I am Thomas A. Burns, Jr., author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. I want to thank M. K. Graff for graciously allowing me a guest post on her blog on the day that my third Natalie McMasters novel, Trafficked!, goes live on Amazon. She also served as a member of the Trafficked! book launch team.

Who is Natalie McMasters?

Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium. As Trafficked! opens, she’s twenty-one, short and blonde (OK, it’s bleached), a way cute former stripper and a pre-law student on a leave of absence from State University. Nattie also moonlights as a private detective trainee at her uncle’s 3M detective agency. The stories are written in her voice in the present tense, to heighten the immediacy of the narrative and put the reader into her head so they can experience the story right along with her. If you don’t watch out, Nattie will get in your head!

Nattie was introduced in the short story, Stakeout!, which you can read for free. I published the first novel, Stripper!, in April,2018, followed by Revenge! in October. While the novels are chronological, enough background is given so each one can be enjoyed as a standalone.

In Stripper!, 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.

Revenge! is a 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?

Trafficked! is the sequel to Revenge! and tells of Nattie’s search through New York City’s squalid sexworld for the most important person in her life, who doesn’t want to be found.

The investigation of the mystery is only one aspect of the story told in Trafficked! Additionally, it’s my personal homage to New York City, where I spent four years of my life as a high school student.

Trafficked! is also about love, sexuality and relationships, the importance of friends and family, and sheds light on serious social issues such as homelessness, drug addiction, and human trafficking. Parts of it are dark and gritty, and may be disturbing to some readers. The Natalie McMasters books are not cozy mysteries!

I already have a working title and a plot for a fourth novel, which I hope to have out by the end of 2019. It will resolve some of Nattie’s life issues resulting from the events in Trafficked!, and have a gothic setting.

I was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S. degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University, and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. I currently live in Wendell, North Carolina with my wife Terri, my younger son Taidhgin, four cats and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

As a kid, I started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. I’ve written fiction as a hobby all my life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. I built a career as technical, science and medical writer and editor, working nearly thirty years in industry and government.

Now that I’m truly on my own as a full-time novelist, I’m excited to publish my own mystery series. I’ve also got a story about my second most favorite detective in Volume XIV of the MX anthology of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, entitled “The Horror in King Street,” coming out in June.

You can learn more about Nattie by signing up for my newsletter on my website, and follow me on BookBub, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.