Date Published: 5/9/2013
Wellton, Arizona. Population 2,864… and falling. Something - or someone - is killing the kids in town, and the Wellton Police Department is called in to investigate the untimely deaths.
Officer Trent Buckley has lived in Wellton since the day he was born, and he’s been trying to get out of the small, dead-end town ever since. Just when he has a shot at a transfer to Tucson, a disturbing case lands in his lap, one that has him working with Yuma Sun reporter – and ex-lover – Sarah Goodwin. Trent is forced to push aside his resentment for Wellton and settle his own personal demons to focus on keeping more kids from dying in his town.
Chief John Walker has lived in Wellton for over thirty years. When kids start getting sick and dying, it takes all his courage to face his own past and solve the case. With the help of his best cop, Officer Buckley, Walker is determined to stop the deaths in his town, and keep them both alive in the process.
As the pair discovers what, or who, is behind the mysterious deaths, will two small-town cops be able to stay alive long enough to put a stop to it before any more kids have to die?
Kelli Kretzschmar, author of the mystery novel Defending Wellton, researched the novel by visiting Wellton, Arizona, and interviewing several officers of the Wellton Police Department. Kretzschmar says, “I needed to actually experience the feeling of the small town in order to capture Trent’s frustration in feeling stuck there. And speaking with the Wellton Police Department proved invaluable and has given me a lot of material for a second book in the Wellton series.”
Kretzschmar resides in Rancho Santa Margarita, California with her husband and three children. Although this is her first published novel, she says there will be more to come. “Writing is an exciting hobby,” says Kretzschmar. “I have lots of characters in my mind that are ready to come to life on paper. Currently, I’m working on three more novels and expect my next to be released this winter.” When asked to describe what she enjoys most about writing, Kretzschmar states, “There's a point I get to in the process of writing when the characters just start acting things out on their own, and I'm just there to record it all on paper.”
A full-time Marketing Manager for a high-technology company, Kretzschmar finds time to write between an active schedule of work, family life, and practicing her most recent passion, Krav Maga. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Cal State Long Beach.
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Trent spoke slowly, “Sarah, you can’t go to Wellton right now. In fact, I’d really like you to wait to run this story.” At her appalled glare, he continued, “Listen, there’s definitely something going on in town, but we need to keep this on the down-low until the hospital can figure it out.”
“Trent, I’m a reporter. There’s never anything going on in Wellton, and now when I finally have something of interest to report on, you’re asking me not to?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m asking you. It would mean a lot if you could just hold off.”
“I don’t get it. Why does this mean so much to you? Is there more you’re not telling me?”
Trent didn’t want to lie to her. He couldn’t. But he also couldn’t tell her about the child from this morning. “The chief asked me to come, to plead with you to hold off. You know how the town is, Sarah. If a story broke about kids dying in Wellton, the people would go ballistic. The hospital would be overwhelmed with concerned parents, and the hospital is not equipped to handle something like that. I’m begging you, please hold off just until we know more.” His voice was soft and pleading.
Sarah just stood and stared curiously at him for a minute. Just when Trent was almost ready to give up and walk out, she said, “Fine. I’ll hold the story. I don’t think you’re telling me everything, and I’m still going to dig around, but I won’t run anything in the Sun.” Then she added, “Yet.”