First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seely
A Pacific Northwest Mystery #4
When a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .
Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .
It had to be mud! Why mud? Sticky, oozing, gross, gooey mud. Of all the extreme sports that I had signed up for in the past couple of years this was by far the dirtiest. Have I mentioned that I love pink? Pink is my signature color and let’s just say that my cute pink kicks and stylish pink running outfit don’t exactly pair well with mud.
The worst part is that I have no one to blame other than myself. As a writer for Northwest Extreme, I’m tasked with taking adventures all over the Pacific Northwest and stretching my athletic abilities. I actually thought that signing up for a fun mud run, aptly named Mud, Sweat, and Beers would be a breeze. How hard could it be to run a quick 5k? That’s only three miles. Yeah right. Famous last words.
Little did I know that the “fun run” would involve squeezing under barbed wire, slogging through miles of thick, smelly mud, scaling walls, and destroying my adorable pink workout gear. Three miles might not sound like much, but after the first few feet I was coated in a heavy layer of sludge that weighed me down and made it nearly impossible not to slip and fall on my derrière.
As if that wasn’t bad enough my trainer Billy the Tank, a retired Army drill sergeant, barked out orders and demanded that I run faster. His shrill whistle blared in my ear as he shouted, “Pick up the pace, Reed! If you don’t start sprinting I’m gonna make you drop and give me twenty. Better yet—forty! Let’s go, Reed. You are way too slow. Push it!”
I would have liked to have given Billy a piece of my mind. After all I was on assignment as a journalist. It wasn’t as if I was participating in his grueling course—Mind Over Mudder—for fun. I had a job to do. But Billy didn’t see it that way. He treated me like one of his troops. I couldn’t believe that my training mates had paid to have Billy torture them. Who in their right mind would pay to have someone scream at them to sprint faster at five o’clock in the morning?
The only good thing about training with Mind Over Mudder was the race course. It took us past some of the West’s most historic sites, like Fort Vancouver’s sweeping parade grounds and stately mansions along Officer’s Row. If I had to huff and puff my way through miles of muck at least I had a stunning view.
That’s what I thought until I found Billy the Tank dead. Someone had bumped him off in the steam room after a particularly painful early morning workout. Suddenly I had to find a way to finish my first 5K, craft a killer story for Northwest Extreme, and hunt down a real killer. If I wasn’t careful I had a feeling that I could be running for my life!
About the Author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.