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Charlie Donlea: A Rising Suspense Writer Who Delivers What Your Favorite Podcasts Can’t

Were you obsessed with Serial? How about Making A Murderer?

If so, you are not alone. Twenty-million people were hooked, including USA Today bestselling author—and rising suspense star—Charlie Donlea. The addictive true crime docu-dramas were the catalyst to crafting his third novel, Don’t Believe It.

But unlike those series, Donlea made it his mission to finally provide the satisfaction millions missed from those docu-dramas—and he is just the writer to do it.

Charlie Donlea is a writer on a meteoric rise.

It takes years for writers to achieve the level of acclaim he is experiencing. Most suspense and thriller authors must publish for years until they gain enough traction to hit a bestseller list; Donlea landed on the IndieBound bestseller list with his debut novel, Summit Lake (2016) and hit the USA Today bestseller list with his second, The Girl Who Was Taken (2017). Donlea’s first two books established him as an author who delivers high-concept suspense with timely premises, and his novels always deliver shocking plot-twists and explosive endings.

In addition, he creates strong female leads—not the typical detective or main protagonist usually found in a book about murder investigations.

His latest novel Don’t Believe It is no exception. The female protagonist, Sidney Ryan, is a no-nonsense TV producer of the hit true crime docu-series “The Girl of Sugar Beach”—which has become the most-watched documentary in television history. The show is a riveting, true-life mystery that asks the fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend while on vacation, or is she merely a victim of poor police work, circumstantial evidence, and ultimately,

failed justice?

Unlike your favorite murder podcast, in Don’t Believe It,

you will get an answer.

Donlea says, “My biggest complaint about these shows is the endings rarely satisfy, they tend to raise more questions than they answer. So I decided that a story about a documentarian who’s investigating and making one of those shows not only provided a great premise for a timely novel, but also gave me the ability to create as wild an ending as my imagination could conceive.”

Reading like a juicy behind-the-scenes exposé of the crime shows or podcasts millions of us binge upon, Don’t Believe It is sure to appeal to fans of true crime docu-dramas, along with readers of Mary Kubica or Shari Lapena.

It certainly does not hurt that the murder is set in an exotic location that much like the main character, you will want to return to again and again. Even Donlea found himself lured by the pull of the Caribbean Sea.

Sugar Beach Resort St. Lucia
Sugar Beach Resort St. Lucia Caribbean

He said, “The setting is a tropical resort in St. Lucia called Sugar Beach Resort my wife and I discovered on Spring Break vacation with our kids. I thought it would make the perfect location for my novel. So much so that my wife and I returned to Sugar Beach the following year to celebrate our anniversary and do some much-needed research.”

Merging high-concept suspense with all the binge worthy intrigue of true crime docu-dramas, Don’t Believe It is a timely thriller that builds into a shocking conclusion you will never see coming, plus it comes with a satisfying ending most of us only wish we could get from true crime TV and podcasts.

In the hands of other suspense writers, this might be a tall order, but with whip-smart writing and strong female leads, acclaimed author Charlie Donlea has proven he lives up to the hype… that you can believe.

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Posted on April 27, 2018

Don’t Believe It will be released by Kensington Books on May 29, 2018. To learn more about Charlie Donlea, visit

Sponsored by Kensington Publishing Corp.

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