first-degree-mudderIt had to be mud. Mud—gooey, sticky, oozing mud. Mud squished in the soles of my cute pink kicks that had turned the color of chocolate. Come to think of it, I could go for a pound or two of dark chocolate about now. Instead I huffed and puffed my way up the hill past the haunted old Army hospital and toward the creepy little old lady’s house.

I had no one other than myself to blame. It was entirely my idea to sign-up for my first mud run, aptly named Mud, Sweat and Beers. This is Portland, Oregon after all. You can’t go more than a block without bumping into a pub or artisan coffee shop. Or, worse a team of hipsters. Portland had become a mecca for twenty-somethings, like myself, who were drawn to the city’s laidback vibe, abundant outdoor adventure opportunities, craft beer, and coffee. Unlike me, many of Portland’s newest transplants weren’t interested in building their careers. They were much more focused on hitting the slopes or heading to the coast to catch some killer waves.

I was a serious journalist with a bona fide job writing for Northwest Extreme, one of the country’s leading outdoor magazines. Sure, maybe I wasn’t the most athletic member of our small team, and maybe I wore a tad too much pink, but every time I saw my byline with the words: Meg Reed, reporter, on the magazine’s glossy pages I had to smile. I was living the dream.

Of course at the moment all I could dream about was a double mocha with extra whipping cream. I had to pick up the pace and beat my training mates back to the showers. Let’s just say that I might have taken a bit of a shortcut. It wasn’t cheating. I had been tagging along on the grueling pre-dawn training runs for the past week as an observant journalist, not for the actual workouts. My trainer, Billy the Tank, didn’t see it that way. He pushed me as hard—if not harder—than everyone else. I could almost hear his booming voice and blaring whistle in my head as I hurdled over a waist-high fence and made a beeline for the grassy hill that led to the barracks.

Mud runs had been touted as “fun runs” but in my humble opinion there was nothing fun about slogging through thick, smelly mud, running in wet shoes, and trying to clamber up and over a variety of excruciating obstacles. Where was the fun in that? I’d call my training sessions nothing short of punishment. People actually paid to be tortured like this, I thought as I slid down the wet grass slope.

Fort Vancouver’s historic barracks were in sight. I was almost out of the woods. If all went according to plan I could drown the slimy mud coating every inch of my body in a scalding hot shower and hit the nearest coffee shop before any of my teammates realized I was missing. However not much in my world ends up according to plan. Mud was about to be the least of my worries. I was soon to be in thick of a murder investigation.

First Degree Mudder is the fourth book in the Pacific Northwest mystery series, published by Kensington, November 2016.

When a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .

Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .

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About the author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three. Connect with Kate at, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of First Degree Mudder. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 2, 2016 at 11:59  AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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