Hey, McKenna here. Before I became an amateur sleuth, I was a skip tracer. For those who don’t know, that’s a person who finds people who don’t want to be found. Primarily, I tracked down deadbeats who had skipped out on their bills.
Let me clue you to something about that kind of job—it’s not easy. Especially back in the days when I was doing it. We didn’t have all these fancy databases where you could push a button or two and find your skip halfway across the country. No, we had to do things the hard way.
Call it old-fashioned, but it was a fact of life. To get good at my job, I developed what I call McKenna’s Skip Tracing Secrets. After I tell you about them they won’t be very secret anymore. The fact is, I don’t expect any of the readers here on this blog to be visiting Hawaii just to murder someone. That makes sharing a few of these a safe move.
Without further ado, here’s the first one. Be flexible and go with the flow. That means when you’ve got a source talking, don’t interrupt him. And if he won’t talk, consider using Secret No. 2.
When in doubt, lie. That’s right. In the old days when we called a house looking for someone, we didn’t say, “Oh, hey, this is McKenna and I’d like to find your brother because he owes my employer a five thousand dollars and we want to force him to pay his obligations.” Seriously? That would be a no-go.
There was this one time I had my assistant, a very sweet sounding young lady, call up my skip’s mother. I’d tried calling the mother before and she’d shut me down. But I had a feeling she knew more than she was letting on. So I decided we needed a woman’s touch and set my assistant up with a story about how she’d met the mom’s son at a bar the night before and it had been love at first sight.
To my delight, my assistant was a natural. She ad libbed and convinced the mom she was dying to hook up with the son because they were destined to be together. The performance was a home run. Mom gave up her boy. We nabbed our guy. And I wanted to give my assistant a big fat raise.
Along those same lines, another of my secrets is if you lied, make a note to avoid screwing up your “facts” later on. I learned that one the hard way. Unlike my assistant, who had only a single cover story to deal with, I was weaving different tales all day long.
Now, I’m not saying I did a lot of lying in The Scent of Waikiki, but there were a few times I needed to call up the old skills. There was that one when my partner and I were dealing with a scammer who stole money from my tenant. So I don’t give away anything, let’s just call it a twist on the old “good cop, bad cop” routine.
How about you? Are you a good liar? If you want to lie about it, that’s okay. You can just invoke Secret No. 1.
The Scent of Waikiki (Trouble in Paradise) by Terry Ambrose
About the Book
Cozy Mystery 9th in Series
Satori (July 19, 2018) Print Length: 330 pages
Honolulu landlord Wilson McKenna can smell a scam from across the room. So when one of his tenants loses everything in a work-at-home scam involving a new perfume, he’s shocked. With his wedding just weeks away, McKenna has to make a tough decision. Does he evict a woman who’s down on her luck? Or take time out from wedding planning to help his tenant?
Turning the case over to his PI-in-training friend Chance Logan seems like the perfect solution—until Chance tells McKenna he needs a wingman for a visit to fragrance entrepreneur Skye Pilkington-Winchester. McKenna’s sure he can keep everyone happy by helping Chance this one time. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and soon McKenna’s up to his board shorts in hot water. His tenant’s simple fragrance scam might involve industrial espionage, Skye’s assistant is murdered, and McKenna’s bride-to-be accuses him of having cold feet.
As McKenna and Chance dig deeper, it seems so much of what they’re being told doesn’t pass the sniff test. And the only way to get his life back is to find the dead girl’s missing boyfriend, unmask a killer, and finish up in time for the wedding. Other than that, it’s just another day in paradise.
About the Author
Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.
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