A Day in the Life of Bruce Kohler by Elizabeth Zelvin

Hi, I’m Bruce, I’m an alcoholic. I’d feel like a dork if I said I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic, the way my friend Jimmy and other guys with long-term sobriety do in AA. But I have to admit that life without booze doesn’t suck as much as I thought it would. For one thing, I always thought I’d be dead by now.

Speaking of dead, I’m even more surprised to find myself stumbling over bodies and solving murders than I am to find myself hanging out at AA meetings. The stumbling part, yeah, been there, done that, like any other drunk. But don’t blame me for the sleuthing. Jimmy’s girlfriend Barbara gets us into that every time. She’s a nice Jewish girl from Queens with the kind of childhood Jimmy and I thought existed only on TV. She’s also a world-class codependent—addicted to minding everybody’s business, especially mine and Jimmy’s. She thinks running around trying to figure out whodunit helps me keep my mind off booze, and maybe it does.

What do I do? People always ask me that. Hey, I’m only two years sober. I’m still figuring what I want to be when I grow up. Yeah, yeah, I should know by now. I sure don’t want to temp my whole life. For one thing, I’m getting tired of hearing Barbara joke about my pink collar. Man, when she gets hold of a joke, she grabs it by the neck and shakes it like a terrier. You’ve gotta give it to her for persistence. She’s like that with the sleuthing too. That’s why we always end up in a faceoff with some murderer. Not only do I have to rescue her, I have to swear she didn’t need rescuing. Otherwise I’d be in the doghouse for sexism and crimes against women. Okay, okay, sometimes she rescues me. Why isn’t Jimmy ever there? Because he never comes out from behind his computer except to go to a meeting.

Last summer, Barbara got both of us out of town. With a lot of arm-twisting, Jimmy got us shares in a clean and sober group house in the Hamptons. Thanks to the iPad, he could even take the Internet to the beach with him. Wouldn’t you know it, we found a body the first time we went to the beach. In Deadhampton. You’re not gonna believe who she turned out to be: someone from my distant past. It took us all summer and a couple more murders to find the killer. At least I didn’t get bored. Besides, there was this woman….

Find out what happened to Bruce, Barbara, and Jimmy last summer in DEATH WILL EXTEND YOUR VACATION.


Elizabeth Zelvin is a New York City psychotherapist whose mystery series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler and his friends includes three mysteries, starting with DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER, and four short stories. Liz is a three-time nominee for the Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Her story, “Death Will Tank Your Fish,” was nominated for the 2011 Derringer Award. Also released this spring: OUTRAGEOUS OLDER WOMAN, Liz’s CD of original songs, which you can hear on her music website at http://lizzelvin.com. Liz’s author website is http://elizabethzelvin.com. She blogs on Poe’s Deadly Daughters and SleuthSayers.

3 responses to “A Day in the Life of Bruce Kohler by Elizabeth Zelvin

  1. This looks interesting.

  2. Bruce certainly isn’t your typical protagonist and most certainly a reluctant hero. This series sounds interesting and you’ve piqued my curiosity. I’m going to check it out. Thanks for the introduction!

  3. Liz: Thanks, Jane and Sharon. I hope you enjoy Bruce and his friends.