Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Historical #Prohibition #BigTownMafia #Detective: THE SILENCE BROKEN, The District Detectives Parts One, Two, & Three by J. Arens

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The District Detectives Parts One, Two, & Three



In a time of the Great Depression, Olivia Wainwright is The District Detective. Not a job for just anyone, much less a girl in her early twenties, working as the first line of defense between the good, honest people of Big Town and the three crime families that over run The District.

Getting used to a partner, even at the best of times, is a lifestyle change. There’s a new player in town, someone lurking in the shadows. Someone is stirring up the delicate balance of The District. Pitting one mob boss against the other.

No one knows who’s pulling the strings. Not the men running the crime families, not the police, not even Olli knows who’s creating the stifling silence over The District. And it seems no one is safe, not even the cops that patrol Big Town’s safer streets.

Tempers flaring and personality clashes aside, people are dying in Big Town, and Olli has to play well with others and fast.

None of that matters when people are dying.

By the time all the pieces start to make sense, the outcome shocks Olli to her very core.

The Silencer has been in Big Town all along. And in a place where they would have never thought to look.

Civilized Big Town.

The District Detectives Parts One, Two, & Three



The hand-drawn sketch was the first paper in the well-worn, dilapidated file. Ace’s face was turned a quarter-turn from forward, his eyes were narrowed, and his lips were pressed tightly together. His jaw muscles were clenched and he couldn’t be mistaken for anything but deadly. The corners of the paper were dog-eared and the paper itself looked like it had been handled quite a bit. The next sheet of paper was a compilation of information on where he was born, supposedly; where he grew up, according to speculation; and when he got his start in the world of organized crime at about fifteen—that date known well. The next three pages were overflowing with his rap sheet; both the known offenses, and the crimes that pointed to him but hadn’t been proved.

This file had been missing from its appropriate place in the library in Wainwright Detective Agency for years. It was well-used by only one person. It was in a desk drawer, constantly inches from finger tips that knew exactly how to pull it out without the help of searching eyes. She was obsessed with getting to know him better than anyone else so she could bring him to justice. Her grey-green eyes would stare at the picture, like they were now, memorizing every detail for the thousandth time. She could recite—verbatim—the statistics and rap sheet without looking, almost better than her home address. When the file was out, it was just herself and the file of the man she hated.

“…Olli…Olli…Olivia Wainwright!”

Olli blinked and looked over the edge of the file at a holographic image of a girl about the same age as she was. “Hm?”

“Put that file away. You have more important things to do,” the image told her, an almost harsh tone edging her voice.

Olli looked at her for a moment and then went back to studying the picture. “I beg to differ.”

“Olli, you’re not going to get anything done by just looking at a drawn picture of the man,” the image pointed out.

Olli closed the file, her thumb still in it for quick opening. “See, that’s the difference between you and me, Dee. I happen to think that it helps.”

“How? You know that file better than your office, Olli. It’s not like you’re going to learn anything new from it.”

Olli opened it again. She looked up when Dee sighed and shrugged. “You never know.”

“Olli, it doesn’t help you to obsess about something that you can’t change. It’s in the past. Ten years ago.”

Olli’s jaw hardened. “I can make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Dee folded her arms and raised her eyebrows. “How? By pouring over an old file that you know by heart while ignoring the mess that is your office?”

Olli closed the file and slipped it into its drawer. “How do you expect to motivate me to do anything if you use that motherly tone and look? You know you’re not my mother.”

Dee tilted her head to the left and sighed. She uncrossed her arms and folded her hands behind her back. “If I were your mother, I would say something along the lines of: Must you wear that?” Dee’s right hand motioned to Olli as a whole.

Olli looked down at what she was wearing. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” she asked, a slight defensive note edging into her voice.

Dee’s eyes flared open and her hands turned palm up toward the ceiling. “You really don’t know?” She sighed and folded her hands. “Well, let’s start with your blouse.”

“What’s wrong with it?” Olli protested.

“It’s grey, for starters. Dull, boring, blend-into-rock, grey,” Dee started.

“But-” Olli interjected.

“And look at those sleeves, Olli! They’re baggy and droopy. Your arms look positively fat,” Dee continued like she hadn’t heard Olli.

Olli frowned and picked up her right arm. Her dark dove grey blouse sleeve billowed slightly with her movement. “I need them to be wide. I need the arm movement.”

“You never wear bright colors. Always dark blues and greys of every color, but light greys, and black! Why can’t you wear yellows, and greens, and reds? You look so beautiful in yellow, Olli,” Dee continued like she hadn’t heard Olli.

“Because-” Olli started.

“You’re wearing pants. Olli, girls your age do not wear pants. Especially the girls of your status. Your father is the owner of this business, your family practically built this city from the ground up. You should be attending balls and dinner parties. But instead you’re running around the shadiest parts of town in…pants.” Dee paused to take and break and glanced over at Olli.

Olli was staring at Dee, her face contorted in something that looked like horror. “Dee, you know high society parties are not where I belong.”

Dee folded her arms and frowned.

Olli shook her head pointedly. “Besides, I need to wear pants.”

Dee shot her an exasperated look. “But dark grey and black pants? And why are they always wrinkled below your knees?” Dee pointed to the zig-zagging, deep wrinkles that were always present on Olli’s pants legs from nearly her knees down to the cuffs.

Olli looked down at the bottom of her charcoal pants. A small smirk flitted across her face. She focused on Dee again. “Anything else you’d like to address while you’re at it?” she asked, contained mirth sparkling behind her grey-green eyes.

“Yes. Yes I do.” Dee walked forward and her right forefinger set down on the tip of Olli’s right boot.

“My boots.” Olli’s eyebrows rose slightly.

“Boots. Girls your age don’t wear boots unless it snows, and that’s only while they’re outside. Girls your age wear heels. Like these.” Dee held her left hand out flat and a simple black heel with a little strap that would tie just under Olli’s ankle appeared on her open palm. It had a heel that was about two inches tall, thick and sensible.

“My boots are black.” Olli offered, trying to draw a parallel.

“And terribly scuffed.” Dee shook her head.

“I use them.” Olli grinned. She took her feet off the desk and stood up, her wrinkled from the knee down pants, falling down around her ankles. Olli stepped around her desk and leaned against the near edge. “And what do you suggest instead?” she wondered, her hands settling on the moulding of the old mahogany desk on either side of her.

Dee looked thoughtful for a moment and pursed her lips. “Something like this.” Dee looked to her right, the shoe zapping out of existence as she turned.

A full-size image of Olli appeared next to Dee. Only the holographic Olli wasn’t wearing anything near what real Olli was. The hologram was in a rose pink dress suit. The skirt fell to the middle of the hologram’s shins, and her feet were clad in the same heels as the shoe that Dee had just been holding. Over the skirt was a neat little blazer that clung tightly to the hologram’s ribs. The shoulders were tight and the sleeves fitted. “See? Aren’t you pretty?” Dee started the hologram slowly turning and looked away to the real Olli.

Olli was staring at the image askance. “I’m so pale! Dee, I look dead!” She looked at her secretary, her mouth open slightly. “Look at me, Dee. I look like I’ve been dressed for my own funeral.” Olli shook her head, a smile on her face despite her protests. “I could never wear that. Where would I put my badge?” she asked, standing up and folding her arms as she stood up and looked over the image of herself.

Dee frowned. “You look so beautiful, Olli. Maybe not this color. Perhaps a yellow?” The color of the dress suit blinked to a sunny yellow and continued to spin. “You could do your job just as well in this,” Dee admonished, sending the image walking around the office.

Olli watched the image of herself walk past the coat stand, where her black leather jacket hung; waiting for the next adventure, and the tall mirror by the door. Her holographic self then walked down the length of the bare wall opposite Olli’s desk. Olli settled on the arm of the closest of two black leather arm chairs that faced her desk and propped her chin on her right hand-her elbow braced against the chair back-as the image walked past the outside wall of the office. The entire wall was made up of four windows. Glass extended from the ceiling to the floor, eight feet tall by four feet wide. The glass panes fitted seamlessly together, and were extremely strong. Holographic Olli then walked back to stand next to Dee, her right shoulder slipping past four filing cabinets that rested against the remaining wall of the office. The hologram stopped next to Dee and smiled at the real Olli.

Olli pursed her lips and looked at Dee. “I can’t wear that.” She stood up and walked closer to the hologram. “Is that wool?” Her lips pulled back in half-terror. “Oh, I’m itchy already.” She shivered and shook her head.

Dee half-glared at Olli and frowned. “Fine. I’ll wear it.” The image of Olli disappeared and the dress suit and heels zapped onto Dee, replacing the simple blue day dress that she had been wearing. A second later the color changed from yellow to the original rose pink.

Olli smiled. “That looks good on you. Let me tell you what it’s like outside the building. Since you’ve never been.”

“You mean, where girls wear things like this?” Dee asked, pulling down on the blazer a little bit.

Olli pursed her lips and barely shook her head. “Girls who don’t do what I do for a living, yes.”

“And what exactly is it that you can’t do in a dress?” Dee asked, folding her arms.

Olli stood up and grinned. “Dee, do you know what a ladder looks like?”

Dee looked insulted. “Do I know what a ladder looks li-really Olli.” the image of a ladder appeared between the two girls.

Olli chuckled slightly. “Try to climb it now, and like someone is chasing you.”

Dee looked at her like she was crazy. “Me?”

Olli shrugged. “You can run a simulation of someone dressed like you if you like.”

Holograph Olli was back in an instant, wearing the same yellow outfit. She started up the ladder but was quickly bogged down by her inability to get her feet high enough for the rungs. Her jacket slid up and the material dug into her arms when she tried to reach for the next rung. Rips appeared at the seams on the shoulders of the blazer.

“If someone was chasing her, she’d be caught already. She hasn’t even made it a third of the way up yet,” Olli intoned from the other side of the struggling image.

Dee moved the image from between them and narrowed her eyes. “Fine, but that can’t be all you do.”

“I run a lot.” Olli offered. “Have you ever run in a dress and heels, Dee?”

Dee looked at her like it was a stupid question. “What would I need to run for?” she asked, incredulous. “I can zap myself where I please.”

Olli shrugged. “Do a simulation. Oh, and make sure that the ground isn’t perfectly level too.”

Holographic Olli started running and almost instantly was tripping over the skirt that was wrapping around her legs. She stumbled and fell.

“Annnnnnnnnd she’s caught again. That didn’t take long.” Olli gestured to the still-prone holograph.

“So this is why you insist on wearing pants?” Dee glanced at the image and then focused back on Olli just before it disappeared.

Olli started back around her desk and flopped, very unceremoniously, and quite unladylike, into her chair. “Yes. But more importantly I can do this.” Olli’s right boot heel dropped heavily onto the top of her desk and then her left ankle dropped onto her right.

Dee stared at her for a moment. “That is hardly the most important thing you can do because of your pants.”

Olli grinned and shrugged. She picked up the crime lord’s file again. “Now. Where was I?”

“Paperwork, Olli, paperwork. Start with that daily report right there.” Dee pointed to one of the stacks.

Olli sighed. “Fiiiiine,” She drew out the word, throwing her head back and rolling her eyes at the ceiling. Her gaze shifted to Dee for a minute, and she picked up the daily report and stuffed the file back in it’s drawer. She flopped back into her chair, pushing the drawer closed with her left foot then dropping back into place over her right ankle.

“Thank you. I appreciate it.” Dee nodded, relieved that the conversation didn’t end in Olli grabbing her black leather jacket and leaving the office until the next day.

Meet Author J. Arens…

J. Arens grew up on the Western Shore of Southern Michigan. Her days filled with horses, dogs, day dreams of fast cars and a love for great literary detectives. Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Sherlock Holmes, and brilliant but dangerous men who inhabit the pages of History during the time of the Volstead Act.

The District Detective series was born out of the need to read books that blended together the best things of all of J. Arens’ favorites. All while set in Prohibition Era Middle-America.

When not working on the latest District Detective novel, or coming up with ideas for the next novel, J. Arens can be found behind the desk at the local NAPA auto parts store, attending local car shows, riding horses with friends, cuddling with police dog training drop-out, Dutch Shepherd mix, Dutchess and daydreaming about fast cars.


Links to J.’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon (Part One): https://amzn.to/3P1i4YU

Amazon (Part Two): https://amzn.to/3VxvfDa

Amazon (Part Three): https://amzn.to/3P21ic6

Buy Links for All 3 Parts Combined:  https://books2read.com/u/38Pvq7


Thanks, J., for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

5 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Historical #Prohibition #BigTownMafia #Detective: THE SILENCE BROKEN, The District Detectives Parts One, Two, & Three by J. Arens”

  1. Good morning, J., and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I’m intrigued by the blend of historical and more modern elements in your book. I loved Dee’s insights into Olli’s character from your excerpt. It’s all going to make for an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your book with us today!

  2. You had me at horses and fast cars! I grew up riding jumpers, reading Nancy Drew, and cultivating an as-yet unfulfilled longing for a vintage Aston Martin. I look forward to exploring your mysteries. Happy writing, J!

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