The Begonia Killer
by Jeff Bond
June 1-30, 2021 Tour
You know Molly McGill from her death-defying escapes in Anarchy of the Mice, book one of the Third Chance Enterprises series. Now ride along for her first standalone caper, The Begonia Killer.
When Martha Dodson hires McGill Investigators to look into an odd neighbor, Molly feels optimistic about the case — right up until Martha reveals her theory that Kent Kirkland, the neighbor, is holding two boys hostage in his papered-over upstairs bedroom.
Martha’s husband thinks she needs a hobby. Detective Art Judd, who Molly visits on her client’s behalf, sees no evidence worthy of devoting police resources.
But Molly feels a kinship with the Yancy Park housewife and bone-deep concern for the missing boys.
She forges ahead with the investigation, navigating her own headstrong kids, an unlikely romance with Detective Judd, and a suspect in Kent Kirkland every bit as terrifying as the supervillains she’s battled before alongside Quaid Rafferty and Durwood Oak Jones.
The Begonia Killer is not your grandparents’ cozy mystery.
Genre: Mystery — Cozy/Romance
Published by: Jeff Bond Books
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 195
ISBN: 1734622520 (ISBN-13 : 978-1734622522)
Series: Third Chance Enterprises, #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Jeff Bond is an American author of popular fiction. A Kansas native and Yale graduate, he now lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters. The Pinebox Vendetta received the gold medal in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards, and the first two entries in the Third Chance Enterprises series — Anarchy of the Mice, Dear Durwood — were named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best 100 Indie Books of 2020.
Q&A with Jeff Bond
What was the inspiration for this book?
Molly McGill is one of three co-protagonists introduced in Anarchy of the Mice, book one of the Third Chance Enterprises series. For the second, third, and fourth books, I wanted to delve deeper into each character. Durwood Oak Jones came first with Dear Durwood, and now it’s Molly’s turn with The Begonia Killer. I set out to craft a story that was unique to her, and best portrayed her values and personality.
What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?
The question of what to write has always been central to my journey as an author. I enjoy writing in many modes – action, humor, relationships – and deciding which to focus on for upcoming projects has always kept me up at night.
In the end, I’ve decided not to decide, writing broadly and dipping into multiple genres. The Begonia Killer is my first cozy mystery.
What do you absolutely need while writing?
I won’t say “inspiration,” because that sounds like I need gorgeous cliff bluffs or views of the Golden Gate Bridge. (Which I actually did have for a time, writing in the Bay Area.) But I do need to feel optimistic about whatever story I’m telling, to believe that the work has unique qualities and pushes me into new territory as a writer.
Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?
I have eleven and nine-year-old daughters who keep me extremely busy, so my schedule has to be strict: when they’re at school or gymnastics practice, I’m writing.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Many people will say Eunice, Molly’s cantankerous grandmother, but I’ll stick with Molly. Her resilience and fundamental concern for others is what grounds both The Begonia Killer and, before it, Anarchy of the Mice, a Kirkus Reviews Best 100 Indie Book of 2020.
Tell us why we should read your book.
The Begonia Killer offers readers much of what they expect from the cozy mystery genre – neighborhood intrigues, quirky characters, etc. – but with a fresh plot and urgency more like a thriller. Heroes and villains alike are portrayed three-dimensionally; I’ve had early readers rooting for characters I never expected to attract sympathy, which I take for a good sign.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?
A handful of Molly’s domestic challenges are drawn from my own experience. Like Molly, I have a litterbox-challenged cat with a history of peeing on stuffed animals. When fourteen-year-old Zach yells at her for putting two left socks together, that’s an echo of me from middle school – not appreciating my own mother, and imagining I knew a lot more about the world than I actually did.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you’re not usually a reader of cozy mysteries, that’s okay – I’m not usually a writer of them! As discussed above, I write broadly so if you’re looking for a different sort of story, please check out my other titles.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up outside Kansas City, then headed east to study at Yale. I told my friends there I wanted to write a novel. I’d grown up racing through all the Clive Cussler in my grade-school library, and college was introducing me to War and Peace and The Corrections, characters so real I felt the author – from centuries ago, thousands of miles away – plucking thoughts straight from my own head.
These denser books dazzled me, but I missed the rush of the thrillers I’d read as a boy. Could a story do both? I wanted to give it a shot.
I took a regular job out of school and began writing novels on the side. I finished a too-long manuscript about classmates entering the workforce. A basketball story. An adventure of mismatched heroes rescuing the world from anarchy. They weren’t good yet, but each was better than what’d come before.
Meanwhile, life rolled on. I held day jobs as a consultant, business analyst, teacher, and programmer. I lived on both coasts and ended up in the middle. I wrecked an ankle playing too much basketball. I shepherded two daughters into elementary school – a gig that’s made me a soccer coach, gymnastics parent, and winder of ponytails.
Through it all, I wrote. It’s taken a few detours, but I believe I’ve finally arrived at the books I imagined writing in school – stories that balance propulsive plots with characters you’ll care about.
What’s next that we can look forward to?
After writing mostly thrillers the last few years, I’ve begun branching into romance categories, and recently joined the Romance Writers of America. The next two books in my queue have an even more pronounced emphasis on the genre.
At the same time, I continue to expand the Third Chance Enterprises universe. Book four, which is previewed at the end of Begonia, is called Astroplane and features Quaid Rafferty, the series’ final co-protagonist, who’s not thrilled about having to wait so long for his standalone.
You can find more – including short stories and original artwork – about him, Molly, and Durwood at www.thirdchancestories.com.
Catch Up With Jeff Bond:
BookBub – @jeff_bond
Instagram – @jeffabond
Twitter – @jeffABond
Facebook – @jeffabondbooks
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Enter the Giveaway:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be one (1) winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2021 and runs through July 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.