And Now for Something a Little Different
By Alison Bruce
Melodie asked me a very good question the other day. Why is Deadly Season
lighter in tone than Deadly Legacy
? Both are Carmedy and
Garrett mysteries. Both are set in a somewhat dystopian near future…or, as it
will soon be, a parallel present.
It’s all about timing.
My mother had died shortly before I wrote Deadly Legacy. In fact, my mother
inspired the motive for murder. Things I learned about my mother after her
death suggested that she suffered from depression. So did I, but I had to learn
more about my own before recognizing the signs.
Here’s the thumbnail history I gave my postpartum depression
group. My mother, sister, and father were all diagnosed with various forms of
cancer in January. All they had to do was remove the tumour on his kidney for
my dad. Joanne had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy for her breast cancer,
but it metastasized and attacked her bones. My mother had small cell aggressive
lung cancer and died within the year. I found out she was dying just before I
found out I was pregnant. At the time I started the support group, I was taking
care of a toddler, infant, my sister and father. Frankly, it’s a wonder I didn’t write something even darker…like
The Mayor of Casterbridge or Les Miserables.
One of the reasons it wasn’t darker is that I have more of a
sense of humour than Thomas Hardy and a more optimistic outlook than Victor
Hugo. (Or maybe it’s the other way around.)
Dark isn’t my usual tone. I’m no Pollyanna, especially when
it comes to social commentary, but I try to stay away from depressing fatalism.
One of the other reasons Deadly Season is lighter is that it’s written in first person. Kate
Garrett, despite losing her father at the start of Deadly Legacy, has a sense of humour that leavens her dark times.
As long as she is the voice of the series, there won’t be room for gloom and
Last month Kate
Garrett was a Police Detective. Now she’s a Pet P.I.?
recently inherited half her father’s private investigation company and a
partner who is as irritating as he is attractive. Kate has been avoiding Jake
Carmedy for years, but now her life might depend on him.
and Jake are on the hunt for a serial cat killer who has mysterious connections
to her father’s last police case. Kate’s father had been forced to retire when
he was shot investigating a domestic disturbance. Is the shooter back for
revenge? And is Kate or Jake next?
“Deck the halls with
boughs of holly…”
“I thought we agreed no holiday songs in the office.”
“We agreed no holiday music in the office,” I said, hanging
fresh holly over the last window. “I didn’t think that included me singing.”
“Well it does,” said Carmedy, scowling.
I gave him my best look of wounded sorrow.
I added my brave waif smile for effect. I took as many drama
electives as I could fit in when doing my undergraduate degree in psychology
and criminology. It’s amazing how useful they proved to be in my professional
The cherry on top was a trembling lower lip a la Little
“Oh give it up,” he said, laughing. “I don’t believe that
quiver for an instant.”
But I got you to laugh,
I thought. These days, that’s victory enough.
By the terms of my father’s will, Carmedy and I became equal
partners in his investigation agency. I took a leave of absence from the City
Police Services to figure out what to do about that.
Carmedy thought I was crazy. Give up a secure job with
benefits in this economy? But when had the economy not been an issue? I knew
Dad didn’t expect me to inherit so soon. Well, I didn’t expect to lose my
father so soon. Life happens.
He thought I was even crazier to take the cat-killer case.
And he was pissed off I didn’t consult him.
Fair enough, but how did he expect
me to say no to the Chief?
But that was yesterday’s news. I was determined to reduce
the tension between us. For ten years we had been avoiding each other because
of a misunderstanding my darling father created. I had miles to go in the
grieving department, but was tired of being sad all the time, and walking on
eggshells around Carmedy was getting old.
Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always
been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison
has also been a comic store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and
arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, romantic
suspense and historical western romance novels. Three of her novels have been finalists for