Diamond Mystery Book 2
by TG Wolff Genre: Mystery
Diamond. One name for a woman with one purpose. Or she was, until she finished her to-do list. Now she’s just a woman ready to be over with it all.
Hanna Lang is the kind of woman men write bad checks for. She has a problem. Her man, Dr. Damon Marten, disappeared in the middle of an ordinary day. The police aren’t concerned but Hanna knows better. A clandestine meeting leaves her with an address, a sealed envelope, and one last hope. An hour later, she rings a doorbell.
Before Diamond was a widow, she was CIA agent with skills illegal in a dozen countries. When her marker is called in, she has no choice but to listen. It’s just like fate throw her a curve ball, sending her the one problem she can’t walk away from. Hanna’s situation is virtually identical to her own with one exception: Hanna’s man might still be alive.
Diamond reluctantly takes the case. She dives into the mystery, surfacing in the middle of a scavenger hunt for a secret known as Poe’s Raven. It takes Diamond’s flair for the impossible to capture this bird, only to discover what’s in her hand has the potential to take terrorism to a chilling new level. And fate isn’t done with Diamond, forcing her to put it all on the line or risk setting the caged bird free.
Praise for the books by TG Wolff:
“TG Wolff’s Detective De La Cruz is caught in the crosshairs of solving heinous crimes, defending himself against a wrongful lawsuit, helping an abusive drug dealer’s family, thwarting his mother’s matchmaking, and falling in love. Pit against those who subvert justice and twist the law to suit their own ends, Cruz stands true while suffering his own demons—everything a hero should be. Wolff’s unsentimental and precise writing draws readers. Add Exacting Justice to your ‘to be read’ pile.” —E. B. Davis, mystery author
“Working with an incarcerated population, I deal regularly with people who have made poor life decisions but who can be inherently funny, surprisingly talented, or overly concerned. I know that simple labels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ don't work in the real world. In Exacting Justice, TG Wolff created characters just as messy, complicated, and dynamic as real life that keep you wanting to read page after page.” —Vincent Giammarco, Director of Behavioral Health Care
“You’re mine, bitch.”
“In your dreams, loverboy.” I snatched a thin, metal wand from a retreating woman, holding it overhead as Tall, Blond, and Obvious bore down at me. The selfie stick bent, the plastic end snapped off, giving me up without so much as a sorry. Still, it was enough to deflect the blow and give me the moment I needed to retaliate. I pressed forward, creating space to work. He had the advantages of height, weight, and reach.
Me? I was meaner.
He came at me again, telegraphing his over-the-shoulder swing. I blocked it and buried the jagged edge of the selfie stick in his soft belly. He shouted in surprise as much as pain, his weight coming down over me. With a lowered shoulder, I let his momentum take me back. Then I used it against him, lifting him enough that gravity carried him over the short wall behind me.
The crowd screamed.
The body landed.
I looked over the wall. TBO’s body laid across the headstones of a small cemetery, the selfie stick protruding from his belly, his neck broken. And he was still wearing Bennie’s backpack.
I hope she didn’t have anything illegal in it.
I turned back to the crowd. Dozens of wide eyes stared with a mix of intrigue and horror, waiting to see what I would do next. I swiped another selfie stick, broke it over my knee, and tossed it at the owner’s feet. “No selfie sticks!”
Whistles cut through the crowd’s murmurs. The calvary was coming. What felt like forever was only a few minutes. “Get Hanna to a bench before she passes out.” Some people just don’t have the constitution for the messy parts of this business. Uniformed guards flooded the area. Looked like I was going to find out how good the cover Ian created was.
“On your knees. Hands where I can see them.”
Yeah, like I hadn’t heard that line before.
Widow's Run Diamond Mystery Book 1
One night in Rome. One car. One dead scientist. Italian police investigate, but in the end, all they have are kind words for the new widow. Months later, a video emerges challenging the facts. Had he stepped into traffic, or was he pushed? The widow returns to the police, but they have little interest and no answers. Exit the widow.
Enter Diamond. One name for a woman with one purpose. Resurrecting her CIA cover, she follows the shaky video down the rabbit hole. Her widow’s run unearths a plethora of suspects: the small-time crook, the mule-loving rancher, the lady in waiting, the Russian bookseller, the soon-to-be priest. Following the stink greed leaves in its wake reveals big lies and ugly truths.
Murder is filthy business. Good thing Diamond plays dirty.
Praise for WIDOW’S RUN:
“Tina Wolff’s novel is for crime-fiction fans who like it action-packed and hard-edged. Written with feisty panache, it introduces Diamond, one of the most aggressive, ill-tempered, and wholly irresistible heroines to ever swagger across the page.” —David Housewright, Edgar Award-winning author of Dead Man’s Mistress
They buried me today and I had the balls to show up. Here I was, on a sunny day in May, shaking my head along with a hundred other people, wondering how someone so young and vibrant could--poof—be gone. I hid in plain sight, loitering on the edge of the crowd. A shit-brown wig in place of my usual chemical blond, matching contacts to camouflage my signature green eyes, and sunglasses plucked from the seventies ensured my face wouldn’t catch the attention of the masses. A theater-quality padded suit added forty pounds to my athletic frame and clothes I wouldn’t be caught dead in completed the illusion. The people who claimed to be closest to me would see what I wanted them to see, another mourner, lamenting the waste of a good life.
Sunny day in May—yeah, I’ve always had trouble with funerals being on sunny days. I firmly believe in mourning and expect nature to get on board with it. A funeral wasn’t a funeral if the day wasn’t gray with clouds so heavy water leaked like tears. Any temperature that didn’t chill through skin and muscle down to the bone was an affront to the guest of honor. Stark silence needed to be center stage, the absence of natural sound, the absence of life, then fill it with the guttural cry of a bagpipe.
That’s what I call a funeral.
Yeah…that’s not what I got. I got the Disney version.
I am TG Wolff, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born shortly after the river burned. I have always loved puzzles. It doesn't matter if the puzzles are made of words, numbers, or pictures. I'm not a cop or a lawyer, I'm an engineer. My stories aren't police procedurals or legal thrillers, they are mysteries designed to be solved. My stories are about the plot, the puzzle, and the fun twist of humor that makes life entertaining.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author? I became an author to avoid crashing into corn fields. Some fifteen years ago, I was living in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and had a project in Northern Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. The drive between the two was five hours with little to keep an active mind entertained. I began developing plots, some just little vignettes, to keep me sharp. Sleeping doesn’t work so well for me in hotels, so I began writing these plots. Over the course of the project, they became a book. Then I found myself writing when I wasn’t traveling and, voila, I was an author.
About 7 years ago, I became a published author on a dare. A dear friend of mine, Kyra Jacobs, was submitting to a twitter pitching event and dared me to submit on one of my manuscripts. I had been writing for my own entertainment, creating about ten, fully drafted, unedited stories. I submitted and while I didn’t win, the editor reviewing my work thought enough of it to refer me to her publisher, Entangled. About a year later, Lost in Tennessee was published by Entangled under the pen name Anita DeVito.
Mysteries are my first passion. I love the “figuring it out” aspect. Whodunits are my favorite with romantic and paranormal suspense in line after. My mysteries are published under my name, TG Wolff. At their core, they are whodunits with a healthy dose of humor. My romantic and paranormal mysteries are published under Anita DeVito. Readers will find that regardless of the name, my style comes through. I want to entertain you as much as these stories entertained me over the miles of highway and country roads.
What are some of your pet peeves?
One of my biggest writing pet peeves comes from sessions / seminars / classes on writing. When you are at the point where you have an incredible idea but don’t know how to write it, it is natural to want to look to the examples others have set. Understanding their “process” can help figure out your own. My pet peeve is anyone giving the advice who uses the words “you should.”
You should outline
You should create a detailed outline
You should detail the lives of your characters
You should write every day
You should write 1,000 words a day
You should write in the morning
You should use critique partners
You should read every book ever written on process
No. Nope. Non. Nyet. Nein.
Writing is like sex, there isn’t one right way to do it. Stop thinking about what “you should” do. As long as you are enjoying it, you’re doing just fine.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I am a born and bred city kid from Cleveland, Ohio. The city of. I’m not from the suburbs, and Cleveland has plenty of them. I spent the first 24 years of my life with a 44102 zip code. I started attending Cleveland Public Schools just before a Federal judge ordered the school busing. After that, I attended Catholic elementary and high schools. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and my master’s degree in Civil Engineer from Cleveland State University. I love being from Cleveland. I had to move away to realize how much the city had given to me and shaped me into a woman confident enough to wear the hats of both Professional Engineer and Published Author. No matter how old I get and where I travel to, Cleveland will always be home.
How to find time to write as a parent?
My writing process has three distinct parts. Imagining. Writing. Editing. Imaging is the fun part and can be done almost anywhere. I work full time and am married with two boys. If life is so hectic that I (literally) can’t rub two thoughts together, I go for a walk or a swim or a drive. Alone.
I began writing in the few hours each night between when the kids went to bed and when I did. I didn’t write every night, because I had to imagine before I could write. Using this method, romances would take 3-4 months to write and mysteries 4-6 months to write. It might sound like a long time, but it didn’t feel that way.
Editing was more challenging because I had to sit still and just do it. I did some after the kids went to bed but often had to just set aside the time during the weekend.
As my kids have gotten older, it’s become easier to find the time. (My teens hardly acknowledge my presence after dinner is finished.) Now I find that writing can be a way to engage them. Both of my boys are willing to jump into my imagination to help me figure out a plot element. My 17-year-old, Jack, taught me the word Defenestration, which is featured prominently in the coup de gras of my newest title, Suicide Squeeze. My 14-year-old, Viktor, helped me figure out the character and body positioning of that same scene. It’s fun to watch their eyes as imagination takes over. They have good ideas and strong opinions on characters and their actions.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Thinking specifically of movies, I think my romantic suspense series titles Lost in Tennessee, Lost in Shadows, and Lost in Deception (written as Anita DeVito) are readily adaptable. Each has a strong leading man and woman, a tantalizing romantic line, and a well-crafted mystery. They can be scaled down to a 90-minute format while retaining enough of the humor to keep it all fun.
Thinking of more of a Netflix, HBO style format, the Diamond Mystery series is a natural. The first book, Widow’s Run, and my current release, Suicide Squeeze, both feature a core of four dynamic characters that is common in this style of storytelling, with great minor characters that go in, make a splash, and then go out again. Unique to this series, each chapter has its own storyline while progressing the overall story along. Every chapter matters. Something is always going on…and it’s usually going wrong.
Now for my De La Cruz Casefile series, I have to say that the novel is the right format. These are more detailed mysteries with the “everyday” backstories of the characters woven in. A movie wouldn’t spend the time to do it justice. A television series would leave a lot on the cutting room floor or have some very tame episodes where the major plot is being advanced. There are times when you just can’t beat a book.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I always seem to have many irons in the fire. As Suicide Squeeze is releasing, I am in the editing stages of Book #3 in the De La Cruz series. The working title is Cleaving Pride and will release in February 2022 by Down and Out Books. The 3rd book in the Diamond series that is in its infancy.
My son, Jack, and I have a podcast called Mysteries to Die For. The second season starts dropping in February. This is a podcast where we perform stories to original music and we do it live. That means you get to hear all of our mistakes, which is what makes live entertainment so damn fun. This season, we are doing adaptations of the 1800s stories that started the mystery genre. Think Poe, Mark Twain, Allan Pinkerton, Wilkie Collins, Anna Katherine Green, just to name a few. You can find our podcast on our website tgwolff.com, or wherever you get your podcasts including apple podcast, google play, and Spotify.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
The lead character of Diamond was inspired by an NPR story that talked about how some of the greatest detectives of old had “nothing to lose.” They didn’t have a family, a big-time job with the big-time salary, a mortgage or any of the other constraints of modern life that keep us in check.
I wanted a character like that.
I knew the character was a woman. What I didn’t know what how she got to the “nothing to lose” point. It took a lot of thinking, imagining, and talking it out to come to her back story. Diamond was a CIA operative specializing in chemical weapons. She loved her life, every part of it. Then she met a man, one she shouldn’t have had anything in common with. Gavriil Rubchinsky was a Russian-born profession of agriculture who fixated on quinoa. Yes, quinoa. Diamond willing stepped away from the world of espionage, finding her new life equally but differently satisfying.
Then Gavriil died in a hit-and-run.
Now Diamond has nothing to lose.
In the first book, Widow’s Run, Diamond is re-investigating her husband’s death after new information surfaces that calls into question the “accident”. In her second book, Suicide Squeeze, Diamond is failing to come to terms with the state of her life. Just when she’s about to take a permanent exit, a woman shows up at her door desperate for help.
Diamond’s mysteries are fast-paced and border on fantastic. This isn’t a storyline that anyone could call a “procedural.” The character is suicidal, something that interferes with the use of common sense. I have no idea how this series will end. So far, she is not getting over her husband’s death—no matter what I do to help her.
Who designed your book covers?
The covers for my books released by Down and Out are designed by JT Lindroos (https://www.facebook.com/LindroosJT). He is a true artist, doing more than using purchased images for overlays. The cover for Diamond’s first book, Widow’s Run, is a photo JT took near his home of a cemetery, the opening scene of the book. The cover for Suicide Squeeze is also the opening scene and yes, it is a bathroom.
For the De La Cruz Casefiles, the covers are themed on the murder weapons. Exacting Justice and Driving Reign both feature images JT took himself. In Exacting Justice, the weapon is a sharp blade, one that is never found. In Driving Reign, the victim is poisoned or forcefully overdosed on doctored wine.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Reality sucks. Especially in 2020 and 2021 is not without its carry over. Suicide Squeeze gives your brain a 4-to-6-hour place to play where the biggest thing you have to worry about is if you ate all your [insert favorite reading snack here]. Follow Diamond through the pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, then come with me to my favorite parts of Scotland. And, yes, there’s a Loch Ness Monster scene. Diamond goes to Scotland, the Loch Ness Monster HAD to make an appearance. Come, fly with me.
What did you edit out of this book?
I had a fantastic dream sequence where Diamond “wakes up” in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. The long she was in it, the more she began talking in verse, the meter matching the original poem. She makes a mess of it, getting pissed at the bird, which in her dream is her archenemy, a robin. After nearly destroying the room, she figures out the clue buried in the most amazing poem ever and wakes.
Among my beta readers and editors, this scene was either their favorite part of the book or the scene they skipped. There was no middle ground. Because the scene was important to the story, I re-wrote it. The final version had essentially the same plot but was told in Diamond’s voice in about half the space. A decent compromise.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
Diamond’s bathroom was the one my husband and I had in our second apartment. Built in the first quarter of the 1900s, the tile, trimming, and fixtures were definitely old school. Our bathroom was white, as opposed to the more colorful version on the cover art.
My husband, children and I went on vacation to Scotland a few years ago. The things that made the strongest impression on me are in the book, like Walker’s Shortbread Cookies – I still have to pace myself or I’ll eat a box in a sitting. Edinburgh Castle is incredible and was overrun by hordes of adults with selfie sticks when we were there. Killing someone using a selfie stick was my own way of getting even. The town of Fort Augustus on the south end of Loch Ness is a real place, as is the old abbey converted to flats. The stand-alone cabin I made up, but the streets, restaurants and gas station/ grocery store are real. The Castle Urquhart is real. I made only modest changes to the insides of one of the buildings to work for the story. Not featured enough in the book are the people of Scotland. They were wonderful hosts and I hope to go back there. Notably missing from the book is Scottish food. Go to Scotland for the scenery, the history, the mysteries, and the people. Not the food. Unless you count the cookies.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am not a writer who tracks or tries to be ahead of trends. I write mysteries and, inside that genre, try to be original. I write puzzles. If I am not original, readers will know the solutions before they have all the clues. One challenge these days is a reader that “games” the story. That is, instead of reading and figuring out the solution, they are focused on metadata like how much face time a character is getting. It increases the challenge for me as the originator of the puzzle to counter the metagamer. If there is one thing I love, it’s a good challenge.
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