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Today I’m on the ‘Checking the Traps’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Joan Livingston, but b
About the Author :
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long mystery series.
Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.
Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.
The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.
As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.
Guest Post :
Who Is Isabel Long?
Isabel Long, the protagonist of my mystery series, uses the skills she relied on as a longtime journalist to solve cold cases as an amateur sleuth. And in Checking the Traps, she’s onto her third case in what I call the Isabel Long Mystery Series.
When I started this series, I wanted Isabel to be what the French call une femme d’un certain age. In the first book, Chasing the Case, she had just come off a really bad year. Her husband died, and then she lost her job as a managing editor after the newspaper where she worked went corporate. She has three grown kids and a baby granddaughter — the one bright spot in that bad year — who also live in the same hilltown in Western Massachusetts.
Isabel also has an unusual ‘Watson” — her 93-year-old mother who came to live with her. They have a remarkably close relationship now that Isabel’s much wilder days are long behind her.
Isabel is a sassy and savvy woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she cares and is comfortable talking with anyone, whether it’s a junkyard dealer or the regulars at the Rooster, a country bar where she works part-time. She’s also got the nosy gene, which is useful as a P.I.
In Checking the Traps, Isabel is a bit banged up from her second case, which ended in a car crash. She wears a sling because of a broken collarbone, but that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster or taking on a new case.
Here’s a brief excerpt that will give you an idea. Isabel is tending bar at the Rooster.
The True Blue Regular places a buck tip on the bar before he announces he’s heading home.
“She should be happy,” he says. “I’m only an hour late.”
I try not to roll my eyes. Sometimes I feel like giving some relationship advice to the people who drink here, such as bring the little woman with you once in a while. Or it might be a good idea not to be dancing so close to that man who’s not your significant other. But that wouldn’t go over well. Besides, my job here is to pour booze and be friendly to the customers. What I hear and see at the Rooster stays at the Rooster, well, except for telling Ma, who gets a kick out of those stories.
But just as the True Blue Regular leaves, another takes his place. A seat at the bar is a premium spot at the Rooster.
“What’ll it be? Let me guess. A Bud?”
The new True Blue shows a couple of missing teeth when he grins.
“You a mind reader, Isabel?”
“Nah, that would be dangerous in a place like this.”
I will admit there is a lot of me in Isabel Long. The mystery is written in the first person, so I couldn’t help myself there. But there are differences. She’s a widow and I’m not. (I do give her a romantic interest in Jack, the Rooster’s owner.) She has three kids and I have six. She got canned when her newspaper went corporate. I didn’t. And after leaving the newspaper biz, I didn’t become an amateur P.I. as she did. Frankly, I am not that brave.
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