The Plunge By Nancy G. West: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Jun 8, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Diana Hockley, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Diana Hockley

This week we not only have a review of Nancy G. West’s latest Aggie Mundeen Mystery, The Plunge, but also an interesting interview with Nancy, and the player for the Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast episode that featured the first chapter of this book. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of The Plunge, a link to purchase it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore.

The Plunge: An Aggie Mundeen Lake Mystery By Nancy G. West
Review by Diana Hockley

It has been some time since I read Nancy West’s Aggie Mundeen mysteries, so when I was asked to review The Plunge, I was delighted. I was also not disappointed in this latest novel!

Aggie Mundeen, advice columnist, heads to Lake Placid, one of a number of lakes on the Guadalupe River, Texas, for a weekend of fun and games with her partner, Sam, a detective with the San Antonio Police Department.

Sam has offered the use of his mate, Chuck’s holiday cottage and also been requested by his mate, to find out who stole his boat. Fishing is a popular pastime on the lake, and Chuck is understandably annoyed. Sam and Aggie arrive and begin their investigation into the theft but are shocked by the announcement that there is a mighty storm and heavy rain predicted.mystery

They have attended the community meeting, met the local blowhard real estate agent, who is intent on bullying everyone into selling their homes, and a number of locals. Before Sam and Aggie get time to even have one night at the lake, the storm hits, and they are catapaulted into the evacuation effort.

Having seen a couple arguing and then disappear suddenly, Aggie is concerned for their safety. Have they fallen into the lake or is there a more sinister reason? Aggie is worried when she tries to phone her friend Grace and receives no answer. Has Grace been caught by the flood waters swirling so far afield, along with her little dog Boffo?

Fortunately, most of us will never know the terror and destruction of a major catastrophe; paradoxically, many will.

Nancy G. West brings all of the above to this relatively short but powerful novel. Nancy gives the reader an exciting read, peppered with clear-cut, identifiable characters whom one is sure to have met during one’s life! There is probably no need to mention that Aggie and Sam solve the mystery of the couple and the missing boat even while the storm rages around them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I hope there will be many more Aggie Mundeen adventures down the track!

The Plunge is also an ALA Book Club June pick.

Diana Hockley is an Australian mystery author who lives in a southeast Queensland country town. She is the devoted slave of five ratties & usually finds an excuse to mention them in her writing, including her recent novel, The Naked Room. Since retiring from running a traveling mouse circus for 10 years, she is now the mouse judge for the Queensland Rat & Mouse Club shows. To learn more, check out her website.

Interview with Nancy G. West:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Nancy: Fifteen years for fiction: the suspense novel Nine Days to Evil, four Aggie Mundeen Mysteries (cozy mysteries – the “dead” series), and most recently, The Plunge, mystery/ suspense, which is first of the lake mysteries. They feature Aggie in her new environment as Activities Director for Pecan Paradise, a retirement home near Lake Placid, Texas.

Before writing fiction, I wrote the hard cover biography of a San Antonio artist which included plates of his work, and I wrote numerous magazine articles.

I’m not sure it counts, but at age seven, my mom and I wrote poems to each other. Mine were similar to “Roses are red, violets are blue, you are great, and I love you, too.”

I remember thinking it was cool when she stopped whatever she was doing to ogle what I had written.

KRL: When did Nine Days to Evil come out? Would you tell us a little about it?

Nancy: Nine Days came out in 2012, but I’d previously written numerous versions. It’s psychological suspense about Meredith Laughlin, a sheltered graduate student who faces a life-threatening dilemma. She attempts to save herself by using what she learned in Shakespeare and Abnormal Psychology classes. Aggie Mundeen is in her class, and SAPD Detective Sam, Aggie’s friend, tries to help Meredith.

mystery author

Nancy G West

KRL: Your “dead” series is full of humor as well as mystery.

Nancy: I think Aggie popped in my head to lighten the seriousness of Meredith’s quandary in Nine Days to Evil. This is where the humor started. Aggie Mundeen intrigued me and demanded that I write about her. She still intrigues me. For brain clashes between Aggie and me, see

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?
Please tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.

Nancy: In 1998, a freak, massive rainstorm caused a 500-year flood that destroyed lives and property of people living near lakes and rivers from Central Texas to the Gulf coast, an area covering thousands of square miles. We were intimately involved with the disaster, and I wanted to document the catastrophe in 2018 on the twentieth anniversary of that life-changing event. I added fictional characters and wrote The Plunge.
With flooding currently devastating the mid-United States, people who experience the reality of a flood might be especially interested in The Plunge.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?

Nancy: I want readers to become involved in the story and grow to love the characters.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?

Nancy: I prefer to write in long sessions, seven or eight hours at a time, so I can stay in the story and be involved with the characters. I try to write twenty hours a week but it doesn’t always happen.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Nancy: I use a three-act structure and start with the major points of what happens in each act. I usually envision the first scene of a story and go from there. At some point, I make chapter summaries to check the flow of the story, the timeline, the pacing, and if facts about the characters are consistent.

KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?

Nancy: Eleven a.m. to five p.m. daily. After that, I’m pretty much brain dead and ready to listen to the news and have a glass of wine.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Nancy: For sure! Doesn’t everybody? If I meet someone whose first manuscript gets immediately swooped up, I try very hard to like them anyway.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Nancy: Sara Ann Freed, the famous former editor at Mysterious Press (deceased), kept Nine Days to Evil for at least six months–a paper manuscript, not email. I was about to give up as a writer when I received her reply to this effect: “I regret to say that Mysterious Press is unable to publish your book. However, if it were not so good, I would not have kept it for so long.”
Her comment kept me going. I’ll never forget it.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Nancy: The most fun I’ve had lately was speaking to the San Antonio Assistance League about “What Writers are REALLY Like?” It was a humorous talk that revealed all our peculiarities. Some listeners seemed fascinated with our weirdness, some were laughing, and a few writers were vigorously nodding in agreement as though thinking, “Geez. I thought I was the only one.”

KRL: Future writing goals?

Nancy: I’ll add to the Aggie Mundeen Lake Mysteries. Aggie is in a new environment, has learned some hard lessons, and as a result, her relationship with Sam has changed. Plus, a hunky Texas Game Warden keeps showing up. I imagine some humor will slip in.

KRL: Writing heroes?

Nancy: Shakespeare, the master, and contemporary authors William Kent Krueger (Ordinary Grace), Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere), and many mystery writers, David Baldacci and Nelson DeMille among them.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Nancy: I find that each book challenges me to learn something new: DNA and genetics for Smart, But Dead, history of the San Antonio River Walk for River City Dead, and for The Plunge, the realities of being caught in a flood.

KRL: What do you read?

Nancy: Mostly fiction, any book where the concept or the writing intrigues me. I also like legal thrillers.

KRL: Favorite TV or movies?

Nancy: I like Netflix and Amazon original mysteries. I think animated films are the most creative films offered in movie theaters, but I have a hard time getting adults to go with me.

KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Nancy: Read every book you can on the craft of fiction before you attempt to write it. Then read another craft book concurrently with the story you’re writing. There’s an annotated list of Books for Writers on my website. As I write a stand-a-lone (see below) and my lake mystery, I’m studying Paula Munier’s Plot Perfect. It’s not on my website list yet, but it will be. It’s excellent.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Nancy: I appreciate your reading and reviewing The Plunge and loved your interview questions. As a fellow fiction writer, you know what to ask. I’m also grateful to Lorie Ham for featuring The Plunge on King’s River Life.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Nancy: That I love people but love my solitude as well. I also love lakes, despite the danger of flooding. (Maybe these aren’t surprising.)

KRL: Website? Facebook? Twitter?

Nancy: Website:
Twitter: @NancyGWest_

To enter to win an ebook copy of The Plunge, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “plunge,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 15, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

First Chapter of The Plunge on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast:

If you get KRL through feedburner you will not see the player, but you can go to Podbean and play the episode there or on iTunes and Google Play!

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. They can also be found on iTunes and Google Play.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I’ve been reading a lot of Aussie books lately. Count me in!

  2. “The Plunge” sounds like another great book. Thanks for the chance.

  3. Sounds like a great book.

  4. Thanks for letting me know there was a new book out in this series. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. This was a really fun interview. I will go look at some of the plot books on the website. Thank you for the contest.

  6. This looks interesting! Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com

  7. Thanks for offering this chance! I am a fan of this author! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. We have a winner!


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