chilling tale. We spend time following the thought processes of a serial killer and rapist as he self-aggrandizes and justifies his crimes. It’s ugly and so is he.

But it’s absolutely fascinating to watch the team solve the puzzle. The psychopath is one step ahead of them all the way, until the very end. Good triumphs over evil, but the cost is shown to be very, very high.

The ending packs one hell of a jolt.

This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews.
***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.