Tag Archives: Elena Hartwell

A day in the life with Chava Ester Schultz by Elena Hartwell

two-heads-are-deader-than-oneLet me tell you about my daughter. First off, she calls herself Eddie Shoes. Can you imagine? Okay, I get it. Edwina Zapata Schultz is a bit of a mouthful, but seriously, Eddie Shoes? What kind of name is that? Of course she ended up being a private investigator, what else would a girl who calls herself Eddie Shoes do for a living?

That wouldn’t be so bad, if she investigated important things, like murders. But no, she does background checks on nannies and home healthcare workers. Mostly sits at a desk all day. What fun is that? Sam Spade is turning over in his grave and Philip Marlowe says she should give up her PI license.

Yes, I know, those are fictional characters and my daughter is a living breathing, licensed, insured and bonded PI, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a reputation to live up to. A few shoulders to stand on, fictional or not. What she hasn’t realized is I can help her do that.

She’s just lucky I decided to move to Bellingham and spice her life up a little bit. Granted, Western Washington isn’t exactly my cup of tea, it’s always raining here! But still, what would she do without me? Not only did I help her solve that murder she got entangled in last year, but I’ve just helped her out again. On an even trickier case. Bodies piling up everywhere. She’s lucky I can’t move back to Las Vegas any time soon, who knows when she might need me next.

Speaking of Las Vegas, did I mention I’m a professional poker player? That’s right. I’m one of those rare few who can actually play the game at a profit, not a loss. Want to know why? Because I understand the game better than everyone I play against. Like a shark going after minnows, I know who to sit down with. If you want to succeed at poker, and by that I mean win more money than you lose, a big part of the battle is who you pit yourself against. Ego will kill you. Play against the best and statistically, your profit goes down. Why would you do that? Play to win. That’s my strategy for life. Play to win. At any cost.

That’s how my daughter should think about her career. Take a few risks. Be a shark, not a minnow.

Of course, she does have a Colt .45 and knows how to use it. I’ve seen that firsthand. She’s also pretty levelheaded when things get dicey. She doesn’t panic when the chips are down or bullets start flying around in abandoned buildings. She’s also not too bad in a car chase or when someone gets kidnapped. Not that I would know anything about that.

So I guess Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe might actually be impressed with her. She’s tough. Smart. And just ethical enough to keep from getting thrown into jail. But don’t tell her I said those things. I like to keep her on her toes. That always felt like the right thing to do as a single parent. I had to be both mother and father to her, so it was my job to make her self-reliant.

I was just sixteen when she was born. What did I know about raising a kid? I lost my own parents young too, so it was just the two of us. She had to learn how to take care of herself, because that’s how the world works. No one else is looking out for you.

Although, now that I’m living with her, I have noticed she’s got some other people who have her back. Her best friend Iz is a no-nonsense girl if I’ve ever met one. She’s been looking out for Eddie ever since Eddie moved to Bellingham from Seattle. It doesn’t hurt she works for the Police Department and has access to all sorts of interesting information. Then there’s her friend Debbie Buse. Now that is a woman with a good head on her shoulders. I’m sure she would have done a better job raising Eddie than I did . . . Eddie thinks I’m jealous of Debbie, but the truth is, I’m glad she has her to turn to. As a first time dog owner my daughter needs all the help she can get and Debbie is like Cesar Millan the dog whisperer, in a dress. Then there’s Franklin. I love that dog like he’s my own. Eddie says he’s hers, but I know he’s really mine. Franklin knows that too.

I guess all in all, Eddie is doing okay. I must have done something right.


You can read more about Chava in Two Heads are Deader Than One, the second book in the “Eddie Shoes” mystery series.

Private Investigator Eddie Shoes is enjoying a rare period of calm. She’s less lonely now that Chava, her card-counting mom from Vegas, is sharing her home. She also has a new companion, Franklin, a giant dog of curious ancestry.

Hoping for a lucrative new case, Eddie instead finds herself taking on a less promising client: her best friend from her childhood in Spokane. Dakota has turned up in Bellingham in jail, where she is being held on a weapons charge. Eddie reluctantly agrees not only to lend her friend money for bail but to also investigate who is stalking her. Soon after Dakota is freed, she disappears again, leaving Eddie to answer to the local cops, including her ex-boyfriend Chance Parker. Has Dakota been kidnapped? If not, why did she jump bail? What are Eddie’s business cards doing on the bodies of two murder victims?

The key to these mysteries lies in Dakota and Eddie’s shared history, which ended when Eddie left home after high school. As a person of interest in both murder cases, Eddie is forced to go in search of the truth, digging into the past and facing her own demons.

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About the author
Elena Hartwell spent years in the theater before turning her dramatic skills to fiction. She writes the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series. One Dead, Two to Go, Two Heads Are Deader Than One, and Three Strikes, You’re Dead (launching April 15, 2018). According to Peter Clines, Eddie Shoes is “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct.”

Elena lives in Twin Peaks, called North Bend, Washington in the real world. The perfect place for a writer, especially one who kills people for a living.

For more information and cute pictures of her animals visit: elenahartwell.com and arcofawriter.com or follow her on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Two Heads are Deader Than One is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

My Musing ~ Two Heads are Deader Than One by Elena Hartwell

Two Heads are Deader Than One by Elena Hartwell is the second book in the “Eddie Shoes” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, April 2017

Private Investigator Eddie Shoes is enjoying a rare period of calm. She’s less lonely now that Chava, her card-counting mom from Vegas, is sharing her home. She also has a new companion, Franklin, a giant dog of curious ancestry.

Hoping for a lucrative new case, Eddie instead finds herself taking on a less promising client: her best friend from her childhood in Spokane. Dakota has turned up in Bellingham in jail, where she is being held on a weapons charge. Eddie reluctantly agrees not only to lend her friend money for bail but to also investigate who is stalking her. Soon after Dakota is freed, she disappears again, leaving Eddie to answer to the local cops, including her ex-boyfriend Chance Parker. Has Dakota been kidnapped? If not, why did she jump bail? What are Eddie’s business cards doing on the bodies of two murder victims?

The key to these mysteries lies in Dakota and Eddie’s shared history, which ended when Eddie left home after high school. As a person of interest in both murder cases, Eddie is forced to go in search of the truth, digging into the past and facing her own demons.

This book grabbed me immediately quickly becoming a page-turner that was hard to put down. The author did a great job in setting up this story where a friend comes back and it’s up to Eddie to decipher whether what she is being told is the truth or not. The narrative kept me engaged in all that was happening in this fast-paced drama. The mystery was nicely done with scene after scene putting me a bit closer to what was going on with the one main player that had her hand in how this was going to end. There were some key elements that when it was said and done, made sense of the whys and I have to applaud the author on a job well done. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters that included Eddie and her delightfully charming mother, this was a great read and I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

A Phone Call with Private Eye Eddie Shoes by Elena Hartwell

One Dead, Two to GoGood morning, Eddie Shoes, Private Investigator here, what can I do for you? Why yes, contacting a P.I. before you buy a house sight unseen is a very smart thing to do. I’d be happy to give you background on Bellingham, Washington, and investigate any neighborhood you’re interested in.

Bellingham is a great location. Our fair city sits in the far, northwest corner of Washington State. Just seventeen miles from the Canadian border and ninety miles north of Seattle.

Are you moving here for work? You are? That’s good. Yes, it is a great place to raise a family. Is your wife starting a new job too? Oh, sorry to hear about the divorce. As a single parent, I think you’ll love the small town feel of Bellingham.

What’s that? Oh, you heard about the murder in December? Yes, it did get into the national news because of the slightly sordid details. But that was also because murders are very unusual in our neck of the woods. We rarely have even one in a single year, so hopefully we’ve reached our quota.

Well, yes, we are in a new year but I wouldn’t let that worry you. Bellingham is a very peaceful town. It’s also very beautiful. We sit right on the edge of Bellingham bay, the views out across the water are spectacular.

I’m sorry, could you repeat the question? Well, yes, I was the P.I. who solved that murder case. Yes, my mother Chava was instrumental in my success. How did you know that? You saw her interview on YouTube? I didn’t even know Chava had her own YouTube channel. Well, you learn something new every day, don’t you? Yes, I will have to check that out. Yes she is a great cook. She’s got cooking videos too? How instructive of her.

You wouldn’t happen to be a professional poker player would you? You are! Just a lucky guess on my part. I take it you know my mother personally?

She recommended me to you? I see. What else did Chava tell you?

She said I was single? Well, that’s true, but I’m not sure how that’s relevant. . .

She said I’d be happy to show you around town? Well, of course if you hire me to investigate a property or a neighborhood, or even look into the business that’s bringing you out here, I’d be happy to drive you around.

Do you have a specific neighborhood in mind?

Chava told you to house hunt on Chakanut drive? She always did have expensive taste. Yes the views are stunning! It’s also the highest priced real estate in the area.

Money is no object? All right then, what else can I tell you about Bellingham? Do you want to know about school districts? Crime rates?

My house? I live over near Bayview Cemetery. Yes, my house is a little small for the two of us, but I don’t think Chava is going to live with me forever.

Have I considered a bigger house? No. I love my little house. Why would I want to move?

Oh you have a house for sale? On Chakanut drive . . . With a gourmet kitchen.

Hey, wait a minute. Is this an April Fools’ joke? Let me guess, Chava is right there with you, listening in on the phone. Chava! I can hear you giggling. Put her on, would you?

Hi, Chava. Very funny. Yes, you got me. Does this also mean you don’t really have your own YouTube Channel? . . . You really do have your own YouTube Channel? I have to get off the phone now, Chava. I think I better see what you’re putting out on the Internet.

What’s that? Nice talking to you too, Mom, I’ll be home for dinner.


One Dead, Two to Go is the first book in the NEW Eddie Shoes mystery series, published by Camel Press, April 2016.

Private Investigator Edwina “Eddie Shoes” Schultz’s most recent job has her parked outside a seedy Bellingham hotel, photographing her quarry as he kisses his mistress goodbye. This is the last anyone will see of the woman. . . alive. Her body is later found dumped in an abandoned building. Eddie’s client, Kendra Hallings, disappears soon after. Eddie hates to be stiffed for her fee, but she has to wonder if Kendra could be in trouble too. Or is she the killer?

Eddie usually balks at matters requiring a gun, but before she knows it, she is knee-deep in dangerous company, spurred on by her card-counting adrenaline-junkie mother who has shown up on her doorstep fresh from the shenanigans that got her kicked out of Vegas. Chava is only sixteen years older than Eddie and sadly lacking in parenting skills. Her unique areas of expertise, however, prove to be helpful in ways Eddie can’t deny, making it hard to stop Chava from tagging along.

Also investigating the homicide is Detective Chance Parker, new to Bellingham’s Major Crimes unit but no stranger to Eddie. Their history as a couple back in Seattle is one more kink in a chain of complications, making Eddie’s case more frustrating and perilous with each tick of the clock.

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Meet the author
Elena Hartwell was born in Bogota, Colombia, while her parents were in the Peace Corps. Her first word was “cuidado.” At the age of nine months, she told two men carrying a heavy table to be careful in their native tongue. She’s been telling people what to do ever since. After almost twenty years in the theater, Elena turned her playwriting skills to novels and the result is her first book “One Dead, Two to Go.” The Eddie Shoes Mystery Series launches April 15, 2016, to be followed by “Two Dead Are Better Than One” and “Three Dead, You’re Out.” For more information on Elena, please visit elenahartwell.com, on Twitter or like her Facebook Page. You may get to see cute pictures of her dog and her horses.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of One Dead, Two to Go. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 22, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ One Dead, Two to Go by Elena Hartwell

One Dead, Two to Go by Elena Hartwell is the first book in the NEW “Eddie Shoes” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, April 2016

One Dead, Two to GoPrivate Investigator Edwina “Eddie Shoes” Schultz’s most recent job has her parked outside a seedy Bellingham hotel, photographing her quarry as he kisses his mistress goodbye. This is the last anyone will see of the woman… alive. Her body is later found dumped in an abandoned building. Eddie’s client, Kendra Hallings, disappears soon after. Eddie hates to be stiffed for her fee, but she has to wonder if Kendra could be in trouble too. Or is she the killer?

Eddie usually balks at matters requiring a gun, but before she knows it, she is knee-deep in dangerous company, spurred on by her card-counting adrenaline-junkie mother who has shown up on her doorstep fresh from the shenanigans that got her kicked out of Vegas. Chava is only sixteen years older than Eddie and sadly lacking in parenting skills. Her unique areas of expertise, however, prove to be helpful in ways Eddie can’t deny, making it hard to stop Chava from tagging along.

Also investigating the homicide is Detective Chance Parker, new to Bellingham’s Major Crimes unit but no stranger to Eddie. Their history as a couple back in Seattle is one more kink in a chain of complications, making Eddie’s case more frustrating and perilous with each tick of the clock.

I like it. This was a good read that pulled me in immediately and quickly became a page turner as I had to know what happens next and boy did I enjoy this fast-paced and action-filled drama. The author did a great job in setting up this tale where everyone had a role and played it as it should to keep me both intrigued and engaged as the story moved forward. There were some surprising twists that once sorted out added to telling of this multi-plot mystery. Eddie is a great lead character and I look forward to getting to know more about her. The addition of her mother to the cast is a perfect fit as they complemented each other which provided some amusing moments. With a good supporting cast, good conversations (especially Eddie’s internal dialogue) and a comfortable tone, this was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read the next book with Eddie, Chava and the gang.