INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
The Fixer: The Killing Kind
(The Fixer - Katerina Mills Book 2)
(The Fixer - Katerina Mills Book 2)
by Jill Amy Rosenblatt
The Fixer: The Killing Kind is the second book in Jill Amy Rosenblatt's The Fixer - Katerina Mills series. Also available: The Fixer: The Naked Man.
The Fixer: The Killing Kind is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Kat’s back and in over her head with crooks, cops ... and killers.
Christmas is around the corner but professional "fixer" Katerina Mills isn’t feeling the holiday spirit, juggling college classes, a lovesick cop, and demanding clients.
Obnoxious hedge fund manager Simon Marcus wants his prized Porsche back from his vengeful wife. The job is hard enough until wise guy Anthony DeSucci shows up and orders her to bring the car to him.
Rock star writer, Paul Patel needs something "special" to finish his next bestseller, something that will get Katerina a "Go Straight to Jail" card if she gets caught.
And what about mysterious Thomas Gallagher? His jobs are simple and easy. Is he just a bored billionaire, or is he watching Kat’s every move, making his own plans for her?
As the jobs heat up, handsome, elusive thief Alexander Winter re-enters Kat’s life to tutor her in all things criminal. But can she trust him?
Katerina Mills is still haunted by her first assignment ... and her first assignment is about to come back to haunt her ... a deadly enemy who’s closer than she thinks ...
“Again?” Katerina asked as a whipping wind whistled around the parked car. “This is the fourth time.”
“There’s been a delay,” Jasmine said.
A few weeks earlier, Jasmine, MJM Consulting’s “Iron Maiden” gatekeeper, had called late at night. Thomas Gallagher, one of New York’s billionaire one percent, needed an assistant. Except he probably didn’t. Katerina Mills had already learned the first rule of a fixer. The job is never the job.
“Does he want a consultant or not?” Kat asked, her mouth overruling her mind. Careful Katerina. Don’t antagonize. You have to stay in. It’s too dangerous to be on the outside on your own. Not after the last assignment…
“Yes,” Jasmine said. “Any other questions?”
Katerina answered by clicking off the cell phone. Burrowing deeper into her coat, the heavy bangs of her short blond wig brushed her eyebrows as she focused on the apartment building diagonally across the street.
“Bad news?” came a voice behind her.
Katerina didn’t bother turning around. On the floor of the backseat, her current client, Lester Callahan, rearranged himself, kicking the back of Kat’s seat. She sighed.
“I hear you,” Lester said. “It’s tough. People are no good, you know? They give their word, it don’t mean shit.”
Katerina assumed Lester spoke from experience.
A pretty woman, swathed in a fur coat, exited the building and hustled to the corner, her hand in the air to hail a cab.
“Is that her?” Kat asked.
Rustling from the back seat. “Nope.”
Katerina crushed herself further into her coat. She didn’t want the work but she had to keep her hand in this world, to protect herself. And I need the money. But instead of a steady windfall of cash, the jobs had been few and far between. Lester needed an item retrieved; but she didn’t know what the item was. From his babbled tale of rambling half-truths, Kat pieced together a picture: Lester had dangerous connections, something had gone wrong, and he needed to disappear. He was about to board a Greyhound bus when he realized he had forgotten something.
“You know it’s not easy to get lost.”
“So you said,” Kat answered.
“Yeah, people don’t understand how big their digital footprint is, you know? Take you for instance. You’re a young girl. You on social media?”
“Dating sites? Not that you need one.”
Lester shifted again; Kat’s seat lurched forward. She sighed.
“You’re smart, you know. There’s a lot involved. I hired a professional to help me. Rebel One.”
“Yup,” Kat said, glossing over the sound of Lester’s voice. Am I smart or did it just work out that way? she thought, reflecting on her training by her first boss, shady lawyer and ex-lover, Philip Castle. Stay away from the computer unless it can’t be helped. Never leave a trail. Katerina realized Lester was still talking.
“It’s a stupid name but I didn’t say that. I didn’t want to hurt the kid’s feelings. Anyway, Rebel One can make you disappear. You don’t realize you do a thousand things every day and leave clues how to find you: the phone, the credit card, the bank account, your magazine subscription to Cosmo… everything.”
“I don’t read Cosmo.” My college transcript. My library card. Could I get away clean if I needed to?
They sat in silence.
“You have a family?” Kat asked.
“Yeah? And you’re just taking off?”
“It’s okay, I made arrangements, you know? I left some cash, told the wife we’d get a condo when I got settled.”
“Is that what you told your girlfriend?” Kat mumbled.
“I’m sensing judgment coming from the front seat. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that.”
“Sorry,” Kat said.
As they fell back into silence, Kat’s thoughts turned to her father, William Mills. She had plenty of judgment for him. After walking out on her mother weeks earlier and breezing through the Big Apple with his new bimbo, where was he now? Had he left a digital footprint? Could he be found?
Her father wasn’t the only one to pull a Houdini. Where was Lisa, who had brought Kat into this life as a “fixer”? Where had she vanished to? And then there was Alexander Winter. If it hadn’t been for him…
She relived the robbery in her mind; Winter taking her by the hand, leading her through the break-in to retrieve the client’s requested item. He had schooled her, protected her, and brought her home safe. Kat realized that not a day passed without her thinking of him. Except for a post-robbery “all clear” text, he had disappeared. Where is he now?
A young woman, rock star groupie attractive, wearing leopard Ugg boots and a winter-white fur coat over black pants exited the apartment building.
“Is that her?” Kat asked.
Rustling from the back seat. “Yeah, yeah, that’s her.”
Katerina shook her head. This anemic, two-bit hustler is hooked up with the jailbait leaving the building. “Let me guess. You bonded over shared interests.”
“You know, sarcasm is not attractive in a woman. It shows a lack of self-esteem.”
Said the man hiding on the floor of the back seat. “Uh-huh.”
“You got the code, the key, and the phone, right?”
“Yes,” Kat said, her heart racing like she was on the track waiting for the flag to come down. She slipped on her sunglasses, fussed over the wig hiding her long, chestnut-colored hair, and shrugged a large black bag onto her shoulder.
“Call me as soon as you’re in the apartment,” Lester said.
Katerina cracked the car door, checking for oncoming traffic. Getting out, she slammed the door and crossed the street. Punching the numbers on the keypad, she slipped into the building.
Remember, keep your head down. There are cameras everywhere. She made a mental note to change out her coat afterwards. The elevator chimed, the doors opened, and Kat ducked inside.
Getting out on the fifth floor, Kat stole down the hall. Apartment 512. She slipped the key out of her coat pocket, letting herself in. Taking the phone from the bag, she punched in the number. After two rings, Lester picked up.
“I’m here,” Kat said. “What am I getting?”
“Go into the bedroom,” he said.
Kat entered a room drowning in feminine pinks. “Okay, what?”
“You don’t see it?”
“Obviously not,” she said. “Is it a bill, a laptop, a deed to the apartment?”
“Go back into the living room.”
Katerina retraced her steps and froze in her tracks. A West Highland white terrier stared at her, its head cocked to one side.
Don’t bark. For the love of God and all that’s holy, do not bark.
“You didn’t tell me there was a dog in the apartment,” she whispered. What I wouldn’t give for a Snausage right now.
“Okay, good. You got it.”
“I wouldn’t say that—wait … what? I’m here for the dog? You’re leaving—and you want the dog?”
“No, no,” Lester said. “The dog has a microchip in it. I need the chip.”
“Because if the dog is scanned, the chip has my information. They’ll find my wife and then, you know—they find me. Digital footprint.”
Katerina blew out a mouthful of air. Still staring, the dog sat down.
“The chip is implanted by the right shoulder blade,” he said. “It’s the size of a grain of rice. It’s nothing to take it out.”
“I left my veterinary degree in my other purse.” Moron. “And what do you suggest I use for a scalpel, a Ginsu knife?”
“If you think that’s best. I’m not really attached to the animal. I don’t think she is either, truthfully. I mean, look, she doesn’t even take it with her when she goes out. I paid a shitload of money for that thing.”
Katerina clamped her eyes shut.
“I was told you agency girls are up for anything. Anything. I need the chip. Get the chip.”
Katerina clicked off the phone. She stared at the dog. It raised a paw as a greeting, then lay down on its back, baring its belly for a scratch.
Katerina hustled into the car, depositing the bag on the passenger seat. She revved the engine and took off.
“Did you get it?” Lester asked.
“Yup,” Katerina answered.
Katerina dropped Lester Callahan off at the Greyhound bus terminal. Then, she parked the car and sent a text.
Done. W. 42nd. 8th Ave. Thanks
She got out of the car and walked away. The text had gone to Luther, an entrepreneur with his own limousine service. Luther’s clients paid in cash. Luther saw nothing, heard nothing, and asked no questions. Luther had a lot of clients. He had gotten the car through Moose, a man Katerina had yet to meet. The car would disappear and turn up somewhere else: different state, different plates, different color. Five thousand of Kat’s take had already gone for payment for the service. Contacts liked to be paid up front. That was a problem; she didn’t get paid until the job was done.
Kat passed the Plaza and entered an elegant, gleaming office building. A few minutes later, she was standing in the empty, dark paneled anteroom of MJM Consultants.
“Come in, Katerina,” she heard Jasmine’s hard-edged voice call out.
With her bag slung over her shoulder, Kat entered the small, immaculate office. Jasmine, wearing her signature black Chanel and pearl teardrop earrings, glanced up from her laptop; she didn’t bat an eye at the wig on Kat’s head.
“The job is finished,” Kat said.
“The client called.”
I know. I was there. Right before he got on a bus.
“And then he called back again.”
“You never showed him the item he wanted retrieved.”
Katerina caught the hint of a smirk on Jasmine’s lips. Is this part of the ‘probation’ test? You are not cheating me out of my money. Think fast, Katerina.
“The client never said he wanted to see the item. He just said retrieve it. I retrieved it.”
Jasmine was about to speak when Kat’s bag moved, a sliver of fur peeking through the top. The smirk vanished. “Is that a dog in that bag?”
“You’re not a pet person?” Katerina asked.
“Is that the item?”
“It’s the item that contains the item.”
Opening a desk drawer, Jasmine removed two rubber banded packets of bills. She held them out to Katerina. “Get it out of here.”
Katerina took the money, turned on her heel, and left.
Stepping out of the building into the bright, chilly day, she placed a call.
“Whatever it is, it’s gonna cost you a lot of money,” the raspy voice said through the line.
“Morning, Doc. I need something removed,” Kat said. “But the patient isn’t human.”
The raspy voice broke out into a low gutteral laugh.
Katerina watched over the sleeping Westie. A clean-cut man, wearing surgical gloves and a gown, used a feather touch to perform the procedure. He held up the forceps, showing Kat the tiny chip. Moving to the microwave on the counter, he placed the chip inside, closed the door, and hit a few buttons. Kat watched the plate rotate. A few sparks later, the chip was cooked.
Kat turned to Doc, perched on a stool, his frame struggling under the weight of his bulging stomach. Between wheezes, he puffed on a cigarette.
“Thanks, Doc,” she said.
“Don’t bother. You still have to pay me.”
Kat nodded. At least he’s honest. This little act of benevolent kindness is about to take another healthy bite of my take-home pay.
A woman entered the room without knocking. Dressed to the nines, she looked to be in her late sixties, a cross between a gracefully aging Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O., complete with swing coat and pillbox hat.
“Miss Kitty, this is Gertie. She provides pet relocation.”
“Charmed, I’m sure,” Gertie said with a flourish of her hand. “Now darling, time is money. You want a major city or you prefer something rural?”
Thousands of criminals in the city and I get the Dolly Levi of pet theft.
“What do you have?”
“Oh, honey, it’s carte blanche. I always have a waiting list for Westies; very popular breed. Lucky you came along. People are so careful these days. Owners almost never leave them unattended.”
“You steal to order?”
Gertie’s eyes opened wide. “Steal? I beg your pardon,” she said. “Darling, I connect pets with loving families. I provide a service. You think Social Security pays enough to live on? A girl’s gotta get by. I used to be in the garment business—before they moved everything to China—no disrespect.” She gave Kat the once-over. “I can get you a coat at cost. You’d look to die for in a Saint Laurent Chesterfield. You want a coat?”
Kat shook her head. “No thank you. Any location far away from here will be fine.” She wanted to apologize. It wasn’t judgment. Kat didn’t know why, but she never quite felt prepared for the world she found. Even after what she had seen so far, she could be surprised. Maybe I’m not up for anything. Maybe I just don’t have what it takes.
The man finished scrubbing at the sink. Drying his hands, he turned to Kat.
“How long have you been a veterinarian?” Kat asked.
The man smiled.
Oh shit. Kat turned to Gertie.
“Meet my nephew,” she said.
The family that steals together… that’s one my father missed.
“Still lots to learn, Miss Kitty,” Doc said. “Lots to learn.”
Katerina glanced over at the sleeping dog. Pulling out the packets of money, she counted out fifteen thousand, half of her cut.
A girl’s gotta get by.
She certainly does, Kat thought, watching Gertie and Doc divvy up the cash. And not for the first time, she wondered how she would get by.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"The Fixer: The Killing Kind (The Fixer - Katerina Mills Book 2) by Jill Amy Rosenblatt is every bit as good, if not better, than the first book in the series. Even more action is packed into this edge-of-your-seat tale as Kat leads us on another thrilling journey." ~ Readers' Favorite Book Reviews
"I enjoyed this book. I am amazed at how Rosenblatt thought this plot up and then guided me through the labyrinth to the end. Of course there is the third, and last book, to come. That means things are not tied up neatly on all fronts at the end. I can't imagine what comes next! I recommend this book without any hesitation!" ~ suziqn6
"I really enjoyed this book. Yes, it was a little confusing reading the second in the series without reading the first, but I didn't know that was what I was doing and don't feel it took away from this story. I like a little mystery and the author gave me enough information to follow the story. I am going to get the first book and read it now and I look forward to the third in the series." ~ SRichards
"Kat is the amazing lady to follow as this story twists and turns though the Big Apple. Be prepared to sit up late to see what will happen next. I felt like I was with her every step of the way, holding my breath at one moment and cheering the next. I'm ready to continue Kat's adventures, I think you will agree as you reach 'The End'." ~ JMP
"What I liked about book, there was plenty of action with a little bit of romance. Book was well written and kept you on the edge of your seat action. Katerina got in over her head, she was smart and beautiful, she was in love with Alex who was in love with her if he would ever admit it. Book had my attention from the first page. I highly recommend this book, you won't put it down." ~ teresa
Interview With the Author
Jill Amy Rosenblatt joins me today to discuss her new book, The Fixer: The Killing Kind.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
This book is for adults. There are some themes in the book that can be a bit risqué and dark.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The initial spark was the idea of a man and a woman as adversaries. She is trying to get something from him. I kept asking myself questions. Who is she? What does she want? Why? I had heard of the term "fixer" before. There are other books and television shows about fixers so I decided this series would be an origin story.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In this case, it was the idea and then the character’s story. I spent a lot of time thinking about Katerina, who she is, what she wants, and her situation. I found the series through her and through the main supporting character, Alexander Winter. Winter has become such an essential part of the story and the series.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I’m not sure how to answer that question because writing this book and this series has been such a joy for me. This series is the first project I’ve taken on since having a terrible case of writer’s block. Just being able to write and create has been amazing. If I had to give an answer, I would say the hardest part was the last few round of edits. It’s always toughest being so close to the end but not being quite done yet.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope readers will become attached to Katerina and care about her as much as I do. I hope they enjoy this exciting and dangerous world and the cast of supporting characters. Many of the secondary characters will be coming back again, so I hope readers will like checking back in with Katerina and her cohorts with each book and following the adventure.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took about fourteen months to write the book.
What is your writing routine?
I wish I had one! I have a day job, so I write when I can.
How did you get your book published?
The Fixer series is my first try at self-publishing. I went the traditional publishing route with my very first two books, Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse. That was a very helpful experience. It showed me what steps I need to go through from first draft to the finished manuscript.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
That’s hard to say. Everyone has a different path. I think reading as much as possible, and reading different genres, is very helpful. And of course, write as much as you can as often as you can.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to read. I’m a huge ice hockey fan, so I watch as many of the NY Ranger games as I can during the season.
What does your family think of your writing?
My mom is incredibly supportive. She edits my work and is always honest. She challenged me on some scenes in this book. I had to go back and look at them again and make some changes. As a writer, it’s hard to see everything because you’re too close to the story. My mom always gives good, constructive feedback and I really appreciate that.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was a daydreamer, always making up stories. I was a quiet kid.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved reading when I was young. Unfortunately, I had a bad experience during one year in elementary school. I had a teacher that forced us to choose from a very small selection of books he had in his classroom. Then he would assign you to read 50 pages a night so you had to finish the book in a few days. Reading became a chore and, for a lot of years after, I wouldn’t pick up a book. I watched television and movies. In high school, I noticed that a movie I liked, Cannery Row, was from a John Steinbeck story. I found the book and fell back into reading.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized in my early twenties that, since I still loved television and movies, I wanted to write screenplays. Screenwriting was my first love.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
No. Once in a while, I’ll remember something that was said to me and think it might work well in a book as dialogue, but that’s all.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I love Margaret Atwood, John Steinbeck, Janet Evanovich, Robert B. Parker, Daniel Silva, Cormac McCarthy, and so many others. I learn something from every author.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Sometimes I hear from readers. I love to get messages! They tell me what the book meant to them and if they liked it. I appreciate it that a reader would take the time to write to me. That means a lot to me.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am working on book three in The Fixer series, The Fixer: The Last Romanov.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Jill. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you so much for letting me stop by, Lynda. I enjoyed it very much!
About the Author
Jill Amy Rosenblatt is the author of Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse, published by Kensington Press. She has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Burlington College.
The Fixer mystery/suspense series is Jill’s first venture in self-publishing. The Fixer: The Naked Man (Katerina Mills Book 1) is available in ebook and paperback formats. The second book in the series, The Fixer: The Killing Kind, released in November 2016. She is currently at work on the third book of the series, The Fixer: The Last Romanov (when she’s not watching NY Rangers hockey).
She lives on Long Island.
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five print copies of TheFixer: The Killing Kind by Jill Amy Rosenblatt (US only).