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Close-Up Talk Radio spotlights author Laura Elvebak
Houston, TX – If solving a mystery requires paying attention to even the smallest of details, writing a mystery is no different. Ideas can come from anywhere at any time; it’s simply a matter of being able to recognize them when they present themselves.
While working across the street from Houston’s Tranquility Park, long a refuge for the city’s homeless, mystery writer Laura Elvebak noticed a large mound of grass.
“I looked at that and thought, ‘What a great place for a body!’ recalls Elvebak. “That was the beginning of the book.”
Laura Elvebak is the author of the acclaimed Niki Alexander mystery series: 2008’s Less Dead and its follow-up, 2009’s Lost Witness. The series follows Niki Alexander, an ex-cop who quits the Houston police force to help the city’s troubled street children. Elvebak’s compelling stories and rich characters have made the books a favorite among readers, many of whom have described her novels as “impossible to put down.”
Born in North Dakota and raised in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Elvebak’s stories are drawn from her remarkable and varied experience. Indeed, Elvebak has lived all over the country, working every job from go-go dancer to legal assistant. She’s also been married six times, including one husband on the run from the mob.
“They all made for great mystery characters but they’re not good husbands,” laughs Elvebak. “Several people have told me I should write a book about my life, but that’s kind of hard to do. I can make more sense of my experiences if I fictionalize them.”
Elvebak’s books focus on the traumatic lives of Houston’s runaway teens. In Less Dead, Jade, an abandoned 15-year-old, stumbles upon the body of a dead councilman. When Jade goes missing, Niki’s ex-partner asks for her help.
“Serial killers look at runaways, throwaways, prostitutes and homeless people as less dead,” explains Elvebak. “If something happens to them, nobody cares. But Niki does care and she’s going to help them.”
Now retired, Elvebak has devoted herself to writing full-time. Fans of the Niki Alexander mystery series will be pleased to learn she’s currently working on a third Niki Alexander novel tentatively titled A Matter of Revenge.
“I am completing the third Niki Alexander book. Niki has to stop and bring to justice a wealthy real estate magnate with a secret life as a pedophile and child pornographer who is using a wilderness camp for trouble boys on one of his properties as his resource. Meanwhile Niki gets a visit from her stepmother whom she hasn’t seen in 14 years. When Lilith was married to her father, she worked in the D.A.’s office prosecuting sex crimes. The combined efforts of Niki, Homicide Investigator Nelson Spalonetti, who has the case and also her lover, and her step-mother work to catch and put away this pedophile and pornographer.
“This is one of the worst scenarios a homeless teen can run into. He or she is primed for being picked up to get paid for sex. They are hungry, homeless, and desperate, prime for pedophiles, pimps, or victim of human trafficking.
“I also have a standalone that is about to be published and should be out by the end of the year or early part of 2014, called The Flawed Dance, about a go-go dancer in 1969 Philadelphia, and how she outwits the mob.”