"Pink Balloons and Other Deadly Things" "Sharks, Jellyfish and Other Deadly Things" "Shooting Stars and Other Deadly Things" "Golden Eggs and Other Deadly Things" "Slippery Slopes and Other Deadly Things" "Ablaze"

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Several years ago, an agent suggested that I write a spec script for one of my favorite TV shows, “Cagney and Lacey.” In preparation, I spent days at a museum library that housed old TV scripts, familiarizing myself in depth with the characters and their lives. Because cults were going to figure prominently in my story, I devoted weeks to doing research, even attending workshops of anti-cult organizations, and was amazed to discover how many authoritarian cults still exist in the U.S. today. Shortly after my script was submitted to the head writer, I was invited to the west coast to pitch story ideas. Hallelujah, I thought naively, I’m on my way. But Hollywood being Hollywood, before I had even packed my bags, the network canceled the show. Disappointed doesn’t begin to cover how I felt. All that effort and research wasted. “Cagney and Lacey” went into the bottom drawer.

Time passed during which my amateur sleuth series was published, and I decided to try my hand at something new. After attending a Halloween parade in Nyack, NY, the germ of an idea began to form. What if a murder were committed amidst the chaos of a costume parade? The killer is masked. No one could identify him or her--unless there happens to be a witness who could not be fooled by the disguise. Out of the bottom drawer came “Cagney and Lacey.” All that effort and research had not been wasted!


“ABLAZE” is a story about power and greed and about the mind control used in destructive cults by men corrupted by the power they have gained over the souls of their followers. The victims of this evil, often done in the name of God, are the alienated and the vulnerable, but surprisingly, they are also bright young idealists who are convinced that they are being shown “the way.” Most people believe that cults died out in the seventies. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The cult in this book is fictional, a conglomerate of many such groups drawn from my imagination, but the methods used to recruit and control its followers are based on my research culled from the experiences of ex-members.

“ABLAZE” is also a love story about two people deeply attracted to each other, but whose inability to work through past experiences keeps them apart. My protagonist, Samantha Barron, the victim/witness advocate for the Bergen County, NJ prosecutor’s office, has her world shaken up when the man who threw her off his elite NOVA (National Organization for Victim Assistance) crisis response team, insinuates himself into a case involving the disappearance of one of her clients. A terrified young girl shows up at Samantha’s office blurting out a story about having witnessed a friend being "horribly punished," "cast into the abyss" at the Greenwich Village Halloween parade; then suddenly bolts crying that she is a Judas, she should never have come. Samantha must put aside her feelings about this man, attorney Douglas Ruark, with whom she had once been in love. They are forced to work together to find and rescue the girl before the malevolent sect that they believe is holding her captive, discovers that she had witnessed the killing and can identify the murderer. In the process they learn valuable truths about themselves and about each other.


This is a strong example of romantic suspense that I found hard to put down. Samantha
is a sympathetic protagonist, bent on saving Miriam, even as she puts herself in danger...
Ruark is a dream male lead, tough and vulnerable...The real strength of the work, however,
lies in the details of its subject matter of cults and their dynamics..."
-C ITY BOOK REVIEW - San Francisco Book Review

"Completely unique and a cross between a Guyana-style cult crossed with fundamentalists,
the inner workings of the cult and the mystery around it are a gripping read."
- I am, Indeed-The Place to find your next read

"Nancy's theatrical experience, both on stage and at the writing table,
allows her to paint the images of cults, terror, passion, romance, and crime investigation
with such deft color that we might as well be watching a film surrounding our space.
That is a gift and her facility with words, polished as it is, never gets in the way
of conveying gut level reactions."
- Grady Harp, Hall of fame top 100 reviewer Vine Voice

"The title says it all! This book sizzles with suspense, mystery, drama and steamy romance."
-The Long and the Short Of It Reviews


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© 2016 by Nancy Tesler. All rights reserved.