18+ "I really liked this one and I’m going to recommend it highly. It flows well from the previous books, and the story is planned to continue, so there is a teaser in the last few paragraphs that hints where the author is going next. I look forward to continuing the journey. If you like detective / whodunit / mystery type stories, this series should definitely work for you. " - about book #1 Daniel, Goodreads
WARNING: This novel deals with mature subject matter.
Done Rubbed Out
In this first book of the Reightman & Bailey Series, deceit, corruption and murder tangle together with vivid, unconventional characters in a story of unlikely new friendships and their power to change us.
Things are going well at the Time Out Spa, but the night young proprietor Toby Bailey discovers his former lover naked and dead on a massage table, more things are spoiled than just his white leather shoes. Detective Melba Reightman and partner, Sam Jackson are called in to investigate and soon become embroiled in the most perplexing homicide case seen in years.
After a Hunting knife engraved with Toby's name is found in a pile of wet, bloody laundry, he's arrested for the murder of Geraldo Guzman. He enlists the aid of Madame Zhou Li, practicing attorney and owner of Green Dragon Chinese Herbs and Teas. The peculiar octogenarian seems an unlikely choice to defend him, but has a few tricks up her sleeve. Toby joins forces with Reightman and Jackson and a shocking string of clues leads them closer to the killer. The bad news? Successfully solving the crime might unleash a firestorm on this southern city, and come with a price none of them are prepared to pay.
In this second Reightman & Bailey thriller, Detective Melba Reightman is distraught over the murder of her friend and partner, Sam Jackson. The Guzman murder case has been closed, but she knows the real killer is still out there somewhere. Toby Bailey’s discovery of a set of incriminating photos proved there were more people involved in Geri Guzan’s death than just Dr. Lieberman, but getting anyone to listen is more of a challenge than she’d ever imagined. She’s going to need help convincing the powers that be that the case needs to be reopened, but she’ll find a way to do it. It’s the only choice she has if she wants to discover who’s behind it all.
Toby’s still struggling with Geri’s death and the shock at having been the target of a hitman. Detective Jackson took the bullet meant for him and saved his life, and he doesn’t understand how things could have gone so very wrong. No one should have known about the evidence Geri left behind, but it’s the only explanation that makes any sense. He has a hunch things are going to get worse, so he’ll just have to pull up his pants and get on with whatever needs to be done to help Detective Reightman figure things out.
And as for John Brown? He’s just worried he won’t get paid after botching the hit on Toby, and can’t help wondering what will happen next. It wasn’t really his fault. Mistakes were bound to happen when things got complicated, but who knew this would be such a hard job?
Things are heating up in this southern city.
In Skin Puppet: Reightman & Bailey Book Three, the whole gang from Capital Street is back and almost ready for business. It’s just two weeks until The Reightman & Bailey Agency officially opens, but Melba Reightman and Toby Bailey have things pretty much under control. After the horrific events of the last six months, things are starting to feel normal again.
An inconvenient lisp from a busted lip isn’t slowing Toby down, but it makes him sound embarrassing like a cartoon character. And there’s the whole awkward situation with Jon Chiang. One minute Zhou Li’s nephew is cold and distant, and the next minute…well, Toby could swear the guy might be interested in something more. It’s all very confusing.
Melba’s got her hands full completing last minute paperwork so they can open for business. There’s the huge stack of invitations Madame Zhou dropped off, all needing to be hand-addressed. Melba doesn’t see the need for a huge grand opening party, but there’s no point in arguing with the bossy owner of Green Dragon. To top things off, Zhou Li is strongly hinting that Melba needs a new dress.
With so much going on, the reports of children missing from the local area haven’t really registered on anyone’s radar. The single flyer posted by a desperate mother looking for her daughter was disturbing, but it’s really a matter for the local police, not the Reightman & Bailey Agency. Right?
Wrong. Things are never that easy.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I really only have one, and it’s about punctuality. I’m compulsive about being on time, and I have a hard time with people who are habitually late. I’ve learned —grudgingly— to accept that unfortunate character flaw (grin) in my friends, and realized that they aren’t bothered by their tardiness at all. I still get antsy though.
What are your top 10 books/authors?
That’s one of my least favorite questions, because as soon as I make my list, I remember another few that should be added! And then, I remember more. But here’s a list. In no particular order, and which I caveat right now as being incomplete (smile):
The Lord of the Rings Series (deep, complex, compelling and wonderful)
Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers and the Man in the Iron Mask (Adventure and intrigue!)
Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces. (These books dig deep into our collective conscience)
War and Peace (for sheer scope and drama)
Mercedes Lackey (because her books are one of my guilty pleasures)
Laurell K Hamilton: Anita Blake Series (for the same reason!)
Black Beauty (because it’s the first book I remember my mom reading to me)
James Mitchener’s Hawaii. (The contrast between the first part of the book and the second is thought provoking and horrific.)
To Kill a Mockingbird (the first book I read that dealt with a theme of social justice and truth)
The Book of Luke in the Bible. (not sure why, but it’s my favorite book of the New Testament)
And too many others to name.
What inspired you to write this book or series?
I had the idea for the opening of Done Rubbed Out, the first book in the series, for a long time. One night while enjoying conversation with a friend, she asked me why I didn’t just start writing it. I didn’t have a good answer, and so the next day I sat down at my computer and decided to give it a shot. By the end of the day, I have several thousand words, and within a couple of weeks, well over a hundred thousand words. I kept writing, and eventually realized I had two books, not one.
Developing the crime, the clues, and leading the reader to the eventual solving of the crime was the easy part. The hard part was telling the story of these complex characters. To show my readers who they were, I had to let them speak, and by association, I had to reveal a lot about myself in the process. It was important to show, in part, what made them “tick.” Skin Puppet was a little easier. I had the idea for telling a story about child trafficking and revealing, in my own small way, exactly how horrible it is. It’s not talked about much, even though it’s one of the fastest growing crimes in the world — and in this country.
I also wanted to explore the transgendered theme, and so I picked one of the secondary characters, and told her story. I think it worked well to blend the two together, since they both offer an aspect to do with being a prisoner, although of different sorts. Both stories needed to be told in a truthful way, with sensitivity, empathy, and as much understanding as possible.
What were the hardest lessons you learned when you began your writing journey?
There were, and are, so many lessons! I guess some of the biggest ones seem like the simplest, but aren’t. Here are a few.
Realizing not all my friends or family members were intensely interested in my work was an eye opener. Some people just don’t read for pleasure.
Knowing where to ask for help is hard, and finding the right person to provide assistance is sometimes scary and confusing. Not everyone has your best interest at heart, and no one will care about your book the way you, the author, does.
There are no silver bullets —it’s all hard work, although often exhilarating work. There will always be errors in the finished product, or things that could have been better. Accept it and the responsibility for it and don’t make excuses. Learn from the experience, and try not to make the same mistakes again. Repeat as needed.
Learn how to do the things you hate well, so you don’t have to spend as much time doing it.
Don’t let the tough times or obstacles lessen the joy you feel when you write. Otherwise, you’re sweating for the wrong goal.
Finally, it takes a long time to get the word out about how amazing you are. Be patient and keep jogging. It’s not a timed race.
What kind of advice would you give a new author?
I have four pieces of advice. 1) Write every day, even if you’re feeling blocked. Write about the cereal you had for breakfast, or about what the cat is doing right now. You can’t edit or revise a blank page, and anything you write will be better than those things you didn’t write. 2) Don’t take criticism personally. Everyone perceives a story differently. Some people will love your style of writing, and others won’t. That doesn’t make you —or them —bad people. It’s just the way it is. 3) Hire people to help. Get the best end product you can by using a skilled designer, a professional editor, and a formatter, if needed. This won’t guarantee success, and won’t catch every error, but it’ll help immensely.4) Tell the most truthful story you can, by making sure the situations and characters are believable, even if your story takes place on a far away, imaginary world. That world has its own truths, so show them. Write the story that interests you and tell it well.
About the author:
Jeffery Craig is the writing pseudonym of the author, used for fictional works. Jeffery resides in the southeastern United States and shares his life with his husband and partner, and a menagerie of much-loved pets. For several years, he worked as a executive providing technology and consulting services to help clients meet business needs. He's an avid supporter of the arts and co-owns a local art gallery/gift store that provides an outlet for area artists to showcase and sell their works.
When he isn't writing, he might be found working on a painting or enjoying the covered front porch of his historic southern home with a good book in hand
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