Please welcome Thomas Burns, to tell us about his series protagonist:

Who is this Natalie McMasters we keep hearing about?

Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium.
If you’re a mystery lover like me, you’ve read all the classic detectives. Sherlock Holmes. Sam Spade. Mike Hammer. Kinsey Millhone.

What do all these sleuths have in common? Each one was a product of their era and their culture. So, too, is Natalie McMasters.

Nattie is a pre-law student at State University, a mega-college in an unnamed capital city in a southern state. As the series opens, she’s renting a house in the student ghetto with her roommates Kwaneshia and Fields. To help make ends meet, she works for her Uncle Amos Murdoch, the proprietor of the 3M detective agency, which is based in a nearby small town because the frugal Amos won’t pay the high rents in the capital.

Most of his business comes from catching insurance scofflaws who say they’re hurt but aren’t. Nattie spends most of her working hours on stakeout, waiting for a subject to do something they’re not supposed to be able to, so she can get a picture. It’s a great job for a student — she can study during all those long hours in the car.

Amos even got her a private detective trainee’s license from the state, of which she’s prouder than she likes to let on. But one day, she sees something that she’s not supposed to. That’s the premise of the first Natalie McMasters story, Stakeout!

You can read it for free on Wattpad at

is the first Natalie McMasters novel. The action occurs immediately after that in Stakeout!.

Nattie enters the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt a killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself.

Stripper! is on sale on Amazon at It’s currently rated at 4.6 stars and has had nearly 4,000 free and paid downloads, and it was the number one download for a couple days during a free promotion in June in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Lesbian Fiction and in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Mystery & Detective.

Revenge! is the sequel to Stripper!. A scandalous video of Nattie from her web cam days is posted on the State campus CCTV system for all to see and is just the first in a series of vicious attacks on Nattie, her family and her friends. What could she have possibly done to someone in her short life to deserve the callous revenge her unseen tormentor is so brutally exacting?
Revenge! is available for pre-order on Amazon at and will go live on August 15, 2018.

The third volume in the series is a work in progress and is entitled Trafficked! in which Nattie takes Manhattan, searching for a very important missing person. It should be available early next year.

The Natalie McMasters series is notable for its intricate plots, breakneck pace and gritty, dark atmosphere. These are definitely not cozy mysteries! Keep on reading the series and you’ll experience the transformation of an innocent college coed into a hard-boiled PI for the 21st century.

Tom started reading mysteries as a kid with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduating to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as a writer, doing technical writing, science writing and editing, for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he’s truly on his own as a freelance science writer and editor, he’s excited to publish his own mystery series as well.

You can follow Tom and Nattie on Facebook at, on Twitter @3Mdetective and on Instagram at 3mdetective. A web page, blog and newsletter are coming soon on WordPress at, and you can contact Tom at