As a relatively new member of Parker Publishing, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Nicole Givens Kurtz, and I write science fiction/mysteries, also known as hybrids. Wait! Hold up! I know, I know. I mention science fiction and many of you are already to click on to some other interesting blog post.
My novel, SILENCED, centers on a private detective, Cybil Lewis. She’s a tough, African descent, kick butt heroine and she’s not like anyone you’ve met before. This isn’t your Star Trek cookie cutter communications officer.
Below is a short except from SILENCED: A CYBIL LEWIS novel. It’s the first in the Cybil Lewis series and I hope you find her just as attractive and fun as I do writing her.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of the reviewers have said about Cybil and SILENCED.
“Nicole Givens Kurtz is a gifted sci-fi writer with a wonderful imagination. Her vivid descriptions of a future civilization instantly transport the reader into that time period. And with the extra benefit of a strong African-American woman as the main character, this adventure captures the essence of the future.”—4 Star review//Affaire de Coeur Magazine
“A missing-persons case takes us into an action-packed story. Cybil is no shrinking violet, and the tale is vivid enough to keep the reader looking forward to the next chapter in this new series. This is a fast-paced, enjoyable ride.”—4 Star Review—Romantic Times
“Congrats to Nicole Givens Kurtz for another well written novel…Be on the lookout for this one and hopefully more in the series. If you are not familiar with Kurtz’ works, seek them out, you will not be disappointed.”—Baryon Review
"Silenced" has all the hard-boiled elements of sex, violence, crooked politicians and dishonest cops and a story told by an engaging but difficult heroine. It is an excellent start to what promises to be a very interesting series.”—The Denver Post
Excerpt from SILENCED:A CYBIL LEWIS NOVEL
Mayor Christensen did not sit in my only visitor’s chair.
With that well-bred posture, she remained standing as she scanned the walls of my private office taking it in. I knew what she was seeing, and I didn’t really care. Everything in the office came secondhand or was here when I leased the space twelve years ago. The walls were adorned with newspaper and electronic clippings of various cases I had either been involved with or solved. The yellowing on some of the actual paper ones had chipped and split along the edges. New jpegs had been enlarged and added with updated electronic articles about recent cases.
"Mayor, why are you here?" I asked tightly, my voice edgy and impatient. With amazing effort, I tried to hang on to some professionalism. It slipped out of my hands, like sands through an hourglass. "I do have work to do."
I had a good idea of what the mayor wanted. Still I wanted her to say it, to speak it out and to ask. There was something naughty in the smile I gave her. The edges curled up in a dark satisfaction of knowing that I’d refuse her request anyway.
She brought her eyes back to mine and pressed her lips together before talking as if trying to keep her mouth from saying things she might regret later. With three more attempts, she finally spoke.
"Miss Lewis, I am from tough southern people who aren't bothered by mosquitoes, wauto wrecks, or mouthy inspectors."
Her voice lost its sweetness and turned hard, like wet sugar left out in the cold. In place of the soft, worried mother, was now the voice of a hard politician who thought I would cower and obey her every whim.
Obviously, she did not know me very well…
"The Memphis regulators are idiots,” she was saying, her hands folded neatly in front of her. “They have bungled my daughter's missing person’s case and I want the bastard that took Mandy found," she finished, her voice demanding, her eyes seething with anger and raw emotion.
Will the real Mayor Christensen please stand up? There is something knowing, hell creepy, about someone who could flip the coin of her personality like that. It made me want to lock my satchel in the safe, and nail down the valuables.
She stood there in her immaculate gray suit that cost more than my monthly food budget allowed. The layers of make-up didn't hide the bluish circles under her eyes, or the new crop of wrinkles along her forehead the photos and media coverage seemed to have missed or airbrushed.
"In case you haven't noticed, this is a long way from Memphis," I said, my temper escaping into thin strips of exasperation. "And I don't respond well to threats and name calling."
The mayor's eyes held mine.
"I apologize," she said forcefully, as if she didn’t really mean it. "You're the best in this business, or so I'm told." She crossed her arms over her chest. "You solved that case that sent Governor Price packing to Alamogordo Cradle a few years back."
"Yeah, I did. But the answer is still no," I said back, inserting my own steeliness into my voice.
The Change met with certain death and several key political figures were apprehended, killed, or promoted depending on what side of the case they landed on. It garnished me some publicity and the client list swelled after that, like a monsoon rain, drowning me in payments, vile human actions, and action.
It had since dried up.
I came around to stand close to her, to face her so that she knew she wasn't intimidating me. I was taller by about three inches and weighed more than her for sure, which somehow didn’t make me feel all that great.
Just then the doors to my private office opened and Jane came in, cautiously. She stood inside the entranceway. She opened her mouth to say something and quickly closed it.
Mayor Christensen ran her hand through her light brown Afro, ruining its puffiness.
"Miss Lewis, I have come all this way. The regulators are no closer to solving this than they were four weeks ago! Time is ticking away, and my, my baby is out there somewhere. These are dangerous times, as you well know. Help me find her, please."
Suddenly, she was the sweet, southern girl from Memphis, twang and all—the distressed parent, not the bullying politician.
This one was quite the actress.
I shrugged. "As a rule, I don't investigate cases where the regulators have already been called in."
My friend Daniel Tom, a regulator and the only one competent one on the D.C. staff would kill me for meddling in his case without his permission. I’m sure the Memphis regs felt the same way.
She stared me, aghast. "As a rule? This is my daughter, Miss Lewis, surely…"
"Yeah, a rule. You should know about those. They're kind of like regulations…laws. When you are self-employed you can make up rules for your business. That's one of mine."
I did not dance to the beat of anyone's drummer, but my own, especially not that of some big shot politician. She could bring all the muscle she wanted, but I wasn't budging unless I wanted to.
Want more? Read the first chapter of SILENCED online at Nicole’s website, http://www.nicolegivenskurtz.com.
Nicole Givens Kurtz