For this Jersey girl, big hair means big trouble!
Newspaper reporter Colleen Caruso just wants her unruly curls tamed into smooth, sleek locks. Instead, she finds her stylist dead, face down in a shampoo sink. Faster than you can say Aqua Net, Colleen starts investigating. The case gets even hairier when the owner of a local fitness studio seems to have jumped from a plane … without a parachute.
Meanwhile, her suave editor, Ken Rhodes, steps in to help. And he may be looking for more than just a good story from Colleen.
Add in a missing bracelet, some suspicious husbands, and a little breaking and entering—and this Jersey girl is heading for a real blowout!
Can Colleen tie up these split ends? Or does she have an appointment with disaster?
Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa
I’m thrilled to be contributing a guest post to Brooke Blogs. After all, how many chances do you get to talk about murder without the local authorities knocking on your door or at least putting a wiretap on your phone!
In answer to my own question: you can kill off plenty of people – just not everyone you’d like to see dead. Hypothetically, there have been hundreds of potential murders both here in my own sleepy, suburban New Jersey town, as well as across the entire nation. Okay, so what if they weren’t exactly murders? For someone with a slightly warped mind, they could have been murders.
In my first book in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series, New Math Is Murder, I found inspiration in several stories about school teachers’ disappearances. Why do so many schoolteachers across the country seem to go missing? I don’t know. I have a sneaking suspicion they are actually trying to escape from their students. Nevertheless, these are generally dedicated teachers, loving spouses, and doting parents – real stand-up men and women respected in their communities. The teachers seemingly vanish into thin air. The police find their abandoned cars. Foul play is always suspected. Areas are combed for clues. Appeals are broadcast on local stations – anyone with information, etcetera, etcetera. What great mysteries! Such drama!
Fast forward two days later. The missing teacher of the moment is found drunk as a skunk in a Vegas casino, or sunning in Cancun, or fishing in Key West, with an equally sloshed girlfriend or boyfriend, and a credit card that has been maxed out from taking out too many cash advances. That’s a pretty juicy story, though in reality these kinds of outcomes don’t come as much of a surprise. People go missing, but eventually most of them get found. That’s not nearly as much fun as having them turn up dead.
From a writer’s point of view, these stories are better fictionalized by killing them off.
In Hide Nor Hair, the second book in my series, I chose to do two murders that seem a little grisly, but still have an element of fun to them. But like most fiction writers, I needed inspiration and found many instances of double murders – not the fun kind, of course. I had to make them fun. There was never a hairdresser found drowned in a shampoo sink, at least none that I am aware of. There was no fitness instructor who took a swan dive in mid-air from a four-seater Cessna. But I managed to produce two victims and two seemingly unrelated murders that my protagonist, Colleen Caruso, learns were actually connected.
Even in fiction you can’t always get what you want. I love new, interesting ways to knock off people, but after giving it some thought, if dead bodies kept turning up every few weeks, who would want to live (or rather die) in the quiet shore community of Tranquil Harbor? So here are some interesting ideas for more books in the series – why not a nice, respectable extortion plot, a poisoning, or even a money laundering scheme? Some victims survive being poisoned. People live through extortions – not happily and not with a great deal excess money in bank accounts afterward, but they live. The money laundering – I don’t know. Making dirty money clean is a tricky, dangerous business. These ideas sound a little tame, but there are plenty of ways to spice things up.
Now there’s an idea. Has anyone ever died from nutmeg poisoning?
About the Author
Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa lives in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and uses her experience as a freelance correspondent as the basis of her protagonist’s career. Several of the incidents within these pages are actual occurrences. They have been shamelessly embellished and are not a blow-by-blow account of a few really bad days on the job. Hide Nor Hair is her second novel.
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