Monday, December 23, 2013

The K-Frost Caper by James Blakley: Character Interview and Excerpt



Laurie: Today, I'm thrilled to talk with Luna Nightcrow, an independent insurance investigator. Luna Nightcrow--that's an interesting name. Are you Native American, by chance?
Luna: Yes, I'm Cherokee. Born and raised in Oklahoma. 

Laurie: Please tell us more about yourself, Luna. 

Luna: Sure. I'm in my mid-40's, with raven-colored hair, dark brown eyes, and skin that's the shade of cinnamon. I should have been named Luna Clotheshorse because I like dressing to the nines (in skirt suits, pantsuits and short, red silk robes). The red silk is for when I type up my deductions and reports at the end of a long day. Charming, huh? 

Laurie: How did you become an insurance investigator? 

Luna: I spent 6 years adjusting all types of insurance claims, and learned the ins-and-outs of the business that way. But being mostly in an office all day got to me. So, I left and began to investigate frauds on a freelance basis. After 4 years of legwork, I'm a free-thinking, sports car-driving, jumbo jet-flying player in the often complicated insurance game. 

Laurie: Wow! Sounds like you're what many women want to be, Luna: Smart, sexy, confident, independent...

Luna: But, still single.

Laurie: That's not necessarily a bad thing, Luna. Or is it for you?

Luna: (sighs) Only on Valentine's Day. Oh, I can still bring a man to his knees...if only with my 650,000-volt smartphone case stun gun. But, hey: You can't have everything, right? I'm pretty well-off. As a freelance gun-for-hire, so to speak, I set my own rates (which can be rather steep). Because owning a sports car and living in a downtown Oklahoma City loft ain't cheap!

Laurie: Prospective clients may want to know why they should hire you. So, what are your sleuthing strengths, Luna?

Luna: A considerable strength is that I'm a woman. I know that sounds sexist, but I've found that being a female investigator has many advantages. People often find it easier to talk to me--the whole nurturing thing, I guess. Second, suspects usually tend to take me lightly, when it comes to being a physical threat. Sure, I'm pretty tall (for a woman)--about 5 foot 8 or 9. But, I'm still just a woman to the average guy: Someone they can take down in a fight or ignore outright. So, I'm great at long as I remember not to peep from my sports car! Insurers, big and small, call. So most importantly, "my smartphone NEVER sleeps!" 

Laurie: Sounds like you never sleep, Luna!

Luna: And, alas, there is a weakness for you, dear.

Laurie: Wow! You are sharp! That was my next question.

Luna: Yeah, day or night I'm yours, if the price is right. And in my personal life, that tends to attract the wrong type of lovers. Which explains why I'm still single, I guess.

Laurie: You mentioned carrying a stun gun in your smartphone case... 

Luna: ...and sometimes, a .38 caliber handgun in my bra holster. 

Laurie: My goodness, Luna! Is being an insurance investigator that dangerous? 

Luna: It can be. After all, my specialty is looking into fraud cases. These are desperate times, with people looking for any way to make more money. And when you come after it, they tend to get defensive. I know of three insurance investigators who were brutally murdered when they tried to uncover insurance scams. And I just finished a case that involved murder and mayhem over a stolen Cherokee talisman that was insured for well over a quarter of a million dollars.

Laurie: Well, on a lighter note, readers always want to know what guests do for fun. So, Luna, share with us what you do in your free-time. 

Luna: (laughs) What little "free-time" I have, you mean. Well, I love swimming--used to even swim competitively in high school. I like smooth jazz, steamy espresso, and I'm a history buff. When I'm travelling from one case to another, I'm usually reading stuff: Everything from Sun-Tzu's The Art of War to the poetry of Chief Dan George. 

Laurie: Here's a question from out-of-the-blue. If we were to look under your bed, we would find...? 

Luna: No one's boots but mine. 

Laurie: Clever.You mentioned one of your cases that involved a Cherokee artifact. Are there other interesting or exciting cases that you've handled? 

Luna: Several. 

Laurie: Care to illuminate, Luna? 

Luna: Funny. I'm sworn to secrecy on some. But, there was this case in Las Vegas...(smartphone rings) sorry. (After a few mintutes) Well, looks like I have an interesting offer from Charmed Life Mutual Insurance. They want me to fly south for the winter and catch a cold--a beat on a cold case that involes a drowning victim named Kelvin Frost, I mean. Seems K-Frost has returned from the dead to apply for more life insurance. The trouble is that now he's dead again--this time, in Miami...Florida, I hope.

Laurie: Is there any other Miami but the Florida variety? 

Luna: Oklahoma. And this time of year, it's cold! 

Laurie: Wouldn't it better suit someone named Frost? 

Luna: (laughs) If this character is as shady as he sounds, he'd want to melt into the the background--make himself hard to find. That's probably easier to do in a big city like Miami, Florida, instead of a small town like Miami, Oklahoma. But I won't know more, until I meet the Charmed Life Mutual CEO. So, I gotta go and find out when the last time anyone's seen Miami. 

Laurie: Well, it looks like that does it for Luna Nightcrow. Thanks for stopping by. Time certainly does fly. 

Luna: And with a name like Nightcrow, so do I. Bye.


A cold case heats up when Kelvin Frost, believed to have drowned in Alabama, returns from the dead to apply for more life insurance. Or has he? When a body—a dead body—identified as Kelvin Frost, turns up in Miami, murder complicates matters. Enter Luna Nightcrow, the insurance fraud investigator whose “smartphone never sleeps.” After recovering a valuable Cherokee relic, Nightcrow accepts Charmed Life Mutual Insurance's offer of $50,000 to sniff out and close down the K-Frost Caper. But it won't be easy with so few leads or clues. That doesn't surprise Luna. After all, when is the last time anyone saw Frost ... in Miami?

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Inkwater Books


...[A]n unmistakable noise shook [Luna] from her seat. Pop-pop--it was gunfire! Luna and the lieutenant sprang into action. They raced through the storeroom behind the bar, burst out the backdoor, and into the night air. The lieutenant ran ahead, towards the parking lot, to join his men in the search for Lobo.
Luna was about to follow when a strange sound stopped her. She undid the buttons on her blouse; dipped a hand between her breasts; and unsnapped her Flashbang holster. She wrapped her cold fingers around a warm .38. And with weapon in hand, Luna followed her ears on a search for the source of the sound. Step-by-step through the shadows, the sound grew in clarity and severity. It led Luna back towards the lounge. Then, her eye caught a sudden movement. She whirled sideways. And through gun sights, Luna spotted something propped against the dumpster.
--From "A Big Gamble" (Chapter 1 of The K-Frost Caper)


James Blakley was educated at Missouri Western State College and Washburn University. While at MWSC, he was a local and national award-winning columnist and section editor of "The Griffon-News." Blakley worked 10 1/2 years as a page and as an Assistant Librarian for the River Bluffs Regional Libraries of St. Joseph, MO. He currently lives in Topeka, KS where he worked for The Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and several years in clerical and customer support capacities for international computer companies, such as EDS and HP.

Blakley prefers reading history, current events, and allegorical fiction, and runs the gamut cinematically. And besides writing in his spare time, Blakley is an avid pro sports fan who enjoys playing men's fast-pitch softball.

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