Chat with Kris Bock, author of the Accidental Detective series
Something Deadly on Desert Drive brings back Kate Tessler, an injured war correspondent forced to return home to Arizona. Kate and her quirky gang of sidekicks have new problems to solve. Kate’s father and his coffee group are worried. Their friend Larry married a younger woman who now claims he has dementia. They think she’s lying. Before they can dig out the truth, a murder raises the stakes, and Kate’s father is among the suspects. To save him and Larry, Kate must reveal the real murderer – but her investigation could put all their lives at risk.
What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries, starting in childhood with Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories in high school. I don’t always like cozy series that strike me as cutesy, but I don’t like too much violence either, and I demand a happy ending! Series featuring main characters who are police officers, FBI agents etc. tend to be darker and more depressing. Cozy mysteries give you the intrigue of a puzzle, the fun of interesting characters, and a guaranteed satisfying ending.
This series is called cozy mystery, but it has aspects that could make it suspense. Why make it a cozy and how do you keep it there?
A cozy typically has an amateur detective rather than a police officer or private investigator. Kate is a journalist, which is an investigator in one sense, but so far no one is paying her to investigate these crimes. Cozies avoid swearing, sex on the page, and gory violence, which fits my series. Many cozies also feature crafts or cooking in the plot and might include recipes or craft instructions. Mine doesn’t have that, so maybe it’s more of a traditional mystery. But there aren’t really strict definitions for these subgenres. I think readers of cozies will enjoy the series for its humor and its relatable characters.
Do you write in any other genres?
I write fiction and nonfiction of all types for children and adults. As Kris Bock, I also write sweet romance and romantic suspense. My Furrever Friends series features the employees and customers at a cat café. The Accidental Billionaire Cowboys will start with The Billionaire Cowboy’s Christmas, coming Nov. 8. My romantic suspense often involves outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes (Learn more at my website or visit my Amazon US page or Amazon UK page. For other countries click here.)
I’m writing a series with my brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. The Felony Melanie series follows the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie.
In addition, I write for young people under the name Chris Eboch. I do a lot of educational publishing and have also published middle grade novels (for ages 9 to 12). I’ve even been a ghostwriter on some very well-known children’s mystery series.
In the humorous Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty.
Book 1 is Something Shady at Sunshine Haven: When patients are dying at an Alzheimer’s unit, a former war correspondent must use her journalism skills to uncover the killer and save her mother. Kate has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world, but can she survive going home?
Something Shady at Sunshine Haven made Barnes & Noble’s list of “Handpicked Favorites You’ll Love.” Reviews have been great:
“A great start to a new series, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock has a little something for everyone. Readers will enjoy this new cozy mystery and eagerly wait for more sleuthing with Kate and the Coffee Shop Irregulars!” ~Reading is my Superpower
“This is a fast-paced book that keeps you thinking. It’s a great jump start for this new series. I will anxiously await the second book.” ~Socrates’ Book Reviews
“Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock grabbed me from the first page to the last. Ms. Bock is a new-to-me author, and I will be back to read more of her books if this showcases her caliber of writing.” ~Novels Alive
How about a sneak peek at the series?
Sign up for Kris Bock’s newsletter (unsubscribe any time) and get The Case of the Missing Monkey, a ten-page mystery short story set in the world of “The Accidental Detective” series. This is followed by information about the first books in the series, the first chapter of book 1, and three fun, short stories originally written for children. You’ll also get Lions and Love at the Cat Café, a thirty-page sweet romance set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café, and “22 recipes from the cat café.”
Here’s an excerpt from Something Deadly on Desert Drive:
“Looks like we’re the last ones to arrive.” Dad raised his hand to acknowledge his friend’s wave.
I followed Dad to the diner table where his friends sat. They greeted me warmly. This was only the second time I’d joined Dad’s twice-weekly coffee group in the month I’d been home. They were nice guys, but since I was living with my father again, I wanted to ensure he had a social life apart from me. This time, however, they had specifically requested my presence.
Which meant they wanted something.
I couldn’t wait to find out what.
I’d gotten through my first week back home, after decades of traveling the world as a war correspondent, by solving a mystery at my mother’s Alzheimer’s care unit and putting away a killer. The next month had been filled with writing articles about those events. I was ready for a new mental challenge.
I already had enough of a physical one with PT and getting used to walking with a cane.
“Thanks for coming, Kate. We need your expert advice.” Joe Washington and his wife had helped with the nursing home investigation. Joe wore his white hair trimmed close to his head, forming a handsome contrast to his dark skin.
“Glad to help,” I said. “What’s up?”
The four men looked at each other. Dad nodded to one of them. “You start, Clarence. You were the first to notice something wrong.”
“We’re worried about our friend, Larry,” Clarence said. “His wife died last year, and he remarried in the spring. We have concerns about his new wife. She is very young, maybe your age.”
While I chuckled at the thought of being “very young” at 49, I had no desire to get involved in someone’s marriage, especially if his friends’ disapproval was only due to the age difference or loyalty to the old wife.
“At first, Larry seemed happy after he married Pamela,” Clarence said. “They went on a month-long honeymoon that must have cost a fortune. After they returned, I reminded Larry to revise his will if he wanted to make sure his children got some of his money. He agreed he would. That was the last time he seemed happy.”
The other men nodded.
“He hasn’t joined our coffee group in over two months,” Dad said. “Pamela says he’s getting dementia. She won’t let him leave the house.”
I could understand being protective of an ill spouse. As a younger wife, she might be embarrassed by her elderly husband’s infirmity. But when someone was old and sick, keeping him away from his friends wasn’t helpful. Was she overprotective and perhaps making bad decisions, or was something more serious happening?
“I’m glad to help if I can,” I said, “but I’m not sure how. You need to know if Larry is really suffering from memory problems, and if so, if he’s getting the right treatments.”
Joe leaned forward. “When you were investigating Sunshine Haven, you pretended to be writing a story so you could talk to the family members.”
About the Author
Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance. She has lived in ten states and one foreign country but is now firmly planted in the Southwest, where many of her books are set. Her romantic suspense novels include stories of treasure hunting, archaeology, and intrigue. Readers have called these novels “Smart romance with an Indiana Jones feel.” Learn more at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page.
Kris’s Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats. Get a free 10,000-word story set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café when you sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter.
Kris writes for children under the names Chris Eboch and M. M. Eboch. She has published over 60 books for young people, including ghostwriting for some famous mystery series. Her novels for ages nine and up include Bandits Peak, a survival thriller; The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery that brings ancient Egypt to life; and The Well of Sacrifice, an action-packed drama set in ninth-century Mayan Guatemala, used in many schools.
Kris lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, watching the sunset from her patio, and hanging out with her husband and their ferrets.