It Sucks to be an Ex

What goes in but doesn’t always come back out? Prisoners. In my Jazzi and Ansel cozy, The Body in the Apartment, I introduced Jarrett, a man who’s been in and out of prison and doesn’t want to return. He’s really trying to find a job, a place to live, and go straight, but most people don’t think an ex-con will stay an ex. That’s when Jerod’s dad, Eli, decides to give him a break and hires him to work in his garage.

In the book I’m working on now, Jarrett returns as a character. He’s still working as a mechanic for Eli, and he and Brianne are living rent-free in an apartment because he works as a part-time maintenance man, fixing whatever needs done there. She goes to school to become a hairdresser and he’s taking classes to get certified for working on foreign cars. All is going well for them until Vince, a mechanic Jarrett likes and respects, begins cheating customers to skim money. Jarrett catches him and warns him to stop or he’ll turn him in. Vince keeps doing it. Vince was nice to Jarrett when he first started working in the garage. He taught him the ropes, but Eli was even nicer to him, so Jarrett does what he doesn’t want to…and tells Eli what Vince is doing. Eli fires him, and two days later, Vince gets killed.

Jake, a fellow mechanic, immediately blames Jarrett. “Once a criminal, always a criminal.” But Eli wants to know the truth and asks Jazzi to ask around to see if she can learn anything. Everyone agrees that something big was bothering Vince or he’d have never cheated customers or stooped to stealing money from Eli. And everyone suspects the problem had something to do with Vince’s brother, Kevin. Kevin loses one job after another, always has money problems, and always turns to Vince for help. This time, helping his brother might have been the death of him.

I’ve finished the first fourth of The Body in the Buick, and the set-up kept me thinking. Now I’m starting the second fourth, and Jazzi and Gaff start digging for answers. Lots more words to go!

Oh, forgot to say. Happy October!

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