An Overview of the Towns of Redemption and Riverview

New to Redemption and Riverview? Or have you read a book or two and are you wondering how everything fits together?

You’ve come to the right place!

Here’s a list of 10 facts to help you navigate the world of Riverview and Redemption.

1. Riverview, Wisconsin, is a college town modeled after Madison, Wisconsin. (Where I grew up.)

2. Redemption, Wisconsin, is modeled after Reedsburg, Wisconsin, which is where my parents bought a cabin on the lake. Reedsburg is close to Baraboo, Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Dells area (if you’ve never been there, it’s a beautiful place.) Redemption captures that natural beauty with lakes, forests, farmland and state parks.

3. Redemption and Riverview are roughly 45 minutes apart.

4. Redemption has a haunted past. During the blizzard of 1888, all the adults disappeared, leaving only the children. No one is sure what precisely happened, but strange and inexplicable events continue to plague the town to this day. Along with all the hauntings, disappearances, murders and more, there is also a sense that the town itself makes decisions on who stays and who goes.

This history is roughly based on Black River Falls, Wisconsin, which had a very strange period in its history right around the 1890s to 1900 where it seemed a sort of madness gripped the town. Murders, arson, mental illness and more plagued the citizens for a five-year stretch. (Check out the book Black River Falls: Wisconsin Death Trip if you want to learn more.)

5. Riverview doesn’t have the same strange beginnings as Redemption, and on its surface, is a normal, midwestern, wholesome town. But, dig a little deeper, and the darkness starts to emerge. (Keep in mind that Wisconsin was home to twisted serial killers Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer, who both seemed like such normal men on the surface.)

6. There are four series that take place in Redemption: Secrets of Redemption (psychological suspense), The Mysteries of Redemption (psychological suspense),  The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries (cozy mystery) and The Redemption Detective Agency (cozy mystery).

The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries is a spin-off of the Secrets of Redemption series, and Charlie is a character in both series. The Mysteries of Redemption is also a spin-off of the Secrets of Redemption and The Redemption Detective Agency is a spin-off from The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries.

7. The Riverview Mysteries is the only series (for now) based in Riverview. All the books are currently standalones but that will change with The Taking. This series would also be considered psychological suspense.

8. I write clean and twisty mysteries. That means no swearing, no on-page sex, no gore and little violence. The only exception are the first two books I ever wrote: Mirror Image and (to a much lesser extent) The Stolen Twin. Mirror Image has a list of trigger warnings (read at your own risk) but The Stolen Twin only has a few swear words. I probably should just edit them out and be done with it.

9. BUT just because I write clean doesn’t mean I write sweet. My books can get dark. (And what I mean by dark is the themes.) Also, my books are twisty, which means I write complicated mysteries. Nearly all my mysteries have body around somewhere as well. Think “who done it” stories with female “Sherlock Holmes,” similar to Agatha Christie books.

My lightest mysteries are my cozies, which would be the books in my Charlie Kingsley Mysteries and The Redemption Detective Agency series.

The next level would be my psychological suspense mysteries, which is where most of my non-cozy books fit. (More of midrange in terms of darkness.) The books that fit here include the main books in the Secrets of Redemption series:

  1. It Began With a Lie
  2. This Happened to Jessica
  3. The Evil That Was Done
  4. The Summoning
  5. The Reckoning
  6. The Girl Who Wasn’t There
  7. The Room at the Top of the Stairs
  8. The Search
  9. What Wasn’t Forgotten (final book)

As well as  The Taking, The Stolen Twin and the Mysteries of Redemption series.

My darkest and most twisted psychological thrillers are The Third Nanny and Mirror Image. Note: The Third Nanny is still clean–no swearing, on page sex, gore and little violence, it’s just twisted.

10. While most of the books remain in their respective towns, The Taking and The Third Nanny crossover to both Riverview and Redemption, and there will likely be more books in the future that crossover.

7 thoughts on “An Overview of the Towns of Redemption and Riverview”

  1. Pingback: The Story Behind the Story: "Mysteries, Midsummer Sun and Murders" -

  2. I have a question that you may have already answered but I didn’t see. I initially found your books through Booksirens when I read The Murder Before Christmas. Then I started the Redemption series and was confused because in those books, Charlie is dead. So Im trying to figure out the timelines. What era do the Charlie Kingsley books take place in versus the Redemption series with Rebecca. I also want to say just how much I truly enjoy your books. I recently read The Taking and it too was fantastic!

    1. Michele Pariza Wacek

      Thank you! This is a great question and I have the timelines on the FAQ page but clearly I need to make it more obvious it’s there. I was also going to start working on a Family Tree and maybe that’s the next thing to do, but here’s your answer. The first 3 books of the Secrets of Redemption series (It Began With a Lie, This Happened to Jessica and The Evil That Was Done) take place in 2019. Books 4-5 (The Summoning and The Reckoning) take place in 1987. The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries take place in 1990s. Next year, I’m going to start releasing more books in the Secrets of Redemption series, which will pick up after The Evil That Was Done so sometime after 2019.

  3. Pingback: The Story Behind the Story: "The Taking" - Michele Pariza Wacek

  4. I’m very intrigued by the descriptions of your books and rest assured that will start on them ASAP! Thank you for your clean writing!

  5. Just finished all the Redemption and Charlie Kinsley books. I have really enjoyed all of them. Thank you. What a wonderful way to spend an cold, dreary afternoon.

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