Slumbering Beasts

“Definitely another winner!” 

—KATE PARKER, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Deadly Mystery Series 

When Scott Novak, Raleigh’s youngest technology mogul, is found dead in his country home strangled with a strip of yellow cloth, it’s unclear whether the cause is suicide, accident, or murder. North Carolina billionaire Samarth Patel, who bought Scott’s company hoping it would transform his business, hires Harriet “Rett” Swinson to work alongside his personal private eye to investigate the deceased’s alluring ex-girlfriend, the protege who has lived in Scott’s shadow, and a neighbor who resents his success. 

What new technology was Novak developing before he died, and why did he think owning a menagerie of zoo rejects would inspire his next innovation? The case will take Rett all the way to the Alaskan wilderness to confront Scott’s enigmatic brother, Adam. Along the way, Rett butts heads with Detective Darryl Schmidt, who isn’t sure he likes competing with his girlfriend for clues, while Rett wonders if Darryl is liberated enough to accept her blossoming artistic sensibility. Was the accident that almost killed Rett caused by a hacker—or by a computer intelligence embodied by the ghost of a 19th century German philosopher? In Slumbering Beasts, the suspenseful follow-up to Soft Hearts, Rett’s deepest resolve is tested as it takes her on a dangerous journey that is all too darkly real.

The One That Started It All:

Soft Hearts

When Harriet “Rett” Swinson’s husband betrayed their twenty-year marriage, he destroyed their working relationship, too. Now Rett drinks too much wine and doesn’t see much reason to get out of bed in the morning—until one day there’s a knock on the door by the across-street-neighbor asking for a ride to quilting class. Before Rett knows it, the quirky, artistic community at Needless Necessities has roped her in as a volunteer and is making her wonder if she should pick up the painting hobby she abandoned long ago to make her husband’s real-estate venture successful. 

Rett is in the process of rebuilding her life when a group of Halloween trick-or-treaters discovers her neighbor, retired English professor and poet Wanda Hightower, an enigmatic shut-in known for her outlandish tirades, dead on her porch, stabbed in the back and through the heart. Was her killer a random psychopath in search of blood on All Hallow’s Eve—or one of the neighbors who helped with her lawn’s makeover gone wrong? Wanda claimed to have dirt on nearly everyone in the neighborhood, so the list of suspects is long.

Finding the killer will require Rett to reconstruct Wanda’s turbulent past. Meanwhile, she will have to weigh her growing attraction for Homicide Detective Darryl Schmidt against her desperate need for independence—and a growing feeling that an innocent man is being singled out by the police for the murder.

The first installment in the Rett Swinson Mystery Series, Soft Hearts explores how the fragile vulnerability of human beings can cause them to break — or to discover their greatest strengths.

      What Readers Are Saying About Slumbering Beasts

Slumbering Beasts involves high tech and low places, dirty laundry and a cast of characters that could only come from this part of the world.  Lodin’s character development is deeper than most books of the genre, and it adds a great deal to the read.  The story is fresh too, not just a simple whodunnit, full of heavy and dark.  There’s joy and laughter, friendship, and at least light forays into some of society’s larger issues. This book was as refreshing as a summer spritzer, and I can’t wait to see what Lodin comes up for the next Swinson story.

– Pat Taylor, Whispering Pines, N.C.

      High Praise for Soft Hearts:


What a super, super great book. The poetry that is sprinkled throughout is such a beautiful touch. It really takes the book to another level, taking a casual reader who wants to know who murdered poor Wanda on a journey with poetry that is both centuries old and modern.

– L.A.W.


A mystery with substance!

– C.E.


I really did enjoy it.  And I’m not just saying that.  It made me want to keep turning the pages to see what happened. 

– B.P.


Rett is personable, believable, and not too perfect. I really enjoyed Soft Hearts.”

– C.P.


An easy read and moves along logically to an entertaining climax. Your writing and your story are strong and engaging. It kept me turning the pages.

– E.S.


Enthralling. Ingenious. Thrilling. I look forward to reading more Rett Swinson installments.

– C.s.