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THE Rx FOR MURDER
A Vega & Middleton Novel Book 5
BY SUE HINKIN
Afraid for his life, David Pine, long-time reporter with the Los Angeles Daily, drops a thumb drive in the snail mail for friend and colleague, TV news correspondent Beatrice Middleton.
Three hours later Pine is found murdered.
At the same time Bea, with photographer Lucy Vega, cover the developing story of a military vet shot by police for throwing cement blocks off a freeway overpass killing a young driver and injuring others. The man was supposedly off his meds. His parents swear it wasn’t true. No one believes them.
Later that day, one of Bea and Lucy’s rookie staff members flees a story meeting mid-discussion, tearfully confessing to a problem with her antidepressants. Was she going crazy or was there something wrong with the prescription?
When Bea receives Pine’s files, she discovers information about a master plan to produce and distribute generic drugs with dangerously low levels of active ingredients imported from Asia.
At the center of this sick scheme is a former L.A. County District Attorney now running for the U.S. Senate seat in California. Lucy and Bea have no doubt he’d go to any extreme to protect himself and his cabal, including putting his own psychologically vulnerable daughter in mortal danger.
Bea Middleton, Lucy Vega and TV news rookies, go undercover to stop the former D.A. and his squad of international thugs from fabricating empty medicines before more people suffer and die.
When you think you’ve figured the story out, the author releases new jaw-dropping twists that will leave you stunned. ~~ OnlineBookClub
Hinkin creates sweat-inducing tension through the substantial risks her heroines take to right a global wrong. Those risks are amplified by the humanity she brings to the duo. ~~ BestThrillers.com
This thrilling novel unpicks a tapestry of intrigue, corruption, drugs, and death. ~~ K.C. Finn for Readers Favorite—5/5 Star
Q What were the biggest challenges you faced, or surprises you encountered in completing this book?
As I researched The Rx for Murder, I was stunned by how dependent we are on third world and developing countries for the active ingredients in our medications. At the time of writing in 2020, no antibiotics were being produced in the United States. China pretty much manufactured them all and the Federal Drug Administration had maybe dozen inspectors across that country to oversee production and quality control. So, as you can imagine, regulation was spotty at best. Also, if a generic was manufactured in the USA, even though the active ingredients originated from a foreign entity like Thailand or India, the manufacturer could put Made in the USA on the packaging. Things have improved in the last few years, but not nearly enough.
Q Why did the topic of generic drugs draw your interest?
I had been taking a common cholesterol drug called Lipitor for several years and when my place of employment switched healthcare providers, they required me to switch to a generic statin. Suddenly, I developed an allergic reaction. My joints were so painful I had trouble walking and using my computer mouse. The doctor, pharmacist, and manufacturer insisted that the drugs were identical. A really smart allergist told me they were not identical but were bio-equivalent, that is, the outcomes were comparable.
Since so many of our basic meds are manufactured abroad, and as the supply chain issue began to rear its head during the pandemic, this seemed very concerning. How many would suffer and die if he couldn’t get antibiotics, for example? Big Pharma is a fascinating and often concerning realm.
So, I began doing research on prescription drug production and discovered much of which I put in this book.
Q What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I started The RX for Murder prior to the pandemic, and prior to a concussion that still makes concentration very difficult. I used to get to work on my laptop around 8:00 AM and keep at it until after lunch, then a bit in the evening. Now, it just depends on how I’m feeling. It’s really day-by-day and has become a much slower process. But I’m beyond grateful that the writing part of my brain seems unaffected—it’s just everything else! I’m still stunned by how a moment can profoundly change your life (I fell on the ice while walking the dog, nothing drama-worthy, all mundane). I also have a new awareness and appreciation of people who live with disabilities. They are my new heroes.
Q Do you ever get stuck when you’re writing a book? What do you do to get “unstuck”?
I go outside and walk or garden. For me, nature is the great healer. If I can’t sleep because story ideas keep churning in my brain, I get up and watch a European noir crime drama, read books, particularly from other Colorado writers, and seek support from my awesome critique group. They will listen sympathetically then give me a kick in the pants. Usually somewhere in there a decent thought shakes loose.
Q What is your least favorite part of writing?
Starting a new book is both the best and the worst. Starting a new project is exciting, all those cool ideas, but months of corralling them into something worth reading is a grueling process.
Q What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I’m glad I didn’t focus initially on the publishing process and just wrote the books.
After I’d finished my first novel, Deadly Focus, I became immediately aware of how much I had to learn about this volatile business, particularly the marketing which seems to morph into something different every few weeks. Organizations such as Sisters in Crime-Colorado, Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, provided amazing resources and smart, supportive colleagues to help with the learning curve. I absolutely could not have accomplished what I have without them. Let me always call out Karen Docter as one of those awesome, supportive, author advocates!
Q How had your work changed since the first novel?
My early novels were more pure adrenaline. As Lucy and Bea’s character arc matures, I’m beginning to spend additional time exploring their personal journey together. I think my 6th book in the series, which will probably be my last, and will delve even deeper into their personal lives in a psychological thriller.
Q Tell us about your next book & when is it being published.
I have started the 6th Vega and Middleton novel, which as I mentioned above, is a psychological thriller where Michael Burleson’s disturbed daughter, comes onto the scene and manages to manipulate the family. Burleson is Lucy’s lover and father to her baby son. To Lucy’s dismay, he takes a job as Bureau Chief in Fallujah, and is absent much of the time.
Lucy thinks his sweet daughter shows up on the doorstep to help out and connect with her little half-brother. The girl’s innocent blue eyes hide a pandora’s box of craziness. I won’t give anything more about that one away. It should be out in late 2023.
I’m also penning a new series set in Venice, California. It’s a contemporary Murder, She Wrote meets Moonlighting. A young woman TV crime writer and musician teams with an LAPD detective who lives on the corner and disdains all things entertainment industry. I’m having a great time with this one.
- Parting thoughts…
- Seize every day because that is all you have.
- Be kind.
- Do more of what you love.
- You are not too old, and it is not too late.
Voted Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year for 2021-22, Sue Hinkin was raised in Chicago and is a former college teacher and administrator, TV news photographer, and NBC-TV art department manager. She was also a Cinematography Fellow at the American Film Institute. Her thrillers, featuring Los Angeles TV news journalist Bea Jackson and photographer Lucia Vega, have been recognized with multiple awards including the Colorado Book Award for Best Thriller 2021 and The Colorado Authors League Best Thriller for 2022. Book 5 in the Vega and Middleton series, The Rx for Murder, has just been released.
Sue Hinkin now lives in Littleton, Colorado where she is the new grandmother of twin girls who already love a good book.
Links to Sue’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Literary Wanderlust Publisher https://www.literarywanderlust.com/product-page/ebook-the-rx-for-murder
See more at www.suehinkin.com
Thanks, Sue, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!