Thursday, August 18, 2016

Loaded Guns, Money, and Murder!

Please welcome fellow mystery author Kate Collier to the Killer Hobbies blog today.   Kate, my hubby and I are horrible at money management.  Can you tell us how your protagonist Lyssa Pennington might be able to help?
Lyssa Pennington has an unusual hobby: reconstructing the “money story” for people she meets. If the idea of having a “personal money story” is new to you, simply put it is: how a person has historically spent money toward their own wants, needs and goals; how well that pattern is working for them; and how they can revise their money story to better address changing wants, needs, and goals.

For Lyssa , who has a Ph.D. in Economics and teaches at a small college, the money story is a topic in her Financial Literacy course. The students who choose that elective are typically seniors who have not paid their own way through college and who have little money sense. It’s a perfect storm for them, as they’ve amassed credit card debt, may have taken out school loans that will come due on graduation, and tend to define success by the homes they came from, not stopping to think their parents worked for decades to afford the big house, updated kitchen, new cars, and costly vacations.


It takes work and stamina for Lyssa to raise her students’ awareness of the realities of the job market, the real price of credit card debt, and similar bad surprises they’ll be confronting very soon. Having them do the analysis of their own money story is a wake up call for them and an important step in rethinking their financial priorities and redefining “success” for themselves. At first, they may resist the exercises she takes them through, but once they see the way clear to a bright solvent future they thank her.

However, as her first year of teaching winds down, Professor Pennington has more on her mind than her students’ success. She’s faced with a loaded gun in her backyard garden. Because there’s no body, no missing person, and no history of violence at their address, the police have no interest. It’s up to Lyssa and her husband, Kyle, to learn who planted the gun, why, and where the shooter and his victim are now. Lyssa’s inherent nosiness and her favorite hobby—getting to know someone by subtly inquiring into their money story—get the Penningtons involved in solving the mystery.

She and Kyle discover that two young men, who grew up in their neighborhood and graduated from her college six years earlier, can’t be traced. Kyle pushes the state police to match the ballistics of their gun to unsolved homicides, while Lyssa uses her talent to analyze the young men’s money stories. She puts together clues from neighbors and relatives, digs into data, and visits places the young men were known to frequent.

Then she reads between the lines of their money stories, where the real story lies. If only the truth didn’t include a killer intent on protecting the crime, even when it means killing again.
Check out Planted on Amazon!  Amazon


C. T. Collier said...

Tracy, thanks so much for hosting me and the Penningtons today! What is everyone reading this summer? Right now I'm reading Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man to see why reviewers are saying Lyssa and Kyle remind them of Nick and Nora.

Tracy Weber said...

Welcome! So glad to have you!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome, Kate! Your theme and protagonist sound like fun.

C. T. Collier said...

Thanks, Linda! I totally enjoy writing the series, The Penningtons Investigate. Lyssa and her husband are opposites who have fun together, even when they're mixed up in a murder mystery. Your dog is absolutely adorable!! --Kate