The Red Files by Lee Winter

(11 customer reviews)

$9.99 / E-BOOK

Availability: In Stock


Read an excerpt here: pdf | epub

Book one in the On the Record series

Author: Lee Winter


Rival reporters team up for the story of their careers in this lesbian romantic suspense filled with humor, twists, and one fierce ice queen.

Ambitious Daily Sentinel journalist Lauren King is chafing on LA’s vapid social circuit, reporting on glam, A-list parties while sparring with her rival—the formidable, icy Catherine Ayers.

Ayers is an ex-Washington DC political correspondent who suffered a humiliating fall from grace, and her acerbic tongue keeps everyone at bay. Everyone, that is, except knockabout Iowa girl King, who is undaunted, unimpressed and gives as good as she gets.

One night a curious story unfolds before their eyes: One business launch, 34 prostitutes and a pallet of missing pink champagne.

What on earth does it mean? King and Ayers join forces but they might find a lot more than just a passion for news on the dusty road to Nevada.

Additional information

Publication Date

September 2015


epub (for Kindle Reader/Kindle Apps, for iBooks, Nook etc.), mobi, and pdf




103,000 words




978-3-95533-331-7 (mobi), 978-3-95533-332-4 (epub), 978-3-95533-333-1 (pdf)


Ylva Publishing

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11 reviews for The Red Files by Lee Winter

  1. Ameliah Faith


    I Could Learn to Love Politics

    This is a wonderful tale of Lauren King, a small town aspiring political journalist and former political journalist Catherine Ayres. Although they don’t get along, together they go in search of the story of a lifetime. Car chases, apartment ransacking, threats of death and more wont deter them as they search for the truth.

    This was a heart stopping suspenseful read with sprinklings of lust, love, and sensuality in a very romantic thriller. I loved how the women relate to each other through out the drama. Snide comment making, hostile personality, Ayres hides a secret that she does not want out. Lauren on the other hand is more open but wary of her partner. They grow to into their bad-assed selves, learn to trust one another, becoming friends and more. Their ability to be strong for each other even when they weren’t feeling overly strong themselves was heartwarming.

    In summary, the plot line was well executed and exciting, the writing well edited and technically sound, the characters are complex and engaging. This book is generally an all around great book. My compliments to Ms Winter. Very well done!!

  2. Cori Kane


    what a delightful read! humorous, suspenseful, exciting. i missed sleep over this and it was absolutely worth it. ms. winter’s writing is intoxicating, you just have to know what happens next. though i’m not a fan of political anything, i’m now a fan of lee winter. well done.

  3. Kurt Ozinga


    A story of two women, entertainment reporters in LA, who find a huge story which requires them to work together when their past relationship has been marked with each scoring more insults against the other and what seems like genuine dislike.

    This becomes a story about valid current political fears, friendships that matter, mystery, love and suspense. There is such a delicious, intricate balance in this story by Lee Winter, with so many threads woven skillfully together making the reading of this a gleeful affair for me.

    The characters, minor and major, have distinct voices and succeed very well throughout the story as well as containing some big laughs (Joshua).

    I loved it and found no flaws or anything else in this work that slowed me down. Read this book.

  4. jeep28


    “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
    ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
    But it happened with The Red Files.
    Lee Winter has breathed new life into the lesfic genre with her smashing debut novel. It is so perfectly written that I find it hard to fathom the world does not already have a bookshelf full of her titles.
    For years the majority of lesbian fiction has been inundated with dreadfully substandard story lines containing one-dimensional characters and fallacious clichés. In comparison to mainstream fiction, the overall quality of this genre has been second-rate at best. However, The Red Files has restored my hope and renewed my interest for lesbian literature.
    This author wastes no time in grabbing your attention, and with a solid, humorous beginning, we are immediately thrown into the hangover and humiliation of protagonist Lauren King. She is a reporter on the Hollywood junket with dreams and ambitions bigger than the tears Barbara Walters can create.
    Lauren is clawing her way up through the ranks at L.A.’s Daily Sentinel until she can write the stories she believes in. Her only competition besides the male hierarchy of the newspaper, is colleague and arch rival Catherine Ayers who has the nickname, The Caustic Queen. Her cutthroat words and air of sophistication make up the foundation of the seemingly impenetrable walls she has built around her unapproachable persona. Once a Washington, D.C. political insider in charge of her own bureau, she is now forced to work on the same frivolous reporting as King due to a professional fall from grace. As a bonus, we are treated to a mysterious subplot involving Ayers’ past that when revealed, is as rich as the threads of her Armani suit.
    Both are paying their dues, covering an A-lister business launch, when their investigative skill- sets place them on a 250 page journey of connivance, conspiracy, and corruption. It is an intriguing plot that challenges how we view the overabundance and intrusiveness allowed by technology and the susceptibility in which we live.
    Our main characters are tenacious in their pursuit of the truth, dodging everything from secret agents to squealing tires. Trust between the ladies becomes paramount when thrust into a labyrinth of diabolical deceit involving prostitutes and pink champagne.
    The commitment King and Ayers put into solving this mystery is undoubtedly a true reflection of the intimate diligence Winters has poured onto the page. Her real-life journalistic skills shine and validate any and all accolades her personal career has afforded.
    In addition, the author continuously proves throughout the novel that her ability to write innovative and complex dialogue is beyond compare. The polished snark of Ayers is as piercing as her glare and the down-home dialect of King works as the perfect conduit to their electrifying conversational showdowns. It makes me wish Winters wrote the words I spoke every day. I would sound so much cooler in real life tbh.
    The varying scenic locations and supporting characters are just as engaging from start to finish. Winters’ use of colorful imagery and creative descriptors captivate every page. Her writing overall is intelligent with a fast-paced tone and immersion into the story is immediate and without hindrance.
    This novel tells two very impressive stories: The story of Lauren and Catherine’s adventure and the story of Lee Winter’s remarkable talent.
    I do not flippantly hand out 5-star reviews. The lesfic world is small and I believe that friends allow their adoration for one another to supersede their love for the written word. I tried very hard to find something, really anything, negative about this book so it would not look as if I were being biased or unfair. But I simply could not. My only complaint would be that the story had to end. However, Winters has gifted us with a free bonus chapter entitled Flashbang that is available here:
    So see, even that attempt at a criticism is futile.
    Ylva Publishing has discovered a true wordsmith wonder in Lee Winter, and if I were them I would handcuff her to a typewriter.
    The Red Files is an imaginative, cloak and dagger thriller filled with suspense, perplexity, and tension. Furthermore, there is a compelling cast of characters whose unbelievable dialogue contains sagacity and wit unparalleled to most. The skill with which Lee Winter has masterfully woven this tale has left me with a newfound appreciation for those who choose to put the story first.
    There’s an anonymous saying that states: “A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great book gives you no choice.”
    Well, be prepared to have no choice.
    Purchase The Red Files by Lee Winter here:

  5. Sabrina


    Lee Winter wrote a compelling story. I was more invested in why prostitutes and what the red files are, than in the romantic plot. The mystery behind the pink champagne is what drives the protagonists and definitely made me finish the book in one sitting. As exciting as thenews story itself was, believe me, the romance in the novel has no shortcomings. It’s rather refreshing to be engaged in more than one layer of a story. Every character in The Red Files is innovative and interesting. Yes there was the trope of the chief editor being a jerk, but it was used just right. I didn’t expect the book to end in the way it did. Pleasant surprises make for a good read.

  6. Tara at The Lesbian Review


    The Red Files came at me out of nowhere when I first read it last year and instantly became one of my favourites. The plotting is tight, the pacing is perfect, and the characters are so much fun and have stuck with me for months.

    Full review at The Lesbian Review here:

    Listen to Brooklyn and I talk about it on Les Do Books here:

  7. Betty Harmon


    The Red Files is a complex, well-written, complicated book with a great backstory. The characters are nuanced and multi-layered, and dislike each other at first. They rub each other raw and yet end up investigating the same story. The two main characters discover a insidious plot involving kickbacks, and a much bigger, nefarious plan.
    As always, Lee Winter’s characters are driven, compelling, ambitious, curious and engaging. If you enjoy intrigue and conspiracy stories with a dash of romance — this is the book for you.

  8. cheekybugger13


    Another gem from one of me recently-discovered favourite authors, the brilliant Lee Winter! I remember after reading the fantabulous “Requiem For Immortals” (my 1st Winter book) I couldn’t wait to get me hands on another critically-acclaimed Winter book, “The Red Files.” Blimey! I practically ingested the book in a blink of an eye! And have been re-reading it periodically since, I might add!

    First off, I absolutely LOVE ice-queens especially powerful, gorgeous ones with bloody cold and caustic tongues so sharp they cut like knives. So when Catherine Ayers graced the first pages of the book, I was immediately enthralled. Ohhhhh… slick, so cold, so bloody sarcastic was she, with the object of all her bad behaviour, Lauren, that she was blindsided by her target’s low-handed retaliation. Not used to being stumped by anyone who had the misfortune to experience her caustic treatment, Catherine was properly schooled, by a junior colleague, no less! And so began the war of words and back-and-forth between these 2 stubborn, strong-willed women!

    However, what completely took Catherine off-guard about Lauren’s brazen, unintimidated attitude only attracted her more, much to her chagrin! The more these two went against each other, the more they found themselves irresistible to each other. It was exhilarating to experience the thawing of ice-queen Ayers as she found herself slowly but surely falling for Lauren.

    Winter’s phenomenal skill in writing hilarious dialogue between Catherine & Lauren read like a game of ping-pong, so captivating, so addictive and oh-so FUN!! What a crackin’ riot, indeed! Add to the deliciousness of these duo, was a compelling journalistic story that both ended up chasing after, working as partners-in-crime reluctantly, and finding out themselves that they made a perfect team.

    Oh the intoxicating slow-burn…. Catherine & Lauren’s undeniable chemistry was palpable right from the start! The more they were at odds with & resisted each other, the hotter their chemistry, which made their ultimate hookup so delicious!

    Winter’s knack in churning out smart, clever dialogue especially the verbal gymnastics made the relationship between two nemeses who eventually became lovers ever so realistic that one couldn’t help rooting for them!

    I simply Catherine & Lauren! One of me favourite lesfic couples, that’s for sure! And don’t miss their follow-up story in “Flashbang!” You will be thoroughly sated! Phwoar!

    I highly recommend this series! A fan-bloody-tastic read, that’s for sure!

  9. dragonquillca

    (verified owner):

    I am so glad I ignored the cover and listened instead to a recommendation. I could understand the cover not matching the content exactly, but the cover looks cartoonish, which might reflect badly on the story within. But the story is, after a wee bit of a slow start, gripping. Before you know it, you’re trying to figure out the mystery right along with Catherine and Lauren. I did like the slow burn, the trading of barbs, the witty comebacks….all of that shows you who the characters are. Heh, so you think. Lee’s characters are much more complex than that, as is the plot. You think you know where the plot is going, but then all of a sudden, you don’t. (I’m trying hard not to give anything away here)
    All I can say is, look past the cover, hang on through the slow start and prepare to suddenly realize that these are strong women who will NOT take no for an answer!

    So glad I bought this one!

  10. stephasselin



    Having read this perfectly written book, I am more than excited to start reading the second book of the series coming out on June 20th. If it’s anything like the first one, it will blow my mind just as much.

    I would recommend this book to any given soul who reads this review. It was one of the greatest book I’ve read this year and it left me completely astounded. Lee Winter just grabbed herself a spot as one of my favorite writers with this book and I cannot wait to read more.


    For the complete review, head over to

  11. Word Saviour


    witty, wittier, the wittiest 🙂 I may be late to the party in reading this book, but I enjoyed it all the same! I just spent the weekend reading and laughing out loud (I mean: [“…Lauren hated her with a loathing she usually reserved for dictators and telemarketers…”] not to mention the whole “goat” thing. I really loved the witty dialogues and the well written ongoing banter . At one point, I found myself whishing for a backseat place in “The Beast” just to look from one to the other as they are playing with words like slamming on the tennis court. But there is more than a good lough, steaming shower scenes and heartbreaking moments, there is an very intriguing plot, filled with profound knowledge of how political journalism works and a thrilling scandal which unfolds while reading like you’re peeling an onion – brilliant. Times up, I’m on to reading “Flashbang” the next installment in Catherine and Lauren’s story

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