Concrete, grey, cold, and quickly passing is the only thing I see. I’m Julia Gooden, and I cover the crime beat in the city of Detroit. My runs started as just one lap around the rugged coastal loop of Lake Huron last summer. But when I migrated back to the Detroit suburbs for a second shot at my rocky marriage with assistant district attorney David Tanner, my runs progressed and three times a week turned into seven and the start times became earlier and earlier.
Five a.m. I conquer the stretch of my Rochester Hills comfortable suburban neighborhood within five minutes. I expand my perimeter to downtown and then all the way to the Auburn Hills border. Ten miles today. No negotiation.
I race through the darkness just starting to break and ignore everything I pass, the funky downtown stores, the tidy homes with daily papers waiting on the icy driveway blacktops and the Assembly of God church with its bulletin board warning “Sin: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.”
None of the scenery matters. The steady rhythm of my sneakers pounding against the concrete pushes me forward, getting me closer to some invisible finish line as I race my one constant opponent: myself.
Spring officially arrived in Michigan a week ago, but the depressing mounds of frozen grey snow from another cruel Midwestern winter obviously didn’t get the memo. I push myself harder as I pass my oldest son Logan’s elementary school, my half-mile mark to home.
A car drives slowly by, reaches the corner and then turns back around in my direction. I instinctively move away from the curb and reach into my waist pack. Instead of a water bottle, I pack protection, pepper spray and a folding knife with a three-inch blade. Paranoia always ran hard and deep after my brother Ben’s childhood abduction—a case that has never been solved—compounded by twelve years covering the crime beat. For me, it all adds up to one thing: Trust no one.
I watch the suspect car drive past and then turn out of sight at the cross street. A small shiver runs through me, as my brother’s nine-year-old voice echoes in my head, reminding me never to take a ride from a stranger.
The sudden childhood memory jolts me, and I start to sprint as if I could race fast enough to outrun the passage of time and warn my younger self to lock the door the night Ben was taken.
I finally reach home, nowhere left to run. I drop onto the front step and choke back a sob. I know how to get through the pain. I always have. I push my emotions down deep and concentrate on what I can control.
I focus on my upcoming day-one trial coverage of Nick Rossi, Detroit’s most ruthless criminal whose illegal empire was just brought down. I kick the frozen ground with the toe of my sneaker as I try to figure out how to maintain professional boundaries with my husband, who is first chair for the prosecution on the Rossi case, while trying to simultaneously get David to give up the identity of his star witness, who will likely upend the case and get Rossi locked up for good.
I click off the pieces of the Rossi story I will have to assemble and file into some kind of compelling piece to run in the paper’s website before opening statements later this morning. The facts will be the bones of my story: Nick Rossi’s illegal empire is believed to encompass hijacking and shipping stolen goods, mainly computers and electronics, illegal gambling and drug trafficking. Both the feds and the Detroit PD had been trying to nail him for years. Rossi finally got busted in a city police sting led by Detective Raymond Navarro, my best source and former flame, courtesy of hidden cameras placed in the VIP suites of the MGM Grand Hotel. Images on the tapes showed payoffs to the former Detroit mayor and a city councilman, in addition to drug trafficking and cash exchanges for high-stakes gambling bets.
I head into the warmth of my house that hits me like a blowtorch. I strip off my jacket and check in on my still sleeping sons, Logan and Will. I linger in front of Logan’s door and feel a melancholy ache over his uncanny resemblance to my brother.
As I hurry to the shower, I wonder how I’ll be able to pull off covering the opening statements of the Rossi trial and also manage to meet Logan’s school bus when it arrives at the courthouse for his class field trip this afternoon.
This worry will seem trivial, when in a matter of hours, a bomb will detonate on the courthouse stairs as I race to greet Logan’s bus, the bomb killing the prosecution’s star witness and critically injuring my husband, leaving me to untangle a thick web of political ambition, greed and payback. . . if only I can live long enough to tell the story.
You can read more about Julia in Duplicity, the second book in the “Julia Gooden” mystery series.
In Jane Haseldine’s new novel of riveting suspense, Detroit newspaper reporter Julia Gooden is up against the city’s most devious criminal—and her own painful past.
Julia Gooden knows how to juggle different lives. A successful crime reporter, she covers the grittiest stories in the city while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath that accomplished façade is another Julia, still consumed by a tragedy that unfolded thirty years ago when her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.
Julia’s marriage, too, is a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, while maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But the story becomes much more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims several victims—including the prosecution’s key witness—and leaves David critically injured.
Though Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, the case against him is collapsing, and his power and connections run high and wide. With the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition, little imagining where it will lead. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives—including her children’s—hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters…
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About the author
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor. Jane graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in journalism. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons. You can find her at janehaseldine.com, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.
All comments are welcomed.
Duplicity is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Duplicity. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends March 31, 2017. Good luck everyone!