Guest Post: ADVENTURES OF A REAL LIFE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR by Elizabeth Breck

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Guest Post

I am not just the author of the thrilling new mystery, Anonymous; I am also a real-life private investigator.

There are different requirements for becoming a PI, depending on what state you’re in. Colorado, for example, has a simple open-book exam that you take online and have thirty days to complete once started. On the other hand, California, where I am licensed, practically makes you give blood: you must prove you have 6000 hours of apprenticeship under another PI license before they even let you take the exam, which most people fail. I prefer the stricter regulations. PIs are licensed to tail people, videotape them, question others about them, compile reports about their past activities—basically we’re licensed to stalk people. It’s comforting to know that at least in California some care is taken to make sure that the license is given only to upstanding citizens who know what they’re doing.

Being a private investigator means that Anonymous is filled with real-life PI adventures carried about by the main character, Madison Kelly. The plot is fiction and will keep you on the edge of your seat, but some of the things that occur in the novel actually happened to me while working as a PI. For example, there was the time my car was nearly stolen—while I was hiding in the backseat doing surveillance. I have excerpted that section of the novel for you, since it doesn’t contain any spoilers and is word for word what happened to me in real life:

She preferred to keep all of her windows up and the doors locked when she was doing surveillance. She had learned this the hard way. When she had first started out, she had done surveillance in an older car. She was sitting in the back seat one time, as she had been taught. She had the doors locked, but the front windows were down about four inches because it was summer. It was early in the morning but still baking hot. She’d been parked in a not-very-nice area in a rural part of San Diego County. All of the houses were set far back from the sidewalk.

As she hid in the back seat, she saw a man walking along the sidewalk toward her car. Madison’s attention was drawn to him immediately, and her pulse quickened. As he got closer to her car his pace slowed, and he started glancing at the houses, which were set so far back from the street that no one would hear if Madison yelled. He couldn’t possibly see her in the car; his interest seemed to be simply in a car parked on a lonely street with the windows partly down. He was over six feet tall, with a massive head and huge hands. Madison had no weapon in the car.

As he got closer to the car, he casually walked off the sidewalk and onto the gravel next to the road. He didn’t know there was a young woman in the back seat; Madison felt certain that if he’d known, it would have added to the attraction. Madison was strong and tall, but no woman had the upper-body strength of a man. It was one of the most terrifying moments of Madison’s life.

With no warning, his demeanor went from casual to violent and determined: after strolling around the car, he suddenly grabbed the open window of the driver’s door and started shoving it down into the doorframe with all of his strength. He made grunting noises with each shove. His intention was clear: he was going to get the window open far enough that he could reach his hand in and unlock the door. He didn’t have far to go. Madison had to think quickly.

As the man was moments from getting into her car where she was hiding, Madison lowered her voice to the deepest register she could find and said just one sentence in a booming voice: “Get the f***k away from the car.”

Confirming Madison’s suspicion that this was an experienced criminal, the man did something that left Madison haunted by what could have occurred had she not acted so quickly: he casually lowered his arms and strolled away from the car. A young man looking for a joy ride in a car, who hadn’t really meant much harm, would have run like the wind away from that authoritative voice; any lesser criminal would have jumped in fear. This man was so used to his violent way of life that he knew that if he ran, he would draw attention to himself. So he casually strolled away, not a care in the world.

That is just one of several incidents contained in Anonymous that actually happened to me. In addition, every single thing that Madison does to solve the mystery of who left the threatening note on her door is something that I would have done. I imagined myself in the different scenarios and thought, “How would I solve that problem?” or “What would I do if that happened to me?” So while the plot is fiction, the actions of the PI in the novel are what an actual PI would do in that same situation. I hope you enjoy it!


A threatening note & its link to two cold cases & a sinister unseen presence sends P.I. Madison Kelly on a search for the truth in Anonymous by @TheBlondePI

About The Book

About The Book:

Madison Kelly, a San Diego private investigator, arrives home to a note stabbed to her front door: Stop investigating me, or I will hunt you down and kill you. The only problem? Madison hasn’t been investigating anyone–she’s been taking time off to figure out what to do with her life. But how does she prove a negative? The only way to remove the threat is to do exactly what “Anonymous”, the note writer, is telling her not to do: investigate to see who left it. Could this have something to do with the true crime podcast she’s been tweeting about, and the missing girls?

The girls went missing, two years apart, after a night at the clubs in San Diego’s famed Gaslamp Quarter, and Madison had been probing the internet for clues. She discovers that someone has been one step ahead of her, monitoring her tweets to prevent her from getting too close. Soon Madison’s investigation brings up more questions than answers: are the disappearances connected? Are the girls dead or did they just walk away from their lives? And who is Anonymous, the person who will stop at nothing to keep Madison from learning the truth?

As she closes in, so does Anonymous. Set against a backdrop of surfer culture and coffee houses of San Diego, Anonymous follows Madison as she confronts the reality of the girls’ disappearance in a terrifying climax where the hunter becomes the hunted–and Madison is running for her life.

Purchase Links: – Amazon – Penguin Random House – B&N – BookShop


About The Author

About The Author:

ELIZABETH BRECK is a state of California licensed private investigator. A native Californian, she had read Harriet the Spy twenty times by the time she was nine, so it was no surprise when she grew up to become a PI. She has worked mainly in the field of insurance investigations, making her the real-life version of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. In 2013, she decided to go back to school, earning a bachelor’s degree in writing, summa cum laude, from the University of California San Diego. Anonymous is her first novel. She lives with a black Labrador named Hubert who is her best friend.

Author Links:


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