Ray Collins grew up in the Midwest, attended Yale, and was drafted as an Army combat infantryman during his junior year. He married Betty Ann when mustered out of the service. Ray attended Princeton, where Betty Ann had twins (Jim and Ann) and he earned an MPA. Joining State as a foreign service officer, his first assignment was Manila, Philippines where Betty Ann had their third child (Nori). He became a Japanese language and East Asia specialist during his second assignment in Japan, where their fourth child (Susan) was born. On the Japan Desk at State, he did Japanese interpreting at the White House. Ray left State to focus on Head Start, child care, and other programs for vulnerable families. He was a resident Mid-Career Fellow and earned a PhD at Princeton and, for five years, was a non-resident Fellow at the Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy, a think tank within the Yale Child Study Center. Ray’s early publications focused on Head Start, child care, and policy toward children and families. Recently, he’s published on white supremacy’s resurgence and the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. When not writing thrillers (THE GENERAL’S BRIEFCASE is being published by Köehler Books in June and MOTIVE FOR MURDER is being published in December 2023), Ray enjoys traveling and watching movies with Betty Ann, weight training at the Fairfax County rec center, and spending time with their four children and extended family.

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The General’s Briefcase

When General Winston invites a beautiful woman to his hotel room in Tysons, Virginia, he expects a romantic sexcapade. Dana Hussein al-Sadi turns the tables, assassinates the general, and steals his briefcase containing a blueprint for terrorism. Dana’s elite terrorist cell travels to Europe to acquire suitcase nuclear weapons from the Russian Mafia. Jolene Martin, author of the report, is picked by Alex Werth (who initially suspects her of having shot the general) to be co-leader of the team responsible for finding Winston’s killer and stopping the impending disaster. The search for the terrorists and the missing bombs comes to focus on the Eastern United States, particularly the greater Washington, DC area. In the climax, the conflict between Dana and Jolene is resolved at her horse farm in rural Virginia.

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Motive for Motive

Motive for Murder is a classic serial killer thriller. Rookie detective Hana Brown is assigned a gruesome murder of a female Asian by the Fairfax County Police Department in the mistaken belief it is a routine gang killing. The new Chief of Police proudly announces Hana’s role to the media to profit from news coverage of how she was wounded in Chinatown when her detective father was assassinated by drug dealers. By the time FCPD realizes the victim is the first of a series of homicides of Chinese American women with notes signed Jack the Ripper, it’s too late to replace Hana. An FBI agent detailed to Fairfax is chosen as her deputy, despite his protests, and endorses the belief a serial killer is the culprit. A news reporter who attracts Hana’s romantic interest advances a competing theory that political intrigue is the true motive behind the murders.

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