Tag Archives: Jamie Brodie Mysteries

A snippet from Deserted to Death

Enough about Greg and Justin for a few days. 😀 Here’s a bit from the next book that I’ll actually publish, Deserted to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #19. Coming in October.

Pete followed Steve outside. I turned to Kevin who was standing at the edge of the patio, his arms crossed, frowning at me. Behind him, Kristen was pacing. I said, “What the fuck?

Kevin said, “This is unacceptable.”

I spread my hands. “I’m open to suggestions. But there’s nothing we can do about it, is

White_Sands_New_Mexico

David Jones [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D

there? Other than calling the cops?”

“No.”

Kristen was still pacing. “Maybe Jeff and Colin shouldn’t visit.”

Jeff and his eldest, my nephew Colin, were scheduled to visit next week, arriving the day after Kevin and Kristen left. I said, “Then the terrorists win.”

“True. But what if the attacks escalate?”

Pete came through the back door as she spoke. “They won’t.”

Kevin said, “You don’t know that.”

“No, but I can predict it. Whoever these people are, they’ve done the worst they can think of.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Kevin waved his hand in the general direction of town. “This county is loaded with right-wing Second Amendment fans. You can’t say that someone isn’t out there planning a drive-by.”

Pete scoffed. “Seriously? This is a small town. Nobody’s going to try anything like that.”

“You think shit like that doesn’t happen in a small town? You grew up in a small town. You know how unpleasant the local yokels can be.”

I’d inched my way to stand beside Kristen, and we watched as Kevin and Pete argued. It was a new experience for me. Finally Pete said, “You’re overreacting.”

Kevin wasn’t done. “And you’re sticking your head in the sand. Don’t be naïve. Did you think this rural county would be gay-friendly? Would happily live and let live? Would give you a pass because you’re Steve’s brother? What do you think?”

Pete was attempting patience, but I could tell he was gritting his teeth. “I. Think. That. It. Will. Be. Fine.”

Kevin stared at Pete for a minute, and I realized something that I never had before. I’d thought them equal in terms of intimidation factor, but I’d been wrong.

In a contest of wills, Kevin would always win.

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An excerpt from Deserted to Death

Is it hot where you are? It’s hot here, but then it’s summer in Florida. We expect that sort of thing. If you’re hot where it’s not supposed to be hot, you have my full sympathy.

So… let’s take a trip to the desert! It’s a dry heat, don’tcha know. 😀 This is a piece from Deserted to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #19, which takes place right about now in New Mexico, but won’t be published until October. Enjoy!

White_Sands_New_Mexico

David Jones [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D

When I woke up at 6:22, Pete was still asleep, face down, his right arm slung over me. I eased out from under it; he didn’t move. Ammo was dreaming, his nose and paws twitching. I quietly pulled on shorts and a t-shirt, slid my feet into sneakers, and tiptoed to the kitchen. The coffee maker was on, but there was no sign of Meredith. She was probably getting dressed.

I went through the laundry room into the garage, intending to retrieve the newspaper. I hit the button to raise the closest garage bay door and walked onto the driveway.

There was something lying in the street, against the curb across from the house.

There was someone lying in the street.

I ran to the person – a young man. Maybe a teenager. He was lying on his left side, his left arm stretched out underneath him as if he’d been reaching for something. He was terribly thin. Barefoot, wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. The soles of his feet were crusted with dried blood.

His eyes were half-open, clouded, unseeing. His lips were parted slightly. His hair was dark, cropped close to his head, and there was stubble on his chin and cheeks.

I bent down to feel for a pulse in his outstretched wrist, already sure of what I’d find.

He was cool.

He was dead.

I ran back to the house and into the bedroom for my phone, unintentionally rousing both Pete and Ammo, and called 911. Ammo scrambled to his feet and Pete sat up as the dispatcher answered.

“Otero County 911, where are you calling from?”

“Las Lomas Court. There’s a dead body in my street.” I left the bedroom, headed outside. “Ammo, stay.”

He stayed. Pete followed me into the garage. “What?

The dispatcher, a woman, sounded equally skeptical. “There’s a dead body in the street?”

“Yes, ma’am. A young adult male.”

“Does he have a pulse?”

“No pulse. He’s cool to the touch.”

“Do you know who it is?”

“No, ma’am.”

“When were you last in the street?”

“Um…about 9:30 last night.” We’d watched the sunset from the front porch.

I heard the first sirens approach. As the ambulance turned onto our street, Pete stopped beside me, staring at the corpse. He breathed, “Oh, my God.”

The dispatcher signed off. The EMTs scrambled from their truck with equipment, and we backed up into our driveway. One of them started to roll the kid over – and stopped. “He’s in partial rigor.”

Two police cruisers parked, and an Alamogordo PD patrol officer emerged from each. They conferred with the EMTs briefly. One cop went to the body, and one approached us, a burly guy with a blond brush cut. “Morning.”

Pete said, “Morning.”

“Officer Smallwood. What happened here?”

I told him. As he was taking notes, the other uniformed officer joined us, nodding hello. “I called the chief.”

“Okay.” Smallwood tipped his head toward our front porch. “You all hang out here for a while.”

I said, “Yes, sir.”

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So I should probably explain…

Obsessed to Death is the first of a four book arc that will end the Jamie Brodie series. There are a few threads that will be left hanging in both this book and the next, Deserted to Death. Most of them will be tied up in the next to last book, Drugged to Death. Then the final book, Resigned to Death, will finish it off.

I haven’t really done that before so you might be surprised by it. I do have a plan. I promise. 😊

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Obsessed to Death is here!

It’s release day! Finally!! Obsessed to Death is now live at all of your favorite retailers and e-tailers. Here’s my favorite, in case you’re conflicted: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/942036

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you enjoy.

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

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An excerpt from Obsessed to Death

Two more days! Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite.

We drove home and let Ammo out, then walked down Wilshire to Santa Monica Seafood for dinner. Pete chatted about the garden as we strolled. At one point, when he paused for a breath, I asked, “How will you keep all four beds watered?”

He blinked at me. “Like we planned. From rain barrels and our gray water system.”

“What if it doesn’t rain?”

“There’s a monsoon season. It’ll rain.”

“Yeah, but what if it doesn’t? Long-term climate forecasts aren’t smiling on the Southwest.”

He sighed. “I guess we’ll prioritize. Some vegetables hog more water than others, so we can cut those out if we need to. And I’ll buy drought-tolerant seed varieties whenever possible.”

“Okay.”

He glanced over at me. “Plan B is still Scotland, right?”

“Sure.”

He was quiet for a moment then said, “You know what I think?”

“Nope.”

“Seems to me that as we get closer to the permanent move, you’re losing your enthusiasm for it.”

I took a second to decide how to answer. “I’m not losing my enthusiasm for the house and garden plan. But certain realities are beginning to rear their heads. For one thing, what the hell am I gonna do there? Yes, I’ll be helping you sometimes, but what about the rest of my days? There’s no university, and the libraries are… basic, for lack of a better word. I don’t have the patience to teach anyone to read, or for any of the other volunteer positions that are likely to be available… There aren’t any options.”

“You could teach online.”

“Only if it’s UCLA. And they only offer online history classes in the summer. Maybe that’ll change.”

“You’re such an academic snob.”

“I’m not gonna teach for an unfamiliar school when I don’t have to. And as you keep reminding me, I don’t have to.”

“Okay… what else is bothering you?”

I hadn’t formed the coherent thought until it suddenly burst out of me. “I’m giving up Kevin so you can have Steve.”

Pete opened his mouth, then closed it. Then he said, “Oh.”

I’d rattled him. I’d rattled myself. I said slowly, “Which… is gonna happen. So.”

Obsessed to Death at Amazon

Obsessed to Death at Smashwords

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

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Cover reveal and pre-order: Obsessed to Death!

And the second very busy publishing week commences! First, if you want to win a coupon code at Smashwords for Obsessed to Death, go comment on my posts at the Footsteps in the Dark launch party at Josh Lanyon’s Fan Page. You have until Monday morning (Eastern Daylight Time US) to comment. I’ll pick the winners randomly at about noon on Monday.

Next, Obsessed to Death (Jamie Brodie Mystery #18) is now available for pre-order! Here are the links:

Print

Amazon

Smashwords

Annnnd the big reveal:

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

I LOVE this cover. My cover artist, Stephanie, is just the best.

Don’t forget, the Footsteps in the Dark anthology is now live at all of your favorite e-tailers. Print isn’t available yet but will be eventually. Audio is in the works, too!

 

 

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Kevin and Jon get a new partner!

A new short story for you, inspired by my buddy in the photo.

 

The Mascot

Kevin Brodie was having a bad morning.

He had squabbled with his wife, Kristen Beach, about her parents’ upcoming visit. Then he’d discovered a hole in the shirt he’d pulled from the closet to wear. To top it off, their coffee maker had chosen this day to die. As a result, he’d been forced to drive through Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee, and he’d been five minutes late to work.

So he was not in his happiest mood when he strode into the detectives’ room at the West Los Angeles Police Station. His mood further soured when he found his partner, Jon Eckhoff, sorting through a plastic mail bin that was stuffed to the gills with envelopes.

Jon glanced up at him with a smirk. “We’ve got mail.”

“I don’t want to see it.” Kevin dropped into his desk chair and turned on his computer.

Ever since Kevin and Jon had become two of the featured detectives on the hit reality cop show Two Days to Solve, they’d received an avalanche of fan mail. Most of it was dealt with by the LAPD’s Media Relations Division, but they forwarded anything that they thought Jon and Kevin should see. Usually those missives consisted of letters from kids, who wanted to be cops when they grew up.

It was Kevin’s firm opinion that kids shouldn’t be watching Two Days.

Some people sent gifts. Some sent pieces of artwork; one particularly well-done pencil sketch of Kevin and Jon leaning against a patrol car was now pinned to one wall of Jon’s cubicle.

Some people sent stuffed animals, typically teddy bears in little police costumes. Jon had kept one; the others had been passed on to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

But Kevin had never seen anything like what Jon was removing from a large clasp envelope.

“What the hell is that?”

Joey

Traveling Joey in L.A. with #badauntiemeg

“That” was a stuffed…something. About ten inches high, kind of a yellowish-tan color. Round black eyes and nose, a curved smile, and a choker-style necklace of rainbow-colored beads.

Jon turned it over. “I dunno. A rabbit? But there’s no tail.”

“Rabbits don’t come in that color.”

Jon reached into the envelope. “Here’s a note.” He read it and started to laugh.

“What?”

Jon handed the note to Kevin, who read aloud. “Hello! My name is Joey. I’m a baby kangaroo, and I am Detective Brodie’s biggest fan!” He groaned. “Oh, my God…”

Jon was still snickering. “It gets better.”

Kevin read on. “I’ve had lots of adventures already, but I would LOVE to ride in a real police car. And I would be the happiest ‘roo EVER if I could solve a case with you!

Jon picked up the toy and tapped its nose. “He’s adorable. We should take him along with us. I bet he’ll be good luck.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, I am. Why not? He doesn’t take up much room.”

Kevin sighed and read on. “Once we’ve solved a case, please send me home. Thank you so much!” The letter closed with an address in the suburbs of San Diego, and a hashtag. #gooduncles

“What does good uncles mean?”

“No idea.” Jon was fluffing the critter’s ears. “He needs a Kevlar vest.”

“Oh, for God’s sake…”

Jon gently removed the vest from his teddy bear. “Joey can borrow Barney’s vest while he’s here.”

Jon.”

His partner’s expression exuded innocence. “What?”

“Not in the car.”

“Oh, come on. How will Joey help us solve a case if he isn’t there?”

Kevin gritted his teeth. “He has to ride in the back seat.”

“Well, duh…” Jon was smirking, pleased at his triumph.

For the tenth time that morning, Kevin sighed deeply.

Their supervisor, Tim Garcia, stepped from his office, waving a slip of paper. “Kevin, Jon, you’re up. A stabbing on…” He stopped when he saw the stuffed animal. “What is that?

Jon held the toy up for Tim’s inspection. “Our new mascot. A baby kangaroo.”

Tim’s expression was incredulous. “Where… oh, never mind.” He handed Kevin the slip of paper. “There’s the address.”

 

The scene was just a few blocks southwest of the West LA police station, near Stoner Park. Not too far, but far enough that Jon had time to break into song as he drove. “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, eating all the gumdrops he can see…”

Kevin rolled his eyes. “What the hell is that?

“You don’t know the kookaburra song? It’s Australian. I’m making Joey feel at home.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. You are certifiable.”

Jon jerked his thumb backwards, indicating Joey. “He likes it. Look at him smile.”

“He’s always smiling.”

“Of course he is. We’re his good uncles.”

Kevin grumbled.

They arrived at an apartment building, where two patrol cars were already blocking the street. Jon parked behind them and turned on the flashers.

A uniformed cop, Ben Butler, met them at the entryway to the apartment building’s courtyard and pointed them to a second-floor apartment. Inside, Butler’s partner, Mike Shands, was on guard, and crime scene techs were already gathering evidence. Jon and Kevin donned protective booties and entered the apartment.

A woman was lying in the kitchen floor in a semi-fetal position, face down, in a wide pool of blood. Dark hair in a messy bun, blue t-shirt, jean shorts, barefoot. Kevin scanned the apartment; it was neatly kept. No sign of a struggle other than in the kitchen. A smashed coffee cup was lying against the far wall, a plate of food was upside down on the floor near the victim’s feet, and the knife block was lying on its side. One slot was empty.

A bloody knife lay beside the victim.

Jon knelt to get a closer look. Kevin asked Shands, “What’ve we got?”

“Domestic dispute, looks like. The victim is Beatrice Medina. She’s thirty-three, married but separated. Husband’s name is José Medina. We’ve been called to this address a couple of times in the past, but Beatrice never wanted to press charges. The neighbors say that José moved out a couple of months ago, but comes over about once a week to see their daughter.”

“There’s a kid? Where is she?”

“Next door.” Shands pointed to the left of the apartment. “The neighbor is watching her until social services gets here.”

“Who called it in?”

“The neighbor. A Mrs. Figueroa. The little girl heard her mom and dad arguing, then heard a ruckus, then heard her mom scream.”

Kevin’s heart sank. “The kid found her mom?”

“Yeah. Then she ran next door.”

“Did she see the dad?”

“Don’t know. She wouldn’t tell us. Has some loyalty to her dad, maybe?”

“Maybe.”

Jon stood up. “I’ll work on finding the dad. You talk to the little girl.”

“Okay.” Kevin asked Shands, “What’s her name?”

“Leia. Like the princess. She’s five years old.”

Jon and Kevin returned to their car. Jon logged into the car’s computer. “Okay, José Medina, we’re comin’ for ya.”

Kevin had an idea. He reached into the back seat and picked up Joey. Jon’s head whipped around. “What are you doing?”

“I’m gonna make friends with Leia.”

Jon started to laugh. “See? I told you he’d be good luck.”

“Shut up.”

Jon just laughed harder.

Kevin knocked gently on the neighbor’s door. It was opened by a grandmotherly lady in a housecoat and slippers. Kevin identified himself. “Hello, Mrs. Figueroa. I’d like to talk to Leia.”

“Of course.” She stepped aside to let him in.

Leia was small for her age, Kevin thought, with long brown hair and big brown eyes. She was on the living room sofa, hugging a throw pillow, sucking her thumb, and staring vacantly at the TV. Kevin said, “Hi, Leia. My name’s Kevin. Can I sit with you?”

She didn’t answer, but nodded slightly. Kevin sat a couple of feet from her and glanced at the TV screen. “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, huh? I like that.”

Leia turned slightly toward him, a “seriously?” expression on her face. Kevin said, “No kidding. I used to watch Daniel on Mr. Rogers when I was your age.”

Leia’s eyes dropped to Joey, and she removed her thumb from her mouth. “Who’s that?”

“This is Officer Joey. Want to hold him for a minute?”

Leia nodded. Kevin handed the kangaroo to her. She inspected it for a moment, then hugged it. “Why does he have a necklace, if he’s a boy?”

“Boys wear necklaces sometimes.”

Leia seemed to accept that. Kevin said, “Officer Joey is gonna help us figure out who hurt your mom. If you tell him what you heard, it’ll help him a lot.”

Leia balanced Joey on her knees and spoke to him directly. “It was my dad.”

Kevin leaned toward Joey as if he was listening, then said, “Officer Joey wants to know if you saw your dad in the kitchen this morning.”

“Yes. He was running away.”

“Do you remember what he was wearing?”

“No.”

“That’s okay. Is there anything else you want to tell Officer Joey?”

Leia regarded Joey solemnly. “My dad told my mom lots of times that he’d kill her someday.”

“I’m sorry, Leia.”

She glanced up at him. “Where am I gonna go?”

Kevin heard voices at the door, and spotted a familiar face. Bonnie Morrison, a social worker with the Department of Child Protective Services. She entered the living room as Kevin said, “This is Miss Bonnie, and you’ll go with her for right now. She’ll figure out where you’ll stay.”

“I wanna stay with my nana.”

Bonnie knelt in front of Leia and tapped Joey on the head. “Hi, Leia. Who’s this?”

Leia said, “Officer Joey. He’s gonna find my dad.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow at Kevin, who said, “Joey is helping us out today.”

“Ooookay.”

“And we should get started on that. Leia, is there anything else you want to say to Officer Joey before he goes to look for your dad?”

Leia hugged the toy. “Thanks, Officer Joey.” She handed him to Kevin.

Kevin put Joey to his ear. “He says you’re welcome, and he’s enjoyed meeting you very much.”

“Me, too.”

Kevin stood up. “Bonnie, let me know.”

“Will do.”

Jon met Kevin when he was halfway to the car. “We got him. A citizen in Santa Monica spotted him jogging down the sidewalk on Idaho Avenue in a bloody t-shirt. She called it in. Santa Monica PD is holding him for us. What did the kid say?”

“That she saw her dad running away.”

Jon grinned. “She opened up to Joey, didn’t she?”

“Yes, she did. And now Joey has solved his case, and he can go back home.”

“Aww.” Jon took the kangaroo from Kevin and scratched its ears. “I’ll miss you, little buddy.”

“We’ve had him for three hours. Not even.”

“Uh huh. You just keep on pretending that you’re a hardass. I think it’s cute.”

Kevin growled. “When they find you dead in your kitchen, it’ll be my fingerprints on your neck.”

“Not if Liz beats you to it.” Jon turned toward the car. “Come on. Let’s go lower the boom on José.”

Kevin deposited Joey in the back, then strapped into the passenger seat. Jon started the car, pulled away from the scene, and began to sing. “Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong, under the shade of a coolibah tree. He sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled, ‘you’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me.’”

Kevin knew defeat when he saw it. He joined in the chorus, which made Jon laugh so hard he nearly hit a parked car. “Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda…”

In the back seat, Joey was still smiling.

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