Cathryn Grant

Online Profile
Author welcomes queries regarding

Before The Telegraph (October 2014) and The Independent (January 2015) discovered the appeal of Suburban Noir fiction, I took to categorizing my novels under that banner because my work doesn't fit neatly into the thriller or suspense genres. My novels and stories reveal a world where psychological suspense meets psychological horror. Exploring the conflicts and betrayals leading to crime fascinates me far more than stories of detection. I want to follow character journeys, peer into the psychological forces that drive fictional people to do what they do, and witness the way small choices accumulate, leading to unforeseen and life-changing consequences.

Readers have said my writing makes the mundane menacing.

This uneasy world is portrayed in my seven novels as well as in my short fiction, which has been published in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Magazines, The Shroud Quarterly Journal, and various flash fiction e-zines.

Whether it’s a realistic style or a side trip into a world where ghosts make themselves known, as I do in the Madison Keith ghost story series, characters battle the antagonists in their own minds as often as they wrestle with the flesh and blood people in their lives.

I graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in history, and worked in the high tech industry for nearly twenty years. Now, I write near the ocean where I live with my husband and two cats.

AN AFFAIR WITH GOD (A Suburban Noir Novel) Cover

AN AFFAIR WITH GOD (A Suburban Noir Novel)

BY Cathryn Grant • POSTED ON July 31, 2015

From Grant (Beloved Ghosts, 2015, etc.) comes a novel about a minister’s wife in desperate need of her husband’s attention.

Gabrielle, an attractive young woman whose “full breasts were the only fleshy part of her body,” finds herself at a difficult moment in her marriage to Mark, a motorcycle-riding pastor. “From the beginning,” the narrative says, “it had been a silent battle between her and Grace Lutheran Church for Mark’s attention.” As time accumulates after the couple has their first child, the battle becomes more heated. While Mark busies himself with a controversial opportunity for the church to expand, his love life with Gabrielle dwindles to nothing. “Her touch was supposed to entice him. She didn’t want to ask him to make love to her. She shouldn’t have to!” In addition to her feeling rejected by her husband, she’s overly attached to her young son, Peter: “It terrified Gabrielle to think of Peter going out into the world without her, learning things she didn’t want him to know, picking up habits she didn’t like.” Will Gabrielle’s desire, anger, and loneliness boil over like a volcano or sink into a detached domestic existence? Since the book opens with a scene that involves a dead body, clearly the reader can expect something of the former. Enter Allysan, a “musky” woman who attends prayer meetings at a place where “They believe God is active, not just a remote being that has to be invoked through correct words and structured worship services.” What sort of effect might an active God have on a decisively inactive libido? Featuring men and women who are as complex as they are familiar—the conservative albeit hip pastor, the judgmental though tender mother—the nuanced and believable story paints its picture in striking colors. The only bump in the road may be its predictability, given the premise of a disinterested husband. That aside, the book doesn’t fail to provide an affair that is anything but languid.

Astutely detailed if a tad unwoven.

Pub Date: July 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-943142-09-5

Page count: 474pp

Publisher: D2C Perspectives

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Faceless Cover


BY Cathryn Grant • POSTED ON March 6, 2015

Grant’s (Getting Ahead, 2014, etc.) novel tackles social media and its impact on real people.

Allie is an attractive woman with a nice home, a successful husband, and a supportive group of friends. That is, if you consider her “friends” on the Facebook-like site AboutFace to be more than virtual acquaintances. Though she has known most of her circle since high school, their interactions lean more toward status updates and snarky comments than deep conversations. It’s a fact that annoys her husband, Marcus, to no end. As he tells his wife, “You can’t read about someone’s life and click favorite and make one-sentence comments and call that a friendship. You just can’t.” The question is simple, even if the answer is not: just how well do these people really know each other? The book attacks our world of constant though limited interaction head-on, exploring characters ranging from hotshot PR man Jake to deeply religious, Bible-quoting Tiffany (sample status update: “ ‘Every place where you set your foot will be yours.’ Deuteronomy 11:24”). Grant also takes on hot topics like the addictive qualities of a constantly buzzing smartphone and the effects of seeing only the carefully curated positive aspects of other people’s lives (e.g., an expensive new home). Though the narrative can be heavy-handed at times—there’s even a right-wing friend who posts articles about “how we all need to arm ourselves and hunker down before the government turns us into slaves”—the characters for the most part emerge as genuine and familiar. After all, we all know someone who can’t seem to put her phone down, someone who gives “the impression she couldn’t live without her social network.” Maybe it’s even you.

A perceptive, inviting look at the thornier aspects of constant instant communication.

Pub Date: March 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9896410-8-1

Page count: 532pp

Publisher: D2C Perspectives

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015


Alone On the Beach: The Haunted Ship Trilogy Book One

A ghost that haunts the human mind is the most terrifying of all. Corrine Dunning loves living by the ocean, and her life is getting even better now that she's falling in love with Andy Johnson. When Corrine meets a blind old woman who insists the concrete ship in Monterey Bay is haunted, she doesn't believe it. Although Mary Carmichael is blind now, she's seen a lot of love affairs bloom and die near Seacliff Beach. She was a child when the concrete SS Palo Alto was pulled up to the pier at Seacliff - she's always known it was haunted, and she knows the ghost will weave itself into Corrine's life, taking over her thoughts. While Corrine and Mary begin a tentative friendship, Corrine's relationship with Andy takes an unsettling turn. Is it possible Corrine's mistrust began when she saw the ghostly woman on the ship? Now, Corrine must battle a spirit that's made a home inside her mind.
Published: Oct. 21, 2015
ISBN: 9781943142170

Buried By Debt

Devon worships Jenna. Their friends say he's obsessed with her. Maybe he is, all he knows is that he wants to give her the world. Counting on a lucrative promotion, he bought a multi-million dollar home in Silicon Valley for her. It's all good because Jenna adores him. He's a lucky guy, and he's confident he has their finances under control. Jenna worked hard to get where she is, harder than Devon and their friends. She thought she had it all -- a soul mate, a fun job, and a gorgeous Mediterranean Revival home. Now, the economy's gone south, Devon's promotion is delayed, and Devon and Jenna are desperate to hide their sky-rocketing debt from their friends. When Jenna's best friend confronts them about the money they owe her for their share of a lavish wedding shower, jealousy and a long-buried secret explode in violence. Will their love survive their crimes?
Published: Jan. 25, 2013
ISBN: 9780983990932

Getting Ahead

Office politics, unconsummated desire, and murder send two women down unexpected paths that dramatically alter their lives. Fanatical dedication to her career, an MBA degree, and a savvy awareness of workplace politics are all Laura Bachman needs to take the next step up the corporate ladder. She knows the job is hers for the taking, but an administrative assistant who behaves like a femme fatale, and a sinister jogger at the track where she runs, threaten to derail her. Vanessa Hillman isn't quite sure what she wants, although she knows it's something different, something more, something she can't put into words. She loves her fiancé and they have a good life together. She's great at her job and her boss values her. But she's young, too young to be so settled and she needs more. If she could just figure out what that is.
Published: March 29, 2014
ISBN: 9780991660520

Haunting The Beach: The Haunted Ship Trilogy Book Three

It's 1930 and the concrete ship is towed to its final resting place at Seacliff Beach. The town of Aptos is buzzing with anticipation for the grand opening of the restaurant and dance hall built inside the ship. Everyone has a dream for the promise of a night on the ship. Mary fights to convince her parents the "adults only" rule is unfair. Her mother, Lorene King, anticipates a final chance to rekindle her marriage and her husband's colleague, Jacob Archer, knows it's the perfect setting to win the woman he adores. The concrete ship, glowing with lights and filled with music has a dark side -- It's Prohibition and bootleggers know they can pick up their illegal deliveries when the parties are over and the lights go out. Greed and violence threaten to shatter the dreams of Lorene and those she loves. As the tragic events of Mary's childhood unfold before her uncomprehending eyes, she has a terrifying encounter with the ghost that dwells within the S.S. Palo Alto. In the end, Mary discovers the truth about the ghost that haunts the concrete ship.
Published: April 22, 2016
ISBN: 9781943142224

Madison Keith Ghost Story Collection - Volume 1 (Suburban Noir Ghost Stories)

This collection includes the first three novellas in the Madison Keith Suburban Noir Ghost Story series: Fatal Cut, Shallow Water, Unholy Child. In Fatal Cut, a man is brutally murdered in the church parking lot. Madison Keith is the only one who isn't surprised by the identity of the killer. She has witnessed first hand the buried resentments and bitter hearts of the people at her new job, not to mention the appearance of those who have passed on. In the second novella, Shallow Water, Madison finds a dead body in the shallow water of Half Moon Bay. The most likely culprit has a rock-solid alibi, and Madison isn't sure whether the legendary ghost that haunts The Distillery restaurant is helping or hindering her quest to understand why a young woman drowned. When Madison agrees to meet a good-looking bartender on the beach, ghosts and corpses take a back seat. In the third novella, Unholy Child, a proposed child care center enflames hidden prejudices at Central Avenue Church, leading to murder. A dark spirit terrifies Madison and dampens her previous enthusiasm for encountering ghosts. She's determined to find out what, or who, is causing her torment. The answer is unsettling. Madison forgets all about sinister ghosts during a romantic dinner with the cute bartender she met in Half Moon Bay. Both the living and the dead like to reveal their secrets to Madison Keith. As the administrative assistant in the basement office of a suburban church, she gets plenty of opportunity to hear from both. Through it all, Madison offers up a steady stream of opinions on everything from the subject of religion and ghosts to finding a soul mate.
Published: Feb. 23, 2013
ISBN: 9780988824164

Madison Keith Ghost Story Collection - Volume 2 (Suburban Noir Ghost Stories)

This collection includes novellas four through six in the Madison Keith Suburban Noir Ghost Story series: Stone Cold, Deadly Streets, Lonely Ghosts. In the fourth novella of this Suburban Noir Ghost Story series, Madison Keith visits her best friend on the Oregon coast. While staying in an unusual stone house, she meets two disturbing women who harbor a shocking secret. As Madison seeks to uncover the reasons for their cruel and aggressive behavior, she has a supernatural encounter, and stumbles across the body of someone who has been dead for some time. Escaping from the others for a few minutes of sanity, Madison talks to her boyfriend, JD, and makes a decision about their relationship. In the fifth novella in this series, Madison stumbles across the body of a homeless man lying in the street in front of the church where she works as an administrative assistant. The sickening and persistent ghost of the dead man forces her to search for an answer to why he was murdered. Madison's relationship with her boyfriend hits a rough spot when she reveals a dark part of her past and his reaction is not what she'd hoped for. In the sixth novella, Madison and her boyfriend, JD, go to Australia to visit his twin brother, Luke. Before the plane lands in Sydney, a woman's body is found in Luke's garden. Madison and JD seem to be more interested in coming up with potential suspects than Luke, and when the ghost of the dead woman appears in their bedroom, whispering that she's lonely, Madison knows she has to dig deeper before the ghost gets her icy fingers into JD. Both the living and the dead like to reveal their secrets to Madison. As the administrative assistant in the basement office of a suburban church, she gets plenty of opportunity to hear from both. Through it all, Madison continues to offer up a steady stream of opinions on everything from the subject of religion and ghosts to finding a soul mate.
Published: Nov. 6, 2013
ISBN: 9780989641005

Madison Keith Ghost Story Collection - Volume 3 (Suburban Noir Ghost Stories)

This collection includes novellas seven through nine in the Madison Keith Suburban Noir Ghost Story series: Last Chance, Eaten Alive, Empty Home. Even though she doesn't believe in them, Pastor Kate believes she's been assaulted by a ghost in the novella, Last Chance. She asks Madison to spend a few nights at the home where she's helping one of the church deacons and his wife with their new baby. Not only does Madison encounter a ghost who is bloody with pain, she alienates her hosts with her constant questions about the history of the quirky, moldy house. When Madison encounters the ghost herself, none of her questions are answered. When she pushes harder to find out the identity of the angry spirit, JD tells her she doesn't need to investigate, not all ghosts are her responsibility. Madison is determined to get an answer. Will she also find the courage to look for answers to murders in her own past? In the eighth novella, Madison feels she's being "eaten alive" with thoughts about her past, but when she asks Pastor Joe for time off to look for closure, he questions her commitment to her job. When she discovers her murdered neighbor's body, she resorts to minor crimes herself to find out more about his life. An ugly ghost with cryptic messages and an uncertain identity drives her curiosity to the point of obsession. In the ninth ghost story in this series, Madison is determined to get some answers about the ghosts from her past. Returning to her childhood home, she finds more than she bargained for: a detective who no longer cares, an aunt and uncle who are not the people she thought they were, and a ghost from a different murder altogether. Her desire to find out the truth pushes her close to the edge. Both the living and the dead like to reveal their secrets to Madison. As the administrative assistant in the basement office of a suburban church, she gets plenty of opportunity to hear from both. Through it all, Madison continues to offer up a steady stream of opinions on everything from the subject of religion and ghosts to finding a soul mate.
Published: Nov. 29, 2014
ISBN: 9780991660568

Madison Keith Ghost Story Collection Volume 4 (Suburban Noir Ghost Stories)

This collection includes the final two novellas in the Madison Keith Suburban Noir Ghost Story series: Ugly Truth and Beloved Ghosts. In Ugly Truth, Madison is confronted by an entity whose message could destroy the pastor of the church where she works. Still trying to reconcile her parents' murders, she's forced to expose her past in order to deal with this spirit haunting the church basement. While wanting to know the truth about her parents, it is truth that may bring devastation to this small church. Putting her job on the line, she must decide whether or not she can be true to herself. In Beloved Ghosts, the final novella of this series, Madison is consumed by her desire to find the ghosts from her past and allow them to rest. The contents of her childhood journals are both disappointing and surprising. She hardly notices JD standing by her side as she discovers increasing horrors in her past, and begins to wonder if she'll ever find peace.
Published: July 31, 2015
ISBN: 9781943142057

Slipping Away From the Beach: The Haunted Ship Trilogy Book Two

It's 1967 -- the summer of love. Mary's four sons are grown. Her husband has left her for a woman who is young, beautiful, and unencumbered by children. He also left her with enough money to live comfortably in an ocean-front house on the edge of Rio Del Mar beach. Mary is eager to inhale the music and freedom, the sex and altered states of consciousness that have permeated Santa Cruz and most of California. This might be her last chance to feel young, find love, and regain her spirit. Home from UC Berkeley for the summer, Thomas is appalled by his mother's hippie houseguests. As he tries to put an end to Mary's wild parties, he's forced to confront demons of his own. After witnessing a gruesome death, the summer of love grows cold and dark as Mary questions the circumstances of the death and wrestles with the ghost haunting the concrete ship.
Published: Feb. 3, 2016
ISBN: 9781943142200

The Demise of the Soccer Moms

Witnessing her mother's rape left Amy Lewis disturbed and haunted by irrational fears. Now, a brutal assault in her upscale suburban community has forced her to rely even more on her comforting rituals. When Amy's husband befriends Charlotte, a sexy single mother, the cruel voice of Amy's father is unleashed in her memory, transforming Amy's paranoia into psychosis. In a world where suburban women, tormented by obsessive fears for their children, are on a collision course, not all of them will survive.
Published: Dec. 29, 2010
ISBN: 9780983186816

The Hallelujah Horror Show

Obsession, fanaticism, and ambition clash leading to death. As Bob Lambert sneaks a weekly cigarette and observes the church across the street, his obsession zeroes in on Melody Palmer. He is hell bent on forcing her to admit that her faith is useless. Melody's fanaticism blinds her to the true nature of the people at her church and puts her on a mission to convert Bob at all costs. Ashley Lambert's ambition is thwarted by the bleak future being shoved down her throat. Now, her mistakes from the past are coming back to haunt her. This wasn't the way her life was supposed to turn out. No one was supposed to die.
Published: June 22, 2013
ISBN: 9780988824195

The Suburban Abyss

A pit, thirty-five feet deep, the foundation for a construction project that has no place in suburbia, drives some to the brink of madness. Claire could care less about the intrusive medical facility being built near her cul de sac. All she wants is to be a good mom while she finishes school and starts her life over. But has she asked the wrong man, a neighbor she's known for years, to watch her son while she's in class? Michelle thought her retirement years would be full of love and family, instead her days are shattered by earth movers and pile drivers and a husband who is definitely hiding something. Brian is a schoolteacher and a sculptor. Although he's drawn to Claire and wonders if she could be the life-long companion he longs for, she keeps him at arm's length. Why does happiness always seems to be just out of reach? As they fight to keep the construction project from destroying their tranquil suburban lives, they realize a far more dangerous threat comes from inside their very homes. What should be a safe, quiet neighborhood is in danger of slipping into the suburban abyss.
Published: Jan. 25, 2013
ISBN: 9780988824102

The Woman In the Mirror: (A Psychological Suspense Novel) (Alexandra Mallory Book One)

Noreen Palmer describes herself as sweet and responsible, but she can't stop lying about the things that happened in her bungalow perched on a cliff above the ocean. When Alexandra Mallory and Jared Brady rent rooms in Noreen's precariously situated home, the danger of falling over the cliff is the least of their fears. Noreen's escalating threats force Alex to uncover Noreen's secrets and right a terrible wrong. Alexandra Mallory is a hypnotic sociopath, using her elusive appeal to get what she wants, and to kill those who deserve to die.
Published: July 1, 2016
ISBN: 9781943142255

The Woman In the Painting: (A Psychological Suspense Novel) (Alexandra Mallory Book Three)

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Sometimes, one of those words means someone deserves to die. Alexandra loves her glamorous San Francisco apartment, but nothing is going as she'd dreamed. The lucrative job that provides her cover is in jeopardy. Her boss, Tess, is obsessed with a portrait, leaving Alex exposed. No one is what they seem -- the aloof artist, Alexandra's neighbors, and the man who is following her. Will a beautiful portrait destroy the lives of two women?
Published: Oct. 29, 2016
ISBN: 9781943142293

The Woman In the Water: (A Psychological Suspense Novel) (Alexandra Mallory Book Two)

Alexandra Mallory is envious of the spectacular house across from the tiny cabin she and Jared Brady are sharing. The house and cabin sit alongside Soquel Creek, stirring up Alexandra's lifelong fear of water. The odd behavior of the owners piques Alexandra's curiosity, and soon her envy of the house turns to an obsession with its occupants. An obsession to discover exactly what they're hiding. Before she can discover the truth, a woman's body washes up on Cowell's Beach, and Jared's fixation with the circumstances of her death threatens to expose Alexandra. When Alexandra uncovers the house's secret, she is forced to confront the menace lurking within.
Published: Aug. 31, 2016
ISBN: 9781943142279

The Woman In the Window: (A Psychological Suspense Novel) (Alexandra Mallory Book Four)

Blood is a scary thing. When Alexandra Mallory sees a woman writing on an apartment window in what appears to be blood, she becomes obsessed with discovering the secrets that lie within. While she tries to unravel this mystery, she must decide about the job offer that could secure her future, but at what cost? Further complicating her life, Alexandra's boss has entrusted her with caring for her luxury condo which holds its own unsettling surprise. The only solution to the riddle Alexandra must solve will put her in danger of exposure and force her to trust the woman in the window.
Published: Feb. 16, 2017
ISBN: 9781943142347