The Brenda Contay Mysteries
Brenda Contay has messed up her college life by saying “yes” too often. She’s become The Anything Goes Girl, and her sex life figures prominently in locker-room graffiti. But all at once she makes it big on local TV. It’s like winning the lottery—right?
Not for Brenda Contay. Now she’s WDIG’s popular Lightning Rod reporter. But succeeding because your butt looks good in Levis has a lot in common with being The Anything Goes Girl.
That’s why Brenda quits to go in search of what happened to an old lover. In college, Vince Soublik was an all-state swimmer, but he just drowned off a tiny island in the Pacific.
When Brenda gets there, she finds herself in a world of trouble. Vince’s death turns out to be collateral damage in a scandal of global proportions. And since it involves one of the ten richest men in America, Brenda’s chance of living to tell the story is next to zero.
But you never can tell about The Anything Goes Girl: she really hates to lose.
Journalist Brenda Contay Doesn't Go Looking For Trouble …
Trouble Comes Looking For Her
The Anything Goes Girl is a radical departure for you. It’s got action, crime, humor, suspense. But your most recent book Just Bill is a quiet study of the lives of dogs and retirees living on a golf course. What explains the change?
Actually, my dog book is the departure. My first novel The Dating Service was a gritty thriller about Vietnam Vets.
Is your new novel based on personal experience?
Even if The Anything Goes Girl was a space opera or zombie novel, I would answer yes. That’s because you can’t write what hasn’t been experienced. Either you’re dealing with historical events—or your own history—or you’re concerned with the mental history of imagination. This may sound weird, but that’s how I think about it.
OK. Let me put it differently. Is The Anything Goes Girl
about things that actually happened in life, as opposed to happening in the imagination?
Yes—and no. I am writing about people and places I met up with in life, but everything’s been changed.
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Journalist Brenda Contay seems to have it all: a Pulitzer Prize, plenty of money and lots of friends. Just one thing is missing: a relationship that counts.
That seems about to change when lawyer friend Marion Ross invites Brenda to go fishing in northern Minnesota. But they won’t be roughing it: they’ll be staying on a big, comfy houseboat. Charlie Schmidt has a cabin nearby, and before long, Brenda is thinking a lot about Charlie’s gracefulness and good looks.
But two other men have followed the women. Louis Rohmer knew Marion in college, and has an Internet scheme to steal everything she’s worth. Jerry Lomak is much more dangerous: Marion’s legal skills destroyed him in court. He’s headed for prison, but Lomak has no intention of doing time, or of letting a woman lawyer get away with her “crimes.”
It’s a beautiful place, northern Minnesota. Cold, clear, unblemished. But none of it will count when Brenda Contay must choose between losing her chance for happiness, or committing a terrible crime.
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Is destiny your friend or your enemy?
A year after Pulitzer journalist Brenda Contay killed a killer, she’s convinced what she did has destined her to a life of unhappiness. Determined to run away from her past, and the man she loves, Brenda meets her next story in Naples, Florida.
James Rivera is smart, charming, and deadly. He believes he’s destiny’s child and that fate is why he’s getting rich by helping people who want to die. Even when they change their minds.
Brenda’s search for the story behind James Rivera will lead her back to her troubled past, and to a life-changing lesson: destiny isn’t waiting for us. It’s what we make it.