Interview with Author Melinda Leigh
Detective Bree Taggert is one of your most popular characters. What is it about her that makes readers come back for more of her story?
Bree is strong and smart, but she’s also flawed and vulnerable. She begins the series as an excellent homicide detective but personally empty. A horrific childhood tragedy distanced Bree from her family and made her a loner. Her sister’s murder triggers the desire to change that. Bree takes on her sister’s case—and her sister’s kids. Bree sees her own childhood reflected in her niece and nephew and is determined not to let them grow up as damaged as she is. In order to do that, she needs to make herself vulnerable. In accepting responsibility for the children, she starts her own road to healing.
I believe readers want to root for her. They want to see her overcome her violent backstory. She often does what is right, not what is easy or comfortable. In each book, she not only solves a murder, she also makes a small step toward healing, with readers cheering her on.
You have published five books in this series so far, but in Her Second Death you write a prequel story. What made you want to show Bree on one of her first homicide cases?
I wanted to show the evolution of Bree’s professional life before she begins her personal journey. She is a complex character, and I’ve enjoyed exploring all aspects of her development.
In Her Second Death, Bree is assigned to investigate a violent crime. Tell readers a bit about the case and how she and her new partner Dana Romano work to find the killer.
Bree begins the story as a brand-new homicide detective. She and partner investigate the crime in the usual fashion, but Bree brings her own past to the table. She provides unique insight that helps her solve the case.
Bree finds a personal connection to this crime almost immediately. What effect does her own early family tragedy have on her handling a missing child case?
The case immediately strikes a familiar—and disturbing--cord in Bree. But she can’t allow her personal discomfort to interfere with the investigation. She’ll have to relive her past to solve the case.
What is next for Bree?
The next Bree Taggert novel, Dead Against Her, will be released in May. In it, Bree will need to face a more recent demon, the murder of a former deputy with whom she has a personal disagreement. When she took over the job of sheriff, Bree inherited some misogynist deputies from the previous, corrupt sheriff. In Dead Against Her, this conflict comes to an explosive and violent head.
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