Meet Robbery/Homicide Detectives Annie Avants and Tom Weston of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in Bakersfield, California in this first book of the Det. Annie Avants crime fiction series.

In this dusty small town farm community, someone is kidnapping, torturing, and killing young Hispanic females. The weapon of torture – black widow spiders.

Can these two dedicated Detectives catch this serial killer with the help of their peers and friends, Deputy District Attorney Jesse Greyeyes and Technical Investigations Chief Laine DelMonte?

CAUSE OF DEATH is a spine-chilling crime fiction story that keeps you guessing right up to the last minute – and makes you wonder about the “normal” people in YOUR daily life.

Reviews for Cause of Death

CAUSE OF DEATH by RENEE BENZAIM – This exciting book is fast-paced, easy to follow, with engaging characters and a highly suspenseful storyline. I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t put it down, and read it straight through in a day. I just had to find out whodunit!  JaneReads

GOOD AUTHOR – well written, suspenseful, hated to put it down to fix dinner for family! Recommend this author to other folks anytime. Glitzy

FANTASTIC!!!! Loved it! Kept me in suspense to the end! Great police story, made my skin crawl! Keep up the good work. Pam Gilstrap



Detectives Annie Avants and Tom Weston tackle one of the most perplexing murder mysteries since they began working together.

The victim is a local, well-respected attorney who has gone missing.

There’s not much evidence to go on. His car was found an hour’s drive out of Bakersfield with blood on the passenger seat.

No body has been found.

His staff is in a quandary. He had a new trial scheduled to begin the next morning. Everything was set to go.

And then, he just disappeared.

A mysterious package left in the restroom of the Kern County Courthouse leads our detectives to believe that the attorney is dead.

And now. . . another person has gone missing!

Will our detectives find the answers before a media frenzy erupts in the Kern County/Bakersfield area? Will an FBI profiler be called in to help? Will they come to understand the kinds of criminal minds that lead someone to be a serial killer and narrow the list of suspects?

DAMAGE CONTROL is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you reading well into the night to find out ‘who dun it?’

Reviews for Damage Control

Excellent book! I found this to be one of the best police procedural books I have read in a long time. Great detail without being boring. Great story line as well. Joseph Riley.

Very good continuation of development based of prior book highly recommend this series to all mystery readers. hope she writes another.  Gary Farnsworth

This is a sequel to her first book. “Cause of Death”, a serial killer murder/mystery thriller that was amazing. Damage Control was a fast-paced crime fiction detective thriller that kept your attention right to the end. A real whodunit murder mystery novel, where the tension progressively grows…until the outcome is known…and the killer is revealed.  Coccotoro



Det. Annie Avants’ cousin lives in Mena, Arkansas, and has discovered three journals written by one of his ancestors between 1919 and 1921. The journals explain how he accidently became involved with the KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE and give the locations of some of the biggest caches of ‘rebel gold’ hidden during the Civil War in the Polk County Area.

For years, Zachary Avants has tracked down abandoned family homesteads to discover information on the lives of his long-dead relatives. Deep in the Ouachita Forest, he finds a caved in cellar where a cabin once stood.

On the back wall of the root cellar, he notices an indentation. He digs carefully and uncovers a sealed cast-iron skillet.

Inside the skillet, wrapped carefully in oilcloth, Zack finds three journals that had been kept by someone with first-hand knowledge of the KGC during the Civil War – his great grandfather, Orris Avants.

When Zack takes the journals to a cafe in Hatfield to show them to his friend, Luke, their conversation is overheard and passed on to the KGC. The KGC wants the journals at any cost.

The FBI is also interested in the KGC and their secret caches. Special Agent Connor Smith, and his partner, Agent Claire Arceneau, make it their mission to acquire the journals and recover as much of the stolen loot as possible.

A tragedy in California wakes Zack up to the significance of his find. He finally realizes that he, his family, and his friends are in danger.

Reviews for Southern Secrets

GREAT STORY. This book kept my mind involved. Very interesting to learn about the Knights of the Golden Circle. A must read for any history buff. Good plot and theme with some actual realities. Another good book in this series about Detective Annie Avants. I’m looking forward to this authors next book Green Witch, Dead Witch. Van Dyer

I LOVED THIS! Each book is more addictive and I look forward to the next one! Lethalu Kiehn

FIVE STARSI just finished Southern Secrets, and I am totally impressed with the depth of research that goes into Renee Benzaim’s books. I found myself going to Google to read more about the history of the Knights of the Golden Circle. I loved this book, the third in the Annie Avants series and look forward to Green Witch, Dead Witch. If you like the combination of adventure and history, Southern Secrets is for you! Isabelle Montero,



Two women, one man, are dead. All three were solitary green witches who met from time-to-time to share rituals and festivals. Not a coven, just a group of like-minded individuals who preferred to practice their witchcraft alone.

The first two deaths appeared to be accidental, but the third death was an obvious murder. Each death occurred in a different area of Kern County – in different jurisdictions – which made it unlikely any connection would be made between the deaths.

The third body was found in an outlying area of Kern County, which put it in the jurisdiction of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. The detective team assigned to investigate this homicide consists of Lead Detective Annie Avants and her partner, Detective Tom Weston. As the initial investigation begins, they find nothing to make them suspect that this murder is connected to any other death in Kern County.

Clem Moonstone is a solitary green witch who owns a metaphysical shop in Bakersfield. She and Annie Avants have been friends for many years. When Annie and Tom attend the funeral of the victim whose death they are investigating, Annie is surprised to see Clem there. Clem explains to Annie that the young woman whose funeral they are attending is the third person in her circle of friends to die during the past few months.

Annie’s gut instinct tells her to look into the previous two deaths. Clem gives her the names of the other two people and the locations where their bodies were found.

After Annie obtains the files and begins to research their deaths, she comes to the chilling conclusion that the first two deaths may not have been so “accidental” and that all three victims may have died at the hands of a serial killer.

It appears someone is killing the witches of Bakersfield

Reviews for Green Witch, Dead Witch

WITCHES AND MAGICK ALONG WITH MURDER!  Annie is not someone you instantly tend to like. She has all the features of a detective – fierce, independent, brave and at the same time, a bit too careful. Her thinking process is relatable, but there are times through the book when you feel like telling her it is OK to let go and live life spontaneously. And that makes Annie a human. Renee has done a good job creating a detective who is as much human as anyone of us. She is afraid of making mistake, just like any one us.

The book is really nice. I am looking forward to understanding the characters more by reading the previous parts of the series.  Devi Nair

2 thoughts on “Reviews

  1. In all honesty the only reason I picked up Cause of Death is because I’m good friends with your daughter, by the 3 rd page I was hooked. Then when they found the first body less than 1/4 mile from where I live I didn’t put the book down!! The accuracy of your landmarks id’s exceptional, too be able to visualize exactly where you are writing about is great. Im now starting fly on the wa’ll I m very eager too begin. Nut only myself but my mother, aunts and sister’s have read them all. Just as I did they couldn’t put them down. Please keep up the great story line. I’ll be bugging ” N” to keep me in the loop. Thank you for such a great series.

    • Hi Toiya! Thank you for your nice comments about my stories! I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. I lived in Pumpkin Center, so it was easy to write about it. I did love eating at Los Arcos and Gabr’s. I’m just starting on my next book in the Annie Avants series. If you go to the first page of my website and fill out the form that says “Join Us!” you’ll automatically be in the loop about what I’m doing. Let me know what you, and your friends and family, think about Fly on the Wall.
      Keep reading!

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