I’m thrilled to be on Books A Plenty to talk about my debut
mystery “A Deadly Combo” – a blend of traditional and cozy. The title refers to
a boxing combination of punches and hints to how the victim died.
I got the idea for the story when I attended my first vintage trailerfest. I had so much fun going around to all the trailers and talking to the owners who were dressed in "period correct” costume relative to the year their trailer was built. Every owner invited me to go inside and look around. I said to myself, “What a great place to discover a dead body!” And thus “A Deadly Combo” was born.
Because this was my first novel, I decided to have the protagonist, Raquel AKA Rocky Nelson, be a little like me. The old adage “write what you know” was true in that sense. I also patterned her father after my own dad. He adds humor to the story. These two characters are the only people in the story who are similar to anyone in real life. The rest of the cast are completely made up. Soon after I started writing the story I decided to take boxing lessons. So I gave Rocky boxing as a hobby. I still take boxing lessons to this day. It’s a great way to stay in shape and I highly recommend it.
Throughout the story the troubled relationship Rocky has with
her twin sister, Bridget, is front and center. The sisters lost their mother
when they were ten years old to suicide. Rocky found her after coming home from
school and has been in therapy most of her life. She and Bridget attend a
vintage trailerfest and when Bridget discovers the dead body of a local trailer
restorer, she becomes a person of interest. Rocky vows to proving Bridget’s
innocence and so, as Sherlock Holmes says, “The game is afoot”!
The setting is in the Sierra Foothills of California, specifically El Dorado County, about thirty minutes east of Sacramento. I know the area well after having spent half my life there. I love describing the countryside and the small towns where the story takes place. I hope the reader is able to visualize the setting based on my description. I do my best to engage all the senses so the reader feels they are “there” in every scene. Hopefully they will “smell” the pungent aroma when Rocky gets sprayed by a skunk while on one of her sleuthing forays!
“A Deadly Combo” is about Rocky doing what it takes to protect the ones she loves. Her family is dysfunctional, as is mine. I don’t feel there is such a thing as a “normal” family. Do you? In the course of Rocky’s commitment to proving Bridget’s innocence, she rekindles the bond she has with her sister, and at the same time is able to finally let go of the guilt she has harbored over her mother’s passing.
The story is fast-paced, taking place over the course of seven days. I hope you enjoy it.
Karen A Phillips
About A Deadly Combo
What do boxing and vintage trailers have in common? Rocky Nelson.
Meet Raquel Nelson (AKA Rocky), a retired single woman with an attitude. In Rocky’s opinion, independent ruffians, relentless heat, wildfires, and unhealthy AQI are all part of living in the Sierra Foothills of California.
Sisters Rocky and Bridget are enjoying each other’s company at a vintage trailerfest until they stumble over a corpse. The dead guy is none other than the local trailer restorer and Bridget was overheard threatening to kill him. Mounting evidence leads police to focus on Bridget as a person of interest. Desperate to prove her sister innocent of murder, Rocky dons her own deerstalker cap and goes sleuthing. Rocky knows a little about the job requirements, having caught her sister’s last husband in an illicit affair. Detective Thompson is on the case and isn’t happy about Rocky poking around, and lets her know in no uncertain terms. But Rocky is tenacious if not stubborn. Combined with a 78-year-old father who insists on assisting, Rocky uses her courage and skills from boxing lessons to protect her family and keep from becoming the killer’s next victim.
This is the first book in The Rocky Nelson Boxing Mystery Series – a perfect series for lovers of small town mysteries with a cozy-noir feel featuring boxing and an amateur sleuth who will stop at nothing to save the lives of those she loves.
About Karen A. Phillips
Author Karen A. Phillips lives in Northern California and writes humorous, fun, action-packed mysteries. She has several short stories published in various anthologies. Her characters are engaging and fearless. “A Deadly Combo” is her first full-length novel. In real life, Karen takes boxing lessons but would hesitate if she had to punch anyone in the face. Let’s face it. Karen wouldn’t last one round in the ring.