By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Tuesday marked the release of the fifth novel in a series of popular mystery thrillers.

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The books are written by Twin Cities author, and former WCCO-TV producer, Julie Kramer. The newest is “Shunning Sarah.”

“Some of my former colleagues wish I wasn’t so candid,” Kramer says. “They say, Did you have to say if it bleeds it leads?”

Kramer has drawn from her years working on stories such as the Jacob Wetterling disappearance and the disappearance of Jodi Huisenturit to create fictional plot lines that ring true. Her mysteries have been regulars on Minnesota best seller lists.

“Minnesota is a very literary state, and people like to read about places they know,” Kramer said. “People in Minnesota will read them at a different level because they will be able to say ‘I had lunch here,’ or ‘I walked around this lake once.'”

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The latest murder story is set in Amish country, in the southeastern Minnesota town of Harmony, Minn.

Kramer is already working on her next mystery and has spent time at court proceedings in both the Denny Hecker and Amy Senser cases.

“Everything is research when you are an author,” she said. “You never know when you have to write a scene that you might have to bring those episodes into your writing.”

But Kramer won’t say where the next Riley Spartz book will draw its inspiration.

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“Shunning Sarah” is available online and at major books stores.

Esme Murphy