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Wendall Thomas Books In Order

Publication Order of Cyd Redondo Mystery Books

Lost Luggage (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Down Under (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author and screenwriter Wendall Thomas has her MA in English, which she got from the University of North Carolina in the year 1986. Thomas has worked as a script reader, casting director, story editor, director’s assistant, entertainment reporter, screenwriter, and development executive. She has also worked developing and writing different projects for many companies like: Universal, Disney, PBS, A&E, Scottish Screen, NBC, RKO, Showtime, Warner Brothers, and Paramount.

“Lost Luggage” got nominated in the year 2017 for being the best debut mystery novel.

Besides writing and consulting, she has worked as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Film School program at UCLA. She lectures all over the world about screenwriting.

Working as a screenwriter taught her that she is a morning writer and it made her get used to having deadlines imposed on her by other people. Writing the book taught her to give herself deadlines and stick to them. She was able to write the first draft of Lost Luggage while National Novel Writing Month was going on. The goal was more on word count, and less on perfection; this allowed her to keep her inner critic and editor quiet for her to get the three hundred page rough draft she got done by the end. It still needed a lot of work to be done to it. Once she had it, she could spend time editing it, between her different day jobs.

Her novel, “Lost Luggage” started out being a screenplay. It came from her love of different caper films where the heroine is just a regular person who finds herself in over her head. All the while, they have to rise up to the occasion with guts and humor. There were the old screwball comedies and comedy heroines. She wanted a heroine that was tough, sexy, inventive, and brought chaos anywhere she went.

It all came together for her the first time that she pictured Cyd and heard her voice; once she got her in mind, she was able to get the story to work better. The script, however, was not selling but she was unable to get Cyd out of her mind. It made her think about trying to get the character to work as the lead of a series. She feels that by writing the novel she is truly coming to her senses and is doing what she should have done before.

Thomas finds that the “Mrs. Pollifax” series by Dorothy Gilmour influenced this book the most. It showed her a mystery series that was able to move around, and it has a heroine who is unexpectedly resourceful. She also was inspired by the dry cleaning mysteries that Delores Johnson writes, their sly humor mainly. And the zany tone that can be found in Janet Evanovich’s books about Stephanie Plum.

She is a mystery lover since she was a kid, as she read everything by Agatha Christie when she was eleven, and enjoys Raymond Chandler’s work as well.

“Lost Luggage” is the first novel in the “Cyd Redondo” series which was released in the year 2017. Cyd Redondo is young and is a travel agent (she is the third generation of her family to do this job) that specializes in seniors, and has not left New Jersey. Jersey too is a risky place when Roger Claymore (whom she meets at a Travel Agents’ Convention) proves to be a great fling. Right before he sneaks out of her hotel room at three in the morning.

While she is in Brooklyn, she reads about some smugglers that have monkeys in their pants and skunks stuck in their socks that were stopped at JFK airport. While reading it, she never thought that she would join them, but days after the owner of the pet store next door to Redondo Travel is poisoned, she wins a safari. Uncle Ray, Cyd’s boss, wants her to exchange it for cash to get some computers. Cyd, however, really wants to go. Roger turns up at Redondo’s door, and Cyd invites him to come along and be her plus one. Right then and there she gets tossed into an evil and weird world of animal smuggling.

They both get to Africa, with some lost luggage, and finds a pair of Cyd’s older clients are locked up in the jail. She is able to get them out by bartering. However, Cyd finds some smugglers have put half a million dollars worth of endangered snakes, frogs, parrots, and one Madagascan chameleon in their outgoing luggage. Roger steals the bags, and Cyd has to helicopter, with the chameleon, to the jungle to get to Roger by themselves. It makes them wonder if the US Embassy is in on this contraband ring.

She wonders if Roger, her plus one, is more of a minus. All while she dodges Interpol, confronts a cobra, steals a FedEx truck, steals a diplomatic bag, gets stuck in a leopard trap, and is required to smuggle some snakes in her very own bra. It is a mad dash to rescue her clients, catch the smugglers, and solve the case of Mrs. Barsky’s murder. All before she finds herself at the very top of the list of endangered species.

Some felt that there was enough packed here in this one book for an entire series. Fans of the novel enjoyed themselves from page one until the very end of the book. There is humor and hijinks to make for a great, light, and fast paced story that allows the reader to be involved in all of the action all while Cyd and everyone try to find the answers. This is a rollicking debut that features a protagonist that is unique with some of the skills that MacGyver had. The book is for mystery fans of all kinds. Some cannot wait to see what will happen in future books.

“Down Under” is the second novel in the “Cyd Redondo” series which was released in the year 2019. The elderly parents of Cyd Redondo’s ex-husband go missing on their Australian cruise. She goes to Australia to find them, and is unaware that this disappearance is going to lead to murder.

At the exact moment she finds a corpse in her cabin, everyone: guest, crew member, and Tasmanian local is now a suspect. She sifts through all kinds of crazy things to find the killer. By the end, who is she able to trust, really?

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