In a few days time, Audrey Fleta Hroc’s 20 year career ends in disgrace, an
18 year marriage ends in divorce, and the home she has cherished for all
those years burns down with her possessions in it. Audrey Fleta Hroc alone,
jobless and homeless asked, “Can it get any worse?” It does, much worse.
|Knapsack Secrets by Billie A. Williams is about people and relationships. It’s a story about the compassion
one human being has for another regardless of status. It is also about greed and murder and how low a
person will sink to achieve success and how weak and stupid the "powers that be" can be, however powerful
Williams gets inside her characters and brings out the best and worst in them. She shows you how easily a
person at the top of the world can tumble off the tip of it in the flash of an eye, losing everything and being
reduced to a street person. At first you think, "How can this really happen to someone with such a prestigious
position in a large company?"
Billie A. Williams gives you the answer and makes the situation believable in the real world of greed, deceit
and evil. She doesn’t pull any punches or leave any stone unturned. Her characters–both the bad and good–
face one challenge after another. She proves that nothing valuable is easily gained but can be easily lost.
I promise you, Williams’ characters will stay with you long after you read the last word of Knapsack Secrets.
They will own a part of your heart and never let go. You will never look at homeless people the same ever
again in the same way. Knapsack Secrets is a Must Read!
-- J. Gayle Kelly
The Watermelon Patch.
Knapsack Secrets: Williams astounds me with her usage of words and phrases. She hits the nail on the
head when it comes to choosing the correct word every time and the correct phrase. I’ve laughed and I’ve
cried, and I’ve gotten up at 1:00 in the morning to read more because I couldn’t sleep, trying to figure out who
Believe me, Williams characters will linger with you long after you’ve read the book. I’m hoping she’ll write a
sequel to Knapsack Secrets. And I think she might. As a rule, I’m not a mystery reader, but this one knocked
me for a loop. -- Knapsack Secrets,
Reviewed by SK Hamilton,
The Kahills of Willow Walk,
Knapsack Secrets: Williams creates some fascinating characters in Knapsack Secrets who will keep you
turning the pages through any rough spots in the prose. Hang in there through the prickly beginning and you’ll
be rewarded with the drama of Audrey’s day-to-day life as she crosses paths with a demented murderer and
his sex kitten-with-a-heart-of-ice. The cold, hard slap of betrayal by a disinterested and disloyal spouse, being
ostracized by her co-workers, living each day as if it might be her last—can life get any worse? Just when you’
re certain there’s no hope, add to the mix an engaging street boy and a homeless woman who seeks justice
for her friend and you’ll have the recipe for a tasty bowl of stone soup— à la Billie A. Williams. --Ingrid Taylor
Forget about sweet cozy mysteries. Knapsack Secrets has too much suspense, drama and action to be
classified as such a mild novel. From the first chapter to the last, my heart was racing--sometimes with
indignation, sometimes with dread or horror. There were enough pauses for pleasant scenes to give the
reader an occasional emotional rest; but not for long. The characters have depth with clear motivations,
whether good or bad. Billie Williams gives us several issues to consider within the context of a drop-dead
(literally) story: adultery, abuse, murder, homelessness, business politics, friendships and life in general.
Knapsack Secrets would make a great selection for book club discussions, as well as personal reading. This
is a page-turner; one of those books that will keep you up all night to finish. Then you will spend the next day
thinking about it.
--Brenda (Eolande Brana-Faolan) Gaeth's Way, Runes
Read Knapsack Secrets and find out how a homeless woman, a street urchin and a deceived ex executive
woman rock the town’s elite. How many secrets does Brother John have? There is more than soup in that
--Ron Berry, Professional Reviewer,
Billie A. Williams
Audrey and Jared Hroc seem to have it all. This “power couple” enjoys all the trappings of success; a beautiful
home, expensive cars, and exciting jobs in advertising. Audrey even holds the coveted title of “Woman of the
Year”, a nice feather in the cap of Parker & Pendergast, the agency that employed them both over 18 years
ago, and still employs them today. P & P isn’t just a job to the Hroc’s-it’s their family.
After months of preparation, Audrey watches in disbelief as another woman takes credit for the ad campaign
she’s created for P & P’s biggest client. When she protests, Audrey is accused of stealing and is booted out of
the agency. To add insult to injury, Jared not only doesn’t come to her defense, he makes an appearance at
their home later that afternoon staying only long enough to tell Audrey he’s ending their 18-year-marriage.
Gathering some personal items, he hurries out, straight into the arms of his new assistant, Clarinda Wade,
the woman that caused Audrey to lose her job. Devastated, Audrey is desperate to clear her name and get
herself together, but things escalate from bad to worse over the next few days when she discovers unpaid bills
and missing bank accounts. Her credit cards are suspended and she has no cash, no food, no phone, and no
That evening, Audrey wakes up to find her house engulfed in flames and barely manages to escape with her
life. The next time she wakes, it’s in the hospital and she’s barely able to croak out a sentence, due to the
damage caused to her throat and lungs from smoke inhalation. Audrey is visited at the hospital by Clarinda,
who accuses her of burning down the Hroc home, just to keep her and Jared from living there. Audrey is dumb-
founded, and in hindsight, sees all the warning signs that her marriage was in trouble.
When she’s discharged from the hospital, Audrey has nothing but the clothes on her back. It looks like no way
out as she makes her way across town and searches for a safe place to sleep for the night and to wait until
she’s able to meet with her attorney-whom she prays will take her case without a retainer.
Meanwhile, Valentine “Val” Aziza, a homeless woman, is worried about her friend, Dana Lucas, a volunteer at
the local soup kitchen. Max Lucas has lame excuses for his wife’s disappearance-and the longer Dana’s
missing, the more Val suspects foul play-but there’s not much a sick and penniless woman can do-until
Audrey Hroc arrives on the wrong side of the tracks with boy known only as “Zip”. Together with Jocelyn
Oberlieux, an attorney with a personal vendetta against Jared’s lawyer, the motley crew is determined to seek
justice for Audrey and discover the whereabouts of Dana Lucas.
What began as a muddled introduction into the life of a career woman at the top of her game, turned into an
engrossing read as I came to care about this “fallen woman”, Audrey Hroc. Williams depicts, in painstaking
clarity, how easily any one of us could go from a comfortable existence to homelessness-and in the proverbial
blink of an eye. Life on the streets seems as real as it gets with all its inherent problems; bullies, lack of
housing, inclement weather, boredom, and scrounging for food. Hostililty from the working class is another
daily encounter, as evidenced by a visit to the local thrift store.
Williams creates some fascinating characters in Knapsack Secrets who will keep you turning the pages
through any rough spots in the prose. Hang in there through the prickly beginning and you’ll be rewarded with
the drama of Audrey’s day-to-day life as she crosses paths with a demented murderer and his sex kitten-with-
a-heart-of-ice. The cold, hard slap of betrayal by a disinterested and disloyal spouse, being ostracized by her
co-workers, living each day as if it might be her last-can life get any worse? Just when you’re certain there’s no
hope, add to the mix an engaging street boy and a homeless woman who seeks justice for her friend and you’
ll have the recipe for a tasty bowl of stone soup- à la Billie A. Williams.
INGRID TAYLOR'S SMALL PRESS REVIEW For MysteryFiction.net
To have your book reviewed by Ingrid Taylor, query at email firstname.lastname@example.org
Billie A. Williams’s latest novel, ‘Knapsack Secrets’ had me hooked by the second page. The reader will be
rooting for heroine, Audrey Fleta Hroc, from the beginning of the story. Billie’s fast paced tale of Audrey’s fall
from the good life to living on the streets in no more than a heartbeat took my breath away. Billie paints a very
realistic picture of life on the street for Audrey and her two new sidekicks, Val and Zip. An unlikely trio, they
forge a bond of caring and devotion that some of us can only wish for in our friends.
Billie’s depiction of Audrey’s new life is disturbing in the reality of it. I was left with the feeling that it could
happen to any of us.
The strength and determination of Audrey, Val and Zip to not be overcome by their misfortunes make up a
heartwarming and unforgettable story.
Knapsack Secrets is one to read more than once. Billie has done a superb job with this book..
Pat McCain Cerise, Author
|What The Reviewers Are Saying
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