Jennifer Busskohl, writing as J.B. Kohl

From her new book, One Too Many Blows to the Head, a collaboration with Eric Beetner:

Ray was a hard cord of a man, with muscles coiled tight enough to fire bullets without a gun if needed. His hands were cuffed together and rested on the table in front of him. Like the cuffs would do me and Bob any good if Ray decided to pounce.

Bob wiped the sweat off his forehead when he saw me and led me over to the corner to tell me what he’d got so far . . . which wasn’t much. “Says he was there looking for a girl.”


Bob nodded.

I moved back over to the table and told Ray I was sorry about his brother—and that was the truth. I was sorry about a lot of things and his brother’s death was just one more on the list. “Let’s talk about what you were really doing in Negrotown.”

His fists clenched a little when I said that, the tendons of his wrists straining against the metal of the cuffs. “Get those off him, Bob,” I said.

Bob looked like he wanted to argue, but he took the cuffs off and stepped back, like maybe he’d let a tiger out of the cage or something. Ray just nodded and sat there, not giving in to the urge to rub the raw spots.

“You want a cigarette?” I asked.

“Don’t smoke.”

I shrugged. “So how about it? What were you doing there?”

“What makes you think I’m lying about the girl?”

“I think you’ve been too busy to think about girls.”

He was silent.

“Tell me about the fight.”

See another book by this author, the Deputy’s Widow, at


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