I’m thrilled to announce Death of a Brooklyn Landlord is on pre-order Now!
A Mystery, A Kidnapping, A Missing Mom … The First Book in a NEW Spinoff Series
When newly-widowed Lorraine McDuffy gets a call in the middle of the night, it’s not the ghost of her dead husband on the line, but the trembling voice of an old flame, Frank Rizzo, a local butcher. He’s found the battered body of rent-gouging Brooklyn landlord, Viktor Charnov. Felled by blunt trauma to the back of his head, the victim lies in the fetal position in the back of Frank’s shop, a pork chop clenched between his teeth. The distraught butcher asks Lorraine to investigate.
As the story moves through the entangled web left behind by the landlord’s evil dealings, Lorraine searches for Viktor’s estranged wife as well as a missing teen with ties to the landlord, believed to have jumped in despair from the Brooklyn Bridge two months earlier. Along the way, Lorraine spars with Detective First Grade Jane Templeton and cares for the victim’s ten-year-old son, baseball-loving Joey Charnov, while she searches for his mother. And despite her own grief and guilt, Lorraine and Frank deepen their relationship in fits and starts.
If you’re a fan of Fina Fitzgibbons and her crew, you’ll recognize the main characters in this new series—Lorraine McDuffy, Fina’s mother-in-law and protagonist of this new series, in charge of the Fina Fitzgibbons Detective Agency while Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon; detectives Jane Templeton and her partner, Willoughby; Minnie, admin assistant at Lucy’s and now taking on a greater role in the agency; Cookie and her husband, Clancy; and a newcomer, Fina’s estranged father, Paddy Fitzgibbons, who creates his own boozy havoc as he tangles with Lorraine and Cookie.
Here’s an excerpt:
In the dark, his voice sounded sad.
He mumbled something she couldn’t understand. His face was so young looking, like the day they met. She reached out, tried to stop him from slipping away, but his suit fell apart at her touch, and he disappeared.
In the background, an insistent ringing. Lorraine McDuffy sat up. She must have been dreaming.
Slowly she opened her eyes. Gray light filtered through the slats of her bedroom window, and she felt a chill. Too cold for April. She’d have to turn on the furnace herself—another unfamiliar task for her to get the hang of. She couldn’t keep calling the handyman to do it for her, not with what he charged. She was glad she had Fina’s detective agency to manage while her daughter-in-law was away. Along with keeping up the four-flat in Carroll Gardens where she and Robbie had lived most of their married life, the work helped her forget about Robbie’s sudden death, the grimace on his face, the otherness of him in the casket. Besides, she wouldn’t have to rely on a fixed income to meet her growing expenses. After groping for her robe, she threw it on, picked up the receiver, and heard another voice.
This one was real. Familiar, warm, but she also detected a note of fear. It was the rogue himself, Frank Rizzo. Just the other day she’d seen him in the park with his grandsons. Handsome lads. Frank, too. A warmth shot through her at the memory of his smile.
He apologized for calling so early and stammered his condolences, saying he remembered how broken up he’d been after his wife died.
“Thank you. But Robbie’s been gone almost a year.” Why she said that, she didn’t know.
“I called because I need your help. There’s a body in my back room.”
“Call the police, Frank.”
He cleared his throat. “You don’t understand.”
Photo: Cover, Death of a Brooklyn Landlord, Avalon Graphics LLC