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Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. Susan has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.

Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona's Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams--purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in southern Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy rode, trained, bred Arabian horses, and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career.

Through the writing, Susan learned she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the processes of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work. She writes mysteries encased in heart-wrenching family dramas that invite readers to ride with Detective Winston Radhauser as he takes the road less traveled, often digging up family secrets in his quest for truth and justice. There are gifts in every aspect of life, even grief, if we take the time to look for them.

Many of Susan’s books have been finalists for the RONE Award for Best Mystery published by an independent press and the Kindle Book Award. She has also been a finalist for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation, and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the RONE Award in 2019 for her thriller, Tormented, and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

When she isn't writing, Susan enjoys making quilts and stained-glass windows. She says it is a lot like writing--telling stories with fabric and glass.

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(photo credit Ashley Brunette)

Interview with
Many Books


Redemption Lake, #1

Tucson, Arizona–Detective Winston Radhauser knows eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is hiding something. When his best friend’s mother, Crystal, is murdered, the investigation focuses on Matt’s father, but Matt knows he’s innocent. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?

When Time Is A River, #2

Someone is stalking 2 year old Emily Michaelson in Lithia Park playground as she plays with her 18 year old half sister, Brandy. Not long after Emily's disappearance, Detective Radhauser finds her rainbow-colored sneakers in Ashland Creek, their laces tied together in double knots. He insists Brandy stay out of the investigation, but she’s obsessed with finding her little sister.

A River of Silence, #3

The past always finds us—Caleb Bryce frantically gives CPR to 19-month-old Skyler Sterling. Less than an hour later, she’s is dead. The ME calls it murder and the entire town of Ashland is outraged. The police captain is anxious to make an arrest. Neither Det. Winston Radhauser nor Bryce’s young public defender believe he’s guilty. Radhauser will fight for justice, even if it means losing his job.

River of Shame, #4

Something evil has taken root in Ashland, Oregon. And with it, an uneasy feeling sweeps down on Det. Winston Radhauser. If someone doesn’t intervene, that evil will continue to multiply until the unthinkable happens. When a high school kid is branded with a homophobic slur and is hospitalized, Radhauser will do whatever it takes to find the perpetrators and restore his town’s sense of safety.

Lake of the Dead, #5

When Parker Collins goes missing, girlfriend, Rishima, files a missing person’s report, adamant something is wrong. Radhauser agrees to investigate, soon discovering something doesn't sit right with him. Elderly neighbor, Homer "Sully" Sullivan, finds a body floating in the lake near his cottage. Could it be the missing student? Will this missing person’s case become a murder investigation?

Bloody Creek Murder, #6

Five days after a tragic fall kills her 10-year-old son, Blair Bradshaw, is found dead, her body carefully displayed under her son's tree house, among the flowers and other memorabilia left at the site of his death. Husband Franklin believes it's suicide, but after Detective Winston Radhauser reviews the evidence, he believes otherwise. Was it grief that killed her? Or was it murder?

Red Hatchet Falls, #7

When a diamond ring attached to a severed hand is discovered near Ashland Creek in Southern Oregon, Detective Winston Radhauser is bought in to discover who the victim is and what happened. Set just eight months post 9-11, a young Islamic family is terrorized, and the severed hand is only the beginning. This time, Radhauser is tested to his limits, but will the truth devastate him?

Lake of Bad Dreams, #8

'Shots fired at Mountain View High School’ – Not waiting for SWAT to clear the building, Radhauser enters, fearing more injuries and loss of life. In one of the classrooms, he kneels beside a girl’s body. In her childlike right hand, she holds a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun, her fingers still curl around it. It’s easy to believe fifteen-year-old Kristina Sterling is the shooter. Everyone does.

River Running Backwards, #9

During a deathbed confession, Winston Radhauser learns his parents are still alive and his mother is in a psychiatric facility having confessed to the murder of his three-month-old sister. Torn between grief for his uncle and anger at the lies he’s been told, Radhauser sets out to discover the truth about his family. Can he vindicate his mother?

Forgotten Creek, #10

The body of 14-year-old Tadeas Phan is found stabbed in Lithia Park, the second victim in as many weeks. Vietnam hero and former police officer Michael Cornelius, aka Corndog, is arrested when he's found nearby with blood-soaked clothes and a knife in his hand. Det. Radhauser is desperate to make an arrest, but is Corndog the real killer? He risks everything, even his job, to find the truth.

Lost Creek Cabin, #11

Fifteen-year-old Shannon Hoffman is missing. Two weeks earlier, her life-long friend, Rich Gasser, was struck by a train. Had he been bullied into taking his own life? Did a distraught Shannon run away to join Rich? Detective Winston Radhauser conducts a frantic search, but time is running out. Will he find her before it’s too late? The deeper Radhauser digs, the more secrets he uncovers.

What Lies Beneath Stillwater, #12

When an infant's skull is found during a groundbreaking for a new homeless shelter, Detective Winston Radhauser opens an investigation. ME Steven Heron and his team excavate the site and discover more than 20 infants, possibly 30-50 years old. Cause of death is unknown. What went on at the former Stillwater Home for Unwed Mothers? Radhauser won't stop until he has the answers.

A Bend in the Willow

In 1965, Robin Lee Carter sets a fire that kills her rapist, then disappears, reinventing herself as Catherine Henry. In 1985, when her 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, she must return to Willowood and seek out the now 19-year-old son she gave up for adoption. Is she willing to risk everything, including her life, to save her dying son?


Fr. Anthony's devotion to God begins to unravel the moment Rita Wittier steps inside his church and struggles to control his feelings. After 60 Minutes’ special on the Shepherd Academy, a school for disadvantaged children, Anthony becomes a national hero. But he can’t get Rita out of his mind. Just hours after telling her how he feels, she’s found dead in her car. Is it suicide, or is it murder?

Missing Pieces

Lillianna Ferguson has spent the last twenty years pretending her father is dead. Her brother, Greg, begs her to come home to care for their father, Calvin Miller, a disabled WWII veteran. When did he ever take care of her? But the surgeon at won’t repair the aneurysm without first amputating their father’s infected leg. Will she leave her safe life and re-enter the minefield of her childhood?




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