A Guest Blog Post
Killer Takeout, the seventh book in the Key West food critic series, takes place during Fantasy Fest, a New Orleans-style 10-day adult-themed party that leads up to a giant parade on Halloween. As you can imagine, adult themes and cozies mysteries are not a natural mix. So I thought carefully about what scenes I would include and how to work around the R to X-rated events so my fans would feel comfortable in the story. No naked people, in other words. I concentrated on costumes and food and pets–details that are fun to read about and wouldn’t distract from the mystery.
While I was doing the research for this book, my husband and I participated in one of my favorite Key West events, the zombie bike ride. And where I go, of course, my main character Hayley Snow goes. I decided we should get our faces painted by a professional body paint artist— and so Hayley does the same.
This event is a very crazy scene—imagine 10,000 people on bikes, most of them dressed up and made up like zombies. I made the decision while sketching out the initial draft that the first crime should occur during the bike ride. I had no problem setting this up. With thousands of people in costumes and chaos ruling, the killer would be able to hide in plain sight.
The difficult questions came later, when I was trying to figure out what kind of murderer would attempt such a thing in an enormous crowd. Wouldn’t it be noticed? And how would it actually happen? And why? You might think it ridiculous that someone would begin writing a mystery without those answers, but I assure you that I do it every time I start a book. The key becomes thinking about the people—what matters so much to one or more of them that the extreme act of murder begins to seem like an option.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
A Key West Food Critic Mystery
By Lucy Burdette, April 5, 2016, $7.99
About KILLER TAKEOUT: Every year, Key West’s weeklong Mardi Gras–style festival has tourists and locals alike lining up for costumed revelry and delicious eats. Key Zest magazine has assigned Hayley to write a piece on the fest’s grab-and-go food, so she’s planning on hitting up the mobile eateries while checking out the party preparations.
Hayley’s office mate, Danielle, recently elected Queen of Fantasy Fest, is also buzzing between festivities and fundraisers. But when her former royal rival gets taken out, Hayley needs to put down her party hat and her pen and figure out who served up a side of murder—before Danielle gets crowned a killer.
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