Depths of Deceit, the latest release by award-winning author Laura Oles
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Depths of Deceit
One deadly secret.
No time to lose.
PI Jamie Rush has her hands full with small-time skip-tracing and surveillance jobs in Port Alene, Texas. The work is steady, though she still struggles to make ends meet. But when her partner, Cookie, brings in a low-paying and potentially time-consuming case, Jamie takes it on out of loyalty.
Cookie’s childhood friend, Renata, needs to find her younger sister, Leah. As Jamie digs into Leah’s past, it becomes clear that the missing woman’s life was shrouded in secrets, the kind that could jeopardize those involved in the case.
To complicate matters, PI Alastair Finn has returned, and he’s willing to reclaim his town by any means necessary. Jamie has never been one to retreat, and Alastair enjoys a good fight. Sparks will fly.
A missing woman. Felonies. Finn’s return. Every twist reminds Jamie that she’s still an outsider in this town. Jamie must prove herself all over again, and the stakes have never been higher.
Genre: Mystery, Female PI
Published by: Red Adept Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Number of Pages: 292
Series: A Jamie Rush Mystery, #2
To purchase Depths of Deceit, click on any of the following links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Guest Post by Laura Oles —Author of Depths of Deceit
PERILS IN PLOTTING
Those close to me like to joke about my affection for paper products. It’s hard for me to walk by an office supply section without checking out the pens, planners, and journals. I still use a paper planner (Jibun Techo Biz) even though Microsoft Outlook tracks most of my calls and appointments. When shopping in a bookstore or gift shop, my daughter has had to remind me to “put the notebook down.”
In writing projects, I find comfort in structure and outlines, which is why I have always gravitated towards plotting in the plotting vs. pantser debate. Index cards in varying sizes and colors are my jam; I can build a story with these basic tools. I find my writer’s block sometimes stems from those times when I haven’t thoroughly thought through a scene or an event so the process of notetaking as a brainstorming exercise can help me uncover the answer. I love to see things in print, to figure out how to solve a puzzle by putting pen to paper. Before each book begins, I know where I’m starting and how it will end. I have an outline of key scenes, events, and reversals.
My characters, however, don’t always seem to care about my plans.
When people ask if I’m drawn to character or plot, the truth is that I’m drawn to both, but the characters always come first. I gravitate towards characters and their world, and the plot comes later. I can’t figure out what they’re up to until I understand who they are and what matters to them.
Sometimes I hear dialogue in my head, and I don’t know who it belongs to (is that weird?). This seems to happen most often in the grocery store.
In the Jamie Rush mysteries, Jamie is a skip tracer who specializes in finding missing people. She’s an outsider, the daughter of con-artist parents who felt a proper education included how to target marks and how to disappear when a deal went south. Jamie has parlayed this childhood experience into a career in investigation, using her education to help others rather than take from them. I knew so much about Jamie and her background, her fears, her relationships, and her trust issues before I knew anything about her caseload. Understanding her deeply also helped me decide which kinds of cases she would commit to and how far she would go to solve them.
Characters win over plot, for me, for another reason. There have been times where I thought a certain plot element would help move the story forward, and a character has disagreed. They just go off and do something else. I hesitate to tell you how many words I’ve cut in the pursuit of a completed novel, but I now understand that this is part of my process. Someone once said (and I wish I could remember who) that “you need to write the bad words to get to the good ones.” I think this is also true with characters and their arcs. It’s important to experiment, but also to listen when they tell you that you’re forcing them to do something that isn’t in their nature. Characters may grow, stretch, and evolve (or stay stuck), but their choices must reflect the path they’re on.
So, I continue to plot and outline and to consider how I can take these characters I adore and put them in danger. However, I’ve learned how important it is for the plot to evolve from the characters, their choices, and their reactions. Some of my favorite scenes in DEPTHS OF DECEIT come from those moments when the character catches me off guard by completely ignoring my instruction. I’m now less of an outliner and more of a guide. There’s nothing more thrilling than when a character surprises me with a turn of events because that means the reader might enjoy it, too.
Excerpt: Depths of Deceit
A Jamie Rush Mystery #2 By Laura Oles
The mermaid in the truck bed was what caught Jamie Rush’s attention. The cast-iron figure peeked over the hatch, her carved, flowing hair and demure smile in view. This was supposed to be a standard identify-and-repo job. Jamie was certain she hadn’t seen a mermaid on the itemized paperwork. Brody Rutger, in addition to hiding from creditors, had added theft of a local celebrity to his resume.
The day had started strong, with a lead on Rutger and an opportunity to catch him between fishing charters, using a boat he’d quit paying on months before. Suddenly, Marian the Mermaid was caught up in the mix.
And something was going on with the weather.
The month of November normally brought a steady stream of long-term vacationers from the north—affectionally called Winter Texans—who fled harsh winters for the promise of more tepid temperatures. Those who’d already set up residence in Port Alene were likely to be disappointed. Port A, usually quite predictable in her warmth, had suddenly changed her mind. That day, she was trading humidity for frigid air, and the wind, once laced with a warm, salty breeze, was offering only a cold shoulder. The palm trees lining Island Main bristled from side to side, and the town seemed to have turned inward in response. The icy wind whistled in the gap of her Tahoe’s window.
Jamie shuddered at the weather’s frigid downturn, while her partner, Cookie Hinojosa, all but cursed Mother Nature. He believed anything under seventy degrees was downright blasphemous. Jamie tilted her head toward the gray sky and welcomed the sting of air on her cheeks, her head briefly popping out the driver’s-side window. Cookie glanced over and shook his head. “
You’re very grumpy this morning,” Jamie said. She gave him a once-over, taking note of the large Dallas Cowboys logo on his chest, the silver star claiming almost all the space between his shoulders. “I see you found your favorite winter hoodie. Probably more fun to wear when they’re winning.”
Cookie turned to her and scowled. “Et tu, Brute? You’re going to dump on our favorite team? Really?”
Jamie reached over and gave her partner’s meaty shoulder a squeeze. “They need to earn our love by playing better. And we’ve been damned patient.” She rubbed her hand up and down his sleeve, noting the fabric felt cold. “You should probably break down and buy a proper winter jacket.”
“This is South Texas. Only snowbirds wear ‘proper’ winter jackets.”
Cookie dismissed the idea of wearing anything that added additional bulk to his substantial frame. “My Hawaiian shirts are sad from neglect.”
She had to agree. A long-sleeved Hawaiian shirt would look ridiculous on anyone. She rubbed her hands together and hoped the cold snap would soon dissipate, returning the balmy temperatures Port Alene normally delivered.
“I’m going to pull back a bit,” Jamie said.
Their skip of the day, Brody Rutger, owed their client, AAA Repo Services, $15,027. Brody had ducked all attempts at collection, so Jamie and Cookie had been hired to locate him and return the boat. Jamie and Cookie specialized in skip tracing, which essentially meant finding people who didn’t want to be found. They worked skips but also some surveillance—which paid well but was boring beyond belief—and some divorce cases, which also paid well but renewed Jamie’s resolve to never get married. In Jamie’s experience, if a person disappeared, the reasons involved money, private information, or violence. And secrets—always a secret.
Laura Oles — Author of Depths of Deceit
Laura Oles is the Agatha-nominated and award-winning author of the Jamie Rush mystery series, along with short stories and nonfiction. With two decades of experience in the digital photography industry, Laura’s work has appeared in trade and consumer magazines, crime-fiction anthologies, and she served as a business columnist.
Laura loves road trips, bookstores and any outdoor activity that doesn’t involve running. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her family.
To learn more about Laura, click on any of the following links: LauraOles.com, Goodreads, BookBub – @LauraOles, Instagram – @lauraolesauthor, Twitter – @LauraOles & Facebook – @lauraolesauthor
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Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell
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Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020
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Available in print (hardback and paperback) and eBook
This Post Has 2 Comments
LOL, I loved this! I love how your books seem to come alive with your characters.
“My characters, however, don’t always seem to care about my plans.” – Hahaha, they have a mind of their own.
Right! I love this too.