For those of you who’ve read my Shay O’Hanlon Caper Series, you know I love to feature locations that are old, abandoned, sometimes dangerous, and always delightfully spooky. It all started in my second book, Hide and Snake Murder. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, it won’t spoil anything to tell you the old Columbia Arena in Fridley starred as a major player at some point in the novel. You can see a little of the storied history of the arena here.
I love to put my poor characters though the mill in unusual locations. Abandoned, dangerous, full of mystery, and exciting as hell. I figure making things spooky in the best of ways only makes the mystery that much more riveting. In my third book, Pickle in the Middle Murder, my characters Shay and her bestie Coop, had a hair raising adventure at a 50s motel in Columbia Heights called the Starlite Motel.
Yes, it’s still in business, and yes, it’s retained the history and character of an unforgettable era.
Then the 4th book arrived, and I found the coolest locale yet to challenge my poor characters. What better place than an abandoned twentieth century institution for the mentally impaired? The Cambridge State Hospital (set in my book in Princeton, MN) was the capstone to Chip Off the Ice Block Murder. Its terrifyingly sad history combined with the complex’s decay and remote setting were perfect. Poor Shay and Coop, and of course, Shay’s poor, poor dad. If you don’t know what happened, feel free to grab this or any of my books from Bella Books!
Blood Money Murder, my fifth book in the Shay O’Hanlon Caper Series embraced a couple of scary locales. One was made up entirely in my head, and the other was thanks to a day trip I’d made to the Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southern Minnesota. Initially I thought I’d use the Mystery Cave in my mystery, but things took a left turn and I wound up placing Shay and her sis Lisa at the site of now defunct Forestville. Unfortunately they didn’t know the small collection of buildings were on a National Historic Register, but when you’re handcuffed together and desperate, it’s a little hard to pay attention to the finer details.
Now, you ask, what does all this have to do with anything? I asked myself the same question when I saw this:
What is this crazy business? It’s one of the most fascinating and freaky concepts I’ve ever seen. Follow the story of Bruce and his incredible creation here. No doubt I’m going to have to incorporate this into one of Shay’s adventure!
What abandoned, interesting, and scary locales are near and dear to your heart? Drop a note below and you never know…maybe one day your destination will find it’s way into a Shay Caper.