THE WIDOWER’S WIFE
by Cate Holahan
Ana Bacon, a young housewife, tumbles off a cruise ship into the dark and deadly waters, but did she take her secrets with her?
Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten million dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall. So the official ruling seems to be substantiated.
Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.
Cate Holahan looks at the dark underbelly of a marriage from the perspectives of the detective and the victim in her tense and enthralling page-turner, The Widower’s Wife.
Available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.
CATE HOLAHAN TALKS ABOUT THE WIDOWER’S WIFE
1.) What inspired you to write The Widower’s Wife?
Many of my thriller ideas come from things I am afraid of in my own life.
Before starting The Widower’s Wife, my husband and I bought our first house. We have a mortgage that is heavily dependent on his salary. I worried what would happen to our family if my spouse ever lost his job and, simultaneously, our house lost value—a position that so many families found themselves in during the recent recession. Jokingly, I told my husband that we might have to rely on my life insurance policy. Once I’d verbalized the idea, I realized it would make a compelling story.
2.) What kind of research went into this book?
For this novel, I studied the insurance industry. What are the rules for life insurance policies? What kind of odds are considered when pricing policies? I learned a ton of statistics about various insurable interests: lives, cars, marriages, etc. Some of these facts were worked into my main investigator character.
3.) Can you tell us about some of the creepy things you had to Google while writing The Widower’s Wife?
I really hope Google knows that I am a writer. Otherwise, there’s definitely someone at the FBI looking into my web searches. I did a lot of research into how drugs and people are smuggled into the U.S. from the Caribbean. Revealing anymore would spoil elements of the plot.
4.) Did you speak with any experts in the fields of statistics, insurance policies, etc during your research?
I am fortunate to know several people in the insurance industry who let me pick their brains on what kinds of considerations go into issuing policies. I also think being a business reporter for years allowed me to parse some of the statistical data myself.
5.) Investigator Ryan Monahan is an incredible character with a statistics driven brain. What was it like getting inside the mind of this character?
I loved thinking like Ryan. I tend to be a more passionate, emotionally driven person so I enjoyed trying to see the world with his analytical gaze. He’s a skeptic who distrusts most of the information he is given and is always weighing it against his own database of stats and odds. He’s constantly asking: is this assumption likely? What are the chances this isn’t true?
Personally, I could use a bit more Ryan in my life. Despite writing thrillers, my default assumption is that everyone that I meet is fundamentally honest, keeps their word, means what they say and has other people’s best interests at heart as well as their own. I still think this is primarily true. But, I am learning that in certain circumstances my world view can be a bit naïve.
6.) Would you consider writing another book with Ryan as investigator?
I would love to write another book with both Ryan and Ana. I think Ryan is a great character that seems to have resonated with a bunch of people. Jeff Ayers wrote for RT Book Reviews that he was “so intriguing that readers will be anxious to read about his further adventures.” I think he could have other insurance crime based cases. I also think that Ana’s position at the end of the book would be interesting to explore. I’d really love to continue the series.
7.) Ana’s parents back story adds a great layer to the tale. Did you decide to
bring them into the story early on or was this a later development?
I always wanted Ana to be the American born child of deported immigrants. The struggle to fit in without a support system and the pain of not having her family around for her formative years is central to who she is and, I think, what makes her a compelling character. It’s why she is so self-sacrificing for her family. Also, having her parents removed when she was a pre-teen, made her a survivalist in some respects. That kind of I-just-have-to-make-it-through attitude can lead to questionable moral choices, which makes her more complex. And she pays dearly for some of those choices.
8.) Do you have any writing rituals?
I write everyday from 9a.m. until 2:30 p.m., stopping midday for 20 minutes to walk the dog. I edit after everyone in my house goes to sleep, including my husband. Usually from 11 p.m. on…
9.) Are you attending any writer’s conferences this year?
I am attending Bouchercon (September 15-18), and I will be on a panel Saturday at 4:30 p.m. about pacing. The lineup is great. I am excited to meet Sara Blaedel and Suzanne Chazin, among others.
10.) What are you working on next?
I am working on a novel about a writer with a shady past who explores the whole art imitates life vs. life imitates art battle. It’s a taut, creepy mystery, and I am definitely excited about it.
About Cate Holahan
CATHERINE “CATE” HOLAHAN is an award-winning journalist and former television producer. Holahan’s articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money, NorthJersey.com, BusinessWeek.com, and CNBC. Her short fiction won first place in the 19th annual Calliope competition, a magazine published by the writer’s group of American Mensa.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, ages 6 and 4, and dog.
The Widower’s Wife is her second novel, published by Crooked Lane Books. Dark Turns was her first.’