Blurb for Every Inferno:
Depressed. Defiant. Possible alcoholic. These are just a few of the terms used to describe fifteen-year-old Jacob Jasper Jones. Lately, though, JJ has a new one to add to the list: detective. He’s been having strange dreams about the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, and he thinks he finally has the clue to catching the arsonist who destroyed his family.
A murder investigation isn’t the only thing the dreams trigger for JJ, though. They also lead to secret meetings with his estranged sister, an unlikely connection with a doctor who lost his daughter in the fire, and a confusing friendship with McKinley, a classmate of JJ’s who seems determined to help him solve the mystery.
All JJ wants is to shake the problems that have followed him since that fire, and he’s convinced he must catch the arsonist to do it. But as JJ struggles to find the culprit, he sees there’s more than one mystery in his life he needs to solve.
Amazon page: amazon.com/author/johannaparkhurst
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7370437.Johanna_Parkhurst
Excerpt from the new novel Every Inferno!
JJ’s got a lot of mysteries in his life…and now McKinley, a random students from his writing class, has decided that JJ should try to solve the biggest one.
JJ frowned. “Listen, McKinley, I was drunk, okay? I don’t even remember what I was saying. So can we just drop it?” He grabbed his backpack and stood.
McKinley crossed his arms. “No.”
“No. Listen, JJ, everyone in Moreville remembers that fire. It’s a really big deal. And then you start talking about how you might know the guy who did it or something? You can’t just decide not to tell me the rest of that. I mean, you’re not the only one who loves a good mystery.”
JJ snorted. You’d like them a lot less if you lived through mine, he thought. “Whatever.”
But McKinley kept his arms crossed and his eyes on JJ. “JJ, I’m already taking a really big chance on you, letting you show up to my sessions with Penny like this. So if you want to keep this arrangement going, you gotta trust me too.” His mouth stretched into a half smile.
JJ blinked. “Are you… blackmailing me?
McKinley waved that off. “Only a little. And JJ, I’m really not doing it to be an asshole or something. I do want to get to know you better. I think you’re an interesting guy.” He patted the seat next to him.
JJ shook his head and sat back down. “I’ll tell you a little,” he finally compromised. “But I’m still not gay, okay?”
McKinley studied him with that same half smile. “JJ, methinks you are starting to protest too much.”
JJ just rolled his eyes.
He ended up filling McKinley in on the same basic details of the dream. McKinley nodded as JJ talked, looking more interested when he got to the specific details of what the tattoo looked like.
“They even did a sketch of it?”
“Yeah. They sent it out to the tattoo shops and whatever. So far, nothing.”
McKinley nodded. “Dude, that sucks. So what are you gonna do now?”
“About what?” JJ was puzzled.
“To find the arsonist. You know, solve the mystery.” McKinley gestured at the novel on JJ’s lap.
“You think I should look for the guy?”
McKinley shrugged. “I dunno. Just kind of seems like you’re all about mysteries and stuff. Plus, even if the police are looking into the tattoo, there’s no way it can be their first priority. That fire happened a decade ago. I thought someone who created an arson investigator as the key character in his writing would be all about finding an arsonist he’s dreaming about. “
“How do you know about Detective Finch?” JJ was appalled.
McKinley shrugged. “You have your mysteries, I have mine.”
“That’s… private! I told you, I’m really private!” JJ sputtered.
“Yes. Yes, you are.” McKinley nodded earnestly.
JJ was speechless.
“Seriously,” McKinley continued, “you seem all about this detective stuff. So why not give it a go? I’m not suggesting you charge into dangerous back alleys or something. But this is a small town. There’s gotta be something about that tattoo we could look into.”
McKinley shrugged. “JJ, I’m not gonna lie. I’m a little bored these days. It’s not like there’s a lot of dating prospects for a guy like me in this Podunk town, and I’m sick of spending every weekend either drinking in a field or going to the town’s one bowling alley. Even Twitter’s boring right now. Our school’s classes are way too easy.” He smiled. “I asked you about the stuff you were spewing in the field that night because it seemed like it might be interesting. And it turns out I was right.”
JJ found that he was still speechless.
“Look, think about it, okay? I know you’ll be at Penny’s next tutoring session. We can talk about it then.” And with that, he punched JJ lightly in the shoulder and left.
JJ was pretty sure his mouth was wide open. And he still couldn’t come up with a single thing to say—not that there was anyone there to say it to, anyway.