Assault in Asheville

by Kate Merrill

When Amanda Rittenhouse feels betrayed by her partner Sara, she flees to the festive mountain town of Asheville, NC with Gina, a predatory stranger with romantic intentions. She intends to explore the bustling art scene for new studio space, but instead runs headlong into a web of intrigue. The elderly potter Carl and the younger painter Ron with whom they stay have tensions and secrets of their own. Are they a gay couple? Does the widow Gladys want to marry Carl for his money, does eccentric Millie want to kill him for his art collection? What about the sinister outsiders—a Chicago gangster, the burly stranger stalking them, and the charming surfer dude with an agenda? Someone has murder on their mind, and Amanda lands squarely in the crosshairs.

While ducking unwanted sexual advances, targeted by the police and trying to stay alive, Amanda is both upset and relieved when Sara arrives in Asheville to try to save their relationship. Together can they solve the deadly mysteries that threaten to destroy both Amanda and her new friends? Can Amanda and Sara reconcile their differences, then survive to enjoy a second chance?

An Amanda Rittenhouse Mystery.





In stock

Genre Mystery
Length 254 pages
Publication Date August 13, 2020
Publisher Bella Books
ISBN 9781642471281e
Editor Alissa McGowan
Cover Designer Judith Fellows



"Asheville is magic. To New Agers it represents a spiritual vortex where ancient energy paths intersect, ley lines with stones and crystals to heal the soul. To nature lovers it offers the mystical mountains of the Appalachian—trails alive with flora, fauna, waterfalls and seasonal moods merging the hills with the heavens.

Writing about it gave me a unique cultural palette unlike any other. Some call it “the lesbian capital,” and my first visits there, long before gay marriage, startled me with the openness of women holding hands or kissing in public. It made me hope that someday I’d be courageous enough to act out that way.

With tie-dyed T-shirts, the occasional scent of incense or marijuana in the streets, import boutiques and vintage record shops, Asheville is a throwback to hippie culture. At the same time, it is youthful, progressive, and alive with political protest. It is exotic with global cuisine, sidewalk bistros and street performers.

By contrast, this part of North Carolina is also populated by folks living in poverty, by right-wing extremists and Evangelicals completely at odds with the liberal Asheville mindset. In short, the tensions make it a perfect setting for a mystery novel.

Because of my lifelong career as art gallery owner, the rich gallery scene and the River Arts District fuel both my passions and those of my fictional characters. So writing about it was a delightful opportunity to put all my actors on my favorite stage, with all the right props to hopefully bring them to life. I sincerely hope my readers will fall in love, as I have, with both the characters and the setting."

—Kate Merrill

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