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Lost Like Me: A Blue Water Mystery

Lost Like Me: A Blue Water Mystery by Ivanka Fear

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Lost Like Me

Lost Like MeTwo women’s lives intersect. One goes missing and needs to be found while the other must remain lost. Both their lives depend on it.

Following a horrific event twelve years ago, Cheryl MacGregor disappeared from the city where she grew up and moved to a remote northern town, assuming a new identity with her husband, Jim. She thought she was safe from the danger that led her to flee—until her parents’ deaths last year.

When Jim’s receptionist, Julia, mysteriously vanishes from her home Cheryl teams up with Detective Scott Evans for two reasons: to find Julia and to write the exclusive report that will forward Cheryl’s career as a journalist. While investigating the possibility that Julia’s disappearance may be linked to strange happenings at an abandoned mine, Cheryl uncovers a connection to her own former life, reminding her that the threat to her family is still out there.

As wildfires threaten the town, Cheryl and Detective Evans race against the encroaching smoke to find Julia before it’s too late. When the investigation hits too close to home, Cheryl must face the reality that she may never be lost enough to escape her past.

To purchase Lost Like Me, click either of the following links: Amazon & Barnes and Noble

Guest Post with Ivanka Fear, author of Lost Like Me

How Setting Impacts Story

You’re reading a novel and just can’t put it down. It’s as though you’re living it, embedded in the fabric of the plot, experiencing the emotions of the characters, immersed in their world. Long after you’ve closed the book, it stays with you.

What makes the book so memorable? 

Take one of my favorite classics, Wuthering Heights. Is it the characters, setting, or plot that makes it unforgettable decades after I read it? Perhaps Bronte’s skillful combination of story elements and literary devices made an impression on me? Or was it something more elusive?

Wuthering Heights brings to mind the moors, the manor, unrequited love, tragedy, and revenge. But more than that, there is an eerie feel to it that leaves me haunted. What specifically caused that response?

Perhaps the atmosphere? 

With this literary technique, various elements evoke feelings and pull the reader directly into the book. Plunging the reader into the main character’s world creates an emotional connection between story and reader. For me, setting and the natural environment, along with the character’s response to it is integral to the atmosphere of a novel. Deliberate description of the setting, imagery, and the character’s inner thoughts in relation to their surroundings helps to create that atmosphere. 

The interaction between characters and the time and space they inhabit makes the setting come alive, as though it were a character in its own right. In Wuthering Heights, the desolate moors reflect Heathcliff’s gloomy disposition, and the societal expectations result in a tragic outcome. Without this character of time and place, the book simply wouldn’t be as memorable. That’s the impact of setting on a story.

In my latest mystery novel, Lost Like Me, my intent was to use setting to create two opposing emotions in the reader: a safe, cozy feeling upended with a sense of urgency, fear, and entrapment as danger imposes itself upon the small town of Lake Kipling. The imagery of the setting creates an atmosphere of uncertainty leading to terror as claustrophobia literally and figuratively presses upon the main character. 

Following a traumatic event twelve years ago, Cheryl fled her former life to start fresh in the remote northern town surrounded by forests and lakes. But she is well aware that the past may pursue her wherever she goes.

The town’s distance from the city she fled and its isolation act as a buffer between her and the past, and also trap her. Lake Kipling is safe (for now), but it’s also her prison. Cheryl’s lovely family home is the last on a dead end street. A bird in a cage, she can never again return to the city of Hamilton that she loves.

The beauty of the terrain juxtaposed with the ruggedness in the area surrounding Lake Kipling reflects in its lakes and drives home the fact that looks can be deceiving: what appears as a charming place to live doesn’t change the fact that there is a constant threat of danger hanging over Cheryl. The vastness of nature provides the perfect spot to hide; when Cheryl’s husband’s receptionist, Julia, goes missing, it also serves as a frightening place to be lost. 

To create an even more terrifying atmosphere, the hot, dry weather results in wildfires in the forests, furthering the feeling of entrapment. As flames and smoke encroach upon Lake Kipling from two directions, time is running out for Julia. When residents are warned of the possibility of evacuation from their homes, Cheryl may be forced to leave her safe place. One woman needs to be found; another needs to remain lost. The fire has the potential to destroy both their lives.

In the midst of forest and lakes is the Millcroft Mine, a focal point of Lake Kipling and the stage for several scenes in the book. Literally built on gold, the mine’s outbuildings are covered in yellow siding. The brilliance of gold clashes with concrete, gravel, and the dull grey sludge of tailings in the pond, reminding the reader that the beauty of the natural environment exists side by side with its darker side. The quiet and isolation of Millcroft adds a touch of eeriness to the atmosphere of the novel. A snowglobe with the mine’s headframe is beautiful and melodic, trapping the scene under glass.

Using the five senses, I hope to place the reader into the midst of Cheryl’s world where they can see the wilderness, hear the roar of the fire, smell the smoke, feel the isolation, and taste the fear.  And perhaps when readers think of forest fires or hear about abandoned mines, they will remember Cheryl and her trauma.

With a different setting, the atmosphere may have been completely different. Imagine Cheryl living in NYC trying to lose herself in a crowd or Julia going missing in a city where people disappear every day. It wouldn’t be the same story.

And that’s how setting impacts the story, leaving an aura behind after the book is closed.

I hope you enjoy Lost Like Me and I would love to hear from you about your reading experience.

Author Pet Corner!



T. C. and Scruffy help promote Ivanka’s books!






Ivanka Fear — Author of Lost Like Me

Lost Like MeIvanka Fear is a Slovenian-born Canadian author. She lives in Ontario with her family and feline companions. Ivanka earned her B.A. and B.Ed. in English and French at Western University. After retiring from teaching, she wrote poetry and short stories for various literary journals. The Dead LieA Blue Water Mystery, was her debut novel. 

Lost Like Me is the second book in the Blue Water series. Ivanka is also the author of Where is My Husband?, A Jake and Mallory Thriller. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Canada.

When not reading and writing, Ivanka enjoys watching mystery series and romance movies, gardening, going for walks, and watching the waves roll in at the lake. You can connect with her through her website:

To learn more about Ivanka, click on any of the following links: Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, TikTok.

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

Header image from Pixabay

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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