Nancy Mehl is the author of over fifty books, a Parable bestseller, as well as the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year Award, a Carol Award, and the Daphne du Maurier Award. She has also been a finalist for two Carol Awards and the Christy Award. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson.

In this interview, Nancy talks about book two in her Ryland & St. Clair Series, titled Cold Threat.

FF: Can you tell us a little about your new novel, Cold Threat?
Cold Threat takes River Ryland and Tony St. Clair to Iowa where Tony’s father, a police detective, has asked for help with an old case that has haunted him since he was a rookie police officer. A killer known as the Snowman has not only shown up over twenty years since his first killings, but he’s moved from Des Moines to Burlington, Iowa. Is he following Tony’s father? Or is there another reason he’s in Burlington? Tony and River have agreed to help Tony’s father by writing a profile of the Snowman. But will their presence garner the attention of a crazed killer who is bringing judgment against people he believes deserve death?

FF: Cold Threat is book 2 in the Ryland & St. Clair Series. What exactly ties the books in this series together and can they be read as standalones?
River Ryland was attacked by a man nicknamed the Salt River Strangler and left for dead. Her partner, Tony St. Clair, was shot four times while trying to save her. Thanks to a stranger who witnessed the attack and called the police, River survived. Dealing with PTSD and needing to care for her ailing mother in St. Louis, she leaves the FBI. Tony goes with her, talking her into opening a detective agency where they can continue to use their expertise and training. Although they profiled the Strangler as a loner, the FBI receives confirmation that he had a partner. The Strangler’s protégé sends River a message, telling her that he intends to finish what the Strangler started. This story continues throughout the series, as does River’s spiritual and emotional journey. Each novel in the series can easily stand alone. I hope, however, that people will read all three books so they can follow River and Tony’s story to its completion. In book three, they will not only face the feelings they have for each other, but they will also finally come face-to-face with the Strangler’s twisted disciple.

FF: The series has cold cases at its center. What led you to focus the series on this type of case?
Based on River and Tony’s past experiences as behavioral analysts with the FBI, their interests would be based on their education and talents. I decided that chasing cheating spouses or working on cases that involve fraud wouldn’t be compatible with their training. Instead, cold cases involving major crimes would be their forte. Tony’s old friend from the FBI Academy is now the police chief of St. Louis. He sends them cold cases that the department isn’t currently pursuing. This gives them a way to use their training as profilers and build their detective agency.

FF: The two continuing characters in this series, River Ryland and Tony St. Clair, each play an important role in this novel. If you could introduce readers to this dynamic duo in three to four sentences each, what do readers need to know?
River Ryland was brought up in a dysfunctional home, raised by a father who pastored a church, teaching that God is judgmental and critical. When he left his family and ran away with the church’s secretary, River turned her back on God. She joined the FBI and became a behavioral analyst, determined to bring justice to a world she believes needs it.

Tony St. Clair was raised by two parents who loved him—and each other. Through them, he met God and gave his life to Him. He joined the FBI because he wanted to follow in the steps of his police detective father. From the first moment he meets River, he can’t imagine living without her.

FF: In this installment of the series, Tony’s father—a local detective—plays a supporting role. What is the relationship between Tony and his father like?
Tony’s father is his hero. He’s watched his father risk his life for others, and Tony wants to be just like him.

FF: How do you keep readers on their toes when plotting out a deadly mystery?
I see each story as a roller coaster ride. The first hill starts the ride and needs to be exciting enough to fuel the rest of the ride. There should also be smaller hills as well as twists and turns to keep readers engaged before the final big hill that propels them to the finish.

FF: What is your favorite thing about writing crime mysteries?
Creating a story of good versus evil. I see it as a war—and I love it when good wins!

FF: What do you hope readers take away from reading Cold Pursuit?
In Cold Pursuit, River faces her fears and her anger at God. I hope that readers will not only enjoy the story but will also relate to River and realize how much God actually loves them. I think an important spiritual theme is that it’s never too late to find your way home.

Cold Threat
Ryland & St. Clair Series #2
Nancy Mehl
Bethany House
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 23, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0764240463
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764240461

Book Summary:
Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging ominously on a tree in the victims’ front lawns.

With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end—or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar modus operandi are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.

With little time left on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony’s detective father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived far too long.

As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer—before he catches one of them.


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About The Author

The author of more than thirty books, Nancy Mehl received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson.