by Kris Bock
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
In the Accidental Detective series, Kate Tessler spent thirty years traveling the world as a war correspondent. Now back in Arizona, she finds turning fifty as difficult as the mysteries she solves.
This character was inspired by my own experiences. Okay, the part about turning fifty, not traveling the world as a war correspondent. I traveled a lot when younger, but not to war zones. But as I faced fifty, I wanted to create a mystery lead dealing with some of the same issues: aging parents, concerns about financing retirement someday, and a body that doesn’t recover like it once did. I also wanted to give Kate a reason to be adventurous and fearless, thus the background as a war correspondent.
I’ve lived in New Mexico for over twenty years, three times longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, so this is home. I live in a small town, but I wanted to set the mystery series in a big city. In Arizona, I could create a fictional city within the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. That allows me to use this fictional city government for political issues, without stepping on any real toes. I made the mayor an old friend of Kate’s and a potential love interest for a very slow burn romance.
Because of Kate’s history as a journalist, old friends and family members call on her to help when something is wrong. Arizona provides tons of mystery opportunities. The large senior population attracts scams and abuse. You have the potential for arguments over inheritance (or even murders to get that inheritance sooner). The border with Mexico creates anxiety over immigration and various kinds of trafficking. Plus you have all the usual potential crimes in any large population. I’ll be able to keep Kate busy for years.
I didn’t necessarily intend to write humor, but both my agent and my editor said they laughed a lot. That comes from how Kate sees the world, which is how I see the world. Laughter helps with the pain. Kate manages to collect an eccentric array of helpers, from a gorgeous young female computer genius to Kate’s sister who is struggling with a midlife crisis to her father’s bored elderly friends. Sometimes Kate wonders if they are helping or hindering, but they always keep things interesting.
My editor said, “I love how your focus is on the crime, but yet you really do explore the meatier issues of parents’ declining health, middle-aged adults having to rethink their careers, choices or the possibility of starting over again, grappling with coming home again. One of the things I loved was how you had the three generations all working together. Everyone had value.” I love these characters, so I hope that comes through in the stories.
The first book is:
Something Shady at Sunshine Haven: The Accidental Detective Book 1
War correspondent Kate Tessler has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?
Injured in a bombing, Kate returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age (49), even though she’s living like a teenager again: staying with her father, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still think of her as Kitty.
Seeing her mother in an Alzheimer’s unit is the hardest part – until an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at that nursing home. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit.
If Kate can’t uncover the truth, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.
Book 1, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven, released April 7. The next book will be out in June. Get a free short story and bonus material when you sign up for my newsletter. This collection starts with a humorous ten-page mystery short story set in the world of “The Accidental Detective” series. It includes information about the books in the series, with the first chapter of book 1. After that are three fun, short stories originally written for children.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “shady,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 7, 2022. You must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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A past book of Kris’ was featured on a Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast episode. You can click here to listen or listen on the player below:
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. 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.