Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on her friend as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before Wendy ends up behind bars.
With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide-attempt hits close to home and generates a whole new list of suspects. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
Praise from Traci Abramson and Betsy Brannon Green:
Motive for Murder is fresh, captivating, and cleverly written. The colorful cast of characters will enthrall readers as they try to navigate the clever twists and turns of this captivating mystery. Intriguing, memorable characters, and a skillfully written mystery make Motive for Murder Marlene Bateman’s finest work yet—a must read! Traci Abramson
With a fresh, crisp writing style, Marlene Bateman introduces readers to a fascinating cast of characters and skillfully unravels an intricate plot full of twists and surprises! I loved Motive for Murder and you will too! Betsy Brannon Green
“As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.
It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.”
Author Marlene Bateman
I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah. After attending Dixie College and Utah State University, I graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I married Kelly R. Sullivan and have seven children. My hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.
One food you would never eat?
Sushi. Yeah, I know some people love it, but I’d rather eat worms.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
A lady, Alice, wrote me after reading my last non-fiction book, Gaze into Heaven, which is a collection of 50 near-death experiences in early Church History. Alice told me she had always feared death, but after reading my book, no longer was afraid of it. Alice said Gaze Into Heaven was a great comfort to her, as she’d lost a close friend six months ago. She also commented that it gave her a good warm feeling while she was reading, and that testified that there is a heaven, life continues on, and that we will be happy after leaving this earthly life. Her kind comments made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Football. Love it. Can’t get enough. I go into withdrawals after the Super Bowl and yes, I have a huge party with my family each year to watch it. I blame my Dad for hooking me on football while growing up. He was always watching it and I got into the game. By the way, my husband is soooo grateful to my Dad. . .
Another weakness of mine. I love animals. My kids knew all they had to do was ask for a pet and it was theirs. Except for snakes and spiders. Those aren’t pets and ought to be banned. We’ve had rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, tropical fish, parakeets, a cockatoo, an eclectus parrot, and of course cats and dogs. Right now, I only have three cats and two dogs. Something’s wrong here.
What makes your novel standout from the crowd?
If you like mysteries, Motive for Murder is the book for you. The intriguing plot twists and turns and has plenty of surprises to keep you guessing. The characters are fun and fascinating, there is plenty of humor, and a final surprise twist at the end.
About how long does it take to write a book?
My first novel took three years, but I still had a lot of children at home. My last one took nine months.
What is your favorite food?
I love Chicken Fettuccine! I also love halibut—I could eat that every day!
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Never. Give. Up. People don’t fail because they can’t write, they fail because they stop trying. You can learn the craft, just keep at it, practicing and studying.
What’s your favorite season/weather?
I adore Halloween. I have more cute pumpkins, bats and black cats than you can shake a stick at. Last year, my daughter gave me a little sign that pretty well sums it up: “The Queen of Halloween”. I love the fall colors, the crispness in the air, the hint of woodsmoke, and the smell of concord grapes along the fence, Each year I plan a special Halloween dinner for my grandkids, with ‘Ghostly Shepherd’s Pie,” a graveyard cake, etc. Afterwards, we do crafts and then go out to the garden where they get to pick a pumpkin to take home from our pumpkin patch.
Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
Since I write mysteries, I have to know how the book is going to end before I can start the first chapter. I write a rough draft of the last chapter, then the first chapter, and go on from there. I have to plot very carefully to keep up the tension and so that all the clues are in place. Plotting can be hard, but its very important and actually saves time in the end, since you don’t have to rewrite and add important information that should have been there in the first place. Once you get your storyline laid out, you have a structure to follow. A contractor would never begin building a house without plans, and to my way of thinking, a mystery writer would never write without having a basic plot down on paper.