by Melinda Leigh
& Interview by Elise Cooper
Dane Series” by Melinda Leigh should be on the forefront
of any reader who wants a suspenseful and riveting story.
She has a knack for writing main characters and a likeable
supporting cast, with bad guys who are pure evil. Each
story delves into some kind of abuse whether emotional
The first story in the series has Morgan Dane moving to
her childhood town after her late husband was killed while
serving in the military. Now with three girls, Ava six
years old, Mia five years old, and Sophie three years
old, she moves in with her grandfather. Luckily, she has
a support system of Gianna Leone, the nanny, Stella her
sister, her grandfather Art, and Stella’s boyfriend.
a stellar prosecutor, she switches roles in this series
to become a defense attorney to help those unjustly accused.
She decides to make personal sacrifices in the name of
justice. Knowing she needs a private investigator she
hires Sharp Industries’ Lance Kruger and Lincoln
Sharp, former police detectives. This is where the relationships
begin to formulate. As the series progresses, so do the
feelings of Lance and Morgan for each other. Each novel
has them working together to find the perpetrator and
let justice prevail. Below is a brief summary of each
book in order from one to six.
first book in the series, Say You’re Sorry,
has Morgan defending her neighbor’s son, Nick, who
is accused of killing her sometimes babysitter, Tessa.
Last Goodbye has a young mother Chelsea Clark
leaving the house for a girls’ night out and vanishing.
Her family knows she would never voluntarily leave her
two small children. Her desperate husband, who is also
the prime suspect, hires Morgan and Sharp Industries to
find his wife and prove his innocence.
Bones Don’t Lie delves into the backstory
of what happened to Lance’s father. Private investigator
Lance Kruger was just a boy when his father vanished twenty-three
years ago. He has lived under the weight of that disappearance,
until his father’s car is finally dredged up from
the bottom of Grey Lake. Lance and Morgan must face his
deadly past that’s risen to the surface.
What I’ve Done has Haley Powell waking
up covered in blood, with no memory of the night before.
When she sees a man lying in the backyard, stabbed to
death, she has only one terrified thought: “What
have I done.” Morgan and company are hired to find
the truth behind the killing.
Secrets Never Die also has Morgan and company
defending a teenage boy after a retired sheriff’s
deputy is shot to death in his home. Evan, becomes the
prime suspect. Even more incriminating, the boy disappeared
from the scene of the crime.
Save Your Breath is sadly the last book in the
series. The story has true-crime writer Olivia Cruz disappearing
with no signs of foul play. Her new boyfriend, Lincoln
Sharp, suspects the worst. He knows she didn’t leave
willingly and turns to his friends and co-workers, attorney
Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger, to find her before it’s
is a great author who writes true-to-life characters that
readers are willing to take a journey with, both professionally
and personally. Besides her suspenseful and gripping story
lines the characters are one’s people care about.
Interview with by Melinda Leigh
Cooper: Why did you write the Morgan Dane series?
Leigh: She is a secondary character from the Scarlet
Falls series. Her sister, had her own story in the SF
series. The Morgan Dane series is a spin-off from that
one. I was excited about writing her character.
How would you describe Morgan?
Her character grows quite a bit throughout the series.
She finds a career, to be a defense attorney, which gives
her some confidence. In the beginning, she was vulnerable
and timid with some doubt in her ability both personally
and professionally. As the books continue she becomes
more determined and becomes very tough. Overall, she is
honest, ethical, and has a lot of integrity.
How would you describe Lance Kruger, Morgan’s eventual
He was working as a police detective, but because of an
injury he had to retire and became a private investigator.
He is loyal and strong. Throughout the series he grows
emotionally. Originally, he was standoffish and it took
him a while to accept that any emotional connection must
be on equal footing. For instance, he always wants to
help Morgan and his mom, but never wants to accept help
Speaking of his mom, he treats her like she should be
in a cocoon?
Lance takes care of his mom, Jennifer. She's agoraphobic
with depression and anxiety. He needs to accept her for
who she is. Jennifer was never going to change, but that
does not necessarily mean she needs to change. He needed
to accept what her limits are and let her lead her own
life the way she wants rather than put his own ideas as
to what she should be doing. He needed to step back and
give her some independence. I put in the anxiety diagnosis
to make the story realistic because it is a current issue
that is prevalent.
How would you describe the relationship between Lance
I think it is realistic. It grows more intimate throughout
the series, although slowly. It felt very organic. They
had to learn to depend on one another equally. The quote
in book three best describes them, “The relationship
requires support and sharing on both sides. It’s
not a one-way street where one personality does all the
giving and the other all the taking.”
Morgan’s grandfather, Art, was a great character?
He is her mentor that is a steady influence parental type.
Everyone needs someone in their life that is a constant
and a good role model. Even at his age he is very productive.
My own grandfather is 88 years old. He still drives, lives
alone, maintains his property, and goes fishing several
days a week. It is funny, but after I had written scenes
with Morgan’s grandfather the editors said this
is not believable. I just laugh because the elderly can
be very active. I based Art’s spunkiness on my grandfather.
Art is very sharp, loves Morgan, her family, and was there
for her and her siblings. He is intelligent, loyal, and
Lance’s partner, Lincoln Sharp, was more like a
I liked writing his character. He becomes more open. In
the beginning Lance is the one who he really has a connection
with. He grows closer to Morgan and her children and wants
to protect them. He is like a mother hen, because he is
always chastising Lance and Morgan to eat healthy, especially
since she enjoys Junk-food.
The last two books brought in a new character, Olivia?
She is the perfect counter point to Sharp. He hated journalists
before he met her. I enjoyed writing how she forces him
to accept how wrong he is. She is a teaser, very sharp,
confident, and determined.
Morgan’s youngest child, Sophie, steals the scenes
she is in?
She is a hell bent three-year-old. I have two children
of my own and was a stay at home mom. My house was where
every child in the neighborhood came to play. I appreciate
watching a child’s spunk and how their personalities
develop so I enjoyed writing Sophie’s character
from my own experiences.
In your books you seem to have a good cop and a bad cop?
There is good and bad everywhere. We are all human beings.
It is just like any other profession. For the most part,
the majority of law enforcement characters are good. The
bad ones happen to stand out more because of their rottenness.
What about your next book?
It will be the second book of the new series featuring
newly appointed Sherriff Bree Taggert, titled See
Her Die that will be released in September. In this
new series dogs play more of a role in the plot, while
in the Morgan Dane series dogs are more pets. The plot
involves students who are killed and Bree must find a
connection. She hires Matt Flynn as a consultant to help,
since he is a retired police dog handler. Also, since
the characters from the Morgan Dane series are all from
the same world as this new series I envision them to make
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