The Well


Montezuma Well, an ancient Native American cliff dwelling, provides the backdrop for murder in this present-day tale of mystery and suspense. A face-off between mental health law and justice for victims rips apart the peace of a small town in central Arizona. Allie Davis is the counselor trapped between would-be executioners and the evil they seek to destroy. That evil threatens the lives of a beautiful Apache woman who describes herself as an instrument of karma, a vulnerable young mother who survived childhood sexual abuse, and a gun-toting, cowboy-hat-wearing man whose favorite ride is a classic sports car. Throw in a wickedly seductive psychiatrist and an ancient Chinese book of prophecy to muddy the waters of the Well and you’ll never see what rises at night to feed below its surface.



Readers gave The Well 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Here’s what two of them had to say:



The action in Sharon Sterling’s psychological suspense novel takes place in an area not often mentioned in fiction, the Verde Valley, south of Sedona, Arizona. Having spent time in the area, while reading I had a feeling of “being there” in that wonderful rimrock country. Her description of Montezuma’s Well, the focal point of her narrative, is especially effective. Add to the mix, women who take command of difficult situations and Sterling’s expertise in the mental health field and you have the makings of an edgy page turner. By E. J. Mcgill on May 2, 2013

I loved many things about this book: amazing descriptions, characters with personality, a multifaceted mystery, and an ending with hope. This is a book that I will share with friends and recommend to all. By Lois Beyer on April 5, 2014


Purchase The Well on Amazon today, soft cover or download to Kindle.



Mural of Montezuma Well on the wall of Beaver Creek Library in Rimrock, Arizona.

Mural of Montezuma Well on the wall of Beaver Creek Library in Rimrock, Arizona.

Preview of The Well

 Chapter One

The second the blood-sucking creep walked in, she was going to kill him.  He would be an easy target, standing backlit by the wide-open doors of the garage.  As he pulled the filthy string of a single overhead light bulb he would be a silhouette like a paper target on a shooting range.  She was a good enough shot from this distance to put a hole in his heart.

The snub-nosed 32-caliber pistol felt solid and cool against her jeans-clad thigh.  She placed her hand over it, rubbed its smooth metallic skin then picked it up and with arms straight she sighted down the barrel and mentally rehearsed it again.  He usually came home around seven or eight o’clock but she could wait, here in the dark at the back wall where he couldn’t see her.

The wood-frame garage stood fifteen feet square, the doorway made of two five foot wide panels that swung outward on rusty hinges.  The dirt floor where she sat had been smoothed and hardened by time, tires and oil.  The exterior of the garage was streaked by a few scales of weathered white paint but in here the planks were grey with dry rot at the bottom.  They gave a little against her back.  The garage had been built in the 1950s for the boat-like cars with fins typical of that era.  It was deep enough for his bullet-shaped 1978 Datsun 280-Z, and bare of anything except the large tool cabinet that served as her hiding place.

The minutes ticked by slowly, filaments of time she spun in silence.  An hour passed with no sound of life, save for the far-away bark of a dog, the whispered scurry of a rodent and the hushed susurration of her own breath.

Suddenly, as if through someone else’s eyes, she saw herself crouched in a dirty place with only spiders and field mice for company, waiting for a dirty man to come and die.  With an inward shrinking the word coward came to her.  No.  She was no coward.  It had taken a daring leap of mind to even think of killing a man she had always believed was invulnerable.  The truth had crashed in on a wave of hatred: his only true shield was an invisible crust of evil.  But was this the justice she craved?  Should the final minutes of his accursed life pass so easily?  It would be like squashing a cockroach—too quick and too easy for him and her, and maybe cowardly, too?  She loathed the man for his own cowardice, which was the least of his flawsShe put the gun down on the dirt floor, heedless of the need to keep its mechanism clean.  Hugging her chins toward her, she lowered her forehead to her knees.  No, she thought.  It should be more…fair, and more…challenging.  But how?

Out of the dank silence an idea materialized, penetrated her mind, coalesced there.  A better way…a much better way.   As she rose to leave she picked up the gun and reminded herself to clean and oil it before she gave it back.”

Download the rest of the first chapter, here.