Killed in Escrow
Having recently opened her own private investigation firm, Lauren Vellequette cracks cases with the help of Rollie Austin, a 65-year-old seasoned private eye with a love for surveillance gadgets and Sasha Fuller, a 17-year-old intern who introduces new employment demands on a daily basis. Together, the three women spend as much time propping each other up as they do unraveling mysteries.
Set in Denver, Colorado, the book is quick-paced, engaging, and humorous.
For more information, contact Jennifer L. Jordan at moc.n1537505472adroj1537505472lrefi1537505472nnej@1537505472nej1537505472.
Read Sanya Franich’s review of Killed in Escrow in Curve Magazine.
Ordering InfoKilled in Escrow, published by Clover Valley Press, is available now.
Killed In Escrow was a Goldie finalist in the mystery/thriller category in 2015 (Golden Crown Literary Society).
Categories: Lesbian mystery, lesbian fiction, women’s mystery, cozy mystery
Author's NotesI hatched the idea for this mystery years ago, and anyone who’s waited in that uncomfortable limbo between an offer and a closing should appreciate the title, Killed In Escrow.
I’ve always had an interest in real estate. When I was sixteen, I met with a real estate agent who showed me two pieces of vacant land – one with trees and one without. No, my parents didn’t know about this outing. I passed on those deals because I didn’t feel confident that I could get my $4,000 investment out in time for college. Given I’d saved that sum twenty-five cents at a time from tips at a Country Kitchen, I didn’t want to risk losing it.
As an adult, I developed a higher-tolerance for leveraging and have been involved in more than twenty real estate transactions. After suffering from burn-out, I vowed I had made my last deal.
This new series provided a healthy alternative for the urges that wouldn’t subside.
Killed In Escrow is told from the first-person perspective of 42-year-old Lauren Vellequette, a real estate agent who has survived three lesbian divorces, a bout with cancer, and the back-to-back deaths of both her parents.
Having recently opened her own private investigation firm, Lauren Vellequette cracks cases with the help of Rollie Austin, a 55-year-old seasoned private eye with a love for surveillance gadgets, and Sasha Fuller, a 17-year-old intern of uncertain sexuality who introduces new employment demands on a daily basis.
In the character of Lauren, I’ve created a woman who is cynical but hopeful, tired of endings but wary of beginnings. Sasha provides a counterbalance of youthful exuberance and moodiness, of teenage arrogance and insecurity. Together with Rollie, the women spend as much time propping each other up as they do unraveling mysteries.
Read a Chapter“I have a confession to make: I hate real estate agents. I know, I am one. But I hate them anyway, and all the other scammers in this shady business. The title companies that steal a thousand bucks every time you refinance, the mortgage brokers who encourage you to take out a new loan three times a year, the appraisers who inflate a property’s value, the home inspectors who won’t touch roofs, attics, or crawl spaces…don’t get me started.
“Let me tell you why I’m different. For starters, I don’t wear suits. Neither would you if you’d seen the places I’ve been. I don’t drive a luxury car. Why broadcast that I make fat commissions I rarely deserve? I don’t advertise using a twenty-year-old photo of myself. Prom was fine once, but no need to repeat it. I don’t tell people their houses will sell for more than I know they will. Nor do I tell buyers they can afford a house I know they can’t. I don’t belong to any chambers or business groups. They’re a waste of time and make me feel like a whore.”
Ignoring the giggles, gasps, and gapes, I continued.
“I make my living helping people buy and sell homes, but don’t go thinking my day is full of deep thoughts about architecture and interior design. The houses, I barely see them anymore. All I see are the clients and their anxieties as they prepare to close one of the biggest deals of their lives. They count on me to take care of the details: the easements, liens, and assessments; the twenty-page contracts and five nitpicky addendums; the financing, point spreads, and pre-payment penalties; the brain-draining closings.
“I help sellers who are moving for no good reason and buyers who are clueless about what they value. I negotiate past people’s fears and personalities to get deals done, and I do them with dignity and respect. If that appeals to you, and you have a burning desire to be on call every hour of the day, every day of the year, every year of your life, by all means, choose real estate as a career.”
At the back of the room, the ashen-faced teacher took a second to regain her composure. She put her hands together, as if praying, and called out in an unnaturally-bright voice, “That was a unique introduction for career day, Ms. Vellequette.”
Keep reading…click here to download the first chapter Killed In Escrow.