Mystery Books News is delighted to welcome Tess Gerritsen as our guest blogger. Tess's latest book is Ice Cold (Ballantine Books, June 2010 Hardcover, 978-0-345-51548-3), the 8th mystery in the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series.
Today, Tess writes about the unlikely sources from which book ideas often originate. And she's also providing our readers with an opportunity to win a copy of her book. Visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Tess Gerritsen: Ice Cold" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (3881) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends July 30, 2010.)
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Photo credit Paul D'Innocenzo,
courtesy of Tess Gerritsen
The best plot ideas sometimes come from real life misadventures. One such misadventure happened to me a few summers ago in upstate New York, when my husband and I were driving to a rustic bed and breakfast. Since we didn't know the area, we'd brought along our GPS and programmed it to take us in the most direct route possible.
Half an hour later, we were bumping along a dirt road ... through a cornfield. The corn was so tall that we couldn't see in any direction, and there was no room to turn around. In fact, the road was getting even narrower. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "We should have looked at a map."
Hubby: "The GPS says we're on the right road."
Me: "This isn't a road."
Hubby: "She (the GPS) says it's a road!"
GPS (in snooty voice): "Recalculating."
Ten minutes later, we did indeed emerge from that cornfield and eventually reached our destination. "Oh yeah, a lot of our guests have gotten lost in that cornfield," the B&B clerk told us. "It's a GPS glitch."
We came through that experience with just a little mud on our tires. But those GPS "glitches" sometimes end in disaster. In England, a 20-year-old woman's car was wrecked by a train after she followed her GPS onto a railway track. In Oregon, a couple followed their GPS onto a seasonal road and got stranded in the snow for three days. Drivers have followed GPS directions into ponds, into woods, and onto one-way roads ... going the wrong way.
Sometimes, the results are tragic.
In my new book Ice Cold, a GPS mishap sets off a chain of terrifying events. While in Wyoming for a pathology conference, Dr. Maura Isles takes a spur-of-the-moment road trip with a group of new friends. Their GPS sends them up a seasonal mountain road, where their SUV gets stuck in deep snow. As night falls and the blizzard intensifies, the five shivering tourists stumble into the valley of Kingdom Come, where they find twelve identical houses. Meals are still on tables, cars still in garages, but the people have all vanished. Or have they?
Spooked by what they find, Maura and her friends are desperate to escape, but every attempt to leave Kingdom Come leads to disaster. A disaster that all began with the simple mistake of blindly following their GPS.
Ice Cold is fiction, but it also serves as a warning to anyone who's inclined to place too much faith in technology. My own experience in upstate New York taught me an important lesson -- one that Maura Isles also learns in her terrifying adventure in Wyoming.
Never travel without a map.
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Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D. While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction, initially publishing nine romantic suspense novels and a screenplay before turning her attention to medical thrillers. Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine. Visit her website at TessGerritsen.com.
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About Ice Cold: In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.
As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in the snow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness—someone who is watching Maura and her friends.
Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless—and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate.
Watch the trailer for Ice Cold below.
For a chance to win a copy of Ice Cold, courtesy of Authors on the Web, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Tess Gerritsen: Ice Cold" contest link, and enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (3881) in the entry form. (One entry per person; contest ends July 30, 2010.)