CT mystery author’s latest book revolves around small town secrets

Small town secrets keep detective Shana Merchant on her toes as she tries to solve a wind farm homicide and track down a serial killer who she can’t seem to escape in Tessa Wegert’s latest mystery.

Wegert said her fascination with small town secrets and “knowing that you really don’t know what happens behind closed doors” inspired her new book.

Darien’s Wegert is three for three as she publishes the third installment of her Shana Merchant series during the pandemic. Luckily for Wegert, with the easing of restrictions, she’s going to be having some in-person as well as virtual events while she promotes her upcoming release, “Dead Wind.”


“In the world before COVID most new authors are discovered in the bookstore as readers are browsing and come across a cool cover and that’s how many debuts find their initial readers,” Wegert said, adding that her debut “Death in the Family” was published a few weeks prior to the pandemic shutdown in 2020.

Wegert said she will be celebrating the publication of “Dead Wind” with an in-person event at Barrett Bookstore in Darien on April 5 and will get the chance to meet up with readers. She also said that despite not being able to promote her book in a traditional climate that she has been able to find her readers, and said that a book club from the Thousand Islands in New York, where her series is set, even made a trip down to Connecticut to meet with her. Wegert will also have a virtual event with Stamford author Wendy Walker and Lynn Constantine (part of the Liv Constantine writing duo) at the Fairfield University Bookstore on April 26.

Wegert said befriending other authors during the pandemic has been a “lifeline” for her. “Without authors helping authors it’s very difficult to find and maintain an audience…authors don’t really see themselves as competitors, there are plenty of readers to go around and everybody wants to work together to build up an engaged community of readers,” she said. “To be able to connect with people who really understand it [publishing] and have seen it from different perspectives has been really invaluable to me as a fairly new author.”

In the first book, readers learn that Shana is dealing with PTSD after narrowly escaping serial killer Blake Bram. In the second book the serial killer resurfaces and wreaks havoc in Shana’s new life of her. Wegert promises that in the third book readers will find out more about Shana and Blake’s backstory. “You find out a lot more about her relationship with Blake Bram and the personal history she has with him while you’re also plunged into this new murder, this homicide case in her own hometown and get to know the cast of colorful characters that she is starting to meet in the town she now calls home,” she said.

Without giving away any spoilers, some readers might worry that “Dead Wind” is the last in the series, given the dramatic ending of the new book. However, Wegert said she is already penning the fourth installment of the series. “I think if readers look closely to the end of the book that quite a lot is unresolved so that will all be explored in the next book,” she said.

Wegert said she doesn’t know how many books she will write before the series is truly finished given the “tricky” landscape of publishing.

“I want readers to continue to be excited about what I’m writing about and Shana’s journey and meeting these new characters so as long as they continue to be interested in the series and engaged in the story then I feel like I’ve done my job,” she said.

For more information about the series or Wegert’s events visit tessawegert.com.

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