Living in Paradise

Captivating books and blog articles from award-winning former journalist and author Susan Hanafee.

NEW RELEASE COMING SOON! UNDER THE SAND, the latest Leslie Elliott mystery, is in the works. Watch for it later this year.

AND  read what Kirkus Review had to say about Scavenger Tides, another thriller in the Leslie Elliott mystery series!

Click on a title below for more details…

Deadly Winds

Deadly Winds

The End of His Journey

The End of His Journey

Scavenger Tides book cover

Scavenger Tides

Leslie's Voice by Susan Hanafee

Leslie’s Voice

Rutabagas For Ten

Rutabagas For Ten

Never Name an Iguana

Never Name an Iguana


Leave And Take Your Whining With You

It was another column in The Daily Beast from a whiny individual—someone I’ve never heard of who claims to have multifaceted talents as an actor, comedian, and writer. In other words, a so-called “famous” individual who thinks we care about what he has to say. In this case, his column…

Scroll down to explore Susan Hanafee’s catalogue of books…

Deadly Winds
The Latest Leslie Elliott mystery:

Amateur sleuth Leslie Elliott and her reporter friend, Wes Avery, return to their Florida island after vacationing in Key West to discover that a wealthy widow named Alice Gerkin has been killed by a falling church bell. Although the sheriff claims it was an accident, Leslie believes the woman’s demise is linked to her outspoken criticism of the church’s planned renovation.

Leslie reaches out to a local handyman who worked for Alice. After investigating the belfry, he confirms Leslie’s suspicions that it was more than deadly winds that caused the 300-pound bell to drop. He suggests that a dishonest construction worker named Troy Graham could be involved.

When Graham’s body turns up in a dumpster and the church’s architect is found dead with a two by four nailed to her head, Leslie is convinced that one or more of the major figures in the church renovation are involved in their deaths. Her suspicions also include the pastor, who has told Leslie that Alice’s death was “God’s will.”

As the mysteries unfold and she confronts the church bell killer, Leslie finds herself locked in a room from which there is no escape and in the path of another deadly storm racing toward the island.

Mystery and intrigue combine with a healthy dose of humor to keep the plot lively and entertaining in this latest novel featuring Leslie Elliott and her colorful island friends.

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Get Your Copy on BookBaby!

Deadly Winds on Amazon   Deadly Winds on Amazon


The End of His Journey
Another Leslie Elliott mystery:

The idyllic island where Leslie Elliott lives in southwest Florida is shaken by the return of drug dealer, Jamie Thompson, who escaped the law and has vowed revenge on Leslie for exposing his cohorts and their thriving cocaine business. When his presence leads to two deaths, Leslie sets out to uncover the truth, recruiting her newspaper buddy, Wes Avery, and an unlikely ally to help.

While assisting Leslie, Wes hears about the story of a young island resident who was said to have committed suicide at a party 20 years ago. His tortured father and old-timers in the community are still seeking answers to what happened that night. As Wes and Leslie help the father on his journey, they discover surprising and dangerous connections between the current tragedies and the two-decades-old shooting.

The End of His Journey is the sequel to Scavenger Tides, published in 2020.

Order on Amazon or
Get Your Copy on BookBaby

The End of His Journey   The End of His Journey

From Susan Hanafee:

Scavenger Tides takes place shortly after Leslie Elliott quits her public relations job in the Midwest to move to southwest Florida. Her dream of leaving the corporate world to become a mystery writer threatens to become a nightmare as buzzards lead her to a headless dog carcass and a human body rolls in with the summer storms and then disappears, only to re-appear and vanish again.

Leslie’s search for answers and her run-ins with the local sheriff take her on a journey that involves a fisherman with too many secrets, a local couple struggling to survive in a millionaire’s playground and criminals who will stop at nothing to protect their lucrative activities.

Scavenger Tides was selected as a finalist in the cozy mysteries category of the 2023 American Fiction Awards.

Get Your Copy on Amazon or BookBaby Today!

   Scavenger Tides by Susan Hanafee on BookBaby


Leslie's Voice Book Cover - showing business woman in a city with many people
From Susan Hanafee:


Public relations expert Leslie Elliott is trying to adapt to her new CEO, Brad Stewart, when he tells her of his plans to take over the neighboring electric utility and make himself the state’s energy kingpin. When she agrees to join the battle, Leslie finds herself dealing with the twists and turns of corporate intrigue while struggling to handle the men in her life, including an unfaithful husband and a boss whose sexual aggression matches his business ambition.

Colorful characters, breezy dialogue and a plot that keeps the reader guessing are the perfect background for the introduction of the savvy and independent Leslie.

Get Your Copy on Amazon or BookBaby Today!

  Buy Leslie's Voice on bookbaby

Rutabagas For Ten
Susan Hanafee’s short stories:

Rutabagas for Ten is not a cookbook, but a savory collection of blogs and short stories sure to delight your literary palette. The book contains spicy observations on life, mixed with savory political and social commentary. Each morsel will whet your appetite for more.

Get Your Copy on Amazon or BookBaby Today!

    Rutabagas For Ten

From Susan Hanafee:

Get Your Copy on Amazon or BookBaby Today!

    Never Name an Iguana

What Readers Say about "Never Name an Iguana."

Blend some of Maureen Dowd with a little David Sedaris and throw in some Andy Rooney and you have the thoroughly enjoyable new book by former journalist Susan Hanafee. The book’s title “Never Name an Iguana” may relate to the environmental issue present but more likely has to do with the wit, social consciousness and satirical mindset of the author.

This is a collection of essays whimsically capturing the ideas of domestic tranquility, political leverage, funny situations and every day facts and fictions. All of the 52 or so writings reflect daily life and the wit and wisdom of the author as she whips through life on a roller coaster of exploration and observation.

Hanafee’s writing style reminds me a lot of Russell Baker’s; funny, insightful and quick on the draw. The book is enjoyable entertainment to read from cover to cover or, if you just need a quick laugh, read a few pieces at a time. I wonder what the facile mind of Hanafee is thinking now. I’m sure there’s something.

                                                – Bob Elliott, author of Make Your Point


Susan Hanafee is an award-winning former journalist whose career as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star spanned three decades. She also headed communications for IPALCO Enterprises and Cummins Inc. She resides in southwest Florida. Hanafee’s blogs can be found on

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