Summary and book reviews of Nine Days by Minerva Koenig

Nine Days

A Mystery

by Minerva Koenig

Nine Days by Minerva Koenig
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Sep 2014, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

Nine Days, Koenig's debut, is atmospheric, gutsy and fun, and Julia Kalas is an intriguing new heroine in crime fiction.

She's short, round, and pushing forty, but Julia Kalas is a damned good criminal. For 17 years she renovated historic California buildings as a laundry front for her husband's illegal arms business. Then the Aryan Brotherhood made her a widow, and witness protection shipped her off to the tiny town of Azula, Texas. Also known as the Middle of Nowhere. 

The Lone Star sticks are lousy with vintage architecture begging to be rehabbed. Julia figures she'll pick up where she left off, but she's got a federal watchdog now: police chief Teresa Hallstedt, who is none too happy to have another felon in her jurisdiction. Teresa wants Julia where she can keep an eye on her, which turns out to be behind the bar at the local watering hole. The bar's owner, Hector Guerra, catches Julia's eye, so she takes the job. But before she can get to know him as well as she'd like, they find a dead body on the bar's roof. 

The county sheriff begins trying to pin the murder on Hector for reasons that Julia discovers are both personal and nefarious. Unfortunately, the evidence cooperates, but Julia's finely-honed personal radar tells her Hector isn't a killer. She risks reconnecting with the outlaw underground to prove it and learns the hard way that she's not nearly as tough - or as right - as she thinks she is.

Nine Days, Koenig's debut, is atmospheric, gutsy and fun, and Julia Kalas is an intriguing new heroine in crime fiction.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1

I

"Recognize this?" says the redhead, raising a nine-millimeter pistol to my husband's face.

It's late. We're walking the scenic route home after closing the bar. Joe stops, watching the redhead's partner come around on my left side. They're both under twenty years old, with stubbly heads and slow, mean eyes.

"Sorry, guys," Joe says, showing them his handsome fuck you grin. "We're dry."

"We don't want your money, guido," the redhead sneers. "It's too late for that."

A cop car ambles through the intersection at Twentieth and B, half a block behind the man with the gun, and a familiar dread tickles the bottom of my stomach. I'm not really here, but I've been here before. I know what's coming.

My hands jump to my ears seconds ahead of the shattering blast that takes half Joe's head off, and I brace for the two slugs that are coming my way. I remember that they won't kill me. The cops will make the far corner ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Wow. That's what I thought as I finished the last page of Ms Koenig's terrific mystery, Nine Days. My next thought: How the heck did I get here? Not because it's an implausible ending. No, sirree. Not only is it a very plausible ending to a delightfully twisty, turny, blind-alley-filled story, but it hints at the beginning of a beautiful friendship between an unlikely but literarily scintillating duo.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

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Media Reviews

Booklist

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.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Texas architect Koenig's complex and intriguing suspense debut introduces 'Julia Kalas'...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.

Library Journal

Starred Review. 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

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

Author Blurb Jack Getze, Fiction Editor, Spinetingler Magazine
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.

Author Blurb Ed Kurtz, author of A Wind of Knives and The Forty-Two
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.

Author Blurb Jesse Sublett, author of Grave Digger Blues
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.

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Tipping the Scales

It is estimated that two-thirds of the population of both the United and Great Britain are either overweight or obese. Statistics that show the average American female has size 14 measurements. In Britain, the average woman has a size 16 body (which is equivalent to a US size 14.) The waist measurement of the average American and British man is 39" and 38" respectively. It would appear that slender people are being crowded out, except on the pages of fashion magazines. But what about inside the pages of popular fiction?

Sir John FalstaffAt one time, chubby characters - when they were represented at all - were characterized as some combination of (pick one or all) gluttonous, lazy, selfish, oafish, and/or stupid buffoons. Think Shakespeare's Sir John...

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