Wednesday, April 12, 2023


I’m so excited to finally share the cover of THE WINTERTON DECEPTION 1: FINAL WORD with you! 

It is a middle grade puzzle mystery and comes out through Pixel + Ink on Oct. 24th, 2023. Cover art is by Francisco Fonseca who does amazing work. I’m just thrilled with this cover. The lighting, that house! The dark corners and little details tucked in throughout . . . the feel of mystery just exudes from his work. 

This book is now available for pre-order at your favorite bookstore or wherever books are sold online. You can also add it on Goodreads so you're sure to get a reminder when it comes out.  For purchase link options or to connect to Goodreads, click HERE for my "Books" page.

And I'm sure you're wondering what this book is even about! So let me tell you. Or rather, let me share the official flap copy:

"In this twisty middle grade mystery for fans of Knives Out, The Inheritance Game, & The Westing Game, thirteen-year-old twins Hope and Gordon enter a spelling bee in a last-ditch effort to save their family from financial ruin, only to find themselves in a cut-throat competition to uncover a fortune and dark secrets about the wealthy relations they’ve never known.

"Hope Smith can’t stand rich people—the dictionary magnate family the Wintertons most of all. Not since she and her twin brother, Gordon, learned that their dad was one. So when Gordon enters the family into the Winterton’s charity spelling bee, Hope wants nothing to do with it. But with their mom losing her job and the family facing eviction from the motel where they live, they desperately need the money, and it looks like Hope doesn’t have much of a choice.

"After winning the preliminary round, the Smiths are whisked to Winterton Chalet to compete in the official Winterton Bee against their long-lost relatives. Hope wants to get in and out, beat the snobbish family at their own game, and never see them again. But deceased matriarch Jane Winterton had other plans for this final family showdown. Before her death, she set up a clue hunt throughout the manor—an alternate way for Hope and Gordon to get the money that could change their lives.

"Still, others are on the trail, too. With tensions at an all-time high, a fortune at stake, and long-simmering family secrets about to boil to the surface, anything could happen.

"A tense, clever clue hunt unafraid to tackle the challenges and secrets often kept behind closed doors, Final Word is a gripping series starter sure to satisfy even the most voracious armchair detectives."

Perhaps you've heard the advice to authors that you should write what you want to read. That is why I wrote FINAL WORD. I love puzzle mysteries so much. They are my favorite. But there aren't nearly enough of them. Of course, after writing one, I can understand why . . . they are ridiculously hard to manipulate into readable form. But with the help of my critique partners, friends, daughter (who is as mystery-loving as me), agent, and editor, I have done it, and I can hardly believe this is going to be a published book! (*dancing ensues*)

I hope this cover gets you as excited as I am! 


Beth said...

I just finished THE WINTERTON DECEPTION: FINAL WORD. I love MG family mysteries and I found the title you chose intriguing and appropriate for your plot. Finding MG mysteries to nominate for Agatha Awards at Malice Domestic Mystery conference is my mission. I hope to share reviews of this great novel and encourage others to read and recommend it.

Enzo said...

I'm thankful for the sense of community your blog has fostered among its readership.

Janet Johnson said...

Beth, I'm so thrilled you enjoyed it and commented here. THANK YOU! And I'm glad you liked the title! Titles are so hard! Using the word "final" in a first book of a series was a big question for us, but you're right. It was so appropriate for the story on more than one level, so we went for it. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing (and nominating!! That's amazing!)!!

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