9 time National Award Winner:
WINNER GOLD 2016 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARD for POLITICAL THRILLER
WINNER GOLD 2015 INDIEFAB AWARD for MYSTERY
WINNER GOLD 2016 BEVERLY HILLS BOOK AWARD for POLITICAL THRILLER
WINNER GOLD 2016 CHANTICLEER CLUE AWARD for POLITICAL THRILLER
WINNER SILVER 2017 ELIT BOOK AWARD for MYSTERY/SUSPENSE/THRILLER
WINNER SILVER 2016 READERS’ FAVORITE AWARD for MURDER MYSTERY
WINNER BRONZE 2016 CIPA EVVY AWARD for MYSTERY/DETECTIVE
WINNER FINALIST 2017 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARD for SUSPENSE
WINNER FINALIST 2017 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARD for FIRST NOVEL
Average Rating: 4.4 stars, 57 ratings
Federal Judge Warren Alexander has the nomination for the Supreme Court wrapped up … until his wife is accused of murdering Senator Tom Marriner. But it doesn’t make any sense. His wife isn’t a killer. Still, the FBI’s evidence is overwhelming and he, alone, believes in her innocence.
Determined to exonerate his wife, the Judge begins digging through the Senator’s life and finds a mysterious link between the Senator and the murder of a beautiful girl in a Maine resort town more than 40 years earlier. Is the key to the Senator’s death buried with the girl?
As the Judge begins narrowing in on suspects, unearthing disturbing secrets along the way, he is unprepared for the consequences. The White House is watching him, waiting for the right moment, determined to do whatever it takes to keep the truth from coming out.
5 ***** stars
|This book really kept me guessing. It was well written. It was fictional, but plausible, about crime, corruption, and cover-up in the highest levels of government for the sake of career advancement and political power. Lots of suspense and unanticipated turns. I really liked this book– great thriller. It sort of ended on a note that makes me think maybe there will be a follow-up? I received this book from the author for an honest review.|
3 *** stars
This novel is a contemporary political thriller/murder mystery, taking place mainly in the big city of Washington, D.C., and the small town of Grey Lake, Maine.
Judge Warren Alexander is going up in the world. He is even being considered for the Supreme Court. The public loves him. That is, until his beloved wife Claire is implicated in the murder of a senator. In struggling to prove her innocence, he uncovers a startling connection between this case and a cold case murder and rape of a teenage girl more than 40 years ago. He decides to uncover the murderer of the girl, in the hopes it will help him with finding the true murderer of the senator. But the more he uncovers, the more he learns he has just stepped on some of the highest political toes in the country, and political corruption runs deep in the White House. Solving the case will cost him his career, and most likely his life. Is he willing to play out this dangerous game of life and death? How long can he do it before he becomes the next victim?
This book is well written and descriptive, with a well developed plot and well formed characters. I loved the way that the book keeps you guessing until the very end… and even then there are still a couple things you need to read the sequel to find out. The storyline flowed along well, and the book was of the kind that holds your attention from beginning to end.
Even with all of these good points, I ended up only giving it three stars. While a graphic rape scene is to be expected, and is in a way a vital portion of the story itself, the book also contained several graphic scenes of deliberate fornication involving the daughter of the main character. This is scattered throughout the whole book, and it was unnecessary, in that it did not contribute anything of value to the story itself. Actually, in my opinion, it detracted from it. Without these scenes, it would have been a four or five star novel.
Average Rating: 4.58 stars, 19 ratings
The President’s beautiful twin daughters disappear during a visit to a mysterious country estate known as Blackhall. A United States Supreme Court law clerk vanishes from her Georgetown apartment. Why are all these Washington, D.C., women disappearing?
Supreme Court Justice Warren Alexander is determined to find out when he discovers a link between the missing women and his son-in-law, a notorious playboy and the owner of Blackhall. And when the President’s daughters are found dead on the Blackhall estate, and the DNA is a one-in-a-trillion match, the FBI is certain the right person is locked up.
But the killing isn’t over. While Justice Alexander desperately tries to exonerate an innocent man, the killer is targeting yet another woman. Alexander soon discovers that Blackhall is an estate with a secret. A centuries-old murder must be solved before the killer can ever be found. Before Alexander’s daughter is the next to die.
5 ***** stars
Another fabulous political page turning thriller! Ahhhh the suspense was incredible. I lost a lot of sleep reading this one! I kept saying to myself “just one more chapter, then sleep”…. but it was worth it!
Do Not Ask is the sequel Do Not Assume, was excited to get it from the author as I had enjoyed the first one so much! (I do hope there will be more.) It follows scandals, cover-ups, murders, conspiracies and intrigue in Washington D.C., and though fictional, it seems it could be ripped from current headlines with the never ending stream of scandal that seems to flow from there. I love how Elaine Crockett writes, as I am always kept guessing, and the outcome is never quite what one would expect.
In Do Not Assume, the primary focus was Warren Alexander, but in Do Not Ask, it was Davis Rideout with Warren trying to untangle several mysteries that all seem to be connected (but how?) to his son-in-law Davis…. the disappearance of the President’s daughters, the disappearance of a Supreme Court legal aid, thefts from ultra wealthy estates, and an bodies found on the property of his daughter and Davis. How were all linked? Was Davis guilty? Could the high power lawyer his daughter is married to be capable of such things? I do hope that Davis, who is known for his philandering, matures a little in the next one instead of acting all the time like a 15 year old with an over-abundance of testosterone and has to sample anything that comes his way cause he has not quite figured out what he likes yet. Being middle aged, he should have that figured out by now. But then again, his infidelities made me not like Davis quite so much, and that it was quite possible that he could be capable of other crimes as well. Another excellent book from the pen of Ms. Crockett! I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and was not disappointed. : )
1 * star
This is a fictional political thriller about a Supreme Court judge who is personally asked by the president to work with the FBI and solve the mysterious disappearance of his twin daughters, Eden and Echo. When the judge discovers that the two of them were having an affair with his own son-in-law on the day of their disappearance, the case takes on a whole new level as things become personal.
This book was a struggle and a chore to read. It was definitely the worst book of 2017, in my opinion. It was full of unrepentant sinful behavior, erotica, and LGBTQ scenes. Not my cup of tea… it made me feel unclean just reading it. The first one in this series, Do Not Assume, was okay. This one was not.
Interview with Elaine Williams Crockett:
twogalsandabook: Did you always want to be an author?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’ve always loved writing but I questioned whether I could support myself as a novelist, so I became an attorney. I have to laugh and say I can see why people are leery of lawyers because I credit the practice of law with teaching me how to make readers think one thing is happening when it’s really something else.
twogalsandabook: At what age did you start writing?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Second grade. I spelled out “Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims” in alphabet blocks and the teacher was so impressed.
twogalsandabook: Are you an avid reader, and if so have you always enjoyed reading?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I love reading. One of my earliest memories is of my mother taking me, age three, to our one-room, public library to pick out a book. My mother also wrote stories for me and my three brothers about what wonderful things we were going to do with our lives. Of course, we loved reading them.
twogalsandabook: Do you have any favorite authors, poets, or books?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier is my favorite book. I love the mystery surrounding Manderley and the realistic twists and turns. My pet peeve is twists and turns that make little sense or twists and turns predicated upon facts that make little sense. Both ploys serve the purpose of the author when the author should be serving the reader with a truly interesting story.
I also love Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I think the writing is the best I’ve ever read. She paints pictures with few words and her scenes ring true. She knows how to make emotion, plot, and writing combine to make an authentic picture
twogalsandabook: Are there any authors or books that you feel have influenced your writing?
Elaine Williams Crockett: In addition to the above, Dominick Dunne. I never stop to wonder what he means by a sentence. Sydney Sheldon for books fun to read. I also like James Patterson’s early books because they surprised me with their twists and turns. Unfortunately, I don’t find many writers who surprise me anymore.
twogalsandabook: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have any special writing rituals or atmosphere?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I write in my 3rd floor study in our house in Georgetown. It’s light and airy and looks out over the trees on Q Street. I’m so fortunate to have such a wonderful place to write. I also love writing “in my head” while I’m exercising and later putting the words to paper.
twogalsandabook: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I don’t really have writer’s block. However, I tend to initially dismiss my most outrageous ideas, then realize they are perfect for my plot. I think readers want to read about events that are plausible but unusual, events that could happen to them, shocking things they can experience from the safety of an armchair.
twogalsandabook: How do you deal with negative reviews or criticism?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I try to learn from any criticism I think is warranted, whether it’s about my writing or any other aspect of my life. However, with respect to my books, please be forewarned: If you don’t like sex with your murder mysteries, please don’t waste your time and money on my books because my books contain sex scenes! Why? Because murder and sex go together so well. Sex is the beginning of life and death is the end of life. Life and death. The basis of all suspense novels. That’s what I write and I want my readers to be happy with their purchases.
twogalsandabook: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Elaine Williams Crockett: My advice for aspiring writers is: Don’t give up. That includes working to improve your writing. Study other writers, know the rules of grammar, have a good editor. My personal guide: delete unnecessary words.
twogalsandabook: When it comes to research, how do you decide which information to include or not?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I use facts to make a story realistic, but it’s critical to keep the story from becoming a tutorial. The research has to be the foundation for the story. The story can’t be the foundation for the research.
twogalsandabook: What ambitions do you have for your writing career?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’d love to become a best-selling author! But there’s a saying: it’s better to be a person of value than a person of success. That’s my guide for my career. I’m not interested in publishing a book every year if it’s not good. And good books take time to write.
twogalsandabook: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’m fascinated by genealogy and how we’re a combination of DNA passed down from our ancestors. Although it’s a minor part of the story, that’s why one of Davis’s ancestors haunts his estate in Do Not Ask. Our own personal history, including our family history, is something that affects us all, something none us can completely escape.
twogalsandabook: What inspired the story in “Do Not Assume” and its sequel “Do Not Ask”?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’m not only interested in DNA in a genealogical sense, but also in its use in criminal work. Jurors view DNA as the gold standard because it alleviates their concern they’ll convict the wrong person, but it turns out attributing DNA evidence to a specific individual is subject to interpretation.
twogalsandabook: How long did each book take to write, from conception to finish?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’m embarrassed to say how long it took to write “Do Not Assume” but “Do Not Ask” took about a year and a half.
twogalsandabook: What was the hardest part of writing “Do Not Assume” and “Do Not Ask”?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’m unsure how to answer. Writing just seems to flow for me. Strangely, writing as fast as I can without editing as I go, often results in my best work.
twogalsandabook: Did you hit any snags while working on the books?
Elaine Williams Crockett: The only snag I hit was with Do Not Assume. It took a long time to finish because I was sure it wasn’t “good enough.” You can imagine how surprised and thrilled I was when it won nine national book awards!
twogalsandabook: Was a lot of research done for the books? Were there any surprises you encountered while researching for the books?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I did a lot of research for both books. For Do Not Ask, I consulted with Dr. Dan E. Krane, a nationally-known DNA expert who worked on the JonBenet Ramsey case. I was shocked to learn how fallible DNA evidence is, and how misleading the FBI’s attribution policies can be. That’s something not widely known, but should be.
twogalsandabook: Are any of the characters in the books based on people you know in real life?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Yes, the four main characters. Warren, Reed, Claire, and Davis. Warren is my husband. Reed is a combination my friends when we were young, naïve, and boy-crazy, and Claire is more or less who I am now. I won’t say who Davis is for fear of being sued! But he does exist—although his identity will remain a secret.
twogalsandabook: If you could be any of the characters in either book, who would it be?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I’d rather not be any of them. However, I’m all of my characters when I’m writing in the sense I go through what they go through.
twogalsandabook: Do you have any interest in real-life politics?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Yes, although the current division between the parties is discouraging.
twogalsandabook: Have you ever had a desire to jump into politics yourself?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Never have, never will.
twogalsandabook: What inspired you to make political corruption and scandal one of the themes in “Do Not Assume” and “Do Not Ask”?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Since I live in Washington, DC, and worked as a Federal Government attorney, the legal world is my sphere, and political abuse of power is interesting because its affects are so insidious and wide-spread.
twogalsandabook: What inspired you to give Davis a sex addiction?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I view Davis as a modern day “lord of the manor” in the vein of old Gothic Romance novels, such as The Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt.
twogalsandabook: What inspired the abduction of Warren Alexander’s daughter?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Reed is very naïve, which lends her to being a natural victim. It’s also Warren’s worst nightmare.
twogalandabook: With Warren Alexander’s rise from the FBI to the Supreme Court, do you think such a transition could be possible in real life, given the candidate had the legal background?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Yes. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh began his career as a special agent in the FBI and later became an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and then a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. Freeh’s qualifications are roughly the same as Judge Warren Alexander’s background when Alexander is nominated to the Supreme Court.
twogalsandabook: Are you familiar with any historic family estates on the East Coast with attached mysteries that was the basis for the Rideout estate mystery?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Blackhall is based on Whitehall, a historic estate I’ve visited in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Although there are differences between Blackhall and Whitehall, many elements are the same—a tragic family history; the age of the house; its site facing south on the Chesapeake Bay; the lilac and crepe myrtle paths; the extraordinary architecture—an original octagon stable, the four winds dominating a ceiling, a plaster phoenix with lightning clutched in its claws, the spectacular architraves in the gentlemen’s drawing room; and much more.
When I learned Whitehall was owned by John Ridout in the 1700s, and I had already based a character (Davis Rideout) on my own colonial Maine Rideout ancestors (same family different spelling – a coincidence? I don’t know but it’s eerie.) it seemed destined Whitehall would be the setting for Davis Rideout’s country home.
See more about Whitehall here: http://bsun.md/2r9tceY
twogalandabook: If I remember correctly, I read that there is a puzzle in the title of “Do Not Assume”. Could you elaborate, and what inspired it?
Elaine Williams Crockett: It’s a null cipher, the first letter of each word of the title, a clue the book contains an important DNA aspect.
twogalsandabook: Who would you recommend to read “Do Not Assume” and “Do Not Ask”?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Anyone who loves realistic but surprising twists and turns, as well as interesting characters, unusual situations, and an occasional fantastic sex scene, all wrapped up together in a good murder mystery.
twogalandabook: Will there be a third part of the series we can look forward to? Are you working on anything now? Can we expect to see anything in the near future?
Elaine Williams Crockett: My third book is titled, Do Not Answer. Blurb: There’s a serial killer loose in Washington, DC, targeting women in their homes. So, why do they keep answering their doors?
twogalsandabook: You certainly have a wonderful ability to create a great “who-dunnit”. (I admire your prowess for the unexpected!)…. will you continue with this genre, or branch out to others?
Elaine Williams Crockett: I can’t imagine writing anything else. I love writing twists and turns the reader doesn’t expect, exploring esoteric subjects, and leading readers down the wrong path so they’ll be surprised at the ending. I think of it as sort of a chess game between me and the reader. If I win, they win.
twogalsandabook: Have you written any other books?
Elaine Williams Crockett: No. I’m a late bloomer
twogalsandabook: Has a trailer been made for either of the books?
Elaine Williams Crockett: No. Unfortunately
twogalsandabook: If “Do Not Assume” and/or “Do Not Ask” were made into a t.v. series or movie, who can you imagine playing the main characters?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Monica Belluci for Claire and Georgia Mae Jagger for Reed. Aiden Turner (if he were a little older) for Davis. Someone who looks like Neil Gorsuch for Warren. I wrote both books before Neil Gorsuch became a United States Supreme Court Justice but Justice Gorsuch is how I’ve always pictured Justice Warren Alexander. That’s not a comment on Justice Gorsuch’s political affiliation, just his looks. I keep my books apolitical because I’m not interested in pushing a political agenda. The political world is simply a background for my mysteries. In fact, in Do Not Ask, the words “Republican” and “Democrat” never appear.
twogalsandabook: Are there any social media platforms readers can connect with you?
twogalsandabook: Is there anything else you would like to discuss that we have not covered?
Elaine Williams Crockett: Not that I can think of, but thank you for the opportunity to discuss my work!
Do Not Assume:
Do Not Ask:
Enter to win a copy of “Do Not Assume” and “Do Not Ask”! Good luck! Giveaway ends 2/4/2018!
Elaine Williams Crockett is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Vermont Law School. She spent her legal career as an Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the United States Federal Trade Commission in Washington D.C. She lives in Georgetown with her husband.
Although most of the same characters appear in my books, it is not necessary to read the books in any particular order. They are completely stand alone.
Please feel free to contact me. I am always thrilled to hear from readers and interested in what you think. You can get in touch on my Facebook page, through Goodreads, on my website, or by email at email@example.com. I read each and every message and always reply.
Twogalsandabook would like to thank Elaine Williams Crockett for allowing us to read her books, interviewing her and for her generous giveaway!