A Dream to Die For

A Dream to Die For


Suzan Z. Ritz
July 16, 2019
Published by She Writes Press

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Additional Information:

Release Date: July 16, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-63152-557-5
LCCN: 2018962628
A Dream to Die For
is published by She Writes Press, an award-winning hybrid publisher for women authors.



IN RIVERTON FALLS, A SMALL NEW ENGLAND TOWN, globe-trotting bartender Celeste Fortune stands in her kitchen puzzling over last night’s frightening dream—a woman at a window, lilacs blowing in the breeze, someone’s hands tight around her neck. Celeste is sure the dream belongs to someone else. Perhaps she has finally broken through to the collective dreams of Dreamland cult. Hoping her therapist and cult leader will help her untangle it, she heads off into the cold November morning to her final appointment with him—or so she hopes. Her estranged fiancé has delivered an ultimatum: Leave the cult of Dreamers, or end their relationship for good.

Instead of help, however, Celeste discovers her therapist dying in a pool of blood, skull stove in by his own healing crystal. His computer, containing the intimate dreams and secrets of half the town, is gone. Suspicion immediately falls on Celeste, known to be a rebellious member of his cult. To clear her name, Celeste enlists the help of her old friend, Gloria, and the two women set out to find the real culprit. But in the middle of their hunt, the stolen dreams seemingly come to life, terrifying the town—and Celeste and Gloria become the killer’s next target.


A fun crime tale with some creepy cult elements.

Kirkus Review, read the full review here.


“With intrigue and humor, Susan Ritz has created an arresting novel that strikes at a core fear: what if your dreams were not safe? This psychologically compelling mystery about the murder of a therapist-cum-cult leader proves Ritz a natural storyteller. She is masterful at leading readers through a small city’s best and worst instincts with finesse and wit. Hold your own dreams close, but be sure to share A Dream to Die For, a most tangible tale of virtual reality that stays with you long after every secret is revealed.”

Shelagh Shapiro, Vermont author and host of Write the Book podcast


“A small-town crime caper with plenty of action and a cast of quirky, unforgettable characters. Ritz’s comic timing is flawless, and her rollicking plot is expertly balanced against a sobering premise: That last bastion of personal privacy—our own dreams—may no longer be secure. The idea has an alarming ring of plausibility, adding a shivery edge to this entertaining mystery.”

Kathryn Guare, award-winning author of The Conor McBride suspense series


“Susan Ritz has crafted an original and compelling murder mystery that will keep you up late turning pages as you’re sucked into a world of dreams and dreamers, mystics and bartenders, artists and cops.  With a wonderfully intriguing cast of characters and a richly atmospheric small-town setting complete with its own cult, A Dream to Die For is a tangled web of a book you won’t want to tear yourself away from.”

Jennifer McMahon, New York Times Bestselling author of The Winter People and Burntown


“Susan Ritz’s A Dream to Die For is a deft debut mystery that will appeal to anyone who loves a good puzzle with a feminist twist.  The heroine, Celeste, is torn between her male therapist and the man she has begun to love.  When the therapist is murdered, many suspects emerge from the cult of his patients – as well as a technological twist that will surprise you.”  

Mary Fillmore, author of An Address in Amsterdam 


“Susan Ritz’s A Dream To Die For exposes our universal human need to identify “us” and “them” and the confusion that can come when group dogma no longer lines up with experience. Her dialogue rings true, and her lively small-town characters make sore subjects fun. Her mystery embodies crises we all face in a new world of techno fake news and resulting divisions. What’s real?  What truly matters? Who can you trust? There’s nothing like a murder or two to clarify purpose, community, and one’s deepest identity as a blood-pounding, passionate woman with a brain.” 

Rickey Gard Diamond, award-winning journalist and author of Whole Worlds Could Pass Away and Screwnomics


”An intriguing, original mystery that had me turning pages late into the night. Ritz does a brilliant job making us care about what happens to her characters and is a master of detail. Impossible to put down!”

Michelle Cox, author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series


”A gripping Gothic whodunit featuring obscure clues muttered by a dying man, strange encounters in foggy cemeteries, car chases on lonely roads, and clairvoyant dreams".”

Bernie Lambek, author of the 2018 INDIES Finalist for Best Mystery, Uncivil Liberties


“Oh, what a wonderful book! It’s everything I want in a mystery! A wild imagination that made me believe every word.”

Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life


Susan Ritz grew up in Minnesota, but she left home to become a wandering scholar; she lived, studied, and worked as a social worker in Kenya, Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia in the 1970s. She worked as a human rights lobbyist in Washington, DC, during the Carter Administration before moving to Dachau, Germany, the setting for her memoir in progress, On the Edge of Dachau. For the past thirty years she has lived with her husband and three children in Montpelier, Vermont, where she has worked as a fund raiser, events coordinator, and philanthropic advisor for a wide range of nonprofit organizations, especially those promoting economic equality for women. Writing, however, has always been her passion, and after receiving an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, she began writing for local publications, teaching creative writing to adults and high school students, and working on her first novel, A Dream to Die For.

Visit Susan’s website at www.susanzritz.com