Tag Archives: Tina Whittle

My Musing ~ Lowcountry Crime edited by James M. Jackson

Lowcountry Crime by Jonathan M. Bryant, Polly Iyer, James M. Jackson, Tina Whittle, published by Wolf’s Echo Press, February 7, 2017

lowcountry-crimeLowcountry: That portion of the Southeastern United States characterized by low, generally flat country, whether barrier island, tidal marsh, tidal river valleys, swamps. piney forests, or great cities like Charleston and Savannah.

Crime: An act, forbidden by a public law, that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law.

These four novellas capture the unique aspects of Lowcountry with stories incorporating Charleston high life and Savannah low life, island vacations and life on boat. You’ll be treated to thieves doing good and rapscallions doing bad, loves won and loves lost, family relations providing wonderful support and life after divorce.

“Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming” by Tina Whittle
“Last Heist” by Polly Iyer
“Blue Nude” by Jonathan M. Bryant
“Low Tide at Tybee” James M. Jackson

This is a great collection of novellas taking place in low country states where anything can and will happen. All four stories kept me engaged and riveted to the drama unfolding from Tai’s search for her *not-so-dead* cousin; to Paul uncovering a sinister plot; to Brad becoming entangled with artwork (felt sorry for him at the end) and to Seamus and the condo. This is a tantalizing taste of the low country and I look forward to reading more stories from these terrific authors.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

My Musing ~ Reckoning and Ruin by Tina Whittle

Reckoning and Ruin by Tina Whittle is the fifth book in the “Tai Randolph” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, April 2016

Reckoning and RuinReckoning and Ruin. That’s what Savannah is to Tai Randolph who’s gladly rebooted her life in Atlanta and is celebrating several landmarks. A year running the Confederate-themed gun shop she inherited with its busy schedule of reenactments. A year with her sexy, ex-SWAT-team lover Trey, now working a corporate security gig, who’s having to reboot his own life and brain after a terrible auto accident. A year of confronting a checkered list of ruffians and outright villains, mostly now put behind bars. One of those convicted criminals is her cousin Jasper, whose disreputable family was a big part of Tai’s childhood in Savannah.

Tai is determined to keep her amateur sleuthing in the past, not just for her sake, but for Trey’s. But here comes Jasper again, complete with a fancy, high-priced new lawyer and a scheme that will surely ruin Tai and Trey financially. But is there more? Jasper, the leader of a white militia splinter group too violent for even the Klan, must be up to something worse than wrecking Tai’s life. When other witnesses against Jasper start turning up dead, she decides she has to take him down once and for all. And act on her own, a strategy that high-adrenaline Tai has been working to modify in her life with Trey.

Soon she’s back in Savannah and deep in familiar troubles―a missing ex-boyfriend, a creepily poetic stalker, a passel of stolen money. She’s forced to confront old memories and older ghosts, including an uncomfortable reunion with her Uncle Boone, who’s keeping secrets he’d rather die with than reveal. Worst of all, her relationship with Trey starts to fray, and she realizes that chasing the truth might cost her the man she loves.

All I can say is “wow, this book blew my mind, in a good way.” The author has created a brilliantly executed creation of an emotional dynamic mystery that pulled me in immediately and had me spellbound in every nuance in the telling of this tale. This was a thrilling read that I could not put down because I had to know how the issues facing Tai — a jailed cousin, a hospitalized uncle, missing money, a slick lawyer, an ex-girlfriend, a mistrustful cousin and a body or two — were all going to play out, and then that sneaky twist near the end, oh yeah! This fast-paced, action-packed drama had our heroine going back to her hometown, and getting pulled into dangerous situations that will eventually open up a can of worms that will test Tai’s self-worth. A riveting drama that had me mesmerized and rooting for Tai as she travel through the heartland of this up and down roller-coaster between family and friends. This is the best book thus far and I’m looking forward to more exciting exploits with Tai, Trey and their friends.

Tai Randolph’s Fashion Tips for the Amateur Sleuth by Tina Whittle

Reckoning and RuinFashion tips, huh? That’s my topic for the day? I mean, I have expertise in many things, but fashion is not one of them. I work at a gun shop that caters to Civil War reenactors – I’m considered fancy if l don’t have gun oil on the seat of my pants.

Granted, I do have a boyfriend with a closet full of Armani. Trey is a corporate security agent, so he’s required to dress a little more up-market than I do. Plus he has a taste for red couture cocktail dresses, which means I have a few of those hanging in the closet with the tee shirts.

Dressing nicely is usually a waste of time and money for me though, because I have a tendency to stumble into what Trey describes as. . .problematic situations. Things involving grotty skulls and dusty relics and occasionally even bloody murder. Literally. And being a true daughter of the South, I do not hide when trouble rolls up in the yard – I roll up my sleeves and deal with it. And I have learned that having the proper clothing and accessories makes that a whole lot easier.

So if you ever find yourself with an unexpected corpse to deal with, here are some style tips I’ve picked up that might prove helpful.

1. Dump your mascara in the trash. Eye make-up runs when you do, and believe me, solving crimes usually requires running. And then when the cops start asking impertinent questions around the neighborhood, like if you were hanging around some crime scene when you shouldn’t have been, you’re easily identified by your blotchy, raccoon-eyed, sad panda face.

2. Ditto the lipstick. It leaves telltale evidence on glasses and cigarettes. And believe me, you do not want to set yourself up as a suspect when the body count starts to rise.

3. A fine face powder, however, should be in every amateur detective’s bag, along with a roll of transparent tape. Bingo – instant fingerprint kit.

4. Sunscreen is a must, especially if your significant other has Irish skin. Boyfriends, even those of the former cop variety, look for any excuse to avoid helping with an investigation, so you don’t want to give them an easy out like the fact that the Atlanta sun is a blistering melanoma beam.

5. High heels are a mixed blessing. On the negative, they hobble you like a calf rope and screw up your balance something awful. On the plus side, stilettos make a wicked good weapon. . .in your hand. So dress to kill, but if push comes to shove, snatch those shoes off your feet and aim for the eyes.

6. No matter how cute that purse is, if it doesn’t have a lockable holster, it’s not worth the money.

7. If you are ever forced to wear a hoop skirt, remember – those crinolines will conceal just about any weapon you choose to carry. Also, reinforced stockings will hold a knife on one thigh and a bottle of pepper spray on the other. Don’t ask me how I know this.

8. Accessories make or break the outfit. I find that you can’t go wrong with a .38 Special and a hot ex-SWAT boyfriend who drives a Ferrari. Those are classic pieces that never go out of style.

And there you have it – my tips for the fashionable amateur sleuth. So if you find yourself accused of a crime you didn’t commit, or you have to confront your murderous KKK cousins, or if some no-goodnik starts spraying bullets in your general direction. . .you know you’ll look good in the news coverage. Or the mug shot. Whichever.


Reckoning and Ruin is the fifth book in the Tai Randolph mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, April 2016.

Reckoning and Ruin. That’s what Savannah is to Tai Randolph who’s gladly rebooted her life in Atlanta and is celebrating several landmarks. A year running the Confederate-themed gun shop she inherited with its busy schedule of reenactments. A year with her sexy, ex-SWAT-team lover Trey, now working a corporate security gig, who’s having to reboot his own life and brain after a terrible auto accident. A year of confronting a checkered list of ruffians and outright villains, mostly now put behind bars. One of those convicted criminals is her cousin Jasper, whose disreputable family was a big part of Tai’s childhood in Savannah.

Tai is determined to keep her amateur sleuthing in the past, not just for her sake, but for Trey’s. But here comes Jasper again, complete with a fancy, high-priced new lawyer and a scheme that will surely ruin Tai and Trey financially. But is there more? Jasper, the leader of a white militia splinter group too violent for even the Klan, must be up to something worse than wrecking Tai’s life. When other witnesses against Jasper start turning up dead, she decides she has to take him down once and for all. And act on her own, a strategy that high-adrenaline Tai has been working to modify in her life with Trey.

Soon she’s back in Savannah and deep in familiar troubles―a missing ex-boyfriend, a creepily poetic stalker, a passel of stolen money. She’s forced to confront old memories and older ghosts, including an uncomfortable reunion with her Uncle Boone, who’s keeping secrets he’d rather die with than reveal. Worst of all, her relationship with Trey starts to fray, and she realizes that chasing the truth might cost her the man she loves.

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About the author
Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series — featuring intrepid gunshop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey — has garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. The fifth book in this Atlanta-based series, Reckoning and Ruin, is available now from Poisoned Pen Press. A nominee for Georgia Author of the Year, Tina enjoys golf, sushi, and reading tarot cards. You can find her at her official website — www.tinawhittle.com.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a paperback or e-book of any book in the series (The Dangerous Edge of Things, Darker Than Any Shadow, Blood, Ash, And Bone, Deeper Than The Grave, Reckoning and Ruin). US entries only for print; e-book open to everyone. The giveaway will end April 14, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

Tai Randolph’s Guide to Amateur Sleuthing by Tina Whittle

Deeper Than the GraveI’ve been asked to explain how a simple gun shop owner like myself manages to find herself involved in so many homicides. I can’t explain why corpses regularly show up in my life, but I can shed some light on how I manage to make them go away.

So without further ado, here are my top tips for solving crimes and staying alive in the process.

  1. The Cop Connection — Make friends with a police officer; you’ll need someone with an ear to the ground who’s willing to share information and — most importantly — act as a channel for whatever clues you discover. Bonus points if he brings you beer and doughnuts.
  2. The Ex-Cop Connection — Another useful tactic is becoming romantically involved with a former police officer who still has friends on the force. If your romantic partner has skills in Krav Maga and/or snipercraft, then you’re golden. One minor caveat — boyfriends with cop skills can be the teensiest bit overprotective, especially if their frontal lobes are a bit unstable. You’ll have to hone your own evade-and-prevaricate techniques if you want to get anything done. Trust me on this one.
  3. The Car — You need an awesome car, one that’s fast and reliable, with lots of trunk space. My Camaro fits the bill on most occasions (except when I need to be stealthy – a cherry-red Z28 is exactly the opposite of stealthy). However, if your ex-cop boyfriend has something a little more luxurious — like, say, a black Ferrari F430 coupe — then you can use that baby as a passport to places you’d never get you in otherwise, like the Ritz Carlton. Assuming said boyfriend ever lets you drive the thing, which he should seriously consider doing because . . . I mean, if you trust a woman in your bed, you oughta trust her in your Ferrari, am I right?
  4. The Training — And by this, I mean practicing whatever skills you need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, because believe you me, the second you start asking nervy questions, you are going to find yourself in the crosshairs of some dodgy people (and I mean that literally).  Here is where that ex-cop boyfriend can come in handy again. Mine is teaching me both small firearms proficiency and basic self-defense (which mostly entails my getting thrown on the floor a lot, but not as much as when I first started). Being able to handle yourself in any kind of fight, whether fistfight or firefight, is crucial. Because nobody wants to be a damsel in distress.
  5. The City — Choose your territory wisely. My day job is in Kennesaw, Georgia (where I run a gun shop catering to Civil War reenactors) but when there’s a crime to be solved, you’ll find me running the streets of Atlanta. That’s where the information is, the connections and the clues, but despite the nine million or so people in the metro area, when it comes to secrets and rumors and back-door dealings, Atlanta is just a great big small town, as Southern as peach pie. And I know how to work a small Southern town.
  6. The Boyfriend — I know, I keep coming back to this. But let’s face it, life isn’t all corpses and interrogations and chasing suspicious no-goodniks down dark alleyways. Sometimes you want a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on. And if that hand and those shoulders are part of a smokin’ hot stretch of six-foot-one, Armani-clad, blue-eyed gorgeousness . . . then all the better. And if the heart that beats beneath that well-muscled chest is good and true and brave, then no matter how hinky an investigation goes, you’ll have at least one thing you can be grateful for.

You can read more about Tai and her crime solving tips in Deeper Than the Grave, the fourth book in the “Tai Randolph” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. The first book in the series is The Dangerous Edge of Things.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 13 for the chance to win a print or e-book copy of DEEPER THAN THE GRAVE; (print US only). The giveaway is open to everyone.

About the author
Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series — featuring intrepid gun shop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey — has garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. The fourth book — Deeper Than the Grave — premiered November 4th from Poisoned Pen Press. You can find the author at www.tinawhittle.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Just Tai and Cherry Talkin’ by Tina Whittle and Larissa Reinhart

beer and wingsWhat happens when two mystery writers realize their characters are soul sisters? The writers make their characters meet, much like two friends forcing their children on a playdate. Both characters — gunshop owner Tai Randolph and the artist Cherry Tucker — are sassy, southern spitfires with a penchant for trouble and appetite for justice. After first clearing the scene of dangerous objects, like men and guns, the writers dropped their characters off at a bar and let them get to know each other.

The result: Just Tai and Cherry Talkin,’ two Georgia girls dishing on life with a side order of solving crimes. Get to know the amateur sleuths, Tai Randolph and Cherry Tucker, in Just Tai and Cherry Talkin,’ a free read available on Wattpad.

Red’s County Line Tap, found just across the tracks from the bitty town of Halo, could be mistaken from any number of tin roofed roadhouses wedged between Blue Law zoning restrictions in Georgia. Under the ownership of said Red, you’ll find the County Line has been renovated as a sports bar to attract Halo’s families, but on the weekend, the original juke joint vibe returns with the regular clientele of barflies, babes, and bikers. This particular drinking establishment has the added benefit of resting within stumbling distance of the artist Cherry Tucker’s home, the in-town Georgia bungalow of her deceased Great-Gam. And as Red serves the best hot wings and coldest beer in town, (along with plenty of unwanted advice), Cherry Tucker and her friends can usually be found at Red’s on any given weekend night. And Thursdays.

And the occasional Monday and Tuesday. And then there’s Wednesdays. . .

Tonight, Tai Randolph has found a seat at Red’s bar. As the owner of a Confederate gun shop in Kennesaw, Georgia, (which is a fair skip and hop from Halo), Tai has been told by customers from every corner of the metro Atlanta area that she needed to meet this Cherry Tucker person. She decided they might be right when she did a little bit of online research and saw Cherry’s name linked to not one, not two, but a whole mess of murders.

How about that? she thought. Another spitfire Southern blonde with a penchant for corpse-finding. She wondered what else she and Cherry might have in common besides an unfortunate affinity for trouble. So without further ado, Tai locked up the gun shop and pointed her Camaro toward Halo, where she pulled up a barstool next to the one and only Cherry Tucker.

Read on (for free) on Wattpad for more conversation with Tai and Cherry.

Deeper Than the GraveTina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series — featuring intrepid gunshop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey — has garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Published by Poisoned Pen Press, this Atlanta-based series debuted with The Dangerous Edge of Things, followed by Darker Than Any Shadow (2012) and Blood, Ash and Bone (2013). The fourth book in the series — Deeper Than the Grave — releases in November 2014. www.tinawhittle.com

Death in PerspectiveLarissa Reinhart’s best selling Cherry Tucker Mystery series from Henery Press features artist Cherry Tucker: big in mouth, short in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than kudzu climbs telephone poles. The first mystery, Portrait of a Dead Guy, was a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily Finalist, and 211 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The series follows with Still Life in Brunswick Stew, 2012 Georgia Author of the Year Nominee Hijack in Abstract, Death in Perspective and the prequel “Quick Sketch” in the mystery anthology, Heartache Motel. The fifth book, The Body in the Landscape, will release June 9, 2015. larissareinhart.com

Cover Reveal: Deeper Than The Grave by Tina Whittle

Deeper Than the Grave

It’s taken almost a year, but Tai Randolph finally has her new life together. She’s running a semi-successful Atlanta gun shop catering to Civil War re-enactors. Her lover, the sexy if somewhat security-obsessed Trey Seaver, is sorting through his challenges. Most importantly, there’s not a single corpse on her horizon, and her previously haphazard existence is finally stable, secure . . . and utterly unsurprising.

Then a tornado scatters the skeletal remains of a Confederate hero, and Tai is asked to assist with the recovery effort. It’s a job her late Uncle Dexter would have relished, as does Tai, especially when she discovers a jumble of bones in the Kennesaw Mountain underbrush.

Her problem? The skeleton doesn’t belong to the missing soldier. Tai’s discovery reveals a more recent murder, with her deceased uncle leading the suspect list. As Tai struggles to clear Dexter’s name — and save the shop he left her — she digs up more than old bones. Deadly secrets also lie buried in the red Georgia clay.

Tai realizes there’s a murderer on the loose, a clever killer who has tried to conceal the crimes of the present in the stories of the past. As she risks her own life to unravel two mysteries — one from a previous century, one literally at her doorstep — Tai rediscovers her dangerous taste for murder and mayhem. Will she survive yet another foray into amateur sleuthing? Will Trey? Or will the Civil War add two modern-day casualties to its death toll?

Excerpt:
Trey’s mouth was at my ear, his chest solid against my back. “Slowly.”

“Got it.”

“Firm and gentle pressure.”

I sighed. “I have done this before, you know.”

“And yet you’re still snatching.” He adjusted my grip on the revolver so that the butt of the gun rested solidly in my left palm. “Take a breath. Half exhale. Then squeeze. One smooth motion.”

His voice was muted through the fancy electronic hearing protection muffs, but that hardly mattered – he was saying the exact same thing he always said. I wiggled my nose to adjust the safety goggles, sighted along the barrel. The revolver’s sights bobbed red against the target, a human-sized silhouette with concentric rings highlighting its heart. I took one deep breath in, trickled it halfway out. Then I dropped the barrel a smidgen and squeezed. The .38 kicked in my hand as a fresh bullet hole appeared at the target’s groin.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 16 for the chance to win one of the first three books (paperback or e-book) in the Tai Randolph mystery series. (US entries only, please.)

About the author
Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series — featuring intrepid gunshop owner Tai and her corporate security TinaWagent partner Trey — has garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Published by Poisoned Pen Press, this Atlanta-based series debuted with The Dangerous Edge of Things, followed by Darker Than Any Shadow (2012) and Blood, Ash and Bone (2013). The fourth book in the series — Deeper Than the Grave — releases in November 2014.

A nominee for Georgia Author of the Year in 2012, Whittle’s short fiction has appeared in The Savannah Literary Journal, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Gulf Stream, which selected her story “Lost Causes and Other Reasons to Live” as the 2004 winner of their Mystery Fiction contest. When not writing or reading, she enjoys golf, sushi, tarot cards, and spending time with her family (one husband, one daughter, one neurotic Maltese and four bossy chickens).

You can find the author online at her official website — www.tinawhittle.com.

My Musing ~ Blood, Ash & Bone by Tina Whittle

Blood, Ash, BoneBlood, Ash & Bone by Tina Whittle is the third book in the “Tai Randolph” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2013

Tai Randolph doesn’t want to hear about homicide. She’s had enough of the dark and the dangerous, and decides some time out of Atlanta is exactly what she needs to put the recent spate of corpses behind her. It‘s a idyllic vision —selling her wares at the Savannah Civil War Expo, attending a few Confederate re-enactments, perhaps a little romantic rendezvousing with Trey, who has agreed to put aside the corporate security agent routine and join her for a long weekend in her hometown.

But in the South, the past is never past. It tends to rise again. In Tai’s case, it shows up as her tattooed heartbreaker of an ex-boyfriend, desperate for her help. He spins a tale of betrayal, deceit, and a stolen Civil War artifact that Tai agrees to help him recover. Suddenly, Trey’s on the case too, representing a competing — and well-moneyed — client with eyes on the same mythical prize. As the lovers square off against each other, Tai discovers that her complicated boyfriend makes an even more intriguing adversary, revealing a ferociously competitive streak under his cool Armani exterior.

But where there‘s money, there‘s usually murder, this time involving the KKK and Tai‘s unapologetically unreconstructed kinfolk. As she unravels the clues to a 150-year-old mystery, she digs up secrets from her own past — and Trey’s — forcing a confrontation with a ruthless killer, and with her own willingness to do whatever it takes to save everything that matters.

Tai is after a Civil War artifact which takes her back to Savannah where danger and adventure awaits her. With Trey by her side, the duo will take on a group bent on destroying what they have. What a great read in this well-written drama that exudes a strong plot, engaging dialogue and a very determined heroine where the action never stopped from the first page until a finale worthy of this riveting tome. This is my first adventure with Tai Randolph and I look forward to more exciting exploits with this dynamic duo.

A Memo from Tai Randolph by Tina Whittle

Blood, Ash, Bone
From:
Tai Randolph
To Whom It May Concern:

This is an open letter to the reading public of the Atlanta metro area, the city of Savannah, and other persons who have heard about my recent experiences at the Civil War Expo and who wish to comment on such, whether in the form of a news article, opinion piece, random blog, newsgroup posting, or presumptuous chatter in line at the grocery store:

 

  1. Despite what you may have read, I am not foolhardy. Or reckless. Or irresponsible. I will admit to impulsive, perhaps even prone to misadventure, but I do have a strong self of self-preservation and resent any suggestion that I’m hellbent on destruction of myself and others.
  2. It is not my fault that my life for the past year has included more than my fair share of mayhem, murder and all manner of criminal nefariousness. However, when trouble comes rolling into the yard, I do what any sensible Southern woman would do in such circumstances — I roll up my sleeves and take care of things. This is not a character flaw (nor is it a psychological shortcoming, despite what my brother the therapist says).
  3. Yes, Trey is — and I’m quoting here — a heartthrob extraordinaire. A hunk. A total dreamboat. He is also my boyfriend. Mine. It is not appropriate to inquire after his phone number. It is even less appropriate to slip your digits in his pocket or stick mash notes on the windshield of his Ferrari. I own a gun shop, remember? Don’t make me use it.
  4. The whole hoop skirt thing? I don’t want to talk about it.
  5. For that matter, I don’t want to talk about the fire, the stabbing, the shooting, the other shooting, the latest shooting, any shooting, the restraining order, the FBI investigation, the strangling, the dead guy, the other dead guy, or the whereabouts of the Civil-War-Artifact-That-Shall-Not-be-Named.
  6. I will, however, talk about the python. I really liked the python. I still visit occasionally (she likes to have her head rubbed).
  7. Detective Dan Garrity of the Atlanta PD is a friend, not a source, and has violated not one law/rule/ethical boundary in his dealings with me, no matter how much I’ve begged/pleaded/cajoled/bribed/etc. So stop pestering him.
  8. You should probably stop running up and taking pictures of Trey. I admit, he’s easy on the lens, but he’s former SWAT, usually armed, and about two crooked neurons away from going full-on Krav Maga, so ambushing him in a parking garage and sticking a camera in his face is definitely ill-advised.
  9. If you really want to know the scoop, just ask. I’m easy to find — come down to Dexter’s Gun’s and More in Kennesaw, an hour north of Downtown. We can talk circa-1860s firearms, Confederate swordfighting etiquette, Low Country ghosts, and the importance of wearing hand-stitched underwear on the battlefield. There’s usually strong coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. And if Trey just happens to be hanging around being his usual Armani self . . . well, I don’t mind if you look. Just keep your hands to yourself, okay?

Tina is giving away one (1) copy of any book from her “Tai Randolph” mystery series, your choice. Contest open to US residents only and ends March 15. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author.


Meet the author
Tina Whittle’s first novel — The Dangerous Edge of Things, published by Poisoned Pen Press — debuted to starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal. Continuing with Darker Than Any Shadow, this Atlanta-based series features gun shop owner Tai Randolph and corporate security agent Trey Seaver. The third book — BLOOD, ASH AND BONE — premiered in March 2013. You can find the author online at her official website

A Day In The Life of Tai Randolph by Tina Whittle

You want to hear about my typical day? Really?

I mean, I’m glad to share — nobody’s ever accused me of being shy — but most people ask about Trey. What’s it like having a former SWAT-ops boyfriend? Does he ever let you drive the Ferrari? What kind of gun does he carry?

For the record, he packs an immaculately maintained Heckler and Koch P7M8, and I am almost as good as he is with it. I have yet to drive the Ferrari, however — he gets nervous palpitations at the thought. And it is utterly awesome having a boyfriend with Special Ops skills, especially since he’s willing to teach me the tricks of the trade. Like how to perform a Krav Maga takedown or set up a surveillance system. Trey is a challenge (and I’m not just talking about his brain rearrangement) but he’s totally worth it. And I‘d say that even if he didn’t have those gorgeous blue eyes.

I’m finally beginning to get my bearings in my new hometown. Atlanta is a sprawling maze of construction, still smarting from the beatdown General Sherman handed it during the Civil War. It’s often stubbornly quaint — every other street is called Peachtree Something-Or-Other — but you‘d better conjure up some NASCAR mojo if you want to survive the freeways. Plus there’s money here — old money, new money, dirty money.

My days are pretty routine, assuming there are no fresh corpses on the ground (don‘t laugh — this happens to me far more often than the law of averages should allow). I am the half-owner and sole proprietor of Dexter’s Guns and More, in Kennesaw, just north of the metro area. I inherited it from my Uncle Dexter, who left it to me and my brother Eric, a corporate psychologist who wants nothing to do with it. He refers to my new career as “arms merchant for a bunch of rednecks.” He says this as if it’s an insult.

Anyway, most of my working hours are spent in the shop filling out ATF paperwork and trying to keep the books in the black. My customers come from all walks of life — hunters, cops, stay-at-home moms — but a large slice of the demographic belongs to the Confederate re-enactors in the area. One of my favorite tasks is tracking down authentic Civil War-era weapons and accessories for them. Especially underwear. I have a proprietary source who makes the finest circa-1860 reproduction long johns in the Southeast.

After work, I kick back at Trey’s place in Buckhead, watch the Midtown lights come out from his balcony. And if he’s off being Mr. Corporate Security Agent, I hang with Rico, my big beefy best friend with eyes like river rocks and skin like chocolate. Our nights aren’t quite as wild as they were growing up together in Savannah — we’re both semi-responsible adults now — but nobody keeps me grounded quite like Rico.

Well, there’s Garrity. Detective Garrity, Trey’s former partner and slightly-estranged best friend. That man has a heart as big as Stone Mountain, but he’s got a temper as red-hot as his hair. I can usually find him on the shop‘s doorstep, lecturing me, at length, on why I shouldn’t tamper with official investigations, question suspicious people, or use the phrase “life or death“ around Trey.

My new life keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure. If I had more time, I’d tell you about the murderous poets and the arson and the reticulated python. Rico says I should write a book. I might . . . as soon as things calm down. Which isn’t looking likely, unfortunately.


Meet the author
Tina Whittle is a mystery writer living and working in the Georgia Lowcountry. The Dangerous Edge of Things, her first novel, debuted February 2011 from Poisoned Pen Press, followed in March 2012 by DARKER THAN ANY SHADOW, the second in the “Tai Randolph” series. Described by Publisher’s Weekly as a “tight, suspenseful debut,“ this Atlanta-based series features gun shop owner Tai Randolph and corporate security agent Trey Seaver. You can find the author online at her official website — www.tinawhittle.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.