The Frozen Lady

Susan wrote her first novel, The Frozen Lady, an historical novel about the birth of Alaska, while working in television in Alaska, (published by Arbor House in hardback, Zebra Books in paperback.)
For quite some time, when pressed, Susan would say this: Full of sex and violence, The Frozen Lady is now mercifully out of print. You can find stray copies in hardback or paperback on

Her husband, Fred, Googled it and came running into the room one day. “Honey, this is amazing,” he cried. “Somebody reviewed it on Amazon and gave it five stars! And get this! It’s not even anybody we know!”

But now, she prefers to recall this: Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, beloved by most Alaskans as a lion-hearted defender of all things Alaskan, writing her upon the novel’s publication that it was the best book he’d ever read about the birth of Alaska and offering to ‘blurb’ it for her if she wanted. (Susan was too cowed and awed to take him up on it, but has treasured the letter for decades.) Various readers through the years taking the time to write and tell her that reading that novel sparked an interest in the state that led to relocating there and her dear friend, Alaskan broadcaster Herb Shaindlin, curmudgeon, protector of the underdog, defender of deep truths, fiercely advocating for this book and flinging around a bunch of b-words, (and no, not the one that ends in h. Words that are balm to a writer: bounteous, bumptious, breathtaking, bawdy & beautiful. Oh, okay, fine, and brilliant, but Herb was an easy grader.

Between then and now she’s learned a lot about writing and has written two thrillers. The Timer Game has been published in the United States in hardback by Minotaur, in the UK by HarperCollins, and ius available in Italy, Germany and Taiwan. It’s a creepy psychological thriller that involves a kitchen timer and a kidnapped kid.

TheTimerGameNewCoverIn January 2014, The Timer Game will be available in the United States in paperback via direct mail through Harlequin Worldwide Library Mystery and Suspense, which focuses on amateur sleuths, traditional cozies, police procedurals and private eye fiction.
Click Here for more information

Cover US
US Cover
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Cover UK
UK Cover
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The Timer Game Webisodes

The Timer Game has a set of 22 short webisodes, directed by Kai Soremekun, introducing the thriller and ending in a cliff-hanger that’s paid off in the book.
Warning: webisode 19 is R-rated

Choose Episode



Gautami Tripathy from New Delhi posted his review here.

"Explosive and terrifying, The Timer Game, an original novel with provocative themes and compelling characterizations, moves along at a pulse-pounding pace. Filled with stomach-churning images and guaranteed to satisfy readers hungry for a fast and furious thriller, The Timer Game is a commendable debut novel from a writer who knows how to write an entertaining, intelligent, and really good medical thriller."

-Tim Davis,
Read the full review here


‘Susan Arnout Smith’s The Timer Game is a gripping thriller with a resourceful heroine. Having mysteriously given up a promising career as a doctor, Grace is now a forensic biologist with the San Diego police and bringing up a five-year old daughter on her own.

After a sinister warning, someone kidnaps the child and taunts Grace with the game she plays with her – finding hidden clues before a timer runs out. If she fails to find each clue, the girl will be killed.

In her frantic race against the clock she discovers that she cannot trust even the people closest to her. The theme is familiar, but there are some original twists and heart-pounding moments before the exciting climax.’
-The Sunday Telegraph


Smith’s writing rises above the mediocre level of many thrillers, and her insights, such as "None of us escapes this world undamaged," strike home. And much of the action takes place on Halloween, which adds a ghoulish touch and heightens the tension.

With an intelligent, literate plot and a fully drawn heroine, "The Timer Game" portends great things from Smith. And readers will want her to hurry.
-Jay Strafford,
Richmond Times Dispatch

Read the full review

(An) edge-of-the-chair thriller will keep you up until you finish it.

-Armchair Interviews
Read the full review here


Out at Night

Out at Night is now out!  

In US bookstores everywhere.  It’s the second in the Grace Descanso series.  

Here’s a brief description taken from the UK Amazon booksite:  

The next installment of Susan Arnout Smith’s gripping detective series starring CSI detective Grace Descanso. Opening just one day after the ending of ‘The Timer Game’, CSI agent, Grace Descanso has to come to terms with the reality of introducing Mac into Katie’s life, as her father. As the three spend time together in the Bahamas, Katie begins to develop a bond with her father. Grace knows that life as she knew it, with her daughter, has come to an end. It is not long before Grace’s personal life is interrupted. Thaddeus Bartholomew, a history professor, is forced at gunpoint to drive to a soy field. As he lies dying, he leaves a message on his answerphone at home in Morse code: find Grace Descans-. Cut off before finishing, the FBI need to know why he asked for Grace. A journey into a world of activism and violence, secrets and lies, ‘Out at Night’ is a breakneck rollercoaster of a thriller, gripping from the first page until the last.

To watch the webisodes that precede this novel, press this link.

cover                                          cover UK
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. . .deftly plotted thriller that picks up where The Timer Game left off.  Readers will soon be feeling the chill when they realize how true to life it could be.

Romantic Times Book Club  Sandra Garcia-Myer


. . .Smith has created a brilliantly human character in Grace Descanso.  Recommended for Tess Gerritsen fans.

Library Journal  (9/01/08)

. . .with its chilling scenario about the potential impact of genetically modified foods, this sequel to The Timer Game effectively combines focus on character with high-powered suspense.

Booklist, Michele Leber


Reviews from the Web posted their review at:
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Out at Night was also mentioned at:

Thereís also a Q&A with Susan at: posted their review at:


Listen to Susan Arnout Smith on Radio Amsterdam: The State We’re In

Listen to Susan Arnout Smith’s Interview on The Mike Bullard Show


Susan’s first novel is an answer in the Alaskan version of Trivial Pursuit.

Answer: The Frozen Lady.

Question: What is the name of Susan Arnout’s first novel?

That’s actually a trick question, since she changed her name after the novel came out and added a Smith, so The Frozen Lady is not only the first, but the only novel published under the name Susan Arnout.