Former Lennoxville resident prepares for second book release in under a year

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Former Lennoxville resident prepares for second book release in under a year
Tessa Wegert (Photo : Courtesy)

When Tessa Wegert met her husband’s family for the first time nearly 17 years ago on an island that they own in the Thousand Islands, her mind, influenced by years of consuming mystery and thriller novels, wandered to a strange place.
She panicked. Wegert started to think about some of the worst possible scenarios. What would happen if no one liked her, she wondered, and more importantly, what would happen if something sinister occurred on the island, leaving her stranded with strangers.
“I don’t have a boat and I’m not going to drive their boat and then the next place my mind went right away was what if there was a crime on one of these islands and I just started becoming really curious at how that would even work,” she recalled in a phone interview.
The overall experience left a lasting impression on her. Close to two decades later, Wegert would use her memories from that island getaway to lay the groundwork for her first novel, Death in the Family, which was published in February.
The story follows Shana Merchant, a special investigator who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after suffering a harrowing kidnapping experience during her time with the New York Police Department.
Merchant moves to a small town in the Thousand Islands region of Upstate New York to get away from her past. However, she takes a job with the local police force and quickly becomes embroiled in a murder investigation involving a wealthy family and a private island.
“She’s trapped on this island trying to determine who is responsible among all of the family members and the guests on the island for the man’s disappearance,” Wegert said.
The 44-year-old former Lennoxville resident has another novel on the way, The Dead Season, set to release on Dec. 8. It’s the second book in her Shana Merchant mystery-thriller series. It takes place a few weeks after Death in the Family and digs deeper into Merchant’s past.

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