Darkest Hour cover

Darkest Hour cover

A petite widow, medical secretary and sole support of her young son and grandparents, is framed for the murder of her boss. Wealthy village residents conspire with the DA to indicte her and stop further investigation. The medical examiner thinks the shooter was a tall individual. When his report is shoved aside, he starts his own side-investigation trying to clear her and in the process he falls in love with her.

Lucinda Byrne lost her husband and parents at sea. When she discovers the body of her boss, his A-List society finacee, backed up by her powerful family and a corrupt DA, acuses Lucinda of murder.  She struggles on shielding her five-year-old son, her feisty grandfather and arthritic grandmother from the ugliness of her situation. She mistrusts the dapper ME, thinking he’s a ladies’ man, but soon realizes he may be the only one in her corner.

Hank Jansen, the county ME who’s had his share of pain and loss, doesn’t know if this little widow was in on the murder, but he knows by the trajectory of the bullet she’s too short to have pulled the trigger. His professional opinion ignored, he begins his own investigation and at least one cop accuses him of an ethics violation. He certainly can’t deny he’s fallen head over heals for the accused, and also is crazy about her son. A huge problem is there’s a leak inside the investigation and the murderer is always one step ahead of them.

Interview Questions: chose two or three to go with the blurb and cover

Q: In DARKEST HOUR, your heroine Lucinda Byrne isn’t as feisty as your previous heroines have been. Can you comment on that?  A: Lucinda Byrne certainly is strong, but she doesn’t shoot from the hip the way my other heroines did. She’s much more careful. I think a woman can show strength in many ways. Lucinda is a widow, the mother of her five-year old son, and the sole support of her grandparents. Her strength comes through as she handles her responsibilities with courage and grace while powerful individuals in the village seek to destroy her. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing spunky heroines, but in this story, I wanted Lucinda to have poise and dignity, first and foremost. Still, she can and does stand up for herself to the village detective and to Hank Jansen, the medical examiner, who she’s falling in love with in spite of the fact that she doesn’t know if she can trust him.

Q:  You include older parents and/or grandparents in your novels who hail from another country. They’re often the stabilizing, faith-based, characters who give support to the heroine. Is there something about Lucinda’s grandparents that make them unique?

A: I like to capture the richness of the ethnicity in my older characters. I’ll add an accent. I’ll research the cuisine and customs of whatever country they come from. With Lucinda’s grandparents I tried to capture the poetic beauty of the Irish soul. One scene I’m particularly fond of is when the grandfather is telling Lucinda’s young son not to cry. That they’re men in this family. His wife reminds the old man they’re also Irish. The grandfather then admits to the boy that many an Irish man has openly wept and that there’s no shame in crying.

Q: When we first meet Hank Williams it would never occur to us he’d take any personal risks to help a young woman he hardly knew. How did you create this character?

A: That’s right. Hank wouldn’t be seen as a man to go out on a limb for anyone. It’s not that he’s cowardly. He’s got a backbone. It’s just that he’s been so hurt in the past he doesn’t extend himself for other people. He’s as surprised as anyone when he decides to help Lucinda Byrne. Perhaps it’s because his professional opinion has been ignored, and the one thing he’s got left is his career. Then he begins to see her as someone who’s being unjustly hurt. He can certainly identify with that.

Q:  How did you develop the plot for DARKEST HOUR and how did you come up with the name?

Nike:  In my Sanctuary Point series, one novel flows out of another. Main characters in one novel will appear as subordinate characters in the next one.  Hank Jansen, the Nassau County Medical Examiner, first appeared in my Christmas/New Year’s novel in the series, GOODBYE NOEL. Then he popped up at the murder scene in PERILOUS SHADOWS. I got to like him and thought he’d be a terrific hero. He is the most flawed of my heroes, but like all my others, he seeks to right injustice. So, he needed a heroine, but I wanted a gal who would be put off by him at first. So, I created a widow with a young son who is dignified and protective of her family. At first she thinks Hank is a ladies’ man and too cavalier for her taste. Then, of course, he grows on her. It helps that he’s practically the only one who thinks she’s innocent of murder. The name DARKEST HOUR came to mind because things in this story get so scary for the heroine.

Purchase Links:

Amazon/Kindle.  http://amzn.to/1bWg3F1

Barnes and Noble/Nook.  http://bit.ly/17Kh6mg  

Author Bio:

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS, the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, finaled in the Grace Awards 2011 in the Romance/Historical Romance category. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, third in the series released July, 2012, and DARKEST HOUR, the fourth in the series released in February, 2013.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/


Leave a Reply