Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spotlighting PJ Nunn, Author...and More - On International Women's Day

"I need you to find my ex-husband,” she offered. “He’s there. In Dallas somewhere.”
“All right,” I wrestled a client form out from under one of the piles and cleared a spot to write on. “First, I’ll need your name…” 
“Beverly Gafford,” she cut me off. “… and address.” 
“What do you need that for?” her strident tones were already getting on my nerves. “Standard procedure, Mrs. Gafford. I need it for billing, and I may need it for tracing your ex. That is what you want me to do, right?” 
Two could play the snotty game. She recited her address and phone number faster than I could write. “Thank you,” I said after I made her repeat it a second time. “Now tell me about the man you want me to find.” I slid my pencil behind my ear and rocked back in my chair, ready for her to launch into the everything-the-loser-ever-did-wrong speech. “His name is Lawrence James Gafford,” I waited. “And?”
“And what?” “Do you have an idea where I might look for him?” Usually, these women start with the first date scenario and I have to stop them from a blow by blow that could take hours. This was new and different. “Well if I knew that I wouldn’t need you, would I?” I was beginning to wonder if I really needed this woman’s money. “All I have is the name Lawrence Gafford,” I reasoned. “I promise, when I start searching I’ll come up with several of those. You were married to him; there must be something else you can tell me. What about his social security number?” 
“Let me check,” I heard her put down the phone. When she picked it up again, she read the number back to me. “Okay, that’ll help. Is there anything else you’d like me to know?” “He kidnapped my daughter,” she said simply.
“What?” This was a new twist. “He had weekend visitation last week and never brought her back,” she acted like I should have already known that. Worse, I’ve been more emotional when I lost my keys. 

“Did you call the police?” This was definitely more than I was ready to handle. 
“Uh! Of course I called the police! They can’t do anything if he’s crossed state lines.” 
I knew that seemed wrong, but she sounded like she knew what she was talking about. “Mrs. Gafford, tell me more about your daughter’s disappearance and why you think he brought her to Dallas.” My mind was reeling with the possibilities. Usually, we’re looking for deadbeat dads who didn’t pay child support or missing heirs for some attorney trying to close out an estate. My standard script didn’t fit this one. 
“There isn’t much to tell,” she snapped. So much for the grieving mother scenario. She sounded more like the ex-wife from hell. “He had visitation last weekend and 
was supposed to bring her back here by 6:00 on Sunday. He didn’t bring her back and he’s checked out of the motel. I can only assume he’s taken her to Texas.”
“Why is that?” I began to accept the possibility that I’d stepped into the Twilight Zone, or at least Candid Camera. 
“Why is what?” 
I swallowed a groan. “Why do you assume he brought her here?” I spoke slowly in case she was having a brain cramp. “Because that’s where he lives,” she said. “I told you that.”
“All right,” I conceded. “Do you know what kind of work he does?”
“I don’t know shit about him anymore, and I like it that way!” I could imagine her stomping her foot and getting ready for a tantrum. “Now, are you going to find him or not?” 
“Fine. I’ll see what I can do,” I told her, ready to forget the whole thing but the checkbook balance wouldn’t let me. “Do you have a fax, Mrs. Gafford?”
“Ye-es, why?”
“I need you to fax me a picture of your daughter, along with her date of birth and social, and one of your ex if you still have one,” I explained. 
Loud sigh. “Oh, all right. Is that all?” I bit my tongue, reminding myself that grief does strange things to people, then made arrangements to fax her a contract and told her where to send the retainer. Without another word, Beverly Gafford hung up. Thoroughly disgusted with the whole idea, I decided to head home and get a fresh start in the morning. It was after five and there wasn’t much I could do until I got her fax anyway. Maybe instead, she’d call the FBI or something. Nothing is easy.

At least it was only five minutes from the office. I traded my semi-professional jeans and sweater for sweats and socks, pointedly ignoring the hinges that needed fixing on the bathroom door. Why is it there’s always something broken? 
“A man, that’s what you need,” I slipped into my Mom’s voice to ease the silence. I’d gotten behind in my nagging exercises. See, I figured out a long time ago, if I keep up the nagging when I’m away from home, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming when I finally visit. That’s what I tell myself anyway. It’s better than thinking I’m turning into her as I get older. 
Padding back into the kitchen in stocking feet, I sidestepped Elvis, my fat, gray cat, and armed myself for hunting. Unfortunately, the cockroach I killed on the counter wasn’t going to feed either of us, so I kept up the search until I located a can of tuna and a lone Hostess cupcake. Elvis chose tuna. 
“I don’t need a man,” I told Elvis, who really didn’t care. “What I need is a wife.” Someone to cook and clean and do the grocery shopping. I despise grocery shopping. Maybe then we’d have something to eat besides tuna and a stale cupcake. Reluctantly, I picked up the phone and called Mr. Jim’s to order a supreme pizza. As an afterthought, I tacked on a salad and diet Pepsi. They’d cancel out the calories in the pizza. “It’s coming,” I told Elvis, who perched on the arm of the sofa and glared at me. “It’s not like you’re starving or anything.” 
Under all the fluff, he was more solidly packed than the can of tuna he’d just finished off. Aside from his attitude, he was good company. Probably the only male I know who was safe enough to sleep with these days. Not that I’m opposed to the idea in theory. It’s just that my luck with men was in a little slump and I was waiting for the upswing.
When you read the variety of books I have during my reviewer activities, it is a real pleasure to find a novel that is unique, clever, and a wonderful beginning to a series I hope will continue! I couldn't help comparing it to the Janet Evanovich successful series because of the humor, the quirky characters and of the main character who somehow keeps falling into danger!

One major difference with Nunn's book was that Private Spies has one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time. It is complex, yet compelling to readers as they try to work along with Jesse Morgan, the PI main character, in trying to weed through the twists and turns that have been woven into this page-turner that doesn't stop until, at the end, everything is pulled apart to reveal what was happening! No wonder I didn't have a clue! And you know what that means! I loved it!

Mainly because of Jesse Morgan... We briefly meet her family and discover how her father wanted a boy so chose his second daughter as the one to do all the things that he would have done with a son. It is no wonder Jesse turned out to be the woman she was--she had swagger, confidence, fearlessness --all those characteristics routine to a man, including no fear of gaining weight with her hearty appetite! LOL And it winds up that there are quite a number of men who find her quite provocative! Cool, right? 'Cause she was just acting as her life had evolved into the woman she was destined to be!

The novel begins when her boss, friend and partner had just died and left his business to Jesse. She is somewhat hesitant to know how to proceed. Although she has her PI license, most of her work has been in the office on the computer. But as the book went on, I found I was seeing her played by Charlotte Ross, from NYPD... Take a look at the many facets you'll see in the book for Jesse Morgan...

But Jesse had another side--a secret insecurity of her ability to actually take over as a "real" private investigator. Perhaps Joey had known he was close to his end, because we soon find out that he had already hired another man to work in the Office. No matter how surprised Jesse was, you could almost see that she was relieved...even if she didn't give her new employee a break...LOL

And really, it was good that he had just gotten there, because she had just accepted a case involving a missing person...and a missing child... And, right there, immediately, readers are caught in the mystery because she meets people who weren't who they were reported to be, for one thing...Jesse was spending a lot of time on the computer just trying to find out who was really missing...and worse--who had called and hired her?!!!

And then, why a dead body wound up in her home bathtub, to start! And that was just the beginning of the investigation... and Jesse's being stalked... A true "can of worms!"

On the other hand, we get to see the entrance of retired homicide detective, Byron Montgomery, join the office, which also includes Bernice as the dry, witty office manager...

And readers will enjoy Byron's reaction to Jesse as he discovers she doesn't own a gun, is not registered to carry, and has never even been out on an actual investigation...

As well as the fun attraction developing between the two... You know a little romance always improves a book...LOL  This turned out to be a personal favorite addition for 2017... PJ, I think it's time for another in this series...please!

Highly recommended,


So who is PJ Nunn? Well, I met her online working in her role with Breakthrough Promotions... In fact, many of the books I've read have been introduced to me by PJ... But recently, I found, somewhere, a reference to her own book, Private Spies!
I realized that no matter how much you interact with people on the Internet, we see only one side of that individual, don't we. Well, as a book lover, I wasn't going to let it pass that now I knew PJ was an author! I bought her book and decided to give myself a birthday present by reading it right away! It's been a wonderful way to spend my day, even if it was still going on at 2AM and I didn't want to stop!

Today we celebrate International Women's Day. There are many women we could highlight on this day, but I wanted to spotlight a woman, who quietly, efficiently and effectively works to help authors promote their books, most times with people not even knowing that she has coordinated all the publicity efforts in getting the authors' books out to others...

Yet, she is the type of woman who has never said to me, Glenda, you know, I write books, have you ever read my work?  We all know that marketing books is the biggest challenge for authors these days... Her book, written in 2013, I'll wager, has not had the promotion that she routinely gives to others on a daily basis... I thought her writing, her books should be spotlighted this time to celebrate just one humble woman who daily serves the world, allowing her own activities to be secondary, while she speaks to ensure other books are noticed. This, to me, is America's Woman...May she gain, now, just a little of the recognition she deserves for all her hard work...

And may God provide women, everywhere, to have the strength to do all that she must do, each day and every day. God Bless Us All...

As with most things, PJ Nunn's career started out as something else entirely. She started out in retail then moved to property management. That led to teaching high school, then serving as a counselor and liaison to the local police youth services division. She also spent five years as chairperson of the Coryell County Child Welfare Board and spent years counseling abuse victims and serving law enforcement as a trauma counselor and consultant (something she still does today). When she moved to Dallas, a family illness caused her to leave a job teaching psychology at Dallas County Community College District to become a freelance writer, but found that a few favors she was doing for friends—writing press releases and setting up book signings—was better suited to her talents and her drives.

In 1998, she founded BreakThrough Promotions, now a national public relations firm helping authors, mostly of mystery novels, publicize themselves and their work. The business is thriving and PJ is excited about the release of her first novel, Angel Killer. PJ lives with her husband some of their five children near Dallas, TX.

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