Restless Mayhem by Sue Coletta

Ciao, amici! I’ve got another guest here today to share her new release. But this isn’t just any guest. This is everyone’s favorite murder expert. At least, she’s mine. Weird title to hold, perhaps, but there’s no denying her knowledge of the subject. (KNOWLEDGE, I said. Not EXPERIENCE. That’s a totally different thing.)

Despite the twisted actions of her characters, she’s one of the nicest people I know… always quick with a kind word or a quip to lighten the mood. Not only a friend to people, she’s a friend to a whole ecosystem of animals who have come to regard her yard as theirs and her as family. (Visit her site for more on their antics.)

Please join me in welcoming friend and fellow author Sue Coletta to the site today.

Amidst a rising tide of poachers, three unlikely eco-warriors take a stand to save endangered Eastern Gray Wolves—even if it means the slow slaughter of their captors.

Deep in the woods of Jackson, New Hampshire, an ancient evil lurks. Armed poachers patrol a secret enclosure, holding captive a pack of majestic Eastern Gray Wolves. But three unlikely eco-warriors are determined to free the wolves, embarking on a dangerous mission to end their torture. With courage and conviction, Shawnee, Mayhem, and Jacy Lee march onward, even if it means risking their own lives to take down the poachers and restore freedom to the wolves. It’s a battle between justice and injustice, and the eco-warriors are determined to win—no matter the cost.

But what if something even more evil lurks in those woods? What if Shawnee’s not ready to answer the cry for help?


Careful not to smudge my blessed symbols, my grandfather framed my face in his palms. “The best course of action is to not allow him to find you. Hiding is not losing if it saves your life. Focus, Mourning Dove. You can do this.” He held a finger to his lips—no more talking—then scanned the thick wooded terrain.

Using leaves as side mirrors, he directed me off-trail, our moccasins silent against the earth. With my mind on high alert, acutely aware of my surroundings, I pointed at the black pinion feathers of a crow in the distance.

Cheeks dimpling, Shicheii nodded, then drew back into the shadows, undid his long braids, and used his hair to mask his face. A blue jay soared by us, chattering about something. Did Mr. Mayhem have him on the payroll, too? He said I couldn’t trust anyone, including animals. I hooked an arm at Shicheii, and he followed me to the South end of the property, where I spotted a dugout—perfect place to hide. But when I pointed it out to Shicheii, he rocked his head in an emphatic no.

In my mind, his voice resonated.

Black bear den.

Poe let out a screech that raised all my tiny neck hairs at once. Shicheii motioned for me to close my eyes. With a hand dead center on my chest, his touch steadied my breathing. When I opened my eyes, I raised my chin and brushed my fingertips across the Apache Tears then down the Spirit Animals Mom hand-carved into the wooden beads. The turquoise armband tightened when I flexed to scale a sturdy maple tree for a better vantage point. Below me, Shicheii monitored ground level.

Peering through multiple branches, thick with leaves, the ends of Mr. Mayhem’s hair dangled high in a canopy.


I climbed down to the lowest branch, jumped to the ground, my knees bending, absorbing the dismount. A mourning dove flitted down to the soil, and I gasped. But when I turned my head to tell Shicheii, a bullet of brown swooped in, nailing the mourning dove with such immense power an explosion of feathers flew in all directions.

Hawk. Huh. Maybe I could use him to my advantage. Crows and hawks were mortal enemies. If he’s hunting here, Poe and the others must defend their turf. Ipso facto, if they’re preoccupied, they couldn’t track me and Shicheii.

Reading my mind or deciphering my body language—hard to tell which—my grandfather switched to silent communication.

Now you’re thinking like a warrior. Use the environment to guide you, Mourning Dove.

We hugged the shadows, waiting for the crows to pursue the hawk. A chorus of angry caws stirred a cloudless sky while my grandfathergathered sticks and dead limbs, stacking them against a large bolder. He mouthed, “Decoy.”

Smart. I see how this works.

If a predator couldn’t detect its prey, the prey won. The best defense was camouflage. Animals who knew how to blend into their environment lasted the longest. If the predator didn’t notice its prey, the prey avoided having to outrun or fight the predator. Background matching worked best. Shicheii once told me about the Eastern Screech Owl who hid during the day by matching the color and pattern of tree bark. Disruptive coloration broke up the shape of its body and made it harder to spot because it didn’t fit the shape for which the predator was searching.

I could do the same. Because I sure as hell couldn’t go head-to-head with Mr. Mayhem.

And so, with the crows in hot pursuit of the intruder—thank you, Mr. Hawk—I bundled dead leaves and pine needles off the forest floor as quietly as I could, freezing at the points when my activity got too loud. When Shicheii noticed what I was doing, he jumped in to help, piling the leaf litter in the shadows, smoothing out a flat surface thick enough for me to hide beneath.

Once all the forest debris was in place, heshowed me how to slither under the blanket of leaves. Sticks and discarded branches covered me, including my face, my eyes peering through thin slivers. In my head, Shicheii’s voice rang clear.

When he comes for you, use your face paint as camouflage by lowering your eyelids.

With that bit of expert advice, he vanished into the surrounding area.

Confined under the forest floor, my heart worked overtime, blood sluicing through my veins, my gaze shifting left, right, and up at the trees, searching for a glimpse of Mr. Mayhem. But I couldn’t find him anywhere. Nor could I spot Shicheii. Even without the benefit of face paint, they both blended into the fabric of the forest.

If I didn’t steady my breathing, Mr. Mayhem would sniff me out. So, I closed my eyes and recited the warrior’s prayer while envisioning how Mr. Mayhem appeared speaking the same words, words he lived by each and every day.

I am what I am. In having faith in the beauty within me, I develop trust. In softness, I have strength. In silence, I walk the higher realms. In peace, I understand myself and the world. In conflict, I stay calm, cool, collected… I am what I am—eternal, immortal, universal, and infinite.

About fifteen feet to my right, someone—or something—stepped on a stick.


I cracked open one eye. Oh. My. God. My breath stalled.

A massive mountain lion paw stepped into view, followed by a second.

Dear God, don’t let him find me.

Take advantage of the 99c preorder sale before Restless Mayhem releases tomorrow!

Sue Coletta


Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer’s Digest “101 Best Websites for Writers”) and Writers Helping Writers.

Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, the Mayhem Series and Grafton County Series and true crime/narrative nonfiction. When she’s not writing, Sue teaches a virtual course about serial killers for EdAdvance in CT and a condensed version for her fellow Sisters In Crime. She’s appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion, and three episodes of A Time to Kill on Investigation Discovery (airs: summer, 2023).

You can visit Sue at her website:

Author Sue Coletta shares an #excerpt from her #newrelease, RESTLESS MAYHEM. @SueColetta1 @stacitroilo #mystery #thriller

Isn’t that a stunning cover? And what an excerpt!

I hope you’ll share Sue’s announcement with your friends and join me in offering her congratulations by leaving a comment below. Before you go, I invite you to click on some of the links, most especially the purchase link for Restless Mayhem. Grazie!

75 thoughts on “Restless Mayhem by Sue Coletta

  1. What a wonderful post for Sue’s new book! I have it waiting for me on my Kindle and will be reading it soon. I love the Native American aspect of this story. Thank you for sharing, Staci, and congratulations to Sue!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve loved all the Mayhem book covers, but this one is over and above stunning. Definitely draws the eye. Sue has created memorable characters with this series (both human and animal). I’m wish her all the best with the release!

    Liked by 2 people

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