You are currently viewing Blindspot: a Gripping Suspense Novel

Blindspot: a Gripping Suspense Novel

Blindspota suspense novel by Maggie Smith

Excerpt + Book & Author Info + a Guest Post + a Giveaway!

Don’t miss any blog tours, click the link here to read more!

Blindspot by Maggie Smith

Blindspot“A smart, twisty cat-and-mouse revenge tale.”
– Robert Dugoni, NY Times Best Selling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite series

An ambitious district attorney. An enemy she can’t see. A daughter at risk.

From the author of the award-winning Truth and Other Lies comes a gripping suspense novel about an ambitious prosecutor on the hunt for her sadistic stalker, only to find herself framed for murder when he turns up dead.

Rachel Matthews is used to stress—from the cutthroat world of the district attorney’s office to her escalating clashes with her teenage daughter. So when a stranger sends a lavish bouquet with a macabre message and leaves a disturbing video on her doorstep, she’s quick to act. Teaming up with an old classmate turned private investigator, she wades through old case files, searching for someone harboring a grudge against her.

But before she has time to pinpoint a suspect, her stalker issues a demand—he wants money, lots of it, or he’ll hurt her daughter. In a dangerous gamble, Rachel agrees to meet her stalker on an isolated beach, only to find herself fleeing from a shocking crime scene. Can she solve the puzzle of who wants to destroy her before she loses her family, her career, and her freedom?

Fans of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent will embrace this taut tale of long-simmering revenge right up to its surprising and twisty climax.


Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Published by: Puzzle Box Press
Publication Date: May 21, 2024
Number of Pages: 318
ISBN: 9798989677917

Get your copy of Blind Spot at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Goodreads

Guest Post with Maggie Smith

My First Foray into Suspense

My debut novel, Truth and Other Lies, was categorized as women’s fiction. It had a strong mother-daughter story as well as examining the challenges a young reporter faces when she uncovers a secret about her well-loved mentor. 

But for my second book, Blindspot, I wanted to take on a bigger challenge. Most of the books I’ve gravitated to in the last few years have been in the psychological suspense category and I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie since I was a teenager. Did I dare try my hand at this tricky genre? After all, not only did you need to create compelling characters, but you also had to master the skill of hiding clues, inventing red herrings that on the surface seemed possible, and pulling not only one surprise out at the end, but several others during the narrative.

In fact, my favorite novels often have a double-barreled ending—a twist that sends me reeling and then another one only twenty pages later, sometimes even on the last page (I’m looking at you, Clare Mackintosh).

In the writer world, most authors identify themselves as either a pantser or a plotter. Pantsers “fly by the seat of their pants”. They sit down every morning with only a rough approximation of what’s going to happen in their novel and through trial and error, produce a story. I tried that once. There were lots of trials, not to mention errors, and ultimately my novel was a big mess. So I became a plotter—we’re the ones with those different colored post-it notes, index cards, magic markers, and 15-point plot outlines. We count chapters, pages, even scenes. We plan it all out and then we write it, leaving room for the occasional detour but in general, we’ve got a clear idea of where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

And we embrace guideposts. One of the ones I turned to when writing Blindspot was an article in Writer’s Digest outlining 8 tropes you often see in a thriller.

  1. Deadlines & Countdowns – It’s common to see ticking clocks. The action may take place at a retreat that only lasts through the weekend; the hero might have 48 hours to find the kidnaped girl; a bomb is set to go off in two days. In my novel, Rachel (my protagonist) races against time to find the killer before the police arrest her.
  2. Unreliable narrators – Ever since Gone Girl, this has become a common trope in thrillers. Readers have learned that just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true. Either they may be purposely hiding a secret or they may be gullible enough or trusting enough that they repeat a lie, thinking it’s the truth. I have at least two unreliable characters in my novel but I’ve worked hard to hide them in plain sight.
  3. A protagonist that’s being framed. This is the driving force behind Blindspot. While the story starts out with Rachel hunting down her stalker, by the mid-point, it’s switched to a story where she’s being framed for that person’s murder. 
  4. A revenge plot. One of the most common plot devices in suspense thrillers is someone who is seeking revenge, often for an act committed in the past. It’s human nature to seek a reason for why bad things might be happening to our protagonist and since most people have damaged or hurt someone at some point, it’s easy to imagine someone who might want revenge, (or, as they may characterize it, justice).
  5. Bodies, bodies, bodies. It’s hard to write a suspense thriller without at least one body. In kidnapping stories, it’s often not the victim that’s killed, but one of the gang, or one of the good guys like a cop, but inevitably, at least one person will die. In Blindspot, it’s obvious someone has been killed from the opening page, but we don’t know exactly who until midway through the book. And there will be at least one more dead body by the end, one that may shock readers who haven’t been following the clues.
  6. Isolated locales. Whether it’s an abandoned shed, a desolate mountain trail, a creepy cemetery, or a snow-bound chalet, sticking your cast of characters in an isolated spot almost guarantees something bad will happen. In my case, I wrote about a rendezvous at a hidden Lake Michigan beach area, one I’d been to several times. The spooky factor of a meandering path, quivering shadows, and surreptitious sounds enhances the tension.
  7. Mysterious strangers. My protagonist is going about her everyday life when three strangers enter her life through a chance encounter at a charity banquet. Each wind up playing a significant role as the story evolves in addition to an old high school friend who Rachel bumps into in a diner and who becomes her ally as she tries to clear her name.  
  8. Everyone’s got a secret. This is probably the most important aspect of any decent suspense thriller. No one is telling the whole truth, whether it’s by choice or by omission. Rachel’s hiding a secret she’s ashamed of; her daughter’s hiding a quest she’s pursuing; Rachel’s new friend Liv isn’t telling the truth about her marriage; Rachel’s keeping her stalker a secret from her boss. All these subterfuges lend an atmosphere of unease to the story, keeping the reader continually unsure as to what the truth really is.

I hope you’ll get a chance to read Blindspot when it releases May 21 and I’d love to hear what you think of my first try at a thriller. Did I succeed in fooling you or did you guess the ending? What character did you enjoy the most? Which clues did you spot and which ones did you miss?

Drop me a note at

Read an excerpt of Blindspot:

April 24, 2023, County Courthouse


The killer is sitting in this courtroom and it’s up to me to prove it.

It isn’t every day a murder this sensational happens in Milwaukee. Sure, we’ve had our share of drive-by shootings, domestic arguments that escalated, home invasions that turned deadly. And yes, there was that lurid trial a while back where the deranged sicko drugged, then ate his victims. That one landed our city in the national spotlight. A once in a lifetime case. 

But this one’s right up there. Everyone involved is high profile. Which means it warrants the top guns. Which means my boss of nine years, Marcus Huntley, Deputy DA, is sitting first chair. I catch his eye and his expression confirms what I already know. This is the most important case of my career, and if the verdict goes south, any hope for that promotion goes right along with it. 

But this isn’t only about winning for me. There’s a lot more at stake. Consequences I don’t dare think about or I’ll lose my nerve. Because even though the police are convinced this is an open and shut case, I know better. 

I know they’ve arrested the wrong person. 

Because I witnessed the murder. But for reasons I can’t reveal, I have to keep quiet. Only two people know the whole story and I’ve sworn them to secrecy. 

I watch the crowd. Examine every person in detail. Who’s talking to whom, who’s staring at their lap, who’s looking around the room. Who’s fidgeting, adjusting their tie, or rummaging through their purse. Who looks bored and who looks agitated? But even though I’m an expert in spotting a tell, I’m coming up empty. 

The electricity in the air ratchets up as the judge enters and the bailiff calls the case. I’ve been up most of the night, pacing the floor, rehearsing my lines, imagining how today would go. What to say and what not to say. What needs to happen so I can walk out of here satisfied. 

Part of me wants to scream. Part of me wants to whimper. Part of me wants to rush out the door and never look back. 

But I don’t do any of those things. Instead I steel my nerves and set aside the theatrics. A bead of sweat slithers down my spine as I stand to address the judge.

In an orange jumpsuit. And handcuffs. 

“Rachel Elizabeth Matthews. You stand accused of first-degree intentional homicide. 

How do you plead?”

“Not guilty, Your Honor,” I reply. 

*** Excerpt from The Blindspot by Maggie Smith. Copyright 2024 by Maggie Smith. Reproduced with permission from Maggie Smith. All rights reserved.

Maggie Smith — Author of Blindspot


In a career that’s included work as a journalist, a psychologist, and the founder of a national art consulting company, Maggie Smith added novelist to her resume with the publication of her debut, Truth and Other Lies, a women’s fiction novel set in Chicago and released in March 2022 by Ten16 Press. It won NIEA’s Juror Grand Prize, the Star Award for Debut Fiction from Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Foreword INDIES Gold Metal for General Fiction, and was selected for the Women’s Book Association Great Group Reads.

In addition to her writing, Maggie hosts the weekly podcast Hear Us Roar (215+ episodes), blogs monthly for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is Managing Editor for Chicago Writer’s Association Write City E-Zine. She resides in Milwaukee WI with her husband and her aging but still adorable sheltie. Her second novel, a psychological suspense called BLINDSPOT will be released in May 2024.


To learn more about Maggie, click on any of the following links:, Goodreads, BookBub – @MaggieSmithWriter, Instagram – @maggiesmithwrites, Threads – @maggiesmithwritesFacebook

Visit all the Stops on the Tour!

04/29 Review @ Country Mamas With Kids
04/30 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
04/30 Showcase @ Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense
05/01 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
05/02 Review @ Because I said so
05/03 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
05/05 Showcase @ Cassidys Bookshelves
05/06 Review @ Confessions of the Perfect Mom
05/06 Review @ Novels Alive
05/07 Review @ ashmanda. k
05/08 Review @ Catreader18
05/10 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
05/11 Showcase @ suspenseisthrillingme
05/12 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
05/14 Interview @ Hott Books
05/15 Interview @ darciahelle
05/16 Review @ mokwip8991
05/17 Review @ Nursevicreads
05/18 Review @ The AR Critique
05/19 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
05/20 Review @ reviewsbyrudra
05/21 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
05/22 Review @ fuonlyknew
05/22 Review @ Pat Fayo reviews
05/23 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/23 Showcase @ Teatime and Books
05/24 Review @ bookwormbecky1969

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell


Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Wendy Barrows

    Oooo great guest post! Thanks so much for the list!
    I know of many tropes for romance/love stories, but this is great to have on hand for thrillers!

Leave a Reply