The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno

Mystery & Thrillers

By Charlie Courtland

Publisher : Amazon/Bitsy Bling Books

ABOUT Charlie Courtland

Charlie Courtland
Charlie Courtland is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a Master's in Forensic Psychology and Bachelor's in English Literature.  She works as an investigator in cooperation with AG office in Seattle. Bad habits include expensive coffee, cigarettes, shopping by phone a More...



Beyond the urban sprawl of a Pacific Northwest city lurks the peculiar little town of Providence and in it, an organic farmer named Joe Parker. Joe’s lurid story, or rather this particular piece of it, begins when Sheriff Caine fashions the big idea to grow jalapenos, albeit with questionable methods. The gritty scheme is plucked from the undercurrent of the sheriff’s self-righteous mind and carried out with the help of Joe’s skill, two local agents, and a coroner. Everything is progressing as planned. That is, until Vera Cruz, a prostitute and girlfriend of a drug dealer, is delivered late one night on Joe’s doorstep. The new houseguest suddenly complicates his routine. The woman bunking on the rear porch not only threatens to upset the jalapeno operation, but also Joe’s conviction about what is rightly just and intrinsically wrong. Will Vera save Joe or lure him further into depravity?

The creation of The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno derives from the unequivocal influence of acclaimed Southern gothic writer, Flannery O’Connor. 

“Sometimes it takes a violent and grotesque act for a character to experience a moment of grace. Perhaps, this is the truest path toward fictional redemption.” ~ Charlie Courtland
Charlie Courtland fans will be thrilled to have this new story. Altogether different from her Elizabeth Bathory series in style and tone, there are still precious Charlie moments within it. If you've never read her tales, The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno is a spectacular place to begin to know her. She is wickedly inventive, and this new book is delicious. 

So skilled at nuancing her characters, Charlie makes you desperate to figure them out. Some of us already love her most wicked character, the Blood Countess, but Joe Parker is a close second for being many things at once, some of them impossibly opposite. Charlie also understands the need to balance horror with humor, and she can dance the thinnest of lines between the two. She knows how to be overtly macabre and still keep you reading. 

I've read the first draft, and this final release. I thought the first draft flawless, but she is passionate about what she's put on the page. Charlie's skill is so evident; her edits are seamless, and spare. It is a rare treat, to witness an author's craft as closely as I've been able to do here. This earned five stars from me long ago; now you get to experience Joe Parker and Vera Cruz for yourself and see why I like them so much.  ~Author Joel Kirkpatrick