Carrie’s Secret by Paul Backalenick

by | Apr 8, 2021 | Author | 0 comments

Photo by David Kanigan

When her older sister is taken by force before her eyes, 14 year old Carrie is forced to hide what she saw. Now, one year later and nearly suicidal from keeping this secret, she enters a mental hospital where the abductor happens to work.

From the outset, readers know that someone on the hospital staff knows a lot about Carrie and her sibling. That man is certain that sooner or later, Carrie will speak, and he must prevent that. When she drops from an open window to the hard asphalt parking lot, lapsing into a coma, the police don’t know if she tried to escape, tried to kill herself, or if she was pushed. But when evidence of foul play emerges, everyone in the facility comes under suspicion. Jared, a psychiatric aide in the hospital, has been cleverly framed for the attempted murder and the police arrest him. Poor Jared already has problems with drugs and alcohol, not to mention being in love with a young nurse, and he must handle all the pressure and exonerate himself, if he can.

I have always loved mysteries and the more suspense, the better, so that kind of tension infuses Carrie’s Secret. The setting for the book came from my personal background. I worked fourteen years in psychiatric hospitals and felt inspired by my vivid recollections of patient and staff interactions. Some were poignant and sad. Others were funny, but all were realistic. I knew I could build upon these and create a mystery with the hospital as a backdrop.

The book is a mystery for adults because it has some dark scenes and disturbing ideas, definitely not for the squeamish or children. It is a psychological story of two inter-connected crimes, so the target audience would be people who like to read about and try to solve intriguing mysteries, who enjoy trying to figure out “whodunit.” I appreciate the opportunity to post this article on Authors’ Lounge and I hope that learning a little about Carrie’s Secret here will entice readers to look further. My goal was to create a good read, an engaging page turner.

Carrie’s Secret is a standalone novel, but it is also the second in a series where various characters, such as Jared, recur. I would love to see the book made into a movie, or with the other novels, a cable series. In addition to my novels, I also write a newsletter and a blog about the writing process. In addition, I regularly review fiction for Goodreads. I have published two books so far, the first, an edgy family saga called Development and then, Carrie’s Secret. My third book, Empty Luck, is due out in the fall of 2021. It is a suspense novel about four men who get into trouble in Las Vegas.

A little about me…  I was born in Boston and settled at five years of age in what was then rural Westport, Connecticut. My dad was a hard-working commercial artist, an out-going jokester with a big heart. In contrast, my mom was a quiet introvert, but a brilliant scholar and writer. I graduated from Brown University with a concentration in psychology and later obtained an MBA from Boston College. Before and after the MBA, I worked a variety of jobs including counselor in a methadone clinic, information technology strategy consultant, admissions director for a psychiatric hospital, founder of a web development and Internet marketing agency, and Wall Street day trader, among others. The natural world inspires and rejuvenates me, so I support animal rights, ecology and conservation causes. I enjoy playing piano and guitar and singing (usually poorly) as well as staggering around on a golf course and generally traveling overseas as much as possible. After a rather peripatetic life, I am now nested in New York City with my wife, artist Karen Loew.

Paul Backalenick - Mystery and Suspense Author

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