Readers “met” Stride’s late wife, Cindy, in my fourth novel IN THE DARK — but that was through the unreliable eyes of my book-within-a-book narrator, Tish Verdure. So I wanted to write a book in which I would actually take readers back to Stride’s past, where Cindy is alive…so they can see what their relationship was really like.
After THE COLD NOWHERE, this was the perfect time to write GOODBYE TO THE DEAD, because Stride’s relationship with Serena was at a crossroads. In order to really move ahead, he needed to come to terms with the loss of Cindy — in essence, to say goodbye to the dead. Serena also had to have her own reckoning with Cindy, to realize that the rosy glow of Stride’s memory didn’t necessarily reflect the complexities of his marriage.
So GOODBYE TO THE DEAD has a unique structure among the Stride novels. The first half is set in the past, when Cindy is alive, and the second half is set in the present — and the mystery ripples through the years in between.
This book features the first trial sequence in one of my novels since my very first book, IMMORAL. One of Minnesota’s county attorneys was very gracious in sharing trial transcripts and reading my initial drafts to make sure the legal side of the book felt authentic. The more books I write, the more I find readers with special expertise who are very helpful when I do research.
GOODBYE TO THE DEAD also includes one of the more shocking scenes I’ve written…a violent, emotional shooting inside Duluth’s shopping mall. One of the details I included was abandoned cell phones beginning to ring on the floor of the mall — and it was very poignant to read not long after of that same thing happening in the wake of a real mass shooting.