Beep, beep, beep…
I jump out of bed, silence the alarm, and grab my smart phone from the dresser. I’m an agent. Not a secret agent, not a double agent, but a real estate agent. Showings? Listings? Offers? No matter what the morning, this Realtor’s ready to find the house of your dreams, list a luxury property by noon, or capture a criminal… but we’ll get to that later.
As one of the top-sellers for San Diego’s Pacific Coast Realty, I didn’t get here without drive, desire, and whole lot of Hawaiian coffee. After a quick jog around my beach town neighborhood, I’m showered and dressed. Luckily my wardrobe is simple yet elegant; my black hair naturally glossy and full. Before you can shout “sale pending,” I’m headed onto the freeway in my red Karmann Ghia cabriolet.
You might say real estate’s in my blood. My aunt Jane started the Near & Farr agency with offices in Florida and Maine, and passed both those businesses to me. It’s not easy listing lavish properties, coddling my calculating clients, or handling nail-biting negotiations, especially coast to coast. Real estate can be murder – and I’ve seen the bodies to prove it!
My deals involve danger. I find myself selling A House to Die For, signing up a Killer Listing, or presenting a Deadly Offer. Do I feel threatened? Scared silly? You bet! Fortunately I’m an expert at Aikido, and that – plus a quick mind and quick feet – has kept me alive thus far.
I never intended to solve any mysteries, except for the one that still gives me nightmares: my parents’ death off the coast of Maine. I was just fourteen, and their tragic loss marked me for life. Since that day, I’ve had a hard time trusting people, including the handsome investigative journalist Miles Porter, a Brit who can’t seem to leave me alone. (Miles describes me as exotic. My mother was Japanese, and he claims I have her fine features in my oval face. I can tell you one thing: I did not inherit her demure demeanor!)
Back to my real trouble: real estate. Whether I’m in California, on the rocky coast of Maine, in sunny Florida, or somewhere in between, corpses line up like pickets on a property fence. Somehow I solve the crimes, net the commissions and manage to look professional at the same time. Bring on the bad guys… there’s a new agent in town.
Million dollar Realtor and author Vicki Doudera uses a world she knows well — high-stakes realty — as the setting for the suspenseful Darby Farr mysteries. A broker with a busy coastal firm since 2003 and former Realtor of the Year, her series stars crime-solving, deal-making real estate agent Darby Farr. Latest in the series is KILLER LISTING (Midnight Ink, 2011), which followed her popular debut, A HOUSE TO DIE FOR, one of Suspense Magazine’s top reads of 2010. DEADLY OFFER, third in the series, will be out April 8, 2012. Vicki is also the author of several non-fiction books, including the best-selling guide Moving to Maine. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Realtors, and is on the board of the New England Chapter of SinC.
Please visit her website at www.vickidoudera.com, and look for her books at independent bookstores, on line, or directly from her publisher.
** Just in time for the holidays, Vicki has generously offered to give away one copy of KILLER LISTING. To enter, you must leave a valid e-mail address in the comment box with your comment. One entry per person and this is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address. Contest ends on December 11th at 6pm EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified by e-mail and has 2 days to respond. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **