Ooh, that smarts. . .The tiniest of cuts! But it’s my own fault. . .
Picking garbage is a high-risk job. I speak from experience having recently nicked my finger on a glass bottle after a Dumpster-dive at my local recycling center. Frankly, if anyone should know better, it’s me. I’m practically a professional when it comes to refuse, a poster-child for all things junk. That’s right. I’m a full-fledged Freegan – my entire life is about repurposing what others discard. As I often brag, my carbon footprint is so small it wouldn’t fit over a newborn’s toes.
The problem with this particular dive is that I didn’t have a choice. I knew there was something strange going on the moment I saw that doll’s head. A Dawn doll to be specific. You may remember these adorable little figures from the early 1970’s. About 6.5 inches in height, Dawn dolls were so popular they outsold Barbie at one point. That’s why Bob Rooney, one of my best buds and manager of my recycling center, collects them. The week before I cut my finger, I traded Bob some doll parts on the condition that he’d help me find a used car to replace my clunker. But now it seems that Bob has tossed the parts I gave him. That didn’t sit well with me, as I really needed a new car.
Wait. Who am I kidding? I could use a new everything, but I happily deny myself these luxuries. The only things I don’t recycle are my friends. In fact, I keep them so close that I insist we live together, commune-like, in a rambling Victorian overlooking Long Island’s majestic sound. It’s here where we farm our own land and live our sustainable lifestyle. And now that my best friend Katrina is having a baby, our house is about to get that much cozier. . .and louder, but I’m okay with that because there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my friends, and they for me.
That’s why I’m a little worried that Bob hasn’t called me back in a week. He knows I’ve got impending transportation issues. It doesn’t help that a member of my local police department just informed me that he had a cryptic conversation with Bob right about the time I gave him the doll parts. This tidbit, I learned, because the newest member of my inner-circle happens to be a cop. That’s right. I’m dating a cop. So when I learned that Bob was speaking to the police and I spotted the doll parts in the garbage, I panicked. Then I got frantic and jumped into the pile of garbage.
One injured finger, one broken car, one cryptic conversation and one missing friend. I’d love to tell you that I’m about to throw my hands up and head to the mall for some retail therapy, but you know that’s not happening. I think I’ve got a case to solve and if there’s one thing a Freegan knows, it’s how to get something out of nothing.
Drawing Blood is the second book in the “Sketch In Crime” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink.
When Big Bob, manager of the town dump, goes missing, CeCe is worried about more than where she’ll score her next salvaged car. First at the scene when Bob’s body is recovered from under the weekly recycling haul, CeCe is quick to identify potential witnesses and provide crucial scene sketches. But when CeCe is uncharacteristically startled by an unidentified woman at Bob’s abandoned house, her artistic talents are challenged, and her drawings, much to her frustration, come up short.
With CeCe’s observational talents on the fritz, Detective Frank DeRosa, CeCe, and her network of Freegans are forced to recreate Big Bob’s life from the garbage up. The team is soon thrust into the underworld of recycling where what appears to be junk could actually be the clue that saves a life.
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About the author
Deirdre Verne (Lower Westchester, NY) is a mystery writer, college professor, and an active college blogger. Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way through the “Sketch in Crime” mystery series. Verne’s second book, Drawing Blood, is available in February 2016. “A dysfunctional functional family to die for. . . [CeCe Prentice’s] second case is every bit as twisty and surprising.”-Kirkus Reviews.
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 her online at DeirdreVerne.com.