Brodie Barrett is a widowed mother of a 10 year old girl and a homicide detective for the Birmingham Police Department. Everything seems fine in her world until her ex-fiance, Keaton Maddox walks back into her life. She’s ready to start a new life with Keaton but he’s also got a pregnant girlfriend working at his restaurant. Things at work start heating up for Brodie when someone decides to send her love letters at work. These aren’t your ordinary love letters, though! These letters leave clues for Brodie to find bodies of her admirer’s victims. Who could be sending these letters and why do they want Brodie to find the bodies?
Targeted Age Group:: 20+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I actually started writing this book with a geocache twist. The geocaching turned out not to work with my characters in this book so I scrapped it and replaced that part of the story with the letters.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
All of these characters were stashed in a file years ago. They were all intended for other stories I’ve written but they didn’t seem to fit so they got stuck in a file until I could find them a home.
Captain Stephens hung up on me and I stood there staring at my phone wondering what the hell he was talking about. What the hell was he talking about, a body? And why would anyone be sending me a letter to the precinct? I grabbed my black blazer, jumped in my truck, and headed to Birmingham as fast as I could. I could tell by the Captain’s voice that he was not happy.
When I got to the captain’s office, he and my partner, Beau, were leaning over his desk looking at a piece of paper with a quizzical look on their faces. They were also wearing rubber gloves. I tossed my blazer on the back of one of the worn out brown leather arm chairs situated in front of Captain’s desk and then plopped myself down in the chair. Captain Stephens looked at me and then the box of gloves on the edge of his desk. I took out two of the powder blue latex gloves and slipped them on my hands. No glove, no love.
“Barrett, before I let you look at this letter, can you think of anyone, anyone at all who would want to involve you in something like this?”
“Honestly? The only person I can think of is Griffin and he’s locked up in a Fed Max in Louisiana.”
“Yeah, I thought about that stalking sumbitch, too. Checked on him as soon as I read this. He’s still in his cage. Looks like you got yourself a new admirer. Take a look and let me and Beau know what you think.”
Captain Stephens handed me the note. It was typewritten on creamy, think, off-white stationery like someone would use for resumes. The font was large in some places and small in others and the word spacing was very inconsistent. It looked like more than one person had typed it. Or personalities. Or maybe they were just drunk?
The letter addressed me by name:
This may seem a little desperate but I didn’t know how else to get through to you. Because you work with bodies, I thought bodies would be the best way to tell our story. The story of you and me. But you’re going to have to work for it. I will give you clues but the rest is up to you, including how our story ends. Now, for the first chapter I want to take you back in time. I laid my first body down where you first laid yours down. What a beautiful place it is! Happy hunting!
I felt bile rising up in the back of my throat. Someone was hell bent on torturing me all over again. But why now? What could someone possibly want from me this time? Wasn’t my dead husband enough?
A man named Griffin Francis had started working for Grayson’s construction company right after Braelynn’s fourth birthday. Grayson had invited him to the birthday cookout. He had showed up half an hour late, bearing a bowlful of pitiful looking coleslaw and apple pie from Publix. He followed me into the kitchen and apologized profusely for being late. I kept reassuring him that it was perfectly fine and when I had turned to walk out the back door, he wedged himself between me and the door. He said nothing out of the way but his body language and his proximity made me very uncomfortable. I brushed it off and did not mention it to Grayson until 6 months later when I had come home early from work to find out front door standing wide open and Griffin standing in our living room, he claimed had stopped by to see Grayson and saw someone breaking in the door as he was pulling up. He said the he chased them through the house and they ran out the back door and through the woods before he could get a good look at the guy. I called Grayson and then asked Griffin to leave. He refused to leave me alone until Grayson got home. Once Grayson finally got home he quickly got Griffin out of the house and convinced him to leave. I checked the back door and it was still locked. No one had run out of that door. When I went upstairs to change my clothes, I found my underwear drawer standing wide open and several pairs of my underwear were missing. Grayson fired Griffin the very next day.
For six months after that Griffin followed me just about everywhere. I put a restraining order on him and it didn’t even phase him. He didn’t care. And he was just smart enough to to cover his tracks so I would have a hard time proving that he had actually broken the order. The morning of mine and Grayson’s fifth wedding anniversary he went out for a jog. He never returned home. At eleven o’clock that night, the police in West Blocton had found his body dumped at the boat launch of the Cahaba River. The next day Griffin showed up at my house bloody, drunk, and wearing Grayson’s wedding ring.
“Well, Barrett, what do you make of it?”
“Okay. This person either really does know me or thinks they know things about me. This clue makes a reference to my past.”
“Where you laid your first body down or where you first laid your body down?” Beau asked as he rubbed his salt-and-pepper goatie.
Beau pushed up the sleeves of his royal blue button down shirt as he got up out of his seat. He began pacing around the captain’s office, tapping his fingers on his legs. This meant he was thinking. Beau tapped on anything and everything when he was deep in thought. While he was pacing, I looked back at the letter and read it once more, trying to think of anything in my past that would correlate. I’d never shot anyone in this area so that wasn’t it. I was born at Brookwood Hospital and my parents lived in a suburb in Midfield, so this wouldn’t have been where I first laid down. What did this mean? I closed my eyes and tried to think about all the times I had visited the zoo and the botanical gardens. Where I first laid my body down? Where I – -oh, my.
In the 9th grade, my high school English teacher had taken us on a field trip to the botanical gardens to inspire us to write nature haikus. I’d always had an interest in writing but on this trip I was interested in my new boyfriend, Gunner Hayes. He had failed the year before so he was older and cool in a bad boy sort of way. His shaggy chestnut colored hair was always hanging in his brooding hazel eyes which made him seem dark and untouchable. I was enamored by him. Everything about him drew me to him like a hot, sweaty man gravitates to cold beer after working all day. At first he wasn’t going to go on the field trip but changed his mind at the last minute. He said we could sneak off in the gardens for some alone time. My inexperienced 9th grade body felt like I had thrown a hair dryer in my bathwater at the mention of alone time with him. I had nearly lost my virginity behind a wall of bamboo next to a stinky, stagnant pond full of overgrown koi fish and more mosquitoes than should ever be allowed on Earth. I never told anyone about that. Who else would know other than Gunner?
About the Author:
Writer. Book Critic. Mother. Animal Lover. Twitter addict. Insomniac.
Ella is from a very small town in Alabama. When she is not day dreaming about her next story she spend most of her time caring for a Tiny Tyrant and her furry best friend, Mutt. Her house and her electronics are cluttered with books she’s read, books she’s reading, and books to be read. She also pretends to be a housewife in her spare time, occasionally cooking and cleaning for a wonderful husband who never complains. Writing and reading are her two biggest passions other than pretending to be a T-Rex princess pony that can only eat pink Starburst with her little one. Ella also uses movie quotes and song lyrics constantly in conversation and freaks out/passes out at the sight of slugs.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy The Letters Print Edition at Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought!