https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn_mDGLOPe8

In the following weeks, as you follow me along my blog tour (and I hope you do. Take a look at the Where I’ll Be section to the right to find the locations of my guest posts and upcoming interviews), you will learn of a marvelous new woman in my life. Actually, she’s been with me for years, but now I get a chance to show her to the world.

Mallory Petersen.

Who is she? What is she? Part of the answers to those questions is easy, another part isn’t. I suppose we can start with the basics and work deeper.

She’s twenty-eight at the beginning of her first adventure, Beta. Her birthday was celebrated a month earlier on October 26. She stands six feet with long blonde hair and a fabulous figure.

Mallory fell in love with mysteries and private investigation early in life. She especially loved the image of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade so much, she even bought a similar trench coat and hat as her trademark apparel. She envisioned herself solving crimes and bringing the bad guys to justice.

To be able to handle potential foes, she needed to be able to defend herself. She started taekwondo classes as a teenager and quickly advanced in rank. Her instructor was highly impressed with her aptitude and her discipline. She continued her training in college even while holding down various jobs and studying for a liberal arts degree. She had a goal to own both a martial arts school and her own private detective investigations office.

Mallory attended a small high school with only thirty students in her graduating class. She was a popular student but not in the traditional ways. While she had many friends, some girls didn’t quite know what to think of her, since she didn’t join the popular ‘cliques’. Most of the boys were attracted to her and although she dated a few, she never developed anything serious.

After college, she moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and with some financial help from her father, opened up a taekwondo studio on the south side of town. She lost a lot of sleep those first few years recruiting and instructing students, attending numerous camps, tournaments, and business seminars. Her hard work paid off. Currently, she’s a Fourth Degree Black Belt with several adult and junior instructors under her. They’ve been trained to take over and manage classes if, for some reason, Mallory can’t attend.

Because we can’t forget about her other profession, the private investigator. Almost simultaneous with the opening of her martial arts school, she found a downtown office on the second floor of what once used to be an art gallery. Years ago, the elderly German art dealer cut back on his inventory and moved everything to the first floor, which left a huge amount of space upstairs. Mallory pays a fair rent for a lot of space. A front office for a desk, computer, filing cabinet, potted plant, and a couple visitor’s chairs. Her personal office once held the majority of the art gallery’s exhibits, but now is like a hangar without the airplanes.

This quirkiness seen in her office design is reflected in the types of cases she ends up accepting. Yes, she does the normal employee background checks and takes witness statements for court cases. She also trails spouses accused of infidelity and track missing persons. However, the majority of her cases are a bit odd. She can’t recall one of her infidelity cases not having a bit of weirdness involved either with the people themselves or the specific circumstances of the affair.

She does take on serious cases. Her landlord’s daughter suffers from mental problems due to an abusive ex husband and tends to wander off on occasion. Subsequently, Mallory is called upon to find her.

In Beta, Mallory accepts an assignment to find a kidnapped eight year old girl. Cindy McGee is the latest victim in a string of kidnappings in Iowa in the past eighteen months. Mallory soon discovers individuals associated with a child pornography ring. It’s a dangerous underworld of heinous crimes in which Mallory finds herself. Her skills as both an investigator and a martial artist come into play. Along the way she not only meets evil up close but also the oddballs, the type with which she is familiar which give her a temporary break from the seriousness of her case.

So, who is Mallory Petersen? This is a good introduction, but next time, let’s explore deeper and I’ll introduce you to a few more people in Mallory’s life.

Beta is published by Echelon Press. The book can be purchased October 1, 2011, at Omnilit.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com. For more information on Beta, my other book, Night Shadows, my upcoming book, Alpha, and four short stories also to be published, please visit www.stephenbrayton.com.

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