Deeper Than the GraveI’ve been asked to explain how a simple gun shop owner like myself manages to find herself involved in so many homicides. I can’t explain why corpses regularly show up in my life, but I can shed some light on how I manage to make them go away.

So without further ado, here are my top tips for solving crimes and staying alive in the process.

  1. The Cop Connection — Make friends with a police officer; you’ll need someone with an ear to the ground who’s willing to share information and — most importantly — act as a channel for whatever clues you discover. Bonus points if he brings you beer and doughnuts.
  2. The Ex-Cop Connection — Another useful tactic is becoming romantically involved with a former police officer who still has friends on the force. If your romantic partner has skills in Krav Maga and/or snipercraft, then you’re golden. One minor caveat — boyfriends with cop skills can be the teensiest bit overprotective, especially if their frontal lobes are a bit unstable. You’ll have to hone your own evade-and-prevaricate techniques if you want to get anything done. Trust me on this one.
  3. The Car — You need an awesome car, one that’s fast and reliable, with lots of trunk space. My Camaro fits the bill on most occasions (except when I need to be stealthy – a cherry-red Z28 is exactly the opposite of stealthy). However, if your ex-cop boyfriend has something a little more luxurious — like, say, a black Ferrari F430 coupe — then you can use that baby as a passport to places you’d never get you in otherwise, like the Ritz Carlton. Assuming said boyfriend ever lets you drive the thing, which he should seriously consider doing because . . . I mean, if you trust a woman in your bed, you oughta trust her in your Ferrari, am I right?
  4. The Training — And by this, I mean practicing whatever skills you need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, because believe you me, the second you start asking nervy questions, you are going to find yourself in the crosshairs of some dodgy people (and I mean that literally).  Here is where that ex-cop boyfriend can come in handy again. Mine is teaching me both small firearms proficiency and basic self-defense (which mostly entails my getting thrown on the floor a lot, but not as much as when I first started). Being able to handle yourself in any kind of fight, whether fistfight or firefight, is crucial. Because nobody wants to be a damsel in distress.
  5. The City — Choose your territory wisely. My day job is in Kennesaw, Georgia (where I run a gun shop catering to Civil War reenactors) but when there’s a crime to be solved, you’ll find me running the streets of Atlanta. That’s where the information is, the connections and the clues, but despite the nine million or so people in the metro area, when it comes to secrets and rumors and back-door dealings, Atlanta is just a great big small town, as Southern as peach pie. And I know how to work a small Southern town.
  6. The Boyfriend — I know, I keep coming back to this. But let’s face it, life isn’t all corpses and interrogations and chasing suspicious no-goodniks down dark alleyways. Sometimes you want a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on. And if that hand and those shoulders are part of a smokin’ hot stretch of six-foot-one, Armani-clad, blue-eyed gorgeousness . . . then all the better. And if the heart that beats beneath that well-muscled chest is good and true and brave, then no matter how hinky an investigation goes, you’ll have at least one thing you can be grateful for.

You can read more about Tai and her crime solving tips in Deeper Than the Grave, the fourth book in the “Tai Randolph” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. The first book in the series is The Dangerous Edge of Things.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 13 for the chance to win a print or e-book copy of DEEPER THAN THE GRAVE; (print US only). The giveaway is open to everyone.

About the author
Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series — featuring intrepid gun shop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey — has garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. The fourth book — Deeper Than the Grave — premiered November 4th from Poisoned Pen Press. You can find the author at www.tinawhittle.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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