I am super excited today to Welcome Nanci Rathbun.
She is a new cozy author from Wisconsin and her story is set not too far from where I live.
Writing Truth Kills and seeing it published is a dream realized in my life. I began writing short stories several years ago and then decided to try my hand at what I most love to read – mystery novels. Truth Kills is the result.
My protagonist, Angelina Bonaparte (Bo-nah-par-tay, please, Angie is Sicilian-American and doesn’t appreciate Napoleon’s attempts to Gallicize the name), is a fifty-something private investigator and former librarian. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Angie is the typical senior sleuth. There’s sexy lingerie underneath her professional clothes. She loves research and believes that her background in library science makes her uniquely qualified as a P.I. Her ex-husband was a cheater and her work puts her in contact with people who lie and manipulate to escape the consequences of their actions. Small wonder she finds it hard to trust!
Her clientele is fairly run-of-the-mill: small businesses who want background checks on employees, spouses who wonder if their partner is cheating, people who seek to locate someone. As a result of dogging a cheating husband, Angie is drawn into the murder investigation of his girlfriend. Milwaukee homicide detective Ted Wukowski is not happy with Angie’s involvement. They seem to clash at every turn, Wukowski demanding that she leave the case to the police, Angie determined to challenge his assumption that the philandering husband is the killer.
During a chance encounter at the gym, Wukowski’s partner, cracks a joke and Wukowski smiles. Angie’s reaction is instant. “It transformed the man. An absolute metamorphosis. From rod-up-the-rear, Joe Friday, ‘just the facts’ ice-man to crinkly-eyed, genuine human being, good-looking in a Dana Andrews tough-guy way. I stared. I looked him up and down. I appreciated his face and body for the first time. I started to blush, and hoped they would put it down to post-exercise blood flow.” The romantic undercurrents begin to flow.
I enjoyed putting local Milwaukee landmarks into the story – places like the Pfister Hotel and Ma Fisher’s restaurant, The Domes and Gesu church. Characters like Mrs. Lembke, whose South Side patois is endearingly reminiscent of many older Polish-Americans in Milwaukee, also make the setting into more than just a casual reference. I hope Milwaukee comes across as a character itself in the book. Angie wouldn’t be at home anywhere else.
As for me, I raised two wonderful children, Leah and Matt, and I’ve had several careers. After I retired from AT&T, I felt called to ordained ministry. I received a Masters of Divinity from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary the year I turned sixty. Despite the aphorism, old dogs can learn new tricks! Although I loved serving as an associate pastor at Fox River Congregational Church in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, I missed being close to my granddaughters in Tennessee. In January of 2013, I moved to Murfreesboro Tennessee so that I could be a bigger part of their lives.
I hope potential readers won’t be put off by thinking that Truth Kills must belong in the category of Christian fiction. It doesn’t. I chose to write about a character who turned away from faith and who struggles at times with spiritual questions about life and death, because I had those same doubts and even antipathy to faith, for more than a decade. I decline to provide simplistic responses to what are very deep and very human concerns.
My greatest joy is to read a review that says the characters are real (character is paramount for me), the plot is engaging and not obvious (after all, mystery readers want a mystery!), and the setting is evocative. I’ve had a few of those and it’s fueled me to continue writing. I plan to finish revisions on my second Angie novel, Cash Kills, and see it published this spring. Meanwhile, to all my readers, may your mysteries be exciting and fulfilling.
To find out more about Nanci visit her webpage here.
An Angelina Bonaparte Mystery
Published by Cozy Cat Press (July 26, 2013)’
Trade Paperback: 250 pages
E-Book File Size: 485 KB
Librarian-turned-private-investigator Angelina Bonaparte is a woman on a mission: to uncover deception.
Angie has plenty of experience with lying, cheating and cover-ups – and not just because of her former husband. Working as a P.I. means tracking down deadbeats and exposing unfaithful spouses. Now she’s been asked by a betrayed wife to prove her cheating husband innocent of the murder of his lover. Angie’s heart tells her to let the skunk rot in prison, but her head convinces her that adultery is not grounds for incarceration.
The investigation introduces Angie to police detective Ted Wukowski. He is a cop that has come to believe woman have no place near a murder investigation so of course sparks of all kinds fly between the two. Maybe together they can not only catch the killer but work out a few of their own personal issues as well.
I love Angie Bo-nah-par-tay!! She is my kind of sleuth! A feisty, 50 something woman, who can transform herself from a professional career woman to a bag lady in minutes if it helps her solve the case. She isn’t afraid to go dumpster diving or to throw her Sicilian family connections around either. She is flawed and real with some trust issues due to a “BOZO” of an ex-husband, but she is strong, opinionated, and a woman to be reckoned with.
I cannot believe this is the author’s first stab at writing mysteries. She has nailed the cozy mystery genre perfectly. Her plot lines are tight, her characters are genuine and have depth while still leaving them room to grow. Her setting is one close to my heart and she shows the fantastic side of the city but also the grittier underside. She also adds the exact right amounts of humor and romance.
Told from Angie’s point of view the story unfolds effortlessly and was extremely hard to put down. While fast paced in places it evolves slowly as Angie contemplates the clues, her next move, and just how much she should share with Detective Wukowski.
This was a fun read. The next installment, Cash Kills, can’t be released soon enough for me.
Thanks to the author I have 3 Kindle copies to give away!
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