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A Standalone Contemporary Suspense

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No One disappears without a trace….

Torn between hanging onto the hope her husband is still alive, after disappearing seven years earlier, and the desire to move on with her life, Victoria finds herself submerged in limbo–one that no one could have predicted how it would play out.

OVER THE EDGE ~ Murder Returns to the Caribbean

(Olivia Benning Mystery Series–Book 2)

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

What seems like a perfect arrangement–house sitting a posh villa overlooking the Caribbean Sea–turns into a nightmare when Olivia Benning stumbles upon the body of the wealthy owner and becomes the prime suspect before she can unpack her suitcase.


(Olivia Benning Mystery Series–Book 1)

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Leaving behind Boston and her domineering, workaholic father, Olivia goes wheels up on a southbound jet to embark on a journey that not only tests her resolve, but pits her sense of justice against that of a twisted subculture, shattering her instinct of who to trust. Facing the heartache of settling a parent’s affairs, her search for answers ensnares her in a sinister web of crime amidst a breathtaking, yet deceptively tranquil Caribbean backdrop.

Mom's Choice Award - TEC

Click for the Caribbean Series Flyer



(Elizabeth Pennington Mystery Series–Book 3)

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The untimely death of a young female guest in the fitness center tarnishes the re-opening of the lovingly restored New England inn and appears to be an accident, but when a second body is discovered, Elizabeth Pennington fears the inn’s dark past has resurfaced, yet remains steadfast in her quest to carry on her grandmother’s legacy as innkeeper—until the killer comes after her.

NIEA Winner--MRTTP-white background


(Elizabeth Pennington Mystery Series–Book 2)

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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.

MBTP Finalist Seals (1)


(Elizabeth Pennington Mystery Series–Book 1)

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Set in an old family-run inn on the rocky coast of Maine, the disappearance of a young female guest bears eerie similarities to the unsolved case of a missing student from an all-girls school on the property years earlier.

Human Relations Indie Book Awards – Contemporary Realistic Fiction

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Media Flyer:

Click for the PRECIPICE SERIES Flyer 


National award winning author Penny Goetjen writes murder mysteries where the colorful locales play as prominent a role as the engaging characters. A self-proclaimed eccentric known for writing late into the night, transfixed by the allure of flickering candlelight, she rides the journey with her characters, often as surprised as her readers to see how the story unfolds. Fascinated with the paranormal, she usually weaves a subtle, unexpected twist into her stories.

Ms. Goetjen is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. When her husband is asked how he feels about his wife writing murder mysteries, he answers with a wink, “I sleep with one eye open.”

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


“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

Not even the sultry Caribbean sun can burn off the dark clouds that seem to follow Olivia Benning. Returning to an island home to settle affairs, she has no information about her mother’s sudden and suspicious death, no resources and little money, she’s alone and unsure who to trust.

Penny Goetjen uses the idyllic setting and island culture so effecttively, the reader is tempted to savor ocean views from THE EMPTY CHAIR, but don’t pause too long—danger is never far away.

Kathryn Orzech, Author of Premonition of Terror and Asylum

“This is a very well done mystery with beautifully descriptive surroundings and suspense that builds throughout. The ending threw me for a loop and leaves open the possibility of a second book. I highly recommend this book!”

Melissa Borsey, Reviewer

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

Readers’ Favorite

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

Sassy Redhead Book Reviews

“Penny Goetjen has that rare ability to quickly capture the reader’s attention and keep their interest from scene to glorious scene. There is elegance in her writings. She is a gifted storyteller and never disappoints.”

Martin Herman, Author of the Will James Mysteries

“I loved this mystery set in the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Thomas! When Olivia is summoned to the island after a mysterious phone call about her mother’s demise, she assumes it will be simply a matter of taking care of paperwork and final affairs. What she hasn’t planned for is a handsome stranger, a bar fight, dead bodies, and many secrets and lies. Set in an idyllic setting, the novel made me want to book a cruise (without the bodies of course)!”  

Anne Foster, Educator

Author Talk Topics:

o 7 Quirks of a Mystery Writer
o Escape to the Caribbean Without Going Wheels Up on a 737 (or getting sand in your bathing suit)
Over the Edge–a deceptively tranquil tropical setting for a decidedly suspenseful story
o The Rugged Coast of Maine as the Backdrop for THE PRECIPICE Series–Backstory
o A Tour of Maine’s Haunted Lighthouses (and other places that go bump in the night)

Interview Questions:

General/ Introductory

  • Tell us what genre you write in and what you have published so far.


  • What attracts you to the mystery/suspense genre?
  • Have you considered writing in other genres?
  • Why do you add a paranormal element to your stories?
  • Have you had paranormal experiences? Can you give specifics?

Writing Process

  • Do you have a routine for writing? A certain time of day?
  • Do you have a favorite place to write?
  • What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
  • Do you every hide secrets in your novels that only certain people will find?


  • Where do your characters come from?
  • How close are your characters to real people in your life?
  • Do you have to like them to be able to write them?
  • Which character is most like you? Or is there a little bit of you in each one?


  • Where do you get your inspiration from? Experiences? Internally?
  • Do you ever get inspiration from extreme emotion, like the way many songwriters write?
  • Do you start with a plot idea or a character, or does it change from story to story?


  • Do you use incidents/events/situations from real life?
  • Does your writing spill over into your dreams?
  • Does it have an adverse effect on your sleep?


  • You have a series set on the coast of Maine and another in the U.S. Virgin Islands–two settings with few similarities to each other. Why Maine? Why the Caribbean?
  • What other settings do you envision writing about in the future?


  • You seem to like to include handwritten notes in your novels. Why do you do that and what does that add to the story?
  • What is your favorite movie? Why?
  • If you could spend time in a book/movie, which would it be and why?
  • What’s next? What are you working on now?

© 2022 Penny Goetjen