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Michaela Thompson Books In Order

Publication Order of Florida Panhandle Mysteries Books

Hurricane Season (1983)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Riptide (1995)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Heat Lightning (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Georgia Lee Maxwell Books

Magic Mirror (1988)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Temporary Ghost (1989)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Fault Tree (1984)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Paper Phoenix (1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Venetian Mask (1987)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Michaela Thompson is a crime, thriller and mystery author from the Northwest Florida Panhandle. Unlike the image of a tropical paradise that most people have of Florida, the area she lived in was nothing of the sort. She remembers living in a land full of moss-hung oaks, salt marshes, barrier islands, and pine forests. This is the backdrop that she uses as a setting for much of the “Florida Panhandle Mystery” series. In time, she also used other locales for her other series including France for the “Georgia Lee Maxwell” series and India, Venice, and the San Francisco Bay for her three free-standing novels. She has also written seven mysteries under the pseudonym Mickey Friedman before she decided to use her original name. Michaela has said that she decided to use her birth given name since most people tended to believe that Mickey was a man. Other than writing mysteries, she has also been a columnist and reporter for a daily newspaper in San Francisco, a college editor, and a freelance journalist and writer. Still, the Florida Panhandle remains a significant part of her life as she now has a summer home on the beach in Florida and visits with her husband whenever she can. She spends much of her time with her husband in New York.

Just like with her settings, Michaela Thompson writes her novels on a range of genres though she does favor crime mysteries with a dash of romance. For instance, her “Florida Panhandle Mystery” series are crime novels while the bestselling novel “Paper Phoenix” that is set in San Francisco is the tale of the romance between a young crusading journalist and a disillusioned divorcee that live in San Francisco during the 1970s. In “India in Fault Tree,” a failure analyst goes on a wild chase as he tracks down private demons. “Venetian Mask” is the story of a group of friends that visit the Venice Carnival for a deadly game. Her “Georgia Lee Maxwell” series follows the adventures of Georgia Lee Maxwell that is an amateur investigator who moves to France to become a sought-after PI in Provence and Paris. While she has dabbled in several other genres, Thompson has been in love with mystery since she was young since she finds it very flexible yet always having some structure.

Thompson’s “Florida Panhandle Mystery” series of novels are solid mysteries set in the 1950s. They take their name from the setting of the Panhandle and are populated with interesting characters. The combination of the realistic settings and well fleshed out characters make for some captivating reads. Michaela writes her novels in a manner reminiscent of the “Mayberry” series though the novels are seedier and slightly different in scope and plot. What sets her works apart from that of many of her contemporaries is the reliance on description rather than dialogue, which makes for an easy to read style. She writes vivid paragraphs that create a mental image of the characters and settings in which their stories are set. She also injects southern words to enhance the sense of place in her novels.

Michaela Thompson’s “Hurricane Season” is set in sultry and sticky Palmetto, a city that has had enough of evil and hurricanes. The story is set in the summer of 1952, where an ill wind is blowing through the city and much of the Florida Gulf Coast. A woman known as Diana Landis who is known in several bedrooms and almost all the barrooms in the city was found afloat in a fishing net beneath the dock. Bo Calhoun her lover was witness to the arson of his family’s moonshine and things could not have been worse for him. Robert Landis the Congressman often referred to as “Snapper” is more interested in his bid for reelection and does not seem to care much about the mysterious death of his daughter. A young seminarian named Wesley Stafford who seems better suited to preaching the Gospel than in seduction had confessed to the murder. The complication is that he had been in jail when he had allegedly confessed. All this had happened before Lily Trulock the storekeeper had abandoned her husband that seemed to care more for his bees than her. Soon after leaving to go vacation in the Caribbean, her skiff had run aground in St. Elmo and she learned of an ill wind that could blow the county right off its hinges.

Thompson’s second novel of the “Florida Panhandle Mysteries” series “Riptide” is about Isabel Anders a New York artist that is from St. Elmo Florida. She has just been called back home after her aunt that had been more of a mother to her was injured in a bizarre accident. She arrives on the island to find that the house she once lived in is a ruin while her godmother is now living in a trailer. Even though she has fallen on hard times, she is still as dangerous as a snake. The times have changed but the lover she had at sixteen is still living in the same house he used to. He had been waiting for her return but now he has revenge on his mind as he has a dark secret and hangs out with some unsavory characters. Just when her aunt starts getting better, she dies in mysterious circumstances and Isabel thinks it may be murder. She decides to become an amateur sleuth and immediately ties her death to her injury and that of another woman in the neighborhood. But finding the killer will not be so easy as she has to find her way through several generations of dark secrets and intrigue that have dogged the small town for generations. The intricate story weaves though sunken treasures, family secrets, puzzles, family feuds, betrayals, lost family fortunes, and murder among others to make for a cocktail of sinister delights.

Michaela Thompson’s “Heat Lightning” tells a great story of deception. Clara Trent is shocked to learn that her husband had never told her that he had been involved in a murder. They had been together for decades and he is now accused of committing the murder though he is now dead. Aaron Malone the sheriff’s investigator on St. Elmo reopens the investigation into the murder that had had been cold for more than four decades. They believe that Ronan Trent was responsible for the murder of his former lover. She had been a vivacious blonde that had been married to a jealous husband. Clara goes into investigation mode and soon unearths an obsession from the sensuous drawings of her made by the husband. She tries to reconcile the facts of the brutal killing with the recent death of her husband and this means that she had to go back to the crime scene. It is a run-down motor court in the 1950s style and once there she gets down to work. Aaron thinks she is courting danger and warns her to stay away but she is having none of it. Soon the danger comes out of the hornet’s nest and a lot of people just may end up dead.

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