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No one disappears without a trace….

Don’t try to tell Victoria Sands that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t work that way for a woman who’s lost her husband the way she did. She was never able to say goodbye. Never able to arrange a memorial. Receive friends at the service. Write thank-you notes for the flowers and donations sent in his name. Because it didn’t happen that way.

Victoria’s husband never returned home at the end of a work day. And no one seems to know what happened to him.

In the seven years since his disappearance, no witnesses have stepped forward and no credible evidence has been collected—not even his car. The few tenuous leads the police had are now ice cold. He simply vanished on a field trip with the private boarding school where he taught behind stone walls—the same school their son now attends.

But someone has to know what happened. And that someone may be closer to Victoria than she realizes.



The Woman Underwater

“A vivid and poignant story of a woman haunted by an unsolved mystery from her past. . . . I gulped it down in a single day.”                                                             

–Megan Collins, author of The Family Plot

“Goetjen excels at exploring the depths of characters pushed to their limit, and confidently blends high-stakes emotion and hints of the supernatural in this page-turning tale of suspense.”

–Shari Randall, author of the Agatha Award-winning Lobster Shack Mystery series

“A gripping mystery with an engaging cast of characters, lots of unexpected twists, and enticing hints of the paranormal.”   

–Emily Arsenault, author of When All the Girls are Sleeping and The Last Thing I Told You

“A surprising amount of truly thrilling scenes . . . as memorable and unnerving as in any best-selling thriller I’ve read. ”                                           

–C. Michele Dorsey, author of the Sabrina Salter Mysteries

“An absorbing dreamy, water imagery-infused mystery.”                                                Kirkus Reviews


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OTE Cover Reveal-When the tide turns

On this trip to the Caribbean, don’t expect an umbrella in your drink.

Returning to the tropical breezes and turquoise waters of St. Thomas to rebuild her mother’s bungalow after it was destroyed by fire, Olivia is shaken by the extensive devastation wreaked by a Category 5 hurricane that recently ripped through the Virgin Islands.

After an exhaustive search for Colton, her on again/off again love interest from her previous visit, she’s left with more questions than answers, his whereabouts unknown.

With nowhere to stay, she accepts the offer from an older, wealthy man to house-sit his spacious villa overlooking the Caribbean Sea while he sets off on an extended sailing trip.

What seems like a perfect arrangement turns into a nightmare. Before she can unpack her suitcase in the posh digs, Olivia stumbles upon the man murdered in his own home and becomes the prime suspect.

Advance Praise

“With Over the Edge, Penny Goetjen transports readers to St. Thomas, where bright sunshine, tropical breeze, and clear waters bely the aftermath of an otherwise devastating hurricane. Of course, the weather isn’t the only thing unsettled on the island. Murder, missing persons, and a series of other misdeeds have photographer Olivia Benning desperately looking to bring focus to a very murky picture—one that finds her both a suspect and a target. But will this determination result in her salvation or her surrender? You’ll have to travel to the Caribbean to find out. Rest assured, it’s worth the trip, and the author is a most formidable tour guide.”

—John B. Valeri

“. . . excels at evoking a sense of place—for example, pristine beaches or seedy motels—as well as mood, like fear and desire.”

—Kirkus Reviews 

Over the Edge is a well scripted murder mystery with deceptive characters and an unpredictable path. Enjoy your trip to St. Thomas courtesy of Penny Goetjen!”

—Suzy Approved Book Reviews

“A vivid tale of mystery, intrigue, and murder that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Over the Edge paints a striking portrait of a post-hurricane Caribbean, while drawing the reader down a path that is at times full of island beauty and dark secrets.”

—Liz Delton, Author of the Arcera novels 

“In Over the EdgePenny Goetjen writes noteworthy characters, intriguing twists of plot, and a haunting Caribbean setting in the wake of a horrific hurricane. When Olivia becomes involved with the dark underbelly of island life, readers find themselves caught up in her fear and desperation as she’s enmeshed in potentially deadly situations.”

R. C. Goodwin, Author of Model Child


Elizabeth Pennington Mysteries–Book Three

Wins National Book Award

NIEA Winner--MRTTP-white background

MRTTP Launch Graphic-FB

Elizabeth Pennington returns to her roots on the coast of Maine with her love interest Kurt Mitchell to reopen her family’s historic inn, which she lovingly restored to its New England charm after a powerful hurricane nearly destroyed it. Unseen forces, however, seem hell-bent on derailing her efforts, or worse—taking her out of the picture.

The untimely death of a young female guest in the inn’s fitness center appears to be a tragic accident until authorities investigate and find there is more than meets the eye. When a second body is discovered, Elizabeth fears the worst—a killer in their midst—and wonders if Kurt’s FBI past has caught up to him.

Feeling the strain from a mountain of debt and the pressure to carry on in her grandmother’s footsteps as keeper of the popular inn, Elizabeth is crushed when the town begins foreclosure proceedings. On the brink of losing her childhood home, Elizabeth remains steadfast in her quest to carry on her grandmother’s legacy—until the killer comes after her.


“Murder Returns to the Precipice is brimming with promise and peril—a richly textured mystery that’s both charmingly atmospheric and cunningly staged. Be forewarned: Like the coastal waters of Maine, this story will lull you in with its seeming tranquility only to sweep you away in the undercurrent. Take a deep breath and surrender yourself fully. Penny Goetjen is a mighty force!”

-– John Valeri, Criminal Element

“An endlessly delightful tale and band of characters…”


“…suspenseful, intriguing, and edge of your seat…”

—Sassy Redhead Book Reviews


Elizabeth Pennington Mysteries–Book Two

MBTP book awards


In her follow-up to Murder on the Precipice, Penny Goetjen delivers another riveting tale in Murder beyond the Precipice.

The Livingston family is no stranger to tragedy. Losing both parents at a young age in what authorities ruled an accident, Lucretia Livingston, the sole heir to the estate, is left to pick up the pieces. But many locals question the circumstances surrounding their deaths and if the family’s wealth was an irresistibly seductive motive for crossing the line.

Elizabeth Pennington returns to the coast of Maine after receiving an unexpected wedding invitation. Hoping to surprise her friend, she arrives unannounced at the Livingston Estate-turned-inn, only to discover no one knows her whereabouts. Just as disconcerting is the disappearance of the innkeeper’s young bride, Lucretia. Frantic for answers, Elizabeth becomes tangled in a tortured trail of deception, betrayal, love lost and murder.


“Goetjen is a competent writer who keep things moving along, throwing in hints of the preternatural that add to the overall ambiance. . . .worth a read.”


“Filled with colorful characters who make an interesting mix, the mood of the tale can suddenly go from sunny and breezy to dark and terrifying. Murder beyond the Precipice is a fun, captivating mystery.”

—Dale T. Phillips, Author of the Zack Taylor Mysteries

“Beyond the whos and whys (which are wholly satisfying), Penny Goetjen delivers an evocative novel that transports readers to the coast of Maine, which is rendered as vibrant and volatile as the characters who breathe its salty air. Invigorating, and not to be missed!”

—John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner

“Hard to put this book down. The twists and turns and intrigue never stop. . . . A must-read for murder mystery fans.”

Readers’ Favorite


Elizabeth Pennington Mysteries–Book One
Receives Top Honors

Human Relations Indie Book Awards Graphic


Olivia Benning Mysteries–Book One
Receives Coveted National Award

Mom's Choice Award - TEC


“Penny Goetjen uses the idyllic setting and island culture so effectively, the reader is tempted to savor ocean views from The Empty Chair, but don’t pause too long–danger is never too far away.”

—Kathryn Orzech, Author of Premonition of Terror, a paranormal thriller, and Asylum, a dark suspense saga

© 2023 Penny Goetjen