fakeThriller-Award winner Twist Phelan writes the Finn Teller and Pinnacle Peak mystery series. Here’s a snippet from a day in the life of Finn Teller, corporate spy.


“You want me to talk at Take your Daughter to Work Day?” Finn Teller said.

McAuliffe grunted. “I thought you’d be perfect.”

“Why? Because I don’t like kids? Or because I don’t have a daughter?”

“All you have to do is tell them what your typical day is like.”

Finn shot her boss a look. “Seriously? You want me to tell them the truth?”

“Of course not. These girls’ parents work for SIA. I don’t want you to terrify them.” SIA—Strategic Information Associates; the acronym wasn’t an accident—was an international for-hire agency that did a lot of the same work for multinationals, hedge funds, foreign governments, and private citizens that the CIA did for the US government.

“I’ll make sure we sing Kumbaya at the end.” Finn pushed herself out of the chair. “When is this get-together around the campfire?”

McAuliffe picked up the document he’d been reading. “They’re waiting for you in the conference room.”


The four girls were in their early to mid-teens. A curly-haired blonde wearing a bomber jacket over a belted dress and ankle boots glanced up from her phone when Finn walked in. The others stayed glued to their screens.

“Hey,” Finn said.

There was no response.

“I’ve shot two people but they didn’t die.”

Phones forgotten, the girls all stared at Finn. Bomber Jacket’s mouth was a small O.

“Is that true?” The speaker was a lanky brunette in a Coachella t-shirt.

“Of course not,” Finn said. It’s more like seven. And one is definitely dead. “I’m a corporate spy. We lie for a living. Anyway, I’m supposed to talk to you about my job. What do you want to know?”

A blocky girl leaned back in her chair with her arms crossed and stared at Finn. “Do you have a cool car?”

“No. You want to blend in, not stand out.” Finn fingered the Porsche key chain in her pocket. “I drive the speed limit so no one notices me.”

“Ever been in a car chase?” Blocky Girl.

Finn flashed back to six months ago in Ireland. Jacked car, automatic weapons, a J-turn that ended in a plunge over a cliff. “Sorry, nope.”

Bomber Jacket spoke up. “Do you have any cool spy gear?”

Finn shook her head. “That stuff’s only in the movies.” And Dickey’s lab, where SIA’s resident tech genius—wooed away from the NSA’s gadget team by McAuliffe—worked on his creations.

“Do you have sex with people to find out their secrets?” said the fourth girl. She was curvy with eyes made up as though she were the “after” of a smoky-eye tutorial on YouTube. Bomber Jacket snickered.

“No!” Finn said. At least not since I met Luc. “Mostly I just watch people.”

“What are you watching for?” Smoky Eyes.

“Depends on the job.” I might be looking for who’s selling company secrets. Or keeping an eye out for the bagman on a ransom drop. Sometimes I’m watching for the chance to steal a competitor’s prototype. “It’s usually pretty basic stuff—where someone goes for lunch, who he hangs with.”

Lanky Brunette made a face. “Sounds boring.”

“It is,” Finn said. “Speaking of which, I have paperwork to do.” McAuliffe’s waiting for the write-up on my last job—he wants to know how I switched real diamonds for fake ones under the sultan’s nose and got his underage mistress back home to Belarus. “You girls have a good day.”

Absorbed again by their phones, no one looked up when she walked out.

“How’d it go?” McAuliffe asked when she ran into him in the hallway.

“Bored them to death,” Finn said.

“Good. Can you finish the sultan thing this morning? I need you on a plane to LA today. One of the studios thinks someone in security pirated their latest blockbuster.”

“You got it.” Finn grinned. “All in a day’s work.”


To find out more about Finn, start with Fake, the first book in the “Finn Teller” mystery series, published by Virage Press.

From Thriller Award-winning author Twist Phelan comes “a new and capable heroine you’ll want to see again” (Jan Burke, Edgar Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author). A routine undercover assignment at a Milan fashion house for MorCo, the corporate behemoth whose owner has political aspirations, turns into something else for Finn Teller, corporate spy, when MorCo’s CEO hires her to investigate a train wreck in Croatia—scene of Finn’s most tragic professional failure and home to terrorists who are still out for revenge. Finn’s boss assures her she’ll be in and out of the country before her old enemies know she’s there. But things at MorCo aren’t as they seem, and before long the train crash is the least of her worries as Finn must win a race against the clock to stop the spread of a deadly African pandemic and escape with her life.

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Meet the author
Twist has always been a storyteller. Growing up in a half-Irish family meant coming to dinner with “an interesting story to tell.” While at Stanford earning her undergraduate and law degrees, she wrote for the student paper. As a plaintiff’s trial lawyer suing middle-aged white guys who stole other people’s money, she wove evidence into compelling narratives that persuaded juries. Now, as a writer, she creates characters who enlighten, entertain, and endure long after the tale is finished. Her work has won awards, been featured in “Best Of” compilations, and been praised by Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Nelson DeMille, Jan Burke, Margaret Maron, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist.

She is also a peripatetic world traveler. After retiring from a successful law career, Twist bought a boat and circumnavigated the globe (with her Norwegian Forest cat) for ten years. She also earned her private pilot’s wings.

Twist continues to explore the world while combining her passion for storytelling and travel in her books, including her latest, the Finn Teller Corporate Spy mystery series. Her blog chronicles her journeys as she continues to fight crime in fiction and reign as the Queen of Living Out of a Suitcase, packing everything from cycling togs for Australia to gowns for the Italian opera in one carry-on.

To find out more about Twist, check out twistphelan.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Fake is available at online booksellers.

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