Staying in with V. S. Kemanis

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You know, this new feature of Staying in with… on Linda’s Book Bag is introducing me to a whole range of new to me authors and books and it’s so exciting. Today I’m delighted to welcome V. S. Kemanis to stay in and share some book news with me.

If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.

Staying in with V. S. Kemanis

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, V. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

It’s a pleasure to be here, Linda!

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought along Deep Zero, my newest legal suspense novel—release date is January 25! My protagonist, prosecutor Dana Hargrove, gives us a lot to talk about. She’s a strong and smart woman handling the most difficult criminal cases, but she shows her vulnerability when the demands of her job conflict with her family life. Maintaining a balance between the personal and the professional was the greatest challenge I faced in my own legal career, and it’s a consistent theme in my novels. Dana’s work is fascinating and ever changing with the stages of her life. In previous novels, she’s an assistant district attorney in New York City in 1988 (Thursday’s List), 1994 (Homicide Chart), and 2001 (Forsaken Oath). Deep Zero is set in 2009, when Dana is the newly-elected district attorney in a suburb of the city, where she lives with her husband, attorney Evan Goodhue, and their two teenagers, Travis and Natalie.

(Ooo! So that means tomorrow is your book birthday. Happy publication day for Deep Zero.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Deep Zero?

Dana’s new administration is under siege! A number of controversial cases converge at once: murder, cyberbullying, assault, and prescription narcotics peddling.

Further complicating things, Dana’s parenting comes under fire in the media when her children are drawn into a criminal investigation. She struggles to take the ethical high road in every case, even when love and loyalty to her family pull her in a different direction.

In Deep Zero, you can expect to feel the high emotions experienced by people on all sides of the criminal justice system: victims, defendants, witnesses, investigators, attorneys, and judges.


Forsaken Oath, was described as “clever, immersive… Kemanis, a talented weaver of scene and exposition, keeps the reader engaged with each new twist and bit of evidence, [and] successfully spins a number of subplots simultaneously” (a Kirkus Reviews recommended title).

(I think that sounds like something we can all relate to as so many of us try to find balance in our lives.)

What else have you brought along and why?

I’ve brought along the fixings for two steaming mugs of hot cocoa! Let’s get a fire going in the fireplace, settle into easy chairs, and sip slowly as we chat about Dana’s criminal cases. Deep Zero takes us to the Hudson Valley north of New York City, where an arctic cold snap provides the chilly setting for murder and mayhem. Perhaps I chose cocoa instead of a hot toddy for our winter drink this evening because, as you’ll see, things get pretty bad for some of the characters in Deep Zero when alcohol adds fuel to the fire!


(Actually, I much prefer hot chocolate to alcohol so I’m with you on that one!)

I’ve really enjoyed hearing about Deep Zero V. Thanks so much for staying in with me to talk about it.

Deep Zero

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It’s one a.m. Do you know where your teenagers are? Prosecutor Dana Hargrove makes it a point to know. But one night, in the dead of winter, she should have known more.

In February 2009, Dana is the newly-elected district attorney of a suburban county north of Manhattan, where she lives with her husband, attorney Evan Goodhue, and their two teenage children. The Great Recession has seen a rise in substance abuse and domestic violence. It’s also the era of burgeoning social media, an intoxicating lure for wayward and disaffected teens who find new methods of victimization: a game to some, with no thought of the consequences.

During an arctic cold snap, the body of a high school student is discovered, lodged in the ice floes of the Hudson River. People are crying for justice, but there doesn’t seem to be a law that fits. Days later, in one hellish night, Dana’s children are sucked into a criminal investigation against several of their classmates, making her a convenient target for community outrage.

In Deep Zero, the fourth standalone legal mystery featuring the dynamic prosecutor, Dana walks the tightrope like never before in her tricky balance between professional ethics and family loyalties.

Deep Zero is available for purchase here.

About V. S. Kemanis


V.S. Kemanis has had an exciting and varied career in the law and the arts. As an attorney, she has been a criminal prosecutor for county and state agencies, argued criminal appeals for the prosecution and defense, conducted complex civil litigation, and worked for appellate judges and courts, most recently as a supervising editor of appellate decisions. Ms. Kemanis is also an accomplished dancer of classical ballet, modern jazz, and contemporary styles, and has performed, taught and choreographed in California, Colorado and New York.

Short fiction by Ms. Kemanis has been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Crooked Road Volume 3 anthology, and several noted literary journals. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Her award-winning short fiction is available in four collections, and her legal suspense novels feature prosecutor Dana Hargrove who, like the author, juggles the competing demands of family with a high-powered professional career in the law. Learn more about the inspiration for her work in the video, The Dana Hargrove Novels. You’ll find all V. S. Kemanis’ books here.

You can find out more about V. S. Kemanis by following her on Twitter @VSKemanis, and visiting her website.

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