The Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mysteries are now in print. You can buy them on Amazon or from your favorite online bookseller.
Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the series, Too Quiet in Brooklyn. In this scene, Fina finds a body in the middle of a busy sidewalk in the heart of Brooklyn Heights. Improbable? Not really, not in Brooklyn.
Mom would call it a 9/11 morning—no sirens, no fights, and a fresh breeze off the ocean wafting all the street gunk away. I knew something bad was about to happen. The feeling followed me most of the day, a stillness setting my teeth on edge. That afternoon when my best friend, Cookie, and I were walking down Henry Street toward the gym, I could feel the monster rumbling inside me.
“Is that a sack of laundry in front of your grill?” Cookie asked, pointing across the street to a dark lump in the middle of the sidewalk a few feet from my front gate.
I’d inherited a brownstone in Brooklyn. Growing up, we had a fine life, living in the parlor and basement, renting out the upper floors, but sometimes garbage cans rattled beneath my bedroom window in the middle of the night. I shook my head. “More like someone’s been rooting through our throwaways.”
I looked up at the leaves, thick with late afternoon light, sensing whatever it was on the sidewalk might be something of consequence, but I continued walking away from it, hoping Cookie’s curiosity would pass and the creepy feeling on the back of my neck would go away.
She tugged at my sleeve. “C’mon, let’s go over and take a look.”
“Forget it. We’ll be late for karate.” I stared at the mass on the sidewalk.
“Instructor’ll never know. Got his head up his own inner space.” Cookie stepped into the street, pulling me along with one hand while she texted with the other.
Sirens roared in the distance, and I hauled Cookie back to the curb just in time to avoid inline bladers slaloming down the street. The quiet had been broken, but the heap on the sidewalk hadn’t moved. It lay there, squat and foreboding, while I stared at its edges, my skin prickling with the knowledge of what I was about to get into.
I knew whatever lay near my front door was no ordinary debris. For one thing, my curls began pulling at my scalp, a definite sign of trouble. And for another, the pile sat on the exact spot where I’d found Mom’s body five years ago. The lump in my throat was killing me, but I looked around. No sounds except for the pounding in my ears.
As we drew closer, Cookie’s eyes widened. Covering her mouth, she leaned hard against a tree and closed her eyes.
It was a woman, or a specter dressed as a woman. She lay in a fetal position, neck and head burrowed into an oversized moth-bitten coat like a turtle hiding in its shell. The coat wasn’t hers, I’d bet money on it. It was black wool fading to bilious green, with padded shoulders and a fake leopard-skin collar. On her feet were patent leather flats that looked like they’d cost the better part of five hundred dollars. Both heels were evenly worn, and there were small creases on the toes, so her shoes weren’t new, just nicely broken in.
My heart pounded. I stepped back, took out my phone, and snapped a few photos. Slipping on evidence gloves, I tapped her shoulder. “Ma’am?”
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