Book Review: The Haunting of Leigh Harker by Darcy Coates

The Haunting of Leigh Harker

Release date September 7th, 2021 from Poisoned Pen Press

From the publisher:

From bestselling gothic horror author Darcy Coates comes a chilling story of a quiet house on a forgotten suburban lane that hides a deadly secret…

Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.

Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.

A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbors dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.

Do you think you’re safe?
You’re wrong.

Review of advance reading copy provided by the publisher through Edelweiss:

The Haunting of Leigh Harker is a chilling horror story that will keep readers turning the pages well into the night. This gothic ghost story, which is also a murder mystery, is both beautifully written and sure to keep readers guessing. While the first act is a bit slow to get the plot moving forward and runs the risk of readers giving up early because they believe they have the whole book figured out–they don’t. Once we cross into the second act and our initial suspicions about Leigh are confirmed, the book moves onto an entirely different level of mystery, suspense, and horror. Darcy Coates expertly maneuvers her characters through their own revelations and fears while always keeping the reader both guessing and on the edge of their seat.

Visit to the Tattered Cover Bookstore New Location in Downtown Denver

Yesterday my husband and I took the train downtown for brunch and I was able to make my first visit to the newly located Tattered Cover Bookstore. I will admit that I was sad to learn that the iconic bookstore would be moving from it’s 16th Street location across from Union Station. I have so many amazing memories of browsing those aisles and attending author events (before the second floor of that building was vacated by the store due to increasing costs.)

Tattered Cover Bookstore New Denver Location

I’m happy to report that the new store, right across from Coors Field, is beautiful and two stories once again. The space is modern and new, but with the addition of the old wooden shelving and some of the furniture from the 16th Street location, they have created a beautiful bookish space and I look forward to once again spending my time, and my book money, there.

I’m hoping the new location can be added to the list of stores I will be visiting when my new book, The Secret Next Door, releases on November, 9th.

Back From Vacation

It’s been a week since I got back from my vacation in Cancun and I still seem to be mostly roaming around my house looking for some sense of a schedule.

What is it about these disruptions to daily routines that are so hard to bounce back from? Not that I don’t love vacationing and travel in general, because I do. But being a creature that loves her habits and spaces, a week in a foreign country, flight cancellations, and disruptive digestive tracts are sure going to take me a minute to move on from.

A little bit about our trip. We had a great time…mostly. I will say that this particular resort, Moon Palace, came HIGHLY recommended by one of Rod’s co-workers. They, apparently, go there all the time. So, even though I NEVER do this, I went ahead and booked this trip without a ton of research.

Well. The resort was lovely. The rooms were nice with a great view. Although that was only after begging to be moved from our original ground floor room with a view of the laundry while sliding the registration clerk a little extra cash. The food was decent (which, apparently can’t always be said for an all-inclusive) and the drinks (also included) were great and plentiful so long as you kept tipping which I’m more than happy to do, honestly. The service was wonderful! The highlight was the pool, which was for sure gorgeous, well maintained, and EXTENSIVE. Seriously, that thing seemed to go on for miles.

So this sounds mostly pretty great, right? What was the problem?

The ocean was completely overrun with seaweed. And I don’t mean, wow, there is quite a lot of seaweed on the beach and in the water, and it’s slightly annoying but I can still SEE the water and SWIM in the water. No. I mean the ocean WAS seaweed. Completely brown. Foul-smelling. Reminiscent of sewage and you instinctively don’t want to go ANYWHERE near it. Not a single person in this huge resort was either on the beach or anywhere near the water. When we first arrived we were like, “What is that horrible smell?” Well, that rotten egg, slightly sulfur smell is what rotting seaweed smells like, apparently. I will say that at least it only smelled bad the day we arrived and the day we left. I have no idea what combination of weather, temperatures, and winds collaborated to make our vacation not 100% stinky, but I am thankful for it.

We did have one wonderful day at a beach further north where there is active surf, you could see those famous crystal turquoise waters, and loads of people were in the water and enjoying the beach. But we needed to take a 25-minute cab ride to get there.

Now before you think we had a horrible vacation, I will say that once our expectations were adjusted (this is not a beach vacation, it is a pool and resort vacation) we ended up having a good time. Not amazing. Good. If you head over to my Instagram account you can even see some of our pictures.

I will say that will be the last time I ever book a vacation again based solely on a recommendation. Because that seaweed issue would have been a no-go for these beach lovers, for sure, and Trip Advisor had loads of information about it.

Colorado Book Award Finalist Reading: Mystery and Thriller 5/26/21 7:00 PM MT

I wanted to remind you that tomorrow tonight 5/26/2021 at 7:00 PM Mountain time, the finalist for the Colorado Book Awards Mystery and Triller categories will be reading short excerpts from their nominated books and answering questions.

I will be there reading from Her Perfect Life.

The event starts at 7:00PM Mountain Time and you can watch it either on Facebook or on YouTube. Here is the link to register for the free event.

And here are the Facebook and YouTube links for Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book where they will be streaming the event live.


Hope to see you there!

The Decision

Recently, I decided to leave my career as a school psychologist. Not leave my school, or my district–leave the profession. It’s a career I spent eight years in college for. A career that once felt uniquely suited to my personal strengths. A career I’ve been told by both teammates and supervisors I was exceptional at.

A career that had both meaning and left me with a sense of making a difference in the lives of kids and families.

A career that has caused me more stress, tears, and professional angst than I could have ever imagined. I’m not interested in going into all the details regarding the many circumstances and events I’ve worked to problem solve over the past twelve years in this career but for those of you that work in this field…well, you know.

Having said that, leaving something that has become so much of your professional and personal DNA is not easy. You think of the people you love working with, the families you’ve helped, and most of all the kids who show up at your door whenever they need some help. Making the personal choice to help yourself can feel like you’re turning your back on many others. So. Many. Others.

I’d be lying to suggest that I’ve completely processed this decision. No, that will for sure take some time and reflection. Over the last several months, I’ve spent countless agonizing hours worrying this choice into an enormous cliff that I would have to either fling myself off or continue to throw myself against. Neither option felt easy or right.

Leaving was what I wanted, but staying was what I knew.

I have always believed that the universe gives you clues and that when it’s time for you to make a change in life, you’ll first get a whisper. If you don’t listen, next there will be a nudge. If you still aren’t listening, the universe might come along and shove you down. Eventually, you’re going to get kicked in the teeth. For me, as the school year came closer and closer to the end, I kept experiencing more and more shoves.

I felt the kick in the teeth out on my horizon. It was time for me to leap from my known, albeit exceedingly stressful, cliff. It didn’t seem to matter how scared I was.

However, the moment I made the decision, and actually stepped into the decision by sharing with my partner that this was what I needed to do, the rest of the process of unwinding myself from this life I’ve lived for so many years felt almost like running downhill.

Sometimes just making the decision, and sharing the news with those you’re afraid of disappointing, is the hardest part.

Last Friday was my last day working as a school psychologist. It’s a career I have both loved and loathed. I cherish so many of my memories, and others I’m relieved to see in my review-view mirror. It brought me joy, heartache, fear, accomplishment, victories, advocacy, enlightenment, and pain.

I will miss it.

I’m happy to be free of it.

And I know for sure that it’s going to take me some time to really understand what these last twelve years have meant to me and my life–but I’m also looking forward to experiencing what happens next.

They’re Here! Advance Reading Copies of The Secret Next Door

Book mail arrived and I was so happy to see that, this time, it’s my own book. The advanced reading copies of The Secret Next Door are here. It’s both a joyful and surreal experience to hold, for the very first time, a physical copy of the story you created inside your head.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of those mix of emotions. I can’t wait for you to read this one. Alyson and Bonnie are both complex women but at different stages of life. And while the tension and conflict between them ratchet throughout the book, I’m guessing readers will come to recognize that these women have far more in common than they know.

This one’s for my readers who love a good domestic suspense. It releases everywhere on November 9th.

I’ve been told you won’t be able to put it down. So I hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Working For the Weekend? Kind of.

It’s Saturday and I’m nothing but grateful to have two days of space. Forty-eight hours of time to utilize as I wish.

And I wish to center my head on things that bring me joy right now.

Which does not necessarily mean lying in bed all weekend drinking tea and reading books…although that does bring me quite a bit of joy, so there will be some of that.

Mostly it’s the freedom to quiet my mind from all the pushing, pulling, must-dos, and obligations that are driven by the needs of others during the workweek. I don’t mind working hard, in fact I generally enjoy really digging in, but there is such a thing and simply too much.

And lately that is the reality–Monday through Friday is too much right now.

And that’s okay, because there is a time limit on the weekday madness. I know precisely the day and time when my nice long break from it all happens. So it’s a matter of keeping the head down and pushing up the hill for just a bit more.

I can do it…I always do.

So what is going to bring me some joy this weekend?

Painting my kitchen. (It’s not really a big chore and it’s something I enjoy).

A few rides on the new Peloton bike.

Getting out my camera and taking some photos.

A long, hot bath with a book and a cup of tea.

Some work on the new book (maybe, we’ll see).

That’s it. I’m going to stay present in these hours and enjoy them as much as possible. I hope that you are able to find some time and space for yourself as well.

Colorado Book Award Finalist: Her Perfect Life

I’m happy and honored to announce that HER PERFECT LIFE is a finalist for the 2021 Colorado Book Award this year in the thriller category.

You can find the link to the full list of finalist here.

You can also attend virtual book readings by the finalists. The dates are broken out by category so you can attend them all, or just your favorites. The schedule is here.

The reading for my category will be held on May 26th at 7:00 (Mountain Time). If you’d like to sign up to watch that, here’s that link. I hope to see you there.

If you’ve yet to get your copy of HER PERFECT LIFE, please consider ordering a copy through our local independent bookseller, Bookbar.

Writing My New Book Longhand

I got about ten thousand words into my new book and decided to make a switch.

I have always written the majority of my books on my computer (and specifically in Scrivener, which I love). From time to time, I would write a scene in longhand if I had an idea while somewhere random without my computer but the bulk of the writing happened with a screen and keyboard.

Just lately though, I find it difficult to make myself sit in front of my computer screen outside of my day job hours. Additionally, I find that my eyes are feeling pretty fried up all the time because of excessive screen use.

It has helped tremendously getting off of social media since I’m no longer tempted to pull my phone from my pocket every five seconds to see what new nonsense I may be missing. But when I think about sitting for more long hours (beyond the long hours I already spend staring at a screen at work) I just can’t.

So I started writing the next chapter in my new book in a notebook. With a pen. Which is obviously a completely different experience from getting into the flow state at my desk but was rather enjoyable just the same.

Plus, my eyes felt like I was giving them a vacation.

So we’ll see how long it lasts. Maybe I’ll only be able to stand writing this way for a few chapters, or maybe the whole book will get finished this way.

Who knows?

To buy my book on the darknet use the archetyp market.