What I, Hayley Snow, thought I was headed for when I moved to Key West, and what I got, are two different stories. Sometimes that happens when you’re a little lost on life’s journey and start hoping maybe an amazing new guy can solve the problem.

Anyway, since that creep Chad Lutz threw me out and dumped all my stuff on the sidewalk in front of his condominium, my old college roommate Connie was kind enough to take me in. I camp out with my cat Evinrude in a tiny little bedroom on her houseboat that also serves as the storage closet for her business, Paradise Cleaning. (“We clean so you don’t have to” is their motto—isn’t that so cute?) Some mornings I help her clean a couple of apartments and others, I work on my food critic portfolio. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it—eating whatever you like and then writing about it?

But it’s not as easy as it looks. Future diners want to know what they’re in for—and whether they should spend their hard-earned bucks at the restaurant in question. But what if my review turns away customers and ruins their business? Maybe you read about the chef who lost his Michelin star and then killed himself? This is serious stuff!

My shrink friend Eric tells me if I want to land the job, I need to quit worrying and start eating. And writing. So often I meet him or one of my other new friends for lunch or dinner, sometimes both. Today I’m thinking about lunch at B.O.’s fishwagon—think fried fish or scallops or the best burger you ever sank your teeth into. And maybe dinner at Seven Fish—you haven’t lived until you’ve tried their sautéed grouper rolls. And then maybe we’ll end up at the Green Parrot bar for a quick beer or just walk off some of that good food with a stroll down Duval Street.

I can tell you this much—boyfriend or not, this Key West life sure beats November in New Jersey! But if you’ll excuse me a minute, I hear someone out on the dock…oh my gosh, it’s two cops…and they’re banging on our door…

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is a clinical psychologist with nine mysteries published (counting AN APPETITE FOR MURDER!) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.

The first “Key West Food Critic” mystery, AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, will be published by NAL/Obsidian in January 2012. You can order the book here and follow Lucy Burdette on Twitter, or Facebook, or on her website at www.lucyburdette.com. She also blogs with Jungle Red Writers at www.jungleredwriters.com.

** Thanks to Lucy, I have one (1) copy of AN APPETITE FOR MURDER to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends January 9. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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