Struggling crime novelist becomes overnight best-seller thanks to his daughter

Struggling crime novelist becomes overnight best-seller thanks to his daughter
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We’d like to mark Valentine’s Day with a different kind of love story: that of a daughter and her father.

This is the tale of how a woman got the book her dad spent his free time writing to the top of Amazon’s best-sellers list.

Lloyd Devereux Richards, from Vermont, worked on his thriller, called Stone Maidens for 14 years before it was finally published. But, as is the case for most amateur novelists, his passion project seemed destined for obscurity.

That was until his daughter promoted his work on TikTok, saying: “My dad spent 14 years writing a book. He worked full time and his kids came first. But [he] made time for his book.

“He's so happy even though sales aren't great. I'd love for him to get some sales. He doesn't even know what TikTok is.”

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Her video racked up more than 41.8 million views and 9.3 million views in just six days as supporters shared their admiration of Lloyd and his loving girl.

But much more significant than the flood of positive comments was the impact her clip had on Stone Maidens’ success.


It’s a beautifully written thriller on Amazon 🥹❤️ #stonemaidens #booktok #authorsoftiktok #thrillerbooks #books

Within 24 hours it had sold out on Amazon and hit the platform’s number one best-seller spot, according to one woman who’d been following the novel’s numbers.

It now seems to be available again on the US site, but a paperback copy will set you back $29.99 (around £24.70), which indicates how in demand it is.

The book also has 754 five-star ratings, which were almost exclusively posted over the past six days, as you might expect.

“I love the thoughtfulness of this book,” one said. “The time he took to write it and everything was intentional and purposeful. Great storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat and overall I love this author!! He needs to write more books!!”

Considering nabbing your own copy of the “compulsively readable whodunnit”? Here’s a brief overview of its synopsis: “A forensic anthropologist for the FBI’s Chicago field office, Christine Prusik has worked her fair share of bizarre cases. Yet this one trumps them all: a serial killer is strangling young women and dumping their bodies in the steep, forested ravines of southern Indiana. With each victim, the killer leaves a calling card: a stone figurine carved like the spirit stones found among the primitive tribes of Papua New Guinea―the same tribes from whom Prusik narrowly escaped a decade earlier while doing field research.

“Prusik still carries the scars from the tribesmen’s attack. But is the connection real? Or have the dark details of Prusik’s nightmares finally wormed their way into her waking life?”

Lloyd's daughter said her dad spent over a decade writing his thriller@stonemaidens/TikTok

Sounds gripping, no?

Still, the denouement we all really care about centres on Lloyd himself and what he’s made of this unexpected turn of events.

In a series of follow-up videos, his daughter revealed her social media campaign to him and offered him a glimpse of the response it had garnered.

In one clip, titled ‘Life can be hard and then it can be wonderful suddenly (still crying’, she passed him her phone and showed him the viral TikTok.

“You’re the number one serial killer thriller,” she said between tears as he scrolled, aghast, through the “lovely” comments beneath the video.


you all are amazing! Life can be hard and then it can be wonderful suddenly (still crying) #stonemaidens

Lloyd wiped away his own tears, put on his glasses and said he was “ready for a nap.”

In another clip, titled, ‘After 25 years of little hope, this happened. Never give up!’ she shared his reaction to seeing his novel hit Amazon’s top spot.

“These last couple of days… I just can’t understand it,” he told her. “I feel blessed.”

And if that’s not enough to fill your heart with warmth this Valentine’s, we’re not sure what is.

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