Lauren Linwood’s Illusions of Death

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Lauren Linwood…

I normally write historical romance set in the medieval era or the American Old West, but lately I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. I enjoy reading romantic suspense and thought I’d challenge myself to write one. The result was last summer’s Leave Yesterday Behind. I enjoyed pitting my serial killer against a mystery writer who’s just begun a relationship with a new woman and having the pair team up to stop the murderer before they became his next targets.

Wouldn’t you know it? Another serial killer began to call out to me between writing books. He demanded that I put everything else on hold and pay attention to him. His name?

Roy G. Biv.

Yes, that’s the acronym for helping yourself remember the colors of the rainbow. Roy is a creepy killer who paints his victims after he finishes with them, and he does so in the order that the colors of the rainbow appear—thus his nickname that law enforcement gives him.

Writing romantic suspense is a fine balance of creating a compelling criminal story while keeping your readers interested in the budding romance that is developing between your hero and heroine. I’ve enjoyed the change of pace and hope that I can keep juggling these two sub-genres.

*One lucky commenter below will win an ebook copy of Illusions of Death. Tell me your favorite serial killer (from a novel or book). And Hannibal Lecter is off-limits. Mine would be Kevin Costner’s wicked portrayal in Mr. Brooks. After seeing this, you’ll know the nice, ordinary guy next door could be a murderer!

Lauren Linwood image April 6 (1)


Best-selling author Karlyn Campbell is ready for a new start after her recent divorce from a temperamental artist. When she receives word that her father had a stroke, she heads for Walton Springs with mixed feelings. Broderick Campbell wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning literary novels and denounced his daughter’s work as pedestrian and commercial, causing a rift that finally heals on his deathbed. Karlyn chooses to stay in the small Georgia town to write her popular Matt Collins series and decides to try her hand at true crime when Atlanta’s Rainbow Killer, Roy G. Biv, captures her interest.

Detective Logan Warner’s marriage didn’t survive after he lost his twins to a crazed killer who was never caught. He returns to his hometown’s police force and runs for police chief, happy he’s escaped big city crime and corruption. Emotionally dead, his interest in life is renewed when he falls in love with Karlyn and begins to build a new life with her.

But the Rainbow Killer moves beyond Atlanta, leaving a trail of dead bodies painted in bright hues in several towns north of the city. Leaving no trace evidence or DNA and choosing random victims with no apparent rhyme or reason, Roy proves unstoppable. Then he arrives in Walton Springs, threatening the peaceful town with his murder spree. With a serial killer in their back yard, Logan and Karlyn unite with the FBI to find the killer—before he finds them.


He placed the last of the wet dirt on top of the second grave. Smoothed it with the back of the shovel. Reached for the collection of branches and rocks and leaves that he’d gathered before he began digging. He tossed them haphazardly over his handiwork and stepped back to survey the ground. Perfect. Anyone venturing off the Appalachian Trail this far would have no idea what rested beneath the soil.

If only people knew how much he’d accomplished in his killing time.

His latest specimen gathering consisted of high-end prostitutes. The Chattahoochee National Forest had provided cover for this most recent hunt. Its miles of wilderness proved the ideal disposal area. He’d witnessed the arrival of spring as the area greened up. Watched it blossom into its summer loveliness. Seen the explosion of fall colors come vividly to life as he buried his precious specimens.

But he was at the end of this cycle of murders. He refused to tramp through isolated areas during winter snow. Last night’s kill would be the final in this series.

He chuckled to himself. Plus, the unexpected bonus.

The lone hiker appeared just before dusk settled. He’d already made camp. Set up his tent. The specimen, bound and gagged, waited for him inside. The Rohypnol’s effects had faded. She would know everything that happened from this point on.

Then the kid arrived, sporting a backpack almost bigger than he was. Made himself at home. Admitted he was lost.

They chatted over bottled water and protein bars. The teen spilled that he was traipsing around during Thanksgiving break in hopes of having some majestic, eye-opening experience that would be good enough to write about in his upcoming college admission essay. He was looking for something life-changing that he could write about.

At least the kid wouldn’t be put through the agony of writing that essay. Or being rejected by his top choices and settling for community college and a mundane life.

He returned to the campsite as the rain slacked off to a drizzle. Packed up. He pulled his keys from his pocket. Noticed the rain had stopped. The sky lightened.

And then he saw it. A rainbow in the sky.

Of course. That was it.

Just as God placed the rainbow in the sky as a promise to Noah that He would never flood the earth again, He’d generously gifted him with a new idea.

His next mission would be served as The Rainbow Killer.

Thoughts raced in his head as he planned a new series of murders to commit. The specimens would share nothing in common, making him impossible to catch. But every murder would end in spectacular colors. In hues of the rainbow.

Confidence pulsated through him. This could be his claim to fame. A lasting legacy.

He couldn’t wait to begin.

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Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her historical romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire for one another grows into the treasured gift of love. Her romantic suspense novels feature strong heroes and heroines who unite to defeat a clever antagonist and discover a deep, abiding love during their journey.

A native Texan, Lauren lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with long walks. She plans to start a support group for Fixer Upper addicts—as soon as she finishes her next piece of dark chocolate.

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

15 responses to “Lauren Linwood’s Illusions of Death

  1. Thanks for letting me share a little about the Rainbow Killer, Alicia!


  2. I love the premise of this book, the rainbow killer! Very clever! And your excerpt proved he was an interesting character. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Peggy Twigg

    I really like romantic suspense. It’s of the norm to have serial killers in a big city. When they show up in a small town, it becomes a lot more personal. You seem to connect more to the people you are reading about. Thanks for sharing this with us, Alicia Dean. I may have found me a new author. 🙂


  4. pamelasthibodeaux

    hhhmmm…. sounds intriguing and different!
    Good luck and God’s blessings.


  5. Serial killers scare me and fascinate me at the same time. I suppose the one that gets to me most is the guy who sets people on fire in Lonesome Dove. He was truly scary to me. Your book sounds very suspenseful. Good luck to you!


  6. coryellsusan

    Yikes! That is one creepy dude! I, too, was a teacher/writer until blessed retirement allowed me to become a full-time author. Good luck in all your ventures.


  7. Nice that you’ve challenged yourself to write something out of your comfort zone. Your writing is fabulous! This guy is creepy, creepy!


  8. What a beautiful cover, Lauren. Stories like this keep me up at night!
    I think it’s awesome you decided to step out of your comfort zone.
    Wishing you lots of success!


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