Play It Again

Mar 17, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Elaine Viets

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the entire set of Dead-End Job books, and a link to purchase them from Amazon.

Readers ask me about a scene or a character in my Dead-End Job mysteries: Why did this character have to die? How come the villain got away in that book?

I tell them, “I can’t remember.”

“Well, you wrote it,” the readers say.

Yes, I did. But once I finish one book, I’m on to the next.


Elaine Viets

I can’t read my novels when they first arrive from the publisher. That’s when I see all their faults and none of their virtues. If I read the books, I’ll wish I’d written them better.

But distance cures that. I had to reread all my Dead-End Job mysteries. I have four mystery series: the Dead-End Job series, a collection of funny mysteries set in South Florida, there’s the cozy Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries, plus the Francesca Vierling newspaper mysteries. My current series is the forensic mysteries with death investigator Angela Richman.

My agent, Joshua Bilmes, is president of the JABberwocky Literary Agency in New York, and he wanted to re-release my backlist. JABberwocky represents award-winning authors including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Toni Kelner, and Tanya Huff, and his agency has made books available from two dozen of their clients within its e-book program.

Done right, re-releases are expensive; re-releasing my 23 books (thirteen Dead-End Job mysteries and ten Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries) can cost a solid five figures, and JABberwocky fronted the money. The re-released novels will have new covers and fresh cover copy. We started with the Dead-End Job mysteries. Jenn Reese at Tiger Bright Studios designed thirteen clean, bright covers with a different symbol and color for each

Meanwhile, I had to read all thirteen Dead-End Job mysteries, and correct the small errors that happen when the files are converted to book format, plus the occasional typo.

bookWhen I reread Shop till You Drop fifteen years after I wrote it, this novel almost seemed like it was by someone else. In Shop, Helen works at an ultra-exclusive dress shop called Juliana’s. She discovers the manager has been selling designer drugs along with the designer labels. Some lines made me laugh. How about this one, when two customers meet at the shop?

“As they stood implant to implant…”

In Murder with Reservations, Helen works a hotel maid, cleaning rooms with the stolid Denise. But Denise changes when she sees the new hire – a handsome young man:

Denise was smiling like a love-struck teen when she talked about him.

“How old is this guy?” Helen asked.

“He’s twenty-four,” Denise said. “They were very good years.”

In Murder with Reservations, Helen tells Phil, her future husband, how she feels about cooking:

“I hate to cook,” Helen said, “but I love good food. Most nights I settle for scrambled eggs or tuna out of the can.”

“Life is too short for bad food,” Phil said. “I could teach you to cook.”book

“I’m hopeless,” Helen said.

“How come women who can’t cook are proud of it?” Phil said.

“Because we’ve escaped a drudgery men never have to face. Some men think cooking is creative. Women like me think it’s a trap. We’re afraid we’ll have to waste our time making meals instead of doing what we really want.”

Some Dead-End Job lines were wistful. In Murder with Reservations, Helen reaches this realization about her ex-husband, Rob.

“Helen stared into the dark and knew this sad truth: Divorce bound her to Rob more than marriage ever did.”

But I also enjoy a good villain. In Clubbed to Death, I married Helen’s ex off to Marcella, the Black Widow. Marcella, a fabulously wealthy aging beauty, had five – or was it six? husbands die “accidental” deaths. The Black Widow says to Helen,

“Treachery can seem so sweet. So can revenge.”

Another favorite character is celebrity hairstylist, Cuban-American Miguel Angel in Killer Cuts. He tells King Oden, a sleazy Hollywood gossip blogger,

“I didn’t tell your competitors that your son is a bastard, like his father. The boy’s problem is an accident of birth. You are a self-made man.”

Get all thirteen Dead-End Job e-books, or treat yourself to the mysteries you missed. Prices start at $2.99 and go up. Check them out here:

To enter to win an ebook copy of the entire set of Dead-End Job books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “deadend,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 24, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.

You can also use this link to purchase the first book on Amazon-and once you get there purchase even more! If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

The versatile Elaine Viets has written 32 mysteries in four series. Her bestselling Dead-End Job series features PI Helen Hawthorne, the queen of the Dead-End Jobs. Elaine’s cozy Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries is set in her hometown of St. Louis. That’s also where she sets her darker Francesca Vierling newspaper mysteries. For readers who prefer forensic mysteries, Elaine has the Angela Richman Death Investigator series, the critically acclaimed: Brain Storm and Fire and Ashes. Elaine passed the Medicolegal Death Investigators Training Course at St. Louis University. She served on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She’s a frequent contributor to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Elaine won the Anthony, Agatha and Lefty Awards.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I have always enjoyed Elaine Viets books, and am thrilled that two of her series are coming out in ebook format. I wish her well, and thank her fabulous agent for making this happen.

    • Don’t mention the P-word, Jan. I’m on deadline to write my next book.

  2. I haven’t read this series. Thanks for the chance!

  3. I have never read these books before but I would love to. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

    Faithdcreech at gmail dot com

    • The Dead-End Job mysteries are funny mysteries set in South Florida, Faith. In each book, Helen works a different low-paying job.

  4. Congrats on the re-releases! These new covers are so pretty.

    • The covers are by Jenn Reese at Tiger Bright Studios, Jana. I like her clean, simple style.

  5. These are definitely on my TBR list. They sound so fun!

  6. Thanks for dropping by, Jan. I’m lucky to have such a smart agent.

  7. Oh, good, Kristin. I have a tall Mount TBR, too.

  8. I have read some, but not all of the Dead End Job books. They are fun reads and Ms Viets was as talented 15 years ago as she is today….which I whole bunch. Nice to know I can now complete the set.

    • Thank you, Annette N., for the kind words.

    • I hope you’ll enjoy it, Cindy. The series starts out with Helen on the run from her awful ex-husband. Tim Dorsey calls it “Janet Evanovich meets The Fugitive.”

  9. I’ve enjoyed the ones I read. I hope to read the rest in the future! Glad they are being re-released.

  10. I hope you’ll enjoy it, Cindy. The series starts out with Helen on the run from her awful ex-husband. Tim Dorsey calls it “Janet Evanovich meets The Fugitive.”

    • They’re good beach books, Kara, and will give you an insider’s look at life in South Florida.

  11. I’m adding these series to my TBR.
    Thanks for letting us know about them.
    kckendler at gmail dot com

    • Delighted to be part of your Mount TBR, Kathleen.

  12. I would love to read this series. It sounds original and witty. I’m always looking for new authors/series to read.

    • I like to read new series with lots of books, Karen. You have 13 you can dive into.

  13. Always looking for a new series! Thank you for the opportunity. 🙂

  14. I would love to read this series, thank you for the chance.

    • And I’d love to have you read the Dead-End Jobs, Amy.

  15. I love this series. I’m on Final Sail. I can’t wait to get to the others.

  16. I have most of this series but would love to win the complete series. Thank you for this amazing giveaway!

  17. I would really like to read this series. I somehow missed reading “The Dead End Jobs” books. Thanks for the chance.

    • You’ll enjoy this series, Dianne. I promise.

  18. I would love to win these mysteries. Love the Angela Richman series and Elaine.

  19. I’ve loved these books for years and need to replace my crumbling paperbacks with shiny new ebooks!

    • E-books don’t take up any shelf space and the humidity doesn’t hurt them at all, Kiwi.

  20. I love these books! I hadn’t heard about your newest series – I’m glad to have something to look forward to.

  21. Thank you, Margit. If you like forensic mysteries, you’ll enjoy my new death investigator series. It’s two books — “Brain Storm” and “Fire and Ashes.” The third, “Ice Blonde,” will be out in June.

  22. We have a winner!

  23. I have one of these books – look forward to others. Jane


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.