The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent -- whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett -- that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, and now the Tales of Telenia fantasy saga, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).
When did you first start writing?
I always had stories swirling around my mind, but it wasn't until my late teens that I started writing them down.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Writing the first four books in the Jeff Resnick Mystery series was a learning experience--and it was mostly learning who these characters were. I was writing the four books similtaneously, so that if something happened in the 4th book, I could go back to the first to lay the groundwork. I tried to understand why Jeff did some of the (rather odd) things he did. I was very unsure of myself as a storyteller, and a number of published writers in my local writing group were generous with their critiques. One of them really stood out. While reading Cheated by Death, I was asked, "How long has this man had an eating disorder?" A what?
And then she went on to point out several areas in the book where clearly Jeff's relationship with food is at odds. It was then I realized it was a thread through the previous books as well--something I hadn't even noticed. The idea fascinated me, and I wrote a short story to explore the issue. I wrote short stories to explore other areas of his past, too. I've told a number of readers about the stories, and they've encouraged me to publish them.
The stories in Evolution: Jeff Resnick's Backstory are not mysteries. They're about a boy struggling to grow up, and the very rocky relationship he has with his older brother. They help explain why the two were estranged for eighteen years, and hopefully contain the seeds of their fierce friendship to come.
A young shoplifter not only swipes a couple of hand-carved figurines from Ray Davenport, owner of Victoria Square’s Wood U gift shop, but barrels into and injures another Square merchant. Upon his escape, the police are called, but before the ink is dry on the report, the boy’s grandmother drags the would-be thief back to return the purloined items. She’s got an agenda and great expectations.
Iris Drake is an odd duck who knows everyone at Artisans Alley arts-and-crafts arcade, but nobody knows her. When she walks into Gilda’s Gourmet Basket on Victoria Square, she’s a stranger there, too—but not for long. Yet she hasn’t to come to Gilda to buy her wares—she’s there to sell some of her own. All goes well until Iris’s secret is exposed.
A mysterious package arrives at Artisans Alley with Katie Bonner's name on it, but the return address is obscured and the treasure inside, a bone china teacup, is broken. Before Katie can open the accompanying card, she’s called away and one of the vendors mistakes it for trash. Katie won't be satisfied until she finds out where the cup came from and who sent it to her.
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Dana Milton finally opens her own dance studio on Victoria Square and one of her Broadway Babies (age 8) is a classic tyrant. Can she teach her students about respect for one another—and when it’s time to stand up for oneself, or is it all tutu much?
Jeff Resnick is drawn to solving crimes. His brother, Richard, thinks that could be the basis of a paying business. Reluctantly, Jeff agrees, and their first case is about a child who vanished two decades before. Meanwhile, Jeff bumps into an acquaintance whose history is very similar to that of the missing girl. Is it coincidence or is there a pattern that links him to her and his future?
All is quiet at Blythe Cove Manor as its proprietress, Blythe Calvert, anticipates a peaceful holiday along with her cat, Martha. But then a taxi pulls up and drops off a troubled, runaway teen looking for a safe haven. Can the magic of Blythe Cove Manor heal this young girl’s aching heart?
If it weren’t for bad luck, Jeff Resnick would have no luck at all!
While riding his new racing bike, Jeff is hit by an SUV, an accident which has a cascade effect on his life.But it’s soon apparent that his so-called random accident is anything but, and the murder of a close friend has a hobbled Jeff on the run. Can he discover who’s out to destroy his life—and threaten those he loves most?
It’s 1979. Before cell phones,computers, and the World Wide Web. LA Detectives Robbie Howard and Danny Wallace solve crimes the old fashioned way, by relentless legwork. Multiple deaths on the lot of a movie studio look like your average murder-suicide. It takes dogged determination for Howard and Wallace to write off a Hollywood killer.
Jeff Resnick—babysitter? It wasn’t a reference that had ever graced his personal résumé, but when he’s entrusted to care for his brother’s most prized possession—his infant daughter—Jeff is tested in ways he could never have anticipated. With his girlfriend Maggie unavailable, Jeff has only one person he can turn to for advice when his tiny niece falls ill on his watch.
The trick-or-treaters have gone home and now it's time for the adults to celebrate All Hallows Eve. When Maggie suggests they consult an Ouija board, Jeff Resnick thinks it'll be anything but fun. And when they conjure up a ghost from Jeff's past, the game turns dangerous for the most vulnerable person in his life. (This short story directly follows Dark Waters.)
For Jeff Resnick, the trouble starts with a near-death experience. Brenda's family comes to visit and one of them reminds Jeff of the thugs who mugged him. His brother has taken possession of an expensive boat. The yacht holds a deadly secret, one destined to turn his world upside down. Will Jeff solve the puzzle before his vision of near death becomes a reality?
Jeff Resnick's curiosity is piqued when he sees a sign advertising psychic readings. At first he's sure the medium is a fake, but then his funny feelings lead him to suspect that a murder has taken place in the dilapidated house where Madam Zahara holds her readings. Just who died and how? And why is Jeff compelled to look for bodies buried in the medium’s yard?
In exchange for helping her unlock the emotions of a disturbed young woman, psychiatrist Dr. Krista Marsh promises to cure Jeff Resnick's recurring headaches via hypnotism. Meanwhile, Jeff’s brother Richard is vying for a chairman seat on the hospital’s fund raising board. Two seemingly unrelated events that suddenly converge with deadly results.
When a bartender at Jeff Resnick’s favorite tavern is murdered, psychic visions of a sparkling red high-heeled shoe and bloody hands linger in his mind--and hit too close to home. When Jeff’s brother Richard last helped him with an investigation, it nearly cost him his life. Still, Richard is determined to tag along as Jeff is drawn into the seamy world of fetishes an drag queens.
It's Christmastime -- the day after Cheated By Death ended. Jeff and Maggie spend Christmas dinner with Maggie's family, who are not receptive to her new significant other. It'll be a Christmas to remember . . . but who wants to?
Jeff Resnick faces a new dilemma: someone is stalking his sister-in-law, Brenda, who fears that violence from protesters will escalate near the women's clinic where she works. Or could the threats against her have come from her abusive ex-husband? Meanwhile, Jeff grapples with meeting his estranged father and the sister he he never knew existed.
Emily Miller knew her life was about to change forever the day her mother said, "I'm pregnant." She'd hear those words again and again--and with every pregnancy Emily's father changed from bad to worse. For years the Miller family suffered through his rages. It took a terrible loss for the family to regroup, and all the love Emily can muster to save her siblings.
Psychic Jeff Resnick has no expectations when investigating the disappearance of a four-year-old, until he confronts the mind responsible--a shattering experience for all involved.
--"A compelling mystery that will grip you tightly and not let go--even after you've finished reading."
~ Leann Sweeney, nationally best-selling author of the Yellow Rose and Cats In Trouble mysteries
A mugging leaves insurance investigator Jeff Resnick with a fractured skull, and graphic nightmares of murder. But when a local banker is found dead, Jeff believes the attack left him with a sixth sense, and finds himself probing into dangerous secrets that touch his own traumatic past. Originally published by Five Star/Cengage. "A tightly paced story with a good kick at the end."--RT Magazine