Erin Flanagan is tenacious. Flanagan, a professor of English language and literature at Wright State University, received 66 rejections for her first novel, Deer Season, before finally finding a publisher, University of Nebraska Press, on her 67th attempt. This book won the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American writer.

Flanagan has just published her third novel, Come With Me, and most of the story takes place in Dayton. This is the complex story of the friendship between two women, Gwen and Nicola. At the beginning of the story, Gwen is having dinner with her husband, Todd, at a restaurant in Boulder, Colorado. Everything looks normal. Todd then collapses and dies.

Gwen’s world explodes. She has a young daughter, Whitney, and has no understanding of the family’s finances and other crucial issues. Her late husband took care of these things. After she got control of their situation, she realized that Todd was hiding a lot of things from her.

Todd’s software business was failing, and to Gwen’s shock and dismay when she discovered they were in huge debt. Gwen has been out of the job market for a decade and now she needs to generate some income quickly. Her last job was an internship at an advertising agency in Dayton.

Through some online sleuthing, I’ve determined that Nicola, the woman I once interned with, is currently the chief operating officer of that agency. She calls Nicola, hoping for a reference. Nicola is pleased to hear from her and suggests Gwen return to Dayton to interview for a job at the agency.

Nicola is a CEO who has reinvented herself. Flanagan gives us occasional tantalizing flashbacks to Nicola’s origin story. Nicola, formerly Nikki, pulled herself up from her troubled past. Nikki grew up in rural Ohio. Her mother was a drug addict. Nicola eventually took control of her life and her novel.

Gwen is appointed to fill the position Nicola has created for her. Nicola invents a new life for her new friend, Gwen, and her daughter, Whitney. At first Gwen was grateful for this wonderful opportunity. Every day you have lunch with Nicola. Nicola is a control freak and is starting to take over Gwen’s life.

Flanagan deftly transitions us back and forth between these two women as we watch their relationship get more kinky by the minute. Gwen gets disturbing visions from Nicola’s husband, Derek; She doesn’t know what to believe anymore.

When their friendship falls apart, daughter Whitney becomes a pawn and as this happens Gwen tries to distance herself from Nicola. That’s when this domestic suspense turns into a full-fledged thriller.

You can listen to my latest interview with Erin Flanagan on Sunday, August 27 at 10:30 AM on WYSO (91.3FM). She also has a book signing scheduled for September 9th.

Vic Mikonas of Yellow Springs interviews the authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information visit Call him at

How to go

What: Book signings with Erin Flanagan on “Come With Me” and Katrina Keitel on “A Morning in This Broken World.” Flanagan and Keitel will be interviewed by novelist Sharon Short / Jess Montgomery.

when: 2-4pm, Saturday, September 9th

where: Barnes & Noble, The Shops of Beavercreek, 2720 Town Drive #200, in Beavercreek.

More information: 937-429-1660

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