Heather Gudenkauf's picture

Heather Gudenkauf

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Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment Heather tended to use books as a retreat. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and is currently a Literacy Coach, an educator who provides curricular and professional development support to teachers.

Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her third novel.

Genres: Mystery, Romance
Heather Gudenkauf recommends
Outside the Ordinary World (2010)
Dori Ostermiller
"Beautifully written and quietly spellbinding. Ostermiller's compelling debut novel is a story of love, regret, and forgiveness that will linger with readers well after the final page is turned."
Beneath the Shadows (2012)
Sara Foster
"A haunting tale of loss and one woman's search for the truth no matter the consequences. This vividly written novel will leave you breathless and as chilled as the starkly beautiful North Yorkshire moors where this compelling story unfolds."
Dark Lie (2012)
Nancy Springer
"A fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller."
The Winter People (2014)
Jennifer McMahon
"In an edge-of-your-seat scary ghost story, Jennifer McMahon's The Winter People yanks you from one page to the next by expertly weaving the past and present. I will never look at the woods behind my home in the same way again!"
The Ones We Trust (2015)
Kimberly Belle
"The Last Breath will leave you breathless. This edgy and emotional thriller will keep you guessing until the very end."
Pretty Baby (2015)
Mary Kubica
"Psychologically rich and pulse pounding, The Good Girl had me hooked from the very first sentence and didn't let go until the final word. I can't wait to see what Mary Kubica comes up with next."
No Ordinary Life (2016)
Suzanne Redfearn
"Suzanne Redfearn's NO ORDINARY LIFE is a gripping exploration of a mother's love and the lengths she'll go to protect her children. Redfearn honestly captures one family's meteoric rise and heartbreaking undoing. Compulsively readable, this poignant story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned."
The Drowning Girls (2016)
Paula Treick DeBoard
"Absolutely unforgettable."
The Vanishing Year (2016)
Kate Moretti
"The Vanishing Year is a chilling, powerful tale of nerve-shattering suspense. Kate Moretti pieces together a stunning, up-all-night thriller with a throat-gripping twist that will leave the reader reeling."
Ashes (2017)
Steven Manchester
"Steven Manchester has the enviable ability to capture the intricacies of the human heart through words. Ashes is a moving novel of two brothers and their journey back to one another. A must read."
The Golden Hour (2017)
T Greenwood
"Richly told and hauntingly beautiful, The Golden Hour was impossible to put down."
Sugar (2017)
Kimberly Stuart
"An irresistible mixture of humor and heart...fabulously funny, Sugar will leave you satisfied and wanting more."
Girl Last Seen (2017)
Nina Laurin
"A heart-stopping thriller that had me guessing to the very end."
Friend Request (2017)
(Friend Request, book 1)
Laura Marshall
"Utterly riveting..."
The English Wife (2018)
Lauren Willig
"The English Wife is an atmospheric, instantly absorbing page-turner. Lauren Willig delivers a richly detailed, expertly plotted novel that will instantly transport you back in time. This novel has it all--an intriguing mystery, a love affair for the ages and secrets worth dying for."
How Far She's Come (2018)
Holly Brown
"How Far She's Come by Holly Brown is a powerful deep-dive into the zeitgeist that is the 'Me Too' phenomenon [...] the breathtaking conclusion is guaranteed to leave you cheering and weeping for how far we've come and how far we have yet to go."
It Ends With Her (2018)
Brianna Labuskes
"Once in a while a character comes along that gets under your skin and refuses to let go. This is the case with Brianna Labuskes’s Clarke Sinclair—a cantankerous, rebellious, and somehow endearingly likable FBI agent with a troubled past. I was immediately pulled into Clarke’s broken, shadow-filled world and her quest for justice and redemption. A stunning thriller, It Ends With Her is not to be missed."
What Happened That Night (2018)
Sandra Block
"Sandra Block's What Happened That Night is an unflinching exploration of the fine line between justice and revenge. Block expertly compels readers to examine a diverse number of issues through the eyes of Dahlia and James, who are bound together by personal tragedy, heartache and the search for justice. What Happened That Night is a visceral thrill that will keep you reading late into the night. Perfect for book clubs."
You Were Made for This (2018)
Michelle Sacks
"You Were Made for This deftly explores the darkest corners of domestic life through the eyes of three complicated, damaged souls, inextricably connected by obsession, loyalty, jealousy, and unspeakable secrets. The savage beauty of Michelle Sacks's prose nestled within the most chilling of stories will leave you shaken and bereft. It is a stunning accomplishment."
Somebody's Daughter (2018)
David Bell
"Somebody's Daughter by David Bell is compulsively readable with surprises that gripped me from start to finish. With nerve-shattering suspense, this well-crafted tale builds to an unexpected, chilling ending."
River of Secrets (2018)
(Wallace Hartman Mystery, book 2)
Roger Johns
"Exploding with secrets . . . a harrowing crime, fast-paced action, richly drawn characters and a jaw-dropping ending that you won't see coming."
Before We Were Strangers (2018)
Brenda Novak
"Teeming with riveting, hold-your-breath suspense, Brenda Novak's Before We Were Strangers is a chilling exploration into how far one will go to discover the truth no matter the cost. Novak is at the top of her game with this gripping thriller. Prepare to be up all night!"
Hunting Annabelle (2018)
Wendy Heard
"Wendy Heard's Hunting Annabelle is a twisted roller coaster of a ride with an utterly unique, fascinating narrator. You won't want to miss this genre-bending thriller."
The Night Olivia Fell (2019)
Christina McDonald
"A stunning thriller . . . an atmospheric, absorbing page-turner."
Until the Day I Die (2019)
Emily Carpenter
"Fast-paced and teeming with long-held secrets, Emily Carpenter’s Until the Day I Die will have you rooting for the whip-smart, resilient mother-daughter team of Erin and Shorie Gaines as they race against time and unknown evil to salvage the life they have so carefully crafted. The twisty, jaw-dropping conclusion of this electrifying thriller will leave you guessing and gasping for breath right up to the final page. A must-read!"
The Mother-in-Law (2019)
Sally Hepworth
"Absolutely stunning. The Mother-in-Law has so many layers - I'll be thinking about it for a long time."
I'll Never Tell (2019)
Catherine McKenzie
"I’ll Never Tell is an atmospheric thriller that takes the reader on a harrowing journey through one family’s quest for the truth no matter the cost. McKenzie’s characters leap from the page in this compulsive, riveting tale filled with twisty family secrets, suspect loyalties, and deadly encounters. I’ll Never Tell will leave you guessing until the very end."
The Arrangement (2019)
Robyn Harding
"A nightmarish deep dive into the underbelly of a secret world. Rivetingly dark, THE ARRANGEMENT delivers on every level - a shocking premise, a forbidden obsession, and a plot that builds slowly and masterfully escalates to a chilling end. Prepare to be blindsided."
The Patient (2019)
Steena Holmes
"Steena Holmes has returned with another compelling page-turner. [A]n all-encompassing journey through the dark side of the human psyche, The Patient is a mind-bending psychological thriller that will leave readers on edge and gasping for breath right up to the final shocking twist. Brilliant!"
Woman on the Edge (2019)
Samantha M Bailey
"Begins with a bang and takes the reader on a tense, emotional journey of love, betrayal, loss and straight into the heart of a mother willing to do anything to protect her child. Infused with riveting, hold-your-breath suspense, this masterful debut needs to be your next binge-read. A knockout page turner."
Hide Away (2020)
(Rachel Marin, book 1)
Jason Pinter
"Fast-paced and brimming with dark surprises, Jason Pinter’s Hide Away is a wild ride from beginning to end. A top-rate thriller laced with intrigue, suspense, and expertly drawn characters including the complex, sympathetic, and fiercely independent Rachel Marin—a mother on a mission and my new favorite heroine."
Sister Dear (2020)
Hannah Mary McKinnon
"A brilliant, breathless thriller that crackles with suspense and heart-thumping twists. I finished this absorbing, creepy, and downright sinister novel in the wee hours of the night. And the ending...perfection! Sister Dear is McKinnon's best book yet."
The Best of Friends (2020)
Lucinda Berry
"The Best of Friends gripped me from the stunning opening to the emotional, explosive ending. In this moving novel, Berry creates a beautifully crafted study of secrets and grief among a tight-knit group of friends and how far a mother will go to discover the truth and protect her children."
The Monsters We Make (2020)
Kali White
"In The Monsters We Make, Kali White deftly conveys the terror that gripped a community, a city, a state and a nation when several paper carriers were snatched from their routes... With a shivery premise and richly-drawn characters, VanBaale takes a child's greatest fear and a parent's worst nightmare and delivers an addictive novel that must be read with the lights on."
The Second Mother (2020)
Jenny Milchman
"The Second Mother is a tense, riveting story about a woman who flees to a remote island off the coast of Maine to escape a tragic past. Starkly beautiful, the island holds the hope of a new life and a new love but school teacher Julie Weathers finds herself facing dangers she never imagined. Told with Milchman's stunning prose, The Second Mother is a gripping tale of obsession, secrets held close and the dark side of island life. Harrowing and addictive, I dare you to put this book down once you've started."
Pickard County Atlas (2021)
Chris Harding Thornton
"Pickard County Atlas, by debut author Chris Harding Thornton, is a darkly addictive read that pulls you deep into the web of secrets that lie at the heart of the troubled Reddick family. Thornton has crafted a haunting, dread-soaked tale, as gritty as the sandhills of Nebraska where the story takes place, that will cling to you long after you turn the final page."
Call Me Elizabeth Lark (2021)
Melissa Colasanti
"A family torn apart by grief, the appearance of a stranger with shocking claims, secrets that won’t stay hidden—Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti will take you on a dark, twisty journey. With a bone-chilling premise and heart-stopping revelations, Colasanti has penned a haunting psychological thriller that will linger with you long after the final page is turned."
You'll Thank Me for This (2021)
Nina Siegal
"An adrenaline rush of a novel. I tore through You’ll Thank Me For This by Nina Siegal in one nail-biting sitting. . . . Gripping and fast-paced, this is a novel not to be missed."
Just Get Home (2021)
Bridget Foley
"JUST GET HOME by Bridget Foley hits the thriller trifecta: a natural disaster, danger around every corner and compelling well-drawn characters who unite to survive the most harrowing journey of their lives.Foley effortlessly weaves together the voices of Beegie and Dessa to chronicle a night filled with devastation, terror, heartbreak and ultimately hope as they try to make it home after a deadly earthquake. Inventive, emotional and addictive, JUST GET HOME is not to be missed."
The Hive (2021)
Gregg Olsen
"Gregg Olsen’s The Hive begins with a fascinating premise and a spellbinding opening scene that held me in its grip as I flew through the pages. Olsen expertly weaves together a multilayered tale told by a complex array of unforgettable characters in his latest jaw-dropping thriller. In this dark and dangerously addictive read buzzing with secrets, betrayal, and murder, queen bees and wannabes take on a whole new meaning. Not to be missed."
Nanny Needed (2021)
Georgina Cross
"Nanny Needed has everything I look for in psychological suspense: unforgettable characters, palpable tension, and pages filled with mind-bending secrets. Clever and cunning, Georgina Cross has created a dark, twisty world that I stepped from shaken and out of breath. It grabbed me by the throat and still hasn’t let go."
Everything We Didn't Say (2021)
Nicole Baart
"Combining high wire tension and poetic storytelling, in Everything We Didn’t Say Baart has created a haunting family drama that casts a glaring light on small-town hierarchies proving that the past has a long, unrelenting reach. Told in dual timelines, this suspenseful, beautifully rendered novel reveals its secrets in small, tantalizing bites leading to an explosive, highly satisfying conclusion. Everything We Didn’t Say is Baart at her best."
Somebody's Home (2022)
Kaira Rouda
"With an intriguing cast of characters and a killer premise, Somebody's Home is a thriller worth staying up all night for. Fast-paced and relentless, Kaira Rouda cranks up the tension with every turn of the page. With unexpected twists and jaw-dropping revelations, Rouda knows how to draw readers close and keep them entranced."
L. A. Burning (2022)
D C Taylor
"Once in a while, a character comes along that gets under your skin and refuses to let go. This is the case with D.C. Taylor's fierce, rebellious, and somehow endearingly likable ex-con, Cody Bonner. In L.A. Burning, I was immediately pulled into Cody's broken, shadow-filled world and her quest for justice and revenge after the murder of her twin sister. With nerve-shattering suspense, Taylor jettisons the reader into the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and all its trappings. Not to be missed, L.A. Burning is a redemption story like no other."
A Life Unraveled (2022)
Jill Hannah Anderson
"Once you begin this unflinchingly honest portrayal of a woman fighting to reclaim her life, be prepared for an up all night, edge of your seat binge-a-thon."
The Lying Club (2022)
Annie Ward
"The Lying Club is a stunning whodunnit that will keep readers captivated until its final page. Ward has created characters so real you'll feel like you're a member of their dark and twisted world where everyone is a suspect, and everyone has a motive. The Lying Club is an edgy, addictive read about the lengths people go to in the name of love, no matter the consequences. Fans of Big Little Lies will revel in this dark, pacy page-turner."
Good Husbands (2022)
Cate Ray
"Multilayered, unflinchingly honest, and teeming with nerve-shattering suspense, Good Husbands by Cate Ray had me flying through the pages. Spellbound, I walked the heartbreaking journey right along with the women of Good Husbands - felt their shock, fear and uncertainty as they grappled to do the right thing ... Ray has created a much-needed space for complex conversations surrounding consent and whether we really know the people we love. An absolute triumph."
Forsaken Country (2022)
Allen Eskens
"In Forsaken Country, Allen Eskens' expert storytelling is on full display. Eerie and beautifully told, it had me mesmerized from the very first page. . . . The suspense never flags in this chilling and layered portrait of a man's desperate search for a missing child and his own redemption. Heart-pounding and heartfelt, Forsaken Country should be at the top of your to-be-read list."
Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six (2022)
Lisa Unger
"Master of suspense Lisa Unger ratchets up the tension in her twentieth spellbinding outing, Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six. Blending an adrenaline-fueled plot and an expertly drawn cast of characters, Unger is at her atmospheric best in this wickedly chilling story of a getaway gone wrong. In Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six, Unger yanks readers down a dark, twisty path teeming with secrets, obsession, and revenge--I still can't catch my breath. If you pick up just one thriller this year, make it this one."

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