Guest Chick: Karina Bartow

Happy Wednesday, Everyone–which means we Chicks have a wonderful new guest for you to meet, if you haven’t already: the very inspiring Karina Bartow, whose latest book BROTHER OF INTEREST is now available. Take it away, Karina!

It’s my honor to be welcomed by the Chicks and get to meet all of you mystery lovers! Mysteries have captivated me from childhood, starting with board games like Guess Who and Clue, as well as whodunit CD-ROMs—yes, I’m old enough to remember those. After I outgrew the Scooby Doo Mystery Inc. books, however, I didn’t read many mysteries but mainly watched them in film and television until the past few years. Yes, even this author will sometimes skip the book and watch the movie!

I think we can all agree the best part of mysteries is trying to figure out the culprit before the characters do. Truth be told, that’s why they’ve become my favorite genre to write; I like to play with readers’ minds. When I’m watching one and see a character’s subtle but guilty look, I can get wound up for the remainder of the show, yelling at the screen and trying to convince the make-believe sleuth that I’m right. Whether I am or not, it entertains me just the same.

That said, I get disappointed if it’s too easy to crack the case. On one series I liked, the bad guy was always the suspect they interviewed around the twenty-minute mark. It griped me! A while back, I read a modern whodunit and made my guess from the first chapter based on the character’s statement. I continued to have my suspicions of her but allowed the author to shift my attention elsewhere as she wove the story. She never really persuaded me otherwise, as none of the suspects made such an intriguing remark. In the end, my prediction proved correct, but it didn’t gratify me the way I thought it would.

Because I love the thrill of the “hunt”, I take great effort not to give away the villain in my books. In fact, I don’t always know who it is for about half the book. I have a general idea, but I don’t strain to put a face on it if I still haven’t decided. I figure, if I don’t know, how will the reader peg him/her?

From the feedback I’ve received, I accomplish my mission to a fair degree. You’re welcome to test me out for yourself by reading my latest mystery novel, Brother of Interest, or its forerunner, Husband in Hiding, which is available for 0.99 on Kindle for a limited time. 

Now that I’ve stated my case, what do you think? Do you prefer to nail the culprit before anyone else or be completely stumped? Let Karina know in the comments below!

About the Author:

KARINA BARTOW grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio.  Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her.  Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want.  Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding came out in 2015, followed by Forgetting My Way Back to You, 2018.  She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!

To learn more, visit http://www.KarinaBartow.com

25 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Karina Bartow

  1. I love the chase, Karina! It’s more fun when the culprit remains a mystery for the better part of the book. What I don’t like is when an author masks the killer in falsehoods that make no sense, suddenly revealing the identity with contrived logic. Kudos on your third book, Brother of Interest!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Like you, I like to try to figure it out before the characters. I’m thrilled when I figure it out early, sometimes, and I can also be very disappointed when I figure it out early. It all depends on how early and what I picked up on.

    Even with all the mysteries I read, I don’t figure them out as often as people think I would. I can get talked into and out of just about any suspect.

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  3. Karina, we’re so delighted to have you here on Chicks today! I never know who the true killer is until my sleuth does (well, maybe I’m a teensy step ahead, but not by much). In my mind, I hope I’m building a solid case as for each suspect as I’m writing–but I do go back to make sure those bread crumb clues are there. Usually, they are, thank goodness! Congrats on Brother of Interest–what an awesome title, and the story sounds great.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karina, thank you so much for guesting with us! Your book sounds great. I love being surprised and I try to do the same for my readers. In fact, I do my best to include a secondary mystery – not a murder-y one – so if readers figure out one, they hopefully won’t figure out the other!

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  5. Thanks for your post, Karina. I used to love whodunits, but these days I tend to gravitate more toward crime fiction than straight mysteries. Many traditional mystery authors tend to structure their stories so that anyone could have done it; multiple characters have motive, means and opportunity, so it becomes more of a guessing game than an intellectual exercise. Nowadays, many authors rely on unexpected plot twists in lieu of an unknown villain to keep the reader’s interest. Still, a whodunit done well is a thing of beauty – I remember the golden days of John Dickson Carr’s locked room mysteries or when Ellery Queen issued his challenge to the reader in the penultimate chapter.

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  6. Welcome, Karina — great to have you hanging out with the Chicks! I like figuring out the mystery, and I like being surprised! As long as the whodunit is well-constructed I’m happy! But to follow a cozy series I have to be invested in the protag and recurring characters.

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  7. I’m always a bit disappointed when I figure our whodunit too early on in a book. But then again, when you only have three to five suspects, statistically speaking, a fair amount of readers will in fact guess right…

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Karina! The new book sounds terrific!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Karina! So happy to have you here!

    I love trying to guess the culprit and spend waaaaaaaaaay too much time “calling” the murderer (often and loudly while watching movies), but my favorite mysteries are the ones that surprise me. I love that “Sixth Sense” moment where I can look back after the big revelation and see all of the clues that I missed. Masterful!

    Liked by 1 person

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