Hi there! 🙂 Yes, I have a new book coming out! A sequel to Damaged Goods, the first Erica Jensen mystery. The title is Fatal Connections. And, yes, that’s the cover. The one I didn’t have when I posted the first couple of chapters here.

Now, thing is, I still need the very final version of the book before I commit it to print. But, I can still release the ebook version on the projected release date of Nov. 11, 2021!

So, want to read more of the book? Okey-doke. 🙂


I sat in my car and contemplated the horrid scene within the house. Where the upstairs had been neat as a pin, the basement had been torn apart. As for the Harcourts, they had been treated similarly. The result was two dead bodies and an ungodly mess.

It was a scene to bring back nightmares from a previous life.

Outside, the wind gusted and yellow crime scene tape stretched, flapping, around the entire property. I shut my eyes but couldn’t unsee the vision of the Harcourts bruised and bloody bodies, throats cut. Nor could I shut out the memory of Marian Harcourt’s voice on the phone.

It looked like a burglary, like the perp had torn through the basement seeking something. But burglars usually don’t kill people or use them as punching bags.

As for their bodies, having the heat on and excellent insulation would no doubt play hell with the ME’s findings. Had I not been awakened, I could imagine how quickly the Harcourts’ remains would have disintegrated. Let’s hear it for energy-saving houses. Not only will your utility bills be lower, but you’ll biodegrade faster if someone breaks in and whacks your ass.

Three raps on my window. I started and opened my eyes. A uniformed officer stood beside the driver’s door. From the way she held her hand up, I assumed my look was less than friendly.

She said a few words that I could make out well enough through the window. Words like “detective” and “statement”. She pointed toward the house.

That appeared to be a request or order to leave the car. Either way, I complied.

The officer, a young woman, maybe mid-20s, with just enough creases around the eyes and mouth to suggest she had more experience than your garden variety millennial, seemed relieved. “Detective Gordan would like to ask you a few questions.” I nodded my assent and she added, “Follow me, please.”

Together, we ducked under the tape and approached a man wearing a wrinkled gray suit, surrounded by a clutch of crime techs. Made me glad I’d taken the precaution of stowing my weapon in my car’s back storage area, sans bullets which I placed in the glove compartment. The detective stopped talking to the gathered techs long enough to tip me off he was watching us.

“Thank you, Officer McNab,” he said. “And thank you for waiting, Ms. …”

“Jensen,” I said. “Erica Jensen.”

The wrinkly-suited man thrust a hand toward me. “I’m Detective Thomas Gordan. This won’t take long.”

So you’re a detective and a fortuneteller? That’s what I wanted to say, but didn’t.

A woman, mid to late 30s, in a stylishly-cut suit, left the house and joined us.

Detective Gordan of the Wrinkled Suit gestured toward Miss Stylish. “My partner, Detective Meredith Sully.”

Sully nodded. I did likewise.

“What brought you to the Harcourts’ residence today?” Gordan asked.

“They were my clients. Ms. Harcourt called me only hours ago. Asked me to come by.” I phrased the statement with a barely-detectable question mark at the end.

Gordan’s gaze bore into me. “What time did Ms. Harcourt call you?”

“Uh, it was almost five. Ten minutes to five.”

Gordan returned to scribbling notes. “What business are you in?”

I fished a business card identifying me as a “freelance researcher” from my shoulder bag and handed it to him. He gave it a glance. Sully peered at the card from where she stood. One corner of her mouth quirked up.

“What sort of research were you doing?” Gordan asked.

“Background checks,” I said with what I hoped was a breezy air.

Which was absolutely true. Just not the whole story.

Gordan gave me the cop’s standard x-ray stare. I spared a look at Sully. Other than the suits, these guys were pulling a twins act.

Gordan opened his mouth slowly as if his jaw hurt. “Can you think of anyone who might have done this?” The way he said “this” emphasized the total depravity of the perp’s actions.

I shook my head. “No one in particular, but the victims were … what? Internet famous? And there are all sorts of sickos out there.”

“So you understand our problem,” a woman’s alto voice purred. Detective Sully speaks.

A movement on the periphery caught my eye. The street fronting the house had turned into a circus of cars and vans, police and civilian. Now, the media was moving in. Several robed or half-dressed people loitered outside the crime tape, holding phones. Taking videos, of course.

At that point, the detectives brought our exchange to a halt. Not that I could’ve helped them much.

Before we parted, both detectives pressed their cards into my hand.

“We may need you to come in to the station later,” Gordan said. “We can reach you here then?” He held up my card.

“Sure thing,” I said, sounding more chipper than I felt.

I pushed past the throng of on-lookers and headed straight for my car. When I got inside, I started it up and made tracks, but not too fast. I found another place to park far from the crime scene. I figured I owed Nick, a friend who was also my sponsor, a heads up, since he’d referred the Harcourts to me.


You can pre-order the book from Amazon or any other retailer listed here!

Want to read more of my work? Check out the Erica Jensen and Sam McRae sections here on Substack! 🙂

And, yes, the name Paperback Writer was inspired by this! 🙂

Meanwhile, get ready for launch! 🙂

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