NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 15, 2013

A thriller 16 years in the making

Rowley mom strikes chord with suspenseful tale

ROWLEY — When Connie Johnson Hambley dusted off the draft of her first novel, penned more than 15 years ago, and shared it with a few friends last year, she was pleased with the rave reviews she received.

The feedback inspired her to self-publish her suspense thriller, “The Charity.”

Four months after its release, sales of the book have confirmed it’s a hit with readers.

“I am so excited and pleased with the support I have received for the book,” she said.

The story at the heart of “The Charity” began rattling around Johnson Hambley’s head about 16 years ago when she was an investment banker in Boston.

“I just couldn’t stop thinking about it so I finally wrote it down,” she said.

After that, she put it aside to focus on her family — two boys, who are now in college, and a daughter, who is a freshman in high school.

But all through her professional life that led her down many roads — as a parent advisor for Child Magazine, an adjunct finance professor at Babson College, a chief operating officer for a children’s furnishings company and currently a biotech recruiter — she lived the experiences and visited the places that make the scenes in the book come alive. In fact, it was a business trip to the Great Wall of China last year — a “bucket list” trip — that motivated Johnson Hambley to pull out the first draft and reconsider it.

Set in the Boston area, “The Charity” is about Jessica Wyeth, who is blocked from taking her rightful position in the lucrative family business of high-stakes horse racing by her farm’s manager and top trainer, Gus Adams. When Adams is found brutally murdered, all evidence points to Wyeth. Terrified, she runs and becomes a master at hiding in plain view, but ultimately returns to Boston to search for the truth.

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