TOO QUIET IN BROOKLYN is available for pre-order for Nook for 99¢ until December 20. You can download 20% for free at Smashwords. It’s the first book in a mystery series starring the twenty-something Fina Fitzgibbons. The story takes place in May 2013.
After Fina stumbles upon a throttled woman in the heart of Brooklyn Heights, she discovers that the dead woman’s four-year-old grandson is also missing.
She begins a wild hunt for the strangler-kidnapper, Ralph, abused as a child, an adult with a learning disability.
Leads take Fina to neighborhoods in Brooklyn and towns in Central New Jersey. During the chase, Fina resists falling in love with her boyfriend, Denny, an NYPD patrol officer, steps on the fragile toes of Detective Jane Templeton, and uncovers secrets about her own past. In the end, Ralph has a surprise for Fina.
In this scene, Fina’s doing the talking. She and Cookie meet with NYPD Detective Jane Templeton and her partner:
Mr. Baggins, Mom’s cat and Lucy’s mascot appeared. He had a way of popping up out of nowhere, like he did the first time one spring day nine years ago, sitting in the garden like Alice’s cheshire cat smiling up at Mom. Now he was smiling up at me, rubbing against my jeans and Cookie’s legs and just about every other surface he could manage except of course, for Jane and her partner. He blinked up at her, his neck stretched, his cheeks puffed out like he was part frog, his grey plush body on red alert. He slinked back over to me, his stomach almost touching the ground, stealing a backward glance at Jane as he crept and doing his Hold Me purr. I scooped him up and started to walk toward the front, but he jumped out of my arms and made a beeline for my chair.
The four of us gathered around the receptionist’s desk, me with a window view so I could watch the crime scene and Jane in the captain’s chair. I saw her glance up at my licenses hanging on the opposite wall. When she did a double take, I expected a snide remark, and sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed.
“So you’re a cleaner or an investigator?” She flashed her teeth at me again.
“Both,” I said, surprising myself. “But they’re similar, wouldn’t you say?”
The room was stuffy so I turned on a couple of fans and told the two NYPD detectives everything while Cookie nodded or looked down at her fingernails and Mr. Baggins made himself comfortable on three-quarters of my chair, surreptitiously taking up more and more of the surface as the meeting droned on and kneading his thick paws into my back. The traffic in the Heights never seemed to wane, but now sounded a little distant. Somewhere a siren wailed.
I started with the position of the body, the approximate time we’d found it, and what I’d moved or touched. Jane referred to the photos I’d sent her of the body in situ as I was talking. Her partner asked a bunch of questions, most of them repetitive or irrelevant, having me describe again where I’d found the body, the hour of the day, the amount of foot traffic when we discovered the dead woman, whether we’d seen anyone acting suspicious.
“We were with the body less than five minutes before I called 911.” I emphasized that I’d used latex gloves and mentioned the sapphire ring, making sure Jane’s partner wrote it in his report, but forgetting to mention that I thought I’d recognized the victim. Cookie confirmed that she’d seen the ring, too, and to her credit, answered all questions thrown at her with a yes or a no. They asked more unnecessary stuff, Queen Mab looking bored toward the end and thrumming her fingers on the arm of her chair until I asked if she’d found any ID on the corpse, reminding her that we hadn’t.
And here’s a Fina monologue:
I know about sudden loss. It bites you in the behind and grabs you and shakes you. It takes everything from you, not just your loved one. And it takes it bit by bit. There’s the first shock when part of your mind flushes away. Then your heart goes. Next your energy. Your sense of delight. Finally you’re a husk. It takes the you from you and either makes you numb or turns you into a screaming bag of bones. I wasn’t going to leave this woman while she disappeared, no, not for nothing.
Photo: Cover, TOO QUIET IN BROOKLYN, Avalon Graphics