15-minutesOccupation: Former teen (TV) detective

You know that feeling when you’re on Space Mountain after you pass through the flashing lights of hyperspace? Climbing in total darkness, not exactly sure when you’ll hit the peak. Suddenly you plunge and spin. And plunge and spin. And plunge and spin. In total darkness. And then it’s over and some college student in a headset tells you to get out of your seat so someone else can take your place.

That’s how my day has gone.

Yesterday I thought I had taken the first major step to achieving my dream: to become a real-life investigator. I played one on TV—Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective. Yep, that was me, teen star Maizie Albright as Julia Pinkerton, the sassiest, smartest little badass high school investigator since Buffy. Without the vampires.

Julia Pinkerton launched me onto the cover of every teen magazine and swept the Teen Choice Awards three years in a row. And then puberty hit. Big time. Which led to launching me on the cover of Maxim and Maxim Hot 100 lists. I got kicked off the show because they tired of hiding my growing body which does a whammy to the emotional health of an actress (particularly not a very good actress), leading me into multiple rehab stints. The struggle with trans fats, carbs and Pinkberry is very real, although not as sexy as heroin or gambling. My manager, Vicki, segued my hot mess into the reality show, All is Albright. Vicki’s viciously brilliant like that.

Moving home to Black Pine, Georgia, to restart a career, even on judge’s orders, is a real break. An excuse to leave All is Albright and the machinations of TV-land (and Vicki). I know real life is nothing like TV. But I’ve always been interested in private investigations. On the Julia Pinkerton set, we hired real investigators and police detectives as advisors. They took me on ride-alongs, got me into the Kids Police Academy, and let me listen to their stories. Detective Earl King took me out for ice cream every Friday. He said he never met a girl as smart as Julia Pinkerton.

I hoped someday to fill Julia Pinkerton’s shoes. After my last rehab stint, I enrolled myself into U Cal Long Beach’s Criminal Justice program. After graduation, I headed home to find a private investigator to mentor me. There’s only one in Black Pine. Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions.

Turns out, Wyatt Nash does not want an assistant. Particularly, it seems, an assistant who’s a failed TV actress. But I thought I’d prove to Mr. Nash my usefulness and took on an easy surveillance that he didn’t want: watching the wife of a client. It seems the client thought she’s been cheating. But after a month, Mr. Nash couldn’t find any evidence. Mr. Nash wanted to drop the case because he said it was “hinky.” His client (a fan of post-puberty Julia Pinkerton) thought I could give it a shot. According to Mr. Nash, the wife kept to the same routine every day. All I had to do was tail her for a week and prove Mr. Nash right or wrong.

Easy peasy.

Except, I sort of lost her on day one.

That was the first major Space Mountain plunge and spin.

All because Vicki, my manager, caught me during the surveillance, distracting me from the job. Vicki showed in Black Pine with the crew of All is Albright, hoping to get me to sign the latest contract. Even knowing my probation requirements, she’d promised the network I’d be on the show. Judge Ellis clearly stated I had ten days to turn in “a pay stub that had nothing to do with show business.” Vicki’s already putting my probation in jeopardy just by bringing the TV crew to Georgia and filming me on the sly. If I break my probation, I return to California. As in, “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.”

That’s the second Space Mountain plunge and spin.

And now I have to call Mr. Nash to tell him I just lost his client’s wife. Mr. Nash is not in a good mood as it is. Actually, I’m not sure if he’s ever in a good mood, but it seems I caught him at a bad time. His partner, Jolene, wants to sell Nash Security Systems and yesterday he found out she contracted the Black Pine Group to do it. Mr. Nash’s client works for the Black Pine Group. A conflict of interest. A conflict that will not bode well for keeping his business when Mr. Nash tells the client that his wife has flown the coop.

There’s your third plunge and spin.

Now I’m anticipating getting kicked off the ride. I need this ride. Not just to convince Mr. Nash that I can be a useful assistant. Or to show Vicki and Judge Ellis that I can get a non-Hollywood job. I need to prove to myself that I’m not just some spoiled, (once) rich has-been celebrity B-lister who can’t get her life together unless her mother—I mean, manager—orchestrates it for her.

I need this opportunity. To stay out of jail. And to reclaim my life. So I’ve got to find this missing woman. And I’ve got ten days to do it.

15 MINUTES is the first book in the NEW Maizie Albright Star Detective humorous mystery series published by Past Perfect Press, January 2017.

When ex-teen star Maizie Albright returns to her Southern hometown of Black Pine, Georgia, she hoped to rid herself of Hollywood tabloid and reality show hell for a new career as a private investigator. Instead, Hollyweird follows her home. Maizie’s costar crushing, but now for her gumshoe boss. Her stage-monster mother still demands screen time. Her latest rival wants her kicked off the set, preferably back to a California prison.

By entangling herself in a missing person’s case, she must reprise her most famous role. The job will demand a performance of a lifetime. But this time, the stakes are real and may prove deadly.

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About the author
A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery and Maizie Albright Star Detective series. The first in the Cherry Tucker series, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. She loves books, food, and travel in any and all combinations.

Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, live in Nagoya, Japan, but they still call Georgia home. You can see them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website, find her chatting on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads, and sign up for her newsletter at here.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Three people selected at random will receive either a Kindle or Nook copy of 15 Minutes. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends January 26, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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