My Kelly O’Connell Mysteries center around, of course, its namesake— Kelly O’Connell. She is the sole owner of O’Connell and Spencer Realty, a real estate firm that specializes in renovating the Craftsman houses as well as other vintage structures in historic Fairmount neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas.
Not only is she a busy businesswoman, she is also a mother with a tendency of being a busybody-around-town. Officer Mike Shandy thinks she’s got the knack for trouble while she maintains that she’s just looking out for her beloved neighborhood!
Won’t you give Skeleton in a Dead Space, the first in the series, a try and see if you like it?
SKELETON IN A DEAD SPACE
(#1 in the series)
Kelly O’Connell never thought real estate was a dangerous profession until she stumbled over a skeleton in a dead space in an early-twentieth-century Craftsman house she was transforming into a coveted modern home in an older urban neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas.
One of the Amazon reviews, a Kindle customer, had this to say about the book: “Skeleton in a Dead Space is a fascinating mystery. After a real estate agent finds a skeleton in a house she’s renovating, she strives to solve the mystery, while at the same time keeping her family safe from threats made about the skeleton. I was thoroughly drawn into the story, its twists, turns and layers. Many characters in the story are involved in the mystery, which makes it all the more interesting. Definitely worth reading. Great mystery!”
NO NEIGHBORHOOD FOR OLD WOMEN
(#2 in the series)
When a serial killer begins targeting older women in Fort Worth’s Fairmount neighborhood, realtor/renovator Kelly O’Connell investigates, in spite of the pleas of her companion, policeman Mike Shandy, and her assistant, the colorful Keisha, that she stay out of it. Kelly knows a serial killer will hurt business, and she worries about the frightened old women in the neighborhood.
And when Claire Guthrie, a friend and former client, shows up at Kelly’s front door announcing that she’s just shot her husband in the butt, Kelly becomes her champion. Kelly knows about bad marriages and bad husbands from her own experience.
Then Kelly’s mom, the needy Cynthia O’Connell, decides to move to Fort Worth to be near her grandchildren. Kelly, a harried, hassled, and loving single mom of two young girls, unwittingly puts her children, her mom, and herself in danger and almost derails her love life.
TROUBLE IN A BIG BOX
(#3 in the series)
In this book, Kelly O’Connell has her hands full: her husband Mike Shandy is badly injured in an automobile accident that kills a young girl, developer Tom Lattimore wants to build a big-box grocery store called Wild Things in Kelly’s beloved Fairmount neighborhood, and someone is stalking Kelly. Tom Lattimore pressures her to support the big box, and his pressure turns to threats. Kelly activates a neighborhood coalition to fight the project and tries to find out who is stalking her and why. Mike is both powerless to stop her and physically unable to protect her and his family from Lattimore’s threats or the stalker.
After their house is smoke-bombed and Kelly survives an amateur attack on her life, she comes close to an unwanted trip to Mexico from which she might never return.
DANGER COMES HOME
(#4 in the series)
Kelly O’Connell’s husband, Mike Shandy, insists she has a talent for trouble, but how can she sit idly by while her world is shattering. Daughter Maggie is hiding a runaway classmate; protégé Joe Mendez seems to be hanging out again with his former gang friends and ignoring his lovely wife Theresa; drug dealers have moved into her beloved Fairmount neighborhood. And amidst all this, reclusive former diva Lorna McDavid expects Kelly to do her grocery shopping.
In spite of Mike’s warnings, Kelly is determined to save the runaway girl and her abused mother and find out what’s troubling Joe, even when those things lead back to the drug dealers. Before all the tangles in the neighborhood are untangled, Kelly finds herself wondering who to trust, facing drug dealers, and seeing more of death than she wants. But she also tests upscale hot dog recipes and finds a soft side to the imperious recluse, Lorna McDavid. It’s a wild ride, but she manages, always, to protect her daughters and keep Mike from worrying about her—at least not too much.
DECEPTION IN STRANGE PLACES
(#5 in the series)
A woman desperately seeking her biological mother, a televangelist determined to thwart that search, a hired hit man, and in the midst of it all, a reclusive diva.
Kelly has gotten herself involved in a dangerous emotional tangle this time, and Mike doesn’t tell her to back off, even when events take them from Fort Worth to San Antonio.
DESPERATE FOR DEATH
(#6 in the series)
Just when Kelly’s life has calmed, she faces yet another of life’s puzzles. Except the pieces in this one don’t fit.
First the apartment behind her house is torched, then a string of bizarre “accidents” occur to set her off-balance.
Who is stalking her? Where does the disappearance of a young girl and her disreputable boyfriend fit in? And why are two men using the same name? Is the surprise inheritance another part of the puzzle?
At a time when she is most vulnerable, Kelly can’t make the pieces fit, but she knows she must protect her daughters. Before Kelly can get the whole picture, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding.
An entire Chapter 1 is available for you to sample.
THE COLOR OF FEAR
(#7 in the series)
The Color of Fear marks Judy Alter’s return to mystery fiction and the Kelly O’Connell series after an absence of more than a year. This time, the indomitable Keisha narrates the short tale wherein Kelly and her family live under the threat of infant Gracie’s kidnapping. The story serves as a reprise of many of the previous novels in the series, as Keisha, in her search for the kidnapper, recalls Kelly’s earlier adventures.
Keisha remains outspoken and independent as she balances her need to protect Kelly and her family with her love for new husband, José Thornberry. Some but not all of Kelly’s friends and foes from previous stories appear here, along with such new characters as Clyde, the guard dog, and Cowboy, the homeless guy with a soft heart.
An excerpt from this novella is available: Excerpt
“The hardest challenge any author faces is “hooking” his/her reader. Judy Alter does this splendidly, bringing back the character of Keisha, Kelly O’Connell’s office manager, and presenting the story that follows in her voice. Keisha’s far from a detached observer/participant, her engagement in the action grabs you from the start, and seeing things from her perspective breathes new life into the on-going saga of Kelly and her family”
CONTRACT FOR CHAOS
(#8 in the series)
Released on September 20, 2018.
When four young men sign the rental contract on a Fairmount House, realtor Kelly O’Connell has no idea she has just signed a contract for chaos. But the racial tensions sweeping the country erupt in Fort Worth, and her tenants fan the flames. A young black policeman shoots an unarmed white teenage thief who charged him, the chief of police is shot by a sniper, and Kelly’s husband, Mike, is appointed interim chief of police. Life changes dramatically for Kelly and her family. Protests, threats, beatings, and graffiti mark daily life in Kelly’s beloved city. She must protect her infant, reassure her older daughters, and support Mike as he deals with the racism and dissension creeping through the police force and the city. How can she keep her family safe and stop the hate? Will the mayor’s city-wide Celebration of Neighbors calm a city on the edge?