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Crime Writer Spotlight - Rosemary McCracken

I'm very pleased to welcome crime writer Rosemary McCracken. I love Rosemary's subject matter: white collar crime and fraud. In Safe Harbor, things are not always as they seem, and it always pays to ask questions. Without further ado, here's Rosemary!

I recently discovered Colleen Cross’s Exit Strategy and was instantly caught up in forensic accountant Katerina “Kat” Carter’s investigation of a blood diamond laundering scheme that has murderous consequences. The thriller is a page-turner, but part of the attraction was that my protagonist, Pat Tierney, also works in the world of finance.

Unlike Colleen, who is an accountant, I’m not a financial professional. I’m a journalist, specializing in personal finance and the financial services industry. I talk to financial advisors and investment managers. I attend their conferences. I know the issues they face and the concerns they have. Most of them are caring, committed people, and they do wonderful things for their clients by helping them get their financial houses in order.

At one point, I considered becoming a financial advisor myself. I like people, so I really like the fact that client-advisor relationships are integral to this profession. “Know your client” is the mantra of every financial advisor. They need to know what’s going on in clients’ lives to ensure that they are in suitable investments.

But I quickly dismissed the idea of setting out my shingle as a financial advisor. I wouldn’t have the stamina for it. I’d have second thoughts about my investment decisions. I’d have sleepless nights during down markets – and markets have been murder in recent years. But when I set out to write a mystery series and was looking for a central character, an investment advisor was my first choice. Pat embodies traits of some of the people in the industry I most admire. She cares about her clients. She’s a champion of the small investor. She has sleepless nights during down markets.

Pat’s profession gives her a great edge as an amateur sleuth. The fact that financial advisors know their clients means they know if they have health concerns, and they will be one of the first in the know if a client is diagnosed with a terminal illness. They know how much money a client has – or doesn’t have. And money is a great motive for all kinds of crime, including murder.

There is one type of crime that Pat is particularly well positioned to spot – white collar crime. The financial services industry revolves around money, and therefore provides opportunities for people who are clever and greedy enough to challenge the system. Think fraud, embezzlement, money laundering. There will always be some bad apples in circulation, and some of them working in the industry itself. Committed professionals like Pat want to see tougher penalties for fraudsters, and believe the system in Canada is too soft on offenders. They want to protect their clients, their firms and themselves from liability.

In Safe Harbor, red flags go up when a rookie advisor is immediately given a large investment account to manage. When Pat looks more closely at that account, she sees a sizeable part of its assets in slowpoke stocks. Things just don’t add up. And when thing don’t add up for a financial professional, something is very wrong.

Rosemary McCracken is a freelance journalist and fiction writer who lives in Toronto. Her first mystery novel, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for Britain’s Debut Dagger in 2010. It opens when a frightened woman barges into financial planner Pat Tierney’s office with a shocking request: “Look after my boy; he’s your late husband’s son.” The next day the woman is murdered and police say her seven-year-old child may be the killer’s next target.

Safe Habor was released by Imajin Books this spring, and is available as an ebook and a paperback on; also as a paperback on and Barnes & Noble. Visit Rosemary on her website and her blog. You can also view the Safe Harbor book trailer here.