Officially one year from today, the first in my Waverly Jones Mysteries will release. It’s been up on Kobo for a while, but now it’s live everywhere.
Waverly Jones has been called misanthropic. Distant. Obsessive. Manipulative. And that’s without people knowing she talks to the hallucination of her dead sister.
She’s also a private investigator.
After a lengthy absence, she’s returned to Port Milton amidst the biggest homicide investigation her hometown has seen in over a decade. Bodies of middle-aged men have been washing ashore and the police have confirmed foul play but not much else—making it the perfect case for someone like her.
Particularly when she’s the one to find the latest body.
It’s not a coincidence Waverly happened across the newest victim. She’s been combing the beach because these men match the age and appearance of Detective-Sergeant Sebastian Kyle, missing these past eleven years after investigating the now-dormant serial killer who made Waverly’s sister his last victim.
Her familiarity with the murders has left her well-prepared when hired by the wife of one of the dead men, giving her a professional reason to dig deeper into these crimes. Have the police unintentionally fumbled this case in the wrong direction, or does the widow not know as much about her husband as she thought?
Port Milton has always had its secrets, and Waverly will drag every single one into the light to get to the bottom of this mystery. And maybe somewhere along the way, she’ll get another step closer to who killed her sister and what happened to Sebastian Kyle.
Preorder up at the usual places:
“I’ve already seen that cover,” you say, “and I thought this post had a cover reveal?”
It does! Read on! Because it’ll also be in paperback next fall and in hardcover.
But not just any hardcover.
See, I’ve always loved mysteries. Other than horror, it’s my first love (I didn’t start reading fantasy until I was in my mid-teens, outside of paranormal horror). Everything from Trixie Belden to Hercule Poirot, I devoured mysteries of all kinds.
But of course my very favourite, the very top choice, was always Nancy Drew.
I still love Nancy Drew. I have the more recent movies. The TV show is the only one where I subscribe to the full season on iTunes instead of waiting for streaming or discounts (despite it’s occasional missteps, McMann is a fantastic Nancy). I have all of the HeR Interactive video games (I used to preorder before the company seemed to implode) and play them regularly.
Those old 1950s hardcovers, though. I LOVE them. I’ve been doing a puzzle of the book covers and reflected on how much I love them, and it was a short leap from there to thinking, “What if I did Waverly Jones hardcovers in that style?”
First I thought I’d need to hire an artist for the vintage painting look, but that’s entirely unaffordable. Then I mocked up a version using the existing ebook cover, just tweaked a little to show the town.
But still, I thought…why can’t I mock up something that looks like an old cover? I’ve got skills. I’ve got resources. So I put together some stock photos, played with layers and filters, did some digital painting, and I’m quite pleased with the results (on the main page, click to read more; directly on the page, scroll down).
YES, THAT IS MY FAVOURITE FONT, LYDIAN.
This is not Nancy Drew, though.
It’s dark. And it’s weird. And I’m already braced for the “Waverly is so unlikable!” complaints (like I fucking care).
I know crime/thriller books can bring up concerns about copaganda and violence against women and that. So first of all, Waverly is ACAB (in fact, part of the series is me coming to grips with the starry-eyed desire to be a detective as a kid with my abolitionist views now…and of course the other part is that it was written entirely out of spite). That’s why she’s a PI rather than a cop in the series.
In terms of violence against women, yes, it does come up. Initially it was not my intention, but that was part of the reason I think the first book kept stalling for me. Because I want to tackle these topics. They’re important to me. And while I like reading fun cozies, that is never going to be the kind of mystery that I write.
But the world doesn’t need another book about gruesomely killed nameless women or teen girls. The world doesn’t need another book blaming the victim. So at the forefront of my mind is always to humanize any victims, to ensure they’re complex and real, to not use violence or abuse as titillation, to not shy away from the myriad of ways the system fails them.
This series is about women as victims, yes, but also women as villains and killers, women as witnesses, women as family, and all the complexity that involves.
If you’ve read my other books, nothing in this series is out of place with the rest of my oeuvre. Elis O’Connor tackles those topics as well (as more of a power fantasy, but still). And at this point, Waverly’s series does not have the graphic depictions present in The Silent Places (Waverly is also not an abuse survivor, FYI). So I hope if you like mysteries, you’ll give it a shot and trust me to treat any sensitive subject matter with intention and care.
Also, there is no violence against animals/pets. Waverly rescues some pets.
As always, there are content warnings for everything under spoiler tags right here.