Cara Wainwright thinks life can’t get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal—until she returns home from the hospital and finds a courtyard full of police officers and her houseguests dead. Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. Searching for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation—or real? While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher—the company her father built and will take any measures to defend. When the assassin strikes at the heart of the family, Cara and David have to trust each other and work together to stop the killer before he eliminates the entire Wainwright dynasty.
Cypher is at the center of the mystery, but its connections and secrets are as hidden as the buildings in the excerpt. The company provides a tangible symbol of the family relationships and dynamics, which are a key component in the story. Convinced her father knows more than he’s telling, Cara pushes from the inside—both within the family and the business—for answers. Stonewalled by both Cara’s father and other Cypher executives, Detective David Morris pulls on the external forensic evidence. Unsure whether they can trust each other, Cara and David have to join forces to get to the truth and stop the murders.
CATHY: Cara and I are both Southern women, but over the course of the story, Cara becomes much more outspoken in confronting her father and determined to find the truth. I love seeing this resolute determination in today’s young women!
DONNELL: What would you label this story? Mystery or suspense? And what was the most interesting thing you learned while researching this story?
CATHY: I think everyone has their own definition of the two genres, but I see CYPHER as more suspense than mystery. While both genres draw on the characters as much as the plot, in a mystery, if the hero and heroine stop pushing, then the villain gets away and the action stops. With a suspense, even if the protagonist stops, the villain(s) will still keep coming after them. In CYPHER, Cara and David have to figure out the mystery surrounding the company and the family because the assassin isn’t going to stop if they give up.
Note to readers: Cathy and I brainstormed a bit of the dam(n) story; you're in for a real treat. Cathy, now it’s your turn. Time to ask the reader a question.
CATHY PERKINS WANTS TO KNOW:Have you ever found yourself thinking about a character – after the story is finished? What makes you think about them? The character themselves or the situation he or she was in?