This Charming Equestrian Thriller Has Surprises at Every Turn, Even for the Author

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How many lives can one woman save in one romantic equestrian thriller? Well, Betty Briggs pushes the envelope in her novel, Pressure Point, in which Stephanie receives a letter from her ultimate nemesis, who mocks her with the kidnapping of her future adoptive daughter and promises worse things that are yet to come. Sent on a spiraling chase for salvation, Stephanie’s not only haunted by what else she thinks Jessica might be capable of, but also by a series of dangers that arise back home in Montana.

Betty Briggs’ latest novel is sure to charm and entertain any lovers of suspense thrillers, suspenseful romances, and of course, readers of equestrian trope fiction. This fast-paced tale will keep readers guessing with its frequent shallow and tight turns — with hardly a straightaway in sight — all the way to the charming conclusion on the final page.

Off on a Full Gallop from the Beginning

The story begins with a letter that Stephanie receives before the first page of the book, from her longtime nemesis, Jessica. In the letter, there’s a terrible revelation about a little girl named Zoey, who is also Stephanie’s son, Ryan’s, half-sister, and someone she was planning to adopt. Receiving the letter completely uproots Stephanie’s life and plans and puts her on an international trail to save the young girl’s life.

By the time we reach the first page, the story has already begun, with Stephanie and her fiancé, Colton, already well on their way to their first destination. A reader may feel overwhelmed at first by Stephanie’s stress, as she obsesses over the Mexican Cartel, drugs, and violence, while also ruminating over a letter that we have not yet been made privy to. This is a classic move that Betty Briggs has utilized and perfected in her writing, by throwing her readers into a fast-paced journey mid-motion — almost like throwing them onto the back of an energetic horse and sending it into a gallop before they have had the chance to strap in!

It’s a thrilling experience, and while Briggs clearly wants her readers to at first be left guessing and somewhat off their footing, the reader is always clued in soon enough and able to smoothly, if quickly, ride along for the rest of the story.

 

The Epitome of a Balancing Act

Stephanie was already a busy woman with her job as a sought-after attorney and her ongoing, stress-inducing plans for her big, dreamy Christmas wedding to the love of her life, Colton, which would finally give them the happily-ever-after they’d both always wanted. There are also her horses for her to attend to, including the always loyal Kingston and the pony with whom she was developing a special relationship.

But all of that gets flipped on its head with the arrival of the terrible letter from Jessica, that ultimately sends Stephanie and Colton everywhere, from Mexico in search of the kidnapped Zoey and all the way north to Vancouver, Canada. With beautiful scenic descriptions, readers will feel they are along for the ride, ready to purchase plane tickets to visit some of the locations Briggs describes in her latest tale.

While on the journey to look for one lost minor, Stephanie makes the unfortunate discovery that Zoey’s life is not the only one she needs to save. Stephanie’s ward, Jill, also becomes threatened to be pulled back into the cycle of abuse Stephanie previously liberated her from, trapped in the home of her biological mother and the terrible man she’s dating, who proved to be nightmarishly abusive in the past.

In all of this, Stephanie can’t help but wonder just how much one woman from Montana can actually do and how she can possibly save all of these lives, including the happy life she had built for herself and Colton, without everything coming undone.

A Delightful, Fast-Paced Tale

While this book could have easily also been called “Breaking Point” with the severe stress and pressure Stephanie is put under, from page one to almost the last, the book is uniquely balanced with moments of beauty, as well — lovely, imagistic scenery, moments of love and intimacy, familial ties, and the unbreakable bond Stephanie shares with her horses.

On this fast-paced journey, Stephanie and Colton have to make quick decisions and unravel the mystery of where Zoey has been taken, and what they can possibly do about Jill, and readers will be held in suspense as they watch these decisions unfold — until they reach the ultimate conclusion.

This was an incredibly fun read, full of mystery, thrilling suspense, family, romance and an undeniably endearing horse trope. For readers who are new to Betty Briggs, this will be a wonderful introduction to the urgent stories the author has put to paper; and for those who are returning for more, this will be a welcome return for those who have journeyed with Stephanie and Colton before, in this entirely original, imaginative tale.

 

 

Continue reading for McKenzie’s Q&A with author Betty Briggs.


 

Pressure Point by Betty BriggsJoin the Adventure Here

Pressure Point

Written by Betty Briggs

Sunrise Selections (June 1, 2022), 375 pages

ISBN-13: 979-8986131702

$16.95

Pressure Point is a wonderful conclusion to Betty Brigg’s double trilogy. Filled with adventure, intrigue, and of course, romance and horses, this book does not disappoint. While diving into the mystery of a kidnapped baby, we were treated to a trip to Mexico and Canada. Betty’s description of Vancouver has me wanting to book a flight immediately. And who can pass up the fun of a big, loving family and a double Christmas wedding. You are sure to enjoy Pressure Point and all of Betty’s other books, as well.”

 

 


 

Q&A with Betty Briggs

 

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (MLT): I know I’m not alone in loving the equestrian trope in mysteries and thrillers. How do you go about writing the horses’ personalities in these books as free-standing characters and a core part of the plot each time? How do you keep the trope exciting (for you and for readers)?

Betty Briggs (BB): To me, horses are characters in and of themselves. Real horses all have singular personalities and behaviors. I based Kingston, Stephanie’s horse, on my horse, Major, who sadly passed away last year at the age of twenty-seven. Many of the events that have taken place in my books actually happened in Major’s life. Owning horses on and off since I was six years old, I find that they tell their own stories. I just observe and imagine what they would do in the situations in which I place my character horses. My pony, Rollie, plays the part of Rascal in Pressure Point, and he’s also on the cover. When I wrote his scenes, it was Rollie who played them out in my mind.

MLT: I’m sure your new readers really appreciate that each of your books work as a stand-alone, while also being a part of a series. How did you go about writing these books so they could function in that way for your readers?

BB: When I wrote my first three young adult books, Quality ConcealedImage of Deception and Challenge of Choice, about twenty years ago, I didn’t know they would be followed by three more books in the series. (Even though all books can be read independently of the others, I call the first three books The Heather Trilogy, and the last three: Depth of DeceitBrutal Intent and Pressure PointThe Stephanie Trilogy.) While writing Depth of Deceit, it just popped into my head that I could use one of the characters from my earlier books as the mystery man in Depth of Deceit. He then paved the way for me to bring in two more earlier characters for Brutal Intent. In Pressure Point, I added most of the main characters from The Heather Trilogy so my readers could learn the paths these characters had taken during the preceding ten years. I aged the characters in these final three books so I could bring in more adult themes. I should mention that all my books are free from any bad language or offensive descriptions. One could almost say they would pass the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries test.

MLT: I loved your decision to place the reader mid-action on the first page. How did you make the decision to do this, and how did that look in the writing process? Did you know from the beginning that you would begin there, or was that part of the revision process?

BB: I wanted Pressure Point to start with an exciting beginning. In fact, it begins right after the end of Brutal Intent. I tried to briefly provide some backstory for my readers so if they hadn’t read Brutal Intent, they wouldn’t be confused. I knew from the beginning where I wanted to start Pressure Point and I knew how I wanted it to end. I just followed my characters on their journeys through the story. I guided them where they needed to be in order to bring about the sweet Pressure Point finale that I had planned.

MLT: Your descriptions of Mexico and Canada were both so impressively imagistic, and reviews (including mine!) have talked about wanting to buy plane tickets to go to the destinations you’ve described. How did you go about creating such realistic scenes? Have you spent a lot of time in those locations?

BB: The only setting used in Pressure Point that I have visited is in Montana. My husband is from there so I’m very familiar with that beautiful state. I‘ve never been to Mexico, or Canada and only visited New York City once. I did more research for this book than for any other of my stories. Google and I became good friends as I plotted this book. In addition, my pilot son flies to Mexico occasionally and took pictures for me, as did my daughter and her husband who own a condo at Telegraph Cove on Victoria Island, where I set the Canadian part of this novel. She also supplied me with pictures. When it came to the Bellevue Hospital part of the book, I got so interested in the subject that I read an entire book. Also, I have two doctors in my family who helped me with many of my medical questions.

MLT: How do you decide which characters you will only take a journey with once and which ones you will stay with for a whole series?

BB: Some of my characters had already found their happily ever after in earlier books. Some were still looking. These are the characters, along with several new ones, that I inserted into Pressure Point. After an author lives with their characters for as long as I have, they seem to take on a life of their own. I almost feel that I’ll see them on the street or at the barn someday.

MLT: The ending of the story was sweet and such a comforting wrap on the series — but do you see yourself continuing with any of these characters and their lovely animal friends?

BB: I think I have given all these characters a happy ending. I’m probably finished with them, at least for now. I might try another young adult story involving two sisters and their ponies. Perhaps I’ll bring in a mistreated pony that they try to hide to save its life, and how even though the young girls have entirely different ideas about saving the pony and it causes problems between them, they must compromise for the sake of the pony. The story is just beginning to form in my mind. Who knows, the sisters may end up being the daughters of Stephanie or Heather. Maybe I’m not through with these characters after all. Only time will tell.

 


 

 

Betty BriggsBETTY BRIGGS lives with her husband, Scott, near the beautiful Wasatch mountains. After thirty-three years as a legal secretary, she retired in 2005 and continues to write. She has two grown children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, most of whom, she is proud to say, are horse lovers like her. She owns three horses.

Betty also cannot remember a time when she did not write. In grade school, she used to take work home at night just so she could create stories to entertain her classmates with during the school day. She loved filling the pages of notebooks on both sides of the paper so that it would crinkle.

At that time, her dream was to write and illustrate children’s books when she grew up, and it has come true. Betty now has five young adult novels to her name: The Heather Trilogy — which includes Quality ConcealedImage of Deception, and Challenge of Choice — as well as two stand-alone novels, Fat Chance: Pony Tales and A Tuff-to-Beat Christmas. Betty also has three adult novels, which she refers to as The Stephanie Trilogy — including Depth of DeceitBrutal Intent, and now Pressure Point.

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