Title: The Trouble with Dead Bodies (A Hale Mary Mystery)
Author: Katrina Kyle
Genre: Mystery (Amateur Sleuth (not cozy); Women Sleuth)
Her client is dead…
Her brother is a suspect…
And her ex is back in town.
A former world-class snowboarder, Hale Mary has survived a lot, including a horrific crash, a humiliating public meltdown, and an addiction to pain meds. But can she survive the cut-throat world of sports management? It won’t be easy. Someone killed her client. And the police blame her brother. There’s only one way to save him and her career—find the real killer. There’s just one problem. The victim had secrets and someone will do anything to keep those secrets hidden. Hale soon learns that in a world where paychecks are big and egos bigger, everyone has a score to settle. Can she fend off the advances of the man who broke her heart…and find the murderer in time? The Trouble with Dead Bodies is the the first book in a fast-paced, humorous amateur sleuth mystery series featuring a tough-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside heroine hell-bent on finding the truth…no matter the consequences.
“I’ve always wanted to take part in a kidnapping.” Norma maneuvered the SUV past the line of cars waiting at the curb and double-parked next to a Hummer limo. “Of course,” she continued, “my fantasies usually involve me being the victim, and the kidnapper being Benicio del Toro or maybe one of the Hemsworth brothers, but, hey, I can’t be picky when I’m riding shotgun on someone else’s felony attempt.”
“We’re not kidnapping anyone,” I said, eying the crowd gathered outside Denver’s basketball arena. “We’re merely offering a VIP a ride to her interview at ASN.”
ASN stood for All Sports Network, a media conglomerate headquartered in Denver, and the latest of a long and distinguished list of employers who have had the honor of firing me.
Norma reached over and removed my hand from my right hip. It’d been six years since the accident that had ended my snowboarding career and the scar still flared every time my nerves did.
“I thought ASN banned you from their property,” she said.
“They did.” I pulled a white access card from the waistband of my skirt. “Someone owed me a favor.”
“Sweet. Nothing like adding a little felony trespassing to our list of crimes.”
“It’s only a crime if we get caught.”
“No. I’m pretty sure it’s still a crime.”
I shrugged. “The odds of ASN pressing charges are low, so it’s worth it to get face time with J.J. Montgomery.”
“This may be a dumb question, but why didn’t you just call and set up a meeting with the woman? Why all the theatrics?”
“You don’t just call Athletes, Inc. and ask to meet with the founder. They represent over two billion dollars worth of contracts for the biggest names in sports. They don’t just let anyone work there.”
Norma stared at me a beat. “So you already tried?”
“Yes. They directed me to the career section on their website.”
“I take it you didn’t mention who your parents or brothers are?”
“You would take it right,” I said. While I was okay leveraging the family name on the (rare) occasions someone recognized me, I drew the line at calling it out when they didn’t. It was humiliating enough being the forgotten child in a family of sports legends. Highlighting that I was the forgotten child in a family of sports legends was worse.
Norma took a tube of lipstick from her purse and pointed it at the arena. “So, what’s your plan to get J.J. to hire you?”
“Use my bubbly personality and sharp wit.”
“And if that winning strategy doesn’t work?” Norma smacked her lips and returned the tube to her purse. “Isn’t this the woman who made one of your brothers cry?”
“She’s made a lot of men cry,” I said, reaching for my hip and laying on a good, solid scratch. “Women, too.” I bobbed my head side-to-side, recalling the research I’d done on the woman. “And at least one child. Possibly three. The article was vague on their ages.”
Norma nodded. “Sounds like a woman after my own heart. Which means she’s likely to be unsusceptible to your charms. So what’s the back-up plan? You do have a back-up plan, right?”
I forced my fingers off my hip before I drew blood and stained the five-hundred-dollar designer skirt Norma had loaned me for this adventure. “Yes,” I said. “But we’ll cross that bridge when—if—we get to it.”
She grabbed my hand before it reached my elbow where a scar from my failed attempt at roller derby begged to be scratched. “Seriously, stop scratching. It’s just a job, Hale. You’ve had a hundred of them since I’ve known you.”
I shoved my hands under my thighs. “I know. But I need this job.”
“Why? ASN only fired you two weeks ago. You can’t be out of money already.”
Little did my friend know I had been out of money long before ASN fired me. Turned out being helicoptered off the side of a mountain, spending a week in the hospital, and developing a pain med addiction instead of going to physical therapy was expensive. Over the last six years I’d borrowed from Peter to pay Paul and now Paul wanted his money.
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Katrina Kyle writes sunny stories about shady things. A long time ago in a world far away** her alter ego dropped out of college and joined the navy to see the world. She did get to see a lot of the world, but only after she broke down and cried like a baby (long story, but sometimes tears DO work). Katrina and the navy parted ways and she embarked on a civilian life that involved significantly less drinking, decidedly fewer boyfriends, and zero washing of airplanes on an aircraft carrier.
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