Monday, January 16, 2012

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Ryder Islington

This week at the Tiki Hut, we welcome mystery and suspense author Ryder Islington as she pops in during her blog tour! The full list of Ryder's blog tour stops can be found at LL Publications and Ryder's Blog.

A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriff’s department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. She can be contacted at or visit her blog at

Writing Mystery and Crime

Mystery and crime are not mutually exclusive, but they are very different beasts. Mystery is all about keeping the truth from the reader until the right time while giving them plenty of truth, along with a few red herrings. I love a good mystery. The best advice I ever got regarding mystery was to make the truth of the matter so plain that the reader would be saying, “Naw, it can’t be that easy.” To do that, you have to make sure there is a logical explanation for why it can’t possibly be that easy. Supplying just enough information, and creating characters the readers trust and believe in, can really divert the truth. As readers, we want the good guys to win, the bad guys to suffer, and the truth to be our own truth.

Writing crime is all about making the reader understand what really happened to the victim, and the truth behind the criminal’s motivations. First, you have to understand the nature of the crime. Kidnapping may be defined differently in one state than in another, so you have to do your homework regarding the definition and elements of the crime you’ll be writing about. If you have characters who work in law enforcement, you have to learn some of the codes they use, which again, vary from state to state.

Then there is the victim. Who is she? Why was she there? Why was she chosen? What was she thinking? What did she go through? How many times does she get close to getting away? Does she even try, or is she too afraid to move?

And finally, the criminal. Is the kidnapper the father of the victim? Or a boyfriend? Or a crazed maniac looking for fast cash? Is he big enough to overpower the victim? Or did he have to compensate with a weapon? Is he a coward at heart? Was he once a good guy that had terrible things happen, things he couldn’t cope with? Is he smart enough to plan the crime, or does he have someone else pulling his strings?

I personally like to write about the psychology of the victim and criminal. I like to get into their heads and make the reader feel some compassion for the bad guy, and some negative feelings about the victim.

And then you have to decide about the gore factor. If you’re writing a cozy, the crime is over with and the scene scrubbed. But I like the gritty stuff, so when a young boy sticks a hunting knife into the gut of a pervert, I want the reader to feel the knife going in, the blood running over his fist. And when the boy smiles and says, “Ooo, warm. Velvety,” I want the reader’s face to scrunch up as if she’d just bitten into a dill pickle.

While revising Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, I kept returning to the gory scenes, upping the ante, spilling the guts, and then going to the psychological response to the gore, trying to make it disgusting but at the same time, believable. This is the stuff of real life. This is what officers all over the country face regularly. It’s not all tickets, and hauling drunks in to sleep it off. Every day there are murders, kidnappings, rapes and other violent crimes occurring. I’m hoping that reading my book will give you a glimpse into what can shape people into psychopaths, and how ‘normal’ the bad guy can seem.


ULTIMATE JUSTICE by Ryder Islington

A Trey Fontaine Mystery

Special Agent Trey Fontaine has his hands full as he tries to juggle three different sets of cases in his hometown. While healing from a bullet wound, and on limited duty, he is charged with helping find out what's happening to young women who are disappearing without a trace. But that's just the beginning. Someone is beating and raping women in town, women who are related to his godfather, Detective Russell Coleman. And then the bodies of men start showing up, eviscerated. Are the crimes related? Or are has the town become a haven for all sorts of criminals?

Wile, Rocky, and Drew, three children from a violent home, take matters into their own hands and soon the small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana is brimming with dead bodies. But the only victims are those whose background proves them to be deserving of such justice.

Can Special Agent Trey Fontaine stop the violence? Or will he only figure out the truth after someone he loves is dead?


1 comment:

  1. Hi Ryder and welcome to the Tiki Hut today!!

    Thanks so much for making the Tiki Hut a spot on your blog tour and thanks for the very interesting post about your work and the differences in Mystery and Suspense.

    I wanted to ask you about your Trey Fontaine many books do you plan for this series and what are some of the challenges in writing from a man's POV?

    Enjoy the rest of your blog tour and again thanks for making the Tiki Hut one of your many stops!