Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
South of Nowhere

South of Nowhere

A Mystery

A Julia Kalas Mystery (Volume 2)

Minerva Koenig

Minotaur Books

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Reformed criminal Julia Kalas travels from small-town Texas to Mexico on the trail of a missing persons case in the second installment in this atmospheric, critically-acclaimed series

Julia Kalas has found a place for herself in small-town Texas. After being forced to relocate by the Aryan Brotherhood and witness protection, she's working on getting her budding construction business off the ground. But her newfound status as a sometimes-problem solver doesn't stop local cops from giving her the hairy eyeball when a dead body is found stuffed in the upstairs closet of her latest remodeling project.

Not up for another game of pin-the-tail-on-the-murder-suspect, Julia takes private detective John Maines up on an offer of employment working a missing persons case at the Texas-Mexico border. The fat check he dangles in front of her as payment will be enough to set her up in comfortable retirement far away from the tiny Texas backwater, which suits Julia just fine.

However, fate, as usual, has other plans for her. In South Texas, Julia learns that the dead man in her closet has been identified and that a warrant has been issued for her arrest. As she tangles with Mexican drug lords, shady surgeons, and a gang of Native American women with an axe to grind, she can't ignore the sinking feeling that things are about to get a hell of a lot worse before they get better.

South of Nowhere is the action-packed follow up to Minerva Koenig's original and thrilling debut, featuring an intriguing mystery and a gutsy heroine mystery fans will love.

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1



“He’s been dead awhile,” Liz Harman said, rocking back off her knees to open the field case she’d set next to her on the scarred wood floor.

The doctor, who also served as the coroner in this tiny little...

Reviews

Praise for South of Nowhere

"The sophomore outing clearly demonstrates that Koenig's acclaimed debut, Nine Days, was no fluke. Julie is an original heroine with gutsy attitude and take-charge approach to life. Fans of Sue Grafton will welcome this hard-boiled protagonist."—Library Journal, starred review

"The action is nonstop and will keep readers on edge as they wonder what else could possibly go wrong. Like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon, Julia is a strong, resourceful woman who wants justice and goes to great lengths to find it."--Booklist

“A fascinating mystery set in the dusty Texas outback featuring a short, slightly overweight, cynical female sleuth who is as tough as boot leather and as determined as any gumshoe crafted by Raymond Chandler, South of Nowhere by Minerva Koenig is Texas noir at its best.”—New York Journal of Books

"Minerva Koenig’s gutsy heroine Julia Kalas is back in this action-packed followup to Nine Days... In South Texas, Julia tangles with Mexican drug lords, shady surgeons and a gang of Native American women with an axe to grind, proof that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better."—Deep South Magazine, "Spring Book Picks"

"The action is fast-paced and expertly placed. The narrative is unexpectedly rich for the genre, laced with philosophy and psychology, Freud and the Buddha, economics, politics, the gender wars, and lots of local color... South of Nowhere is an original and elegantly trippy package."--Lone Star Literary

“Of all the sleuth figures in contemporary crime fiction with off-beat credentials, few have resumes to equal Julia Kalas…two elements grab hold: the dazzlingly strange turns the story takes and the emergence of Kalas as a wholly appealing character.”—Toronto Star

"Koenig's second is a breathless dash from start to finish. Tough, prickly Julia is a noir heroine sure to take a prominent place among female detectives."—Kirkus Reviews

“[Koenig] has created determined and damaged female leads who must navigate dangerous territory where gender, race and class shape whether (and how long) a person survives…"South of Nowhere" ends somewhere that made me smile.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The action is nonstop and will keep readers on edge as they wonder what else could possibly go wrong. Like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon, Julia is a strong, resourceful woman who wants justice and goes to great lengths to find it.”—Booklist

“The bodies keep piling up in this complicated tale, which offers enough mayhem, double-crossing, and general weirdness on the Tex-Mex border to last a lifetime.”—Publishers Weekly

“Small-town Texas is vividly brought to life in this atmospheric and entertaining debut that also introduces a memorable and unusual protagonist. It's bound to delight fans of Tricia Fields, Lori G. Armstrong, or James Lee Burke's 'Hackberry Holland' books.” —Library Journal (starred review and Mystery Debut of the Month) on Nine Days

“Texas architect Koenig's complex and intriguing suspense debut introduces 'Julia Kalas'--the name the WITSEC program assigned her after neo-Nazis made her a widow....Fans of distinctive female characters like Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon and Becky Masterman's Brigid Quinn will be thrilled to add Koenig to their ranks.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Nine Days

“Julia Kalas, the star of this entertaining first novel, is a five-foot Sherman tank of criminal intentions. She's the real draw of the book.…This self-described ‘tough broad' is still a woman, though, fascinated by relationships, and women are likely to be her most appreciative audience.” —Booklist on Nine Days

“A satisfyingly flawed female lead, a deep sense of place, and dead-on descriptions combine to create a Coen Brothers movie in print.” —Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Play Dead on Nine Days

“Seventeen years experience running guns and washing dirty money has given narrator Julia Kalas a well-earned confidence, a rough-and-tumble way of talking you know will cause her trouble--and provide us with thrills--throughout this blue-ribbon debut novel. When her husband's killers chase Julia into a Texas-based witness protection program, and her new overseer pulls the wrong switches in Julia's worried mind, look out law enforcement, a murderous Aryan Brotherhood, and anybody else who might be trying to pin murder on Julia's new friend and employer, Hector. A shocking, rousing finish stretches the muscle and sinew of Julia's swagger, then twists us magically--a perfect setup for Julia and Hector's next legendary tale.” —Jack Getze, Fiction Editor, Spinetingler Magazine on Nine Days

“Enthralling from the first page, Nine Days is a blistering and unforgettable debut from a tremendous new voice in crime fiction. Minerva Koenig is a name to watch for.” —Ed Kurtz, author of A Wind of Knives and The Forty-Two on Nine Days

“Minerva Koenig has crafted a smart, twisty debut with the perfect noir scenario: A government witness who fears that her remote new address is only a trap. Julia Kalas can diagnose the structural ills of an old building in minutes but can't rebuild her life without demolishing the rotten, corrupt infrastructure of a whole town. Trouble in small town Texas? Brother, I've been there, and the only way I'm going back there again is with Kalas. Neither Barbie doll nor Phyllis Marlowe, she is sexy and appealing and, by the way, can probably kick your ass.” —Jesse Sublett, author of Grave Digger Blues on Nine Days

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Minerva Koenig

MINERVA KOENIG is a licensed architect running her own one-woman practice. When not architecting or writing, she likes to sew, read, play chess, do yoga, dance, wrangle cats, and fight the patriarchy. Koenig lives in Austin, Texas.

Minerva Koenig

© Scott Griswold

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