Drawing ConclusionsAre you done with that? If you are, I’d be happy to take it off your hands. Yes, I realize you were about to toss it and that this exchange may be awkward for you, but not for me.

My name is CeCe Prentice and I’m a Freegan. Don’t worry. Freeganism is not contagious and it’s not a religion. It’s more of an art — the art of repurposing what others have thrown out. Freegans believe there’s just too much darn stuff in the world and that most of us could get by, quite nicely, on what’s left over.

A day in my life? Interesting to say the least. I maintain a self-sustaining farm with my eco-minded friends on the north shore of Long Island. The north shore, also known as the Gold Coast, is a Gatsby-ish stretch of land overlooking Long Island sound. And yes, it’s as beautiful as Leondaro DiCaprio was in the role of Jay Gatsby.

Now imagine a group of Freegan anti-consumerists living off that same land within spitting distance of million dollar estates. Let’s just say the neighbors are not entirely thrilled with our alternative lifestyle. They do, however, throw out the most amazing stuff.

Speaking of neighbors, my parents live in the same part of town, in one of the grander north shore homes, a real showpiece if you like that kind of living. My father, a prominent doctor and founder of Soundview Laboratories, finds my Freegan, second-hand lifestyle an enormous embarrassment to the family name. You see, Soundview is an internationally renowned DNA facility, and my DNA, sadly, has let my father down. But as luck would have it, my twin brother’s success has more than made up for my shortcomings. Dr. Theodore Prentice, or Teddy as I call him, is the family diplomat. He’s my father’s favorite and the best brother any girl could have. No matter how wacky my lifestyle, Teddy has always supported me.

All in all, it’s an idyllic life that I share with my socially conscious pals. There’s Katrina, queen of the kitchen, Jonathan, the quiet farmer, and my on and off again former flame, Charlie Knudsen. I’d love to tell you all about Charlie right now, but we’ll have to wait for a girls’ night, complete with giant bowls of store-bought ice cream. Turns out, you can’t repurpose ice cream, so I’m hoping you’ll bring the good stuff.

Back to a day in the life of a Freegan. Well, with growing our own food and foraging for supplies, none of my fellow Freegans has a full time job, nor do we need one. Freegans live mighty cheap. That leaves me plenty of time for creative pursuits like sketching portraits for clients in my attic studio. I guess I should tell you that I have a thing for faces. Not to brag, but I have an almost uncanny ability to remember every last facial detail. Should we meet, I’ll never forget you.

Of course, too much free time can get an artsy girl like myself in trouble. At least that’s what Detective Frank DeRosa thinks, and he might be right since I’m fairly certain someone is trying to kill my family, including yours truly.

A bit about Detective DeRosa. He’s a tough nut to crack, although Charlie insists the detective has taken a fancy to me. Since I wouldn’t mind staying alive long enough to see that theory through, I’ve decided to put my talents to good use by lending my sketching skills to the cops, free of charge. Here’s the thing about DNA. It takes time to collect and analyze those bits of genetic material that careless criminals always seem to leave at the scene. I know because my father has invested a lifetime decoding that pesky double helix model. Faces, like the kind I can sketch within minutes, also hold clues, and sometimes those clues lead you right to the killer.

The question is whether I can sketch fast enough to save my own life and I hope you’ll stick around to find out.

You can read more about CeCe in Drawing Conclusions, the first book in the NEW “Sketch in Crime” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on February 13 for the chance to win a copy of DRAWING CONCLUSIONS. Two lucky commenters will win a copy. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winners will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.

About the author
Deirdre Verne is a college professor and an active college blogger. Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her DeirdreVto create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way though the “Sketch in Crime” mystery series. The first book, Drawing Conclusions, is available in February 2015. A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters.

Visit Deirdre at her website.

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