Marred


Fiction - Thriller - General
266 Pages
Reviewed on 11/08/2015
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Proud member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Sue Coletta is always looking for new ways to commit murder...on the page, or so she says. A four-thousand-word excerpt of Marred, her psychological thriller, scored first placement in Murder, USA, an upcoming anthology.

She runs a popular crime website and blog, where she shares crime tips, police jargon, serial killer profiles, and anything and everything in between. If you search her achieves, you'll find posts from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner, undercover operatives, firearm experts -- crime, crime, and more crime.

If you're a writer with murder in your plot, pick up a free copy of 60 Ways To Murder Your Fictional Characters.

For readers, she has the Crime Lover's Lounge, where subscribers will be the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members will get to play in the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door. Inside, like-minded folks can discuss their favorite crime novels, solve mindbender puzzles, and/or relax and chat. Most importantly, have fun.

Sue's two biggest passion are crime and animals, and never the two should mix. Surrounded by furry friends, she's in her glory. On her bucket list is a trip to Australia to play with quokkas, the happiest animals in the world, with absolutely adorable faces. She'd also love to take a safari in Africa, roam Paris and Italy, and ride the high seas -- code for a cruise to an exotic locale.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Petra Ayling for Readers' Favorite

Marred by Sue Coletta is a nail-biting serial killer thriller that, once started, was hard to put down. You immediately feel drawn to the protagonist, Sage Quintano, who writes books about crime for a living and has experienced a horrendous crime herself. A vicious assault has left her struggling with everyday life. Her marriage to Nico, a homicide detective, is suffering as a result of the experience and because of secrets she has been keeping from him. Moving to a rural area in order to heal and rebuild their lives, Nico takes on the position of sheriff and becomes involved in the search for a serial killer who leaves his female victims' bodies marred and displayed in a gruesome manner. Then Sage's twin sister disappears, and everything suggests that Sage's assailant has followed her from Boston to New Hampshire to finish what he started years ago.

Told from Sage's first person point of view and alternating with chapters in the third person from Nico's and Frankie's (the deputy sheriff) viewpoints, Marred is an intense and suspenseful thriller. The vivid descriptions of the settings and the information on the forensics were fascinating. Incredibly, Marred is Sue Coletta's debut novel. This author knows her stuff and has a very engaging style of writing and creating dialogue. I enjoyed the different points of view and particularly liked Frankie, Nico's deputy, whose viewpoint introduced a slightly lighter side to an otherwise very dark and scary story. I enjoy thrillers that surprise me and Sue Coletta has definitely managed that with the unpredictable turns and developments that I did not see coming. The ending left potential for a sequel, and I will certainly seek out future publications by this author.

Garry Rodgers

Lock your door. Turn up your lights. And prepare to thoroughly engross in one of the best reading rides you’ll ever have. Sue Coletta’s brilliantly told crime thriller, Marred, is the emotional, gut-tearing story of Sage Quintano’s physical and psychological survival—first from a vicious sexual assault, then from the taunting stalk by a deranged serial killer who’s abducted Sage’s twin sister, Chloe.
Marred suspends you into a terrifying world through an incredibly well-structured plot. The characters are superbly developed. The dialogue is fast, sharp, and thoroughly convincing. The twists, turns, and hidden clues keep you immersed in pure story right from the heartbreaking prologue to an end you’ll never see coming.
But what impressed me most—and this is coming from a person who spent a lifetime as a real-life homicide detective and forensic coroner—is the accuracy of detail in the crime scenes and how well woven the forensic evidence is.
If there were a six-star rating, I’d give it to Marred. And I’m predicting that Sue Coletta is going to be a household name in the crime thriller genre. She’s just that good a writer!
~ Garry Rodgers, Retired homicide detective, forensic coroner, and bestselling crime writer.

Mae Clair

MARRED is a wonderful dark, disturbing ride from beginning to end. Sage Quintano is still emotionally shattered from a brutal assault that occurred three years earlier. Now, having relocated to rural New Hampshire with her husband, Niko, she’s hoping to put the past behind her. But as the wife of the local sheriff, that’s not easy to do. Especially when her twin sister vanishes and a string of grisly crimes resurrects more than a few restless demons of the past.

Sue Coletta delivers a strong debut novel that will keep fans of psychological thrillers and crime fiction riveted to the page. Her scenes are vivid, the crime scene details clearly well-researched, and the plot one that will keep you guessing right up until the end. Her characters are people the reader can easily relate to, right down to the flaws and scars many of them carry. Perhaps that’s why the story feels so intense—a roller-coaster ride of suspense as the reader becomes caught up in the looming presence of evil. The scenes when Sage imagines her stalker lurking outside are particularly strong.

As someone who enjoys everything from detective fiction to mysteries and thrillers, this book kept me turning pages well into the night. You won’t be disappointed!

Eliza Cross

There are two reasons why you should be prepared for sleepless nights when you read Marred by Sue Coletta. Reason #1, it’s a page-turner and you’ll be staying up late to see what happens next. And #2, if you’re like me, you’ll be thinking about Coletta’s chilling story for a long, long time -- especially if your phone rings unexpectedly.

Early in the book I became completely invested in the protagonist Sage Quintano and her detective husband Niko’s quest. Coletta’s carefully researched writing style and whip-smart dialogue brings the reader inside a world of unthinkably gruesome murders, crime scene forensics, and criminal psychology as Sage and Niko try to stop a brutal, twisted killer. The intrigue builds through many plot twists and turns, and Coletta’s vivid, heart-stopping descriptions are so jarringly real that there are several scenes I'll never forget. I couldn’t put down Marred until I reached the last page, and it was such a satisfying read that I don’t even mind the hours of lost sleep. I can’t wait to read more by this author!

Renee Benzaim

I pre-ordered this book and, as soon as it downloaded to my Kindle, I began reading. I couldn't stop reading. I finally finished it in the middle of the night and enjoyed every page. Ms. Coletta's forensic details are superb. She gives us well-developed characters we care about.
Good job, Sue! When can we expect more from you?

Renee Benzaim, Writer
Det. Annie Avants series

C. S. Boyack

This book is a chilling, thrill a minute, read. Others have addressed the plot and theme, so I'm going to mention some of the background information. The supporting characters are well fleshed out, and I found myself looking forward to one deputy in particular. Coletta's settings are wonderfully described without dedicating a ton of space. This book reads well, and delivers everything it promises and more. I will seek out this author in the future.

Writester

I read this book in one sitting and couldn't put it down. Coletta combines nuanced characters, rich settings, and suspenseful plot details in a masterful way. Not only is the story a compelling page-turner, it's a thought-provoking tale that will haunt you long after you're done reading it. I'm really looking forward to her next release.

Nicholas Rossis

Nail-biting fun, from cover to cover. Coletta starts with a bang and doesn't let go of the reader until the very last, chilling sentence.

Mind you, it does get dark. In Coletta's world, terrible things do happen to nice people.

Still, if you enjoy a well-written, well-researched thriller, then this is the perfect book for you.

Paul Dale Anderson

Crime writers need to read everything they can find about forensics, and it’s evident Sue Coletta has. Marred is the first published novel by Sue Coletta, a writer to watch. Sue Coletta includes lessons in forensics in every novel. She also includes keen insights on the failure of human communication gleaned from closely observing human interactions . . . Marred is a roller-coaster thrill ride that alternates points of view between Sages’ first person and Niko and Frankie’s third person. Human beings make mistakes, and sometimes they hurt the people they love most. Sage, Niko, Frankie, and Chloe feel hurt, so they hurt others in return. Marred leaves open the possibility of a sequel. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

Kathleen P. Rowland


I barely survived along with the heroine, Sage Quintano! Great read!

For three years mystery author Sage Quintano and her sheriff husband, Niko, are shells of their former selves. A brutal knife attack against Sage caused a miscarriage, a permanent scar on her jugular and knee damage. When Niko went after the assailant, he caught a bullet to the shoulder which flairs up, but his biggest problem is like hers, the emotional devastation. They moved from Boston to a small town in New Hampshire and did not leave a forwarding address. Sage answers the phone and recognizes the voice of the masked man who attacked her and guesses that leaving a phone number with a hospital led him to her. The brute asks her if she wants to live forever.
In their new town Sheriff Niko Quintano investigates a murder in a barn. He has to put up with associates and underlings of the country bumpkin variety. His partner Frankie has no professionalism, but his ex-military new addition, Ben Matthews, takes orders. The MO is similar with cigarette burns to an eighteen-year-old’s feet. Breasts and eyes were removed with black threads in X’s sewn in skin. A pulley system was used to hang the bloody, decomposed body as if she is a flying angel in the barn. The killer does not necessarily have to be strong because the pulley system offers a mechanical advantage.
Sage recognizes the clues when “her husband’s heart breaks” and decides to snoop in his briefcase. Confronted by Niko who sees papers from his file strewn about, Sage offers to help. They joke about “the kids” not telling. The kids are their dogs, a mastiff and Rottweiler. During that morning Sage and Niko bond over the case, but he doesn’t want her involved. When Sage receives a phone call from the serial killer telling her he has her twin sister, Chloe, she draws upon every shred of strength. The killer wants fifty thousand dollars and commands her to write a book about him. Sage immediately drives to Boston to meet and share her dilemma with her agent, Jess, who agrees to give her an advance.
What clues does the killer spill? Once I started reading Marred, I couldn’t put it down. I worried about the trap being set for Sage, the angel that got away. I highly recommend Marred to all my friends, particularly those who love mysteries. I admire talented Sue Colletta’s fast paced writing, complicated plot, and likeable characters, Sage and Niko.

Peter Hogenkamp

Any fan of crime fiction is going to love this debut from Sue Coletta, especially if you like them dark and twisted. It reminded me of Silence of the Lambs in a pastoral setting. Read it!

Ellie Gray

I really enjoyed reading Marred. Sue Coletta has created characters you can identify with and who you really want to root for. The attention to detail in terms of the police procedures and forensics meant that you felt a part of the investigation rather than an observer and the twists and turns kept the pages turning. All in all an excellent, if chilling, read. I can't wait to read Sue's next novel.

Blondeusk

I thought this book was amazing. It was so gripping I could not put down. I just had to keep reading. Loved the characters. Loved the author's engaging style of writing. An excellent read!

Caleb Pirtle

SUE COLETTA LOVES MYSTERIES that keep readers on the edge of their seats. She has written one. Sue Coletta loves mysteries where readers are dared to solve complex puzzles about grisly murders. She has written one. Don’t doubt it for a moment. Her debut novel is a brilliant and compelling journey through the dark streets of a woman’s worst nightmare. Her husband is a homicide detective. But can he save her? Or will he be forced to investigate her death as well?

The mystery is haunting. The suspense is suffocating. The secrets have been buried deep, secrets left behind by a serial killer who threatens to come back and uncover them, an act that may potentially destroy them all.

Sue Coletta has burst on the scene with one of the most disturbing and unforgettable novels of the year. Her writing is strong and powerful. It prickles your skin, then sears it. It embeds fear deep in your mind. You are no longer the reader. You are in the story yourself. And you see every mysterious moment through the eyes of a best-selling author, Sage Quintano, whose past is stalking her, whose past threatens to expose her, whose past threatens to kill her, whose memories haven’t let her sleep well in years.

Sue writes: Adrenaline masked my pain, and I sprinted from room to room, closed and secured all the windows and double-checked the locks on the front and back doors, bolted upstairs, and pressed my foot on the sliders’ security bar. Colt and Ruger watched me zip around the house, not knowing what was wrong. Ruger gave up and laid his head on crossed paws while Colt bounded over and stayed on my heels.

When I returned to the kitchen table, the phone rang again. My gaze locked on the handset, and I froze. Colt’s face ping-ponged between me and the phone. He put the pieces together in his mind, trotted over, and knocked the receiver off the cradle, gently clasped the handset in his lips and carried it to me. By using his training to aid me, he was trying to help, but at that moment, it was the last thing I wanted him to do . . . I slapped a hand over my mouth and held back screams, refusing to give him the satisfaction of terrifying me. I also couldn’t hang up. His breath held me hostage. My fingers lost feeling around the handset, knuckles white from lack of blood flow. Unable to move, I was in his thrall.

“Do you want to live forever?”

A serial killer is on the lose. He’s been preying on innocent women, and he’s looking for Sage Quintano. He’s found her. She escaped him once and fled to the rural countryside of New Hampshire. What will be her fate this time?

Sue Coletta’s writing style is bold. It’s riveting. Her words carry the impact of pistol shots. Her dialogue would make Raymond Chandler proud. Her story touches your heart, then threatens to rip it out. Been sleeping good lately? You won’t after reading Marred.