Former islander turns author - A close up of a book - The Burning Man

Solange Ritchie publishes first in a series of thrillers

“The Burning Man” (2015), Publisher Morgan James Fiction

Solange Ritchie, a 1982 graduate of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West, will be in the Keys next week to sign books. “The Burning Man,” is a work of thriller/crime fiction set in Southern California. She will be signing books on Friday, Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Island Books on Fleming Street in Key West.


“Usually the lead character in this genre is male as opposed to female,” Ritchie said. “Dr. Cat Powers is a strong and determined. She hit a chord with a number of readers.”

Ritchie said she also paid attention to the inside workings of the serial killer. “Not for empathy, but to add some dimension to the story.”

Ritchie lived in Key West from 1976 to 1982. Her father, Paul Levy, owned two stores in Key West — Photo Sonics on Duval Street and Conn’s in New Town. They provided photo lab services, music and stereo equipment sales. The rest of the family moved to Broward County in 1994.

“It was called Photo Sonics. In fact, Key West Commissioner Clayton Lopez used to work for my dad many moons ago,” Ritchie said.

This is Ritchie’s first published novel, although there are two finished works in the closet that have never seen the light of day. The novel centers on Powers tracking a serial killer across Orange County, California, with the nagging sensation that the killer is hiding in plain sight.

As the book unravels, Dr. Cat Powers’ young son is drawn into the narrative and finds himself in peril.

“I understand that these scenes may be difficult for some people to reade, but Joey’s tenacity and strength is something he draws from his mother,” she said. “Those scenes also deepen the bond between mother and child which is integral to the story. Cat becomes a lioness — don’t mess with her cub.”

“The ending of the first novel hints strongly that there will be a sequel.

“That’s correct,” Ritchie said. “I am currently at work on the fourth novel.”

The second book in the series, titled “Backburn” covers an arsonist, again in Southern California. The third book is set in Fort Lauderdale and covers sex trafficking. The fourth book, the one she’s working on now, is based loosely on the bombing that occurred in Paris recently, with some Syrian political ties.

After leaving the Keys, Ritchie went to University of Florida and then finished law school at Western State College of Law in California. She practices in a very narrow field with her second husband, specializing in last-minute trials where the firm takes over for other lawyers either because the law firm must bow out or the client is dissatisfied and wants new council. She said she started writing at the bedside of her first husband, John Ritchie.

“I started writing to deal with stress, never dreaming that anyting would come of it,” Ritchie said. “It’s a great ay to exercise the right side of my brain, different than legal work. But I’m a creative person, so this is a labor of love.”

To order a copy of “The Burning Man,” visit Island Books, or order at Barnes & Noble.


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