Hazardous Duty, the first book in the series, introduced readers to crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. In Suspicious Minds, Gabby takes on a job doing mold remediation in order to pay the bills. On her first day, she discovers a dead Elvis impersonator in the crawlspace under the house. Of course Gabby can’t resist trying to solve the murder. After all, she’s studying to be a forensic scientist. In the meantime her would-be rival, Chad Davis, turns on the charm. There’s also an ex-boyfriend and a current boyfriend in the mix to complicate Gabby’s life even more!
Gabby is a quick witted, fearless young woman. She’s not perfect, has baggage that she still carries, and struggles with the whole God thing. I’d like to hang out with Gabby and the assortment of quirky friends and people who live in her building.
The story is fast paced with a wonderful blend of humor, mystery, and romance. Christy has also done a wonderful job of weaving in a message that will be sure to touch every reader.
After reading Suspicious Minds, I asked Christy a few questions…
I’m a fan of the TV series, CSI. I’ve also enjoyed the alphabet mystery novel series by Susan Grafton, one being “H” is for Homicide. In Grafton’s books the main character, Kinsey Millhone, is a private investigator. Suspicious Minds is a wonderful blend of the two, but Suspicious Minds also includes the spiritual element. What inspired you to create Gabby’s character?
I was writing an article for a publication and one of the topics they were interested in was crime scene cleaners. Up until that point, I had no idea that crime scene cleaners even existed. I started chewing on the idea of having a protagonist in a mystery novel being a crime scene cleaner. Plus, I loved CSI and thought I could combine that aspect into the novel also. The ideas just grew from there! I can’t explain exactly how Gabby grew. I’ve always loved quirky characters and I love music. Readers can see some of that in Gabby!
How did you research the job of a crime scene cleaner?
I read tons and tons of articles. But the best research I did was sitting down for coffee with a real life crime scene cleaner. He had great stories to tell and answered my endless questions. I’m also friends with one of the medical examiners here in Virginia and she helps me with some of the forensic details. I’m NOT scientifically minded, at all, so I tried to be careful and make sure I got all of my details correct!
What would you like readers to take away from reading Suspicious Minds?
Number one, I want them to be entertained! I don’t write that to sound shallow, but isn’t that what every good story does? It draws people from their current world into someone else’s life, if just for a moment. But I also wanted people to reflect on the issues of loneliness and isolation. I feel like these two issues are only going to become more serious in the coming years, as technology makes it easier and easier for us to never really interact with people. People are even going to church online now! That’s just crazy to me. I know that loneliness is something I’ve dealt with myself as a writer. But as Christians—and as humans, for that matter—being around other people is so important. I hope the book makes people reexamine their own lives in that way.
I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Gabby and her friends. When can we look for the next book in the series to come out?
I wish I had a definite date to give you! I’m working on the book right now. It’s tentatively titled Organized Grime and I’m having a blast writing it. The mystery revolves around Gabby’s best friend, Sierra, who gets caught up in the wrong crowd. Things get pretty bad for her, especially when the FBI gets involved. I’m hoping to have a date for the book’s release from my publisher this fall. I’ll keep you updated!
Christy Barritt is the author of several books. She’s also a frequent speaker and freelance writer whose byline has appeared on hundreds of articles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology from Cincinnati Christian University. She lives with her husband and son in Virginia.
To learn more about Christy Barritt and her work, please visit her website at www.christybarritt.com
Have fun reading!