Del Mar plays a role in local’s new thriller ‘Dead Ringer’

"Dead Ringer" a new book by Del Mar's Jayne Haines.
(Copyright Jayne Haines)

Author Jayne Haines will host a book signing at En Fuego on Dec. 8


While on vacation in Italy 10 years ago, Del Mar’s Jayne Haines was lingering at a café with her husband as it was closing up for the night. He got up unceremoniously and left her at the table and then he just didn’t return.

It was getting dark and the café and the piazza were growing empty and quiet. Haines was alone—she didn’t have a cell phone with an international plan to reach her husband and she didn’t even know the name of the hotel she was staying at.

It turned out he had just needed some extra euros and went in search of an ATM and had gotten lost on his way back, but that sick feeling of panic and abandonment had always stuck with her.

“I always thought of that vulnerability that we very rarely find ourselves in,” Haines said.

And she thought…it would make the basis for a really good thriller.

Author Jayne Haines
(Copyright of Jayne Haines)

Those fear-filled moments of helplessness in a foreign land eventually made their way into Haines’ recently released novel “Dead Ringer”, self-published with Amazon Book Kindle Direct Publishing.

Haines describes “Dead Ringer” as a fast-paced “twisty-turny” novel about blackmail. identity manipulation and the lengths a person will go to make up for a brutal mistake. It tells the story of a fatal drunk driving accident that sends a San Diego fisherman scrambling when he learns that the young woman he killed was the wife of a wealthy Italian psychopath who forces him into finding a replacement for her. It’s a little bit “spicy”, she says, and a little bit edgy.

The novel takes place in some of San Diego’s familiar locations such as Del Mar, Pacific Beach and Point Loma before traveling abroad to a small town in Italy. Locals will recognize scenes set in En Fuego in the Del Mar Village, on the bluffs at Ninth Street and Rubio’s.

A book signing event with Haines will be held at En Fuego on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Haines has been a Del Mar resident for 28 years, originally moving to San Diego from Scottsdale for college. A freelance copywriter by trade, this was Haines’ first book in the suspense/thriller genre. Eight years ago she wrote a children’s middle grade book called “Cry for the Moon” and also published an inspirational booklet called “How To Grow a Marriage”, a fun project where she interviewed 50 couples who have been married more than 20 years.

“I’ve always wanted to write this kind of book and I just needed a big chunk of time to do it,” she said.

She had sketched out the basic idea for the story but the pandemic offered a chance to really slow down, immerse herself fully in her own little world and “let her mind go crazy.”

After being released in November, the book has sold a couple hundred copies and has so far been well-received by readers.

“It’s been a lot of fun and super exciting,” Haines said. “It’s something that I’m really proud of.”

Since the book has been released, Haines has also been invited to present at next April’s Los Angeles Festival of Books and said she thinks her next thriller may already be in the works.

“My momentum will be propelled by the excitement of having this book out there now,” she said.

Dead Ringer is available both in paperback on Amazon and as a Kindle eBook at