A Deadly Combo by Karen A. Phillips – Character Guest Post – Rocky + Giveaway

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A Deadly Combo
by Karen A. Phillips

About A Deadly Combo

A Deadly Combo: A Rocky Nelson Boxing Mystery
Traditional/Cozy Blend
1st in Series
Setting – California
River Rock Press (March 1, 2023)
Number of Pages: 270

What do boxing and vintage trailers have in common? Rocky Nelson.


Meet Raquel Nelson (AKA Rocky), a retired single woman with an attitude. In Rocky’s opinion, independent ruffians, relentless heat, wildfires, and unhealthy AQI are all part of living in the Sierra Foothills of California.


Sisters Rocky and Bridget are enjoying each other’s company at a vintage trailerfest until they stumble over a corpse. The dead guy is none other than the local trailer restorer and Bridget was overheard threatening to kill him. Mounting evidence leads police to focus on Bridget as a person of interest. Desperate to prove her sister innocent of murder, Rocky dons her own deerstalker cap and goes sleuthing. Rocky knows a little about the job requirements, having caught her sister’s last husband in an illicit affair. Detective Thompson is on the case and isn’t happy about Rocky poking around, and lets her know in no uncertain terms. But Rocky is tenacious if not stubborn. Combined with a 78-year-old father who insists on assisting, Rocky uses her courage and skills from boxing lessons to protect her family and keep from becoming the killer’s next victim.


This is the first book in The Rocky Nelson Boxing Mystery Series – a perfect series for lovers of small town mysteries with a cozy-noir feel featuring boxing and an amateur sleuth who will stop at nothing to save the lives of those she loves.

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Character Guest Post

I was asked to give a character post. I’m not good at talking about myself, but here goes.

My name is Raquel Nelson. People in my inner circle call me Rocky. It’s the nickname my Dad gave me when I was young, after the movie Rocky came out starring Sylvester Stallone. I didn’t like it at first, but I’ve gotten used to it. I mean, I take boxing lessons, so it fits. And I can’t say no to my Dad. He’s the only parent I’ve got left.

My mom committed suicide when I was ten years old. It was the worst day of my life. I was the one who found her. I had just come home from school and thought she was taking a nap. But there was an empty bottle of sleeping pills on the floor and I when tried to wake her up, her skin was cold, and I knew she was gone.

I saw a therapist for a long time after that. I’m an adult now and whenever I remember that horrible day I use the tools the therapist taught me to overcome my anxiety. I also paint to help process my grief. And almost every day I work out at the gym. Boxing is a very intensive sport and when I’m in the zone, all my worries go away and I am at peace. The gym is my church. Dad bought the gym after he and mom moved from Los Angeles. My parents were actors in Hollywood and when mom discovered she was pregnant with twins they moved to the Sierra Foothills east of Sacramento to raise their family.

My sister is named Bridget. She and I worked for the state of California ever since we graduated from high school. We both retired at age fifty-five and had planned to open an after-school theater for youth. Kind of to honor both of our parents. I don’t know beans about acting—my sister inherited that gene. I’m a graphic artist, so I was going to be in charge of marketing. However, my sister met Steve—husband number three—and they eloped. It was like a punch to the gut. Believe me, I was more than disappointed. I don’t have to tell you I spent a lot of time at the gym when she dropped that bomb on me. But I still love her.

So when she returned from the honeymoon and asked me and Dad to attend a vintage trailerfest where she and Steve had their 1963 Shasta on display, I said sure. I was excited to see my sister.

It was a beautiful day and we were having a nice visit. Dad was off looking at trailers, and Steve had left to go show a house (he’s a realtor), when Bridget decided to go look at the trailer next to us, a big green monster called a Westwood. She was curious because the owner won Best of Show the year before. Bridget wanted to win the trophy in a bad way and she wanted to check out the competition. I watched her disappear inside the trailer only to come flying back out, screaming her head off.

“Dead body!” she said.

That was the second worst day of my life.

I’d like to tell you more, but it’s better if you read the book.

About Karen A. Phillips

Author Karen A. Phillips lives in Northern California and writes humorous, fun, action-packed mysteries. She has several short stories published in various anthologies. Her characters are engaging and fearless. “A Deadly Combo” is her first full-length novel. In real life, Karen takes boxing lessons but would hesitate if she had to punch anyone in the face. Let’s face it. Karen wouldn’t last one round in the ring.

Author Links

Website: https://karenaphillips.com/ Facebook: KarenAPhillips/Author Instagram: kannphillips Twittter: @phillips_writes

Purchase Links – Coming Soon


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20 comments / Add your comment below

      1. Karen, you have created an intriguing character. I can’t wait to find out how Rocky gets through this adventure!

  1. What a fun addition to my TBR pile. (But since it’s Karen and we’ve all been waiting so long for it, I am moving it to the top!) You go Karen, knock ‘em out of the park!!

  2. Karen Phillips waited a long time to give us some long form novel magic. And A DEADLY COMBO, proves that the best things in life are worth the wait. Raquel “Rocky” Nelson proves that the seasoning of age and experience is a spicy double-edged sword, leading to an adventure that leaves us wanting more from Karen’s creative keyboard. She delivers the goods and gives us the start of what I hope will become a series with a long run.

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