A Justified Bitch

by H. G. McKinnis

It takes a guilty bastard to make a justified bitch.

When a severed finger shows up on her doorstep in a seedy section of Las Vegas, Helen Taylor does not freak out. She’s already crazy, as evidenced by her junk-stuffed house and its ever-growing population of cats. There’s also Bobby, her long-dead husband. Helen talks to him regularly, and Bobby talks back.

The finger and the brutal murder it reveals are more than a hoarding cat lady with a phantom husband can ignore. Helen’s a suspect, and she ends up in jail. Summoned by the detective on the case, Helen’s sister Pat arrives from Phoenix with two teen-age boys in tow.

While Helen is AWOL from a mental facility, another gruesome murder is discovered. Pat, the boys, and the detective struggle to separate fact from insanity, but it takes power beyond the ordinary to bring the truth to light.

A Justified Bitch is now available for pre-publication sales orders at these fine retailers. It will be in bookstores and available online wherever books are sold on August 8, 2017.

Author picture

A life-long resident of Las Vegas and alumna of the University of Nevada, H.G. McKinnis knows her city as only a local can. By night, she fluffs feathers and attaches rhinestones to the exotic wardrobes of the most glamorous venues on the strip, by day McKinnis writes about the often hardscrabble lives of her fellow desert denizens and the unlikely city they inhabit. A Justified Bitch, a twisted tale of insanity, murder, and redemption, is her first novel.  Follow H.G. McKinnis on Facebook, or at A Justified Bitch.com

Book Launch Party:  August 8, 2017 — 7 pm at The Writer’s Block in downtown Las Vegas.  Followed by after-party at the Kitchen at the Atomic  across the street.  Hors d’oeuvres and the featured cocktail — “A Justified Bitch” will be served until 10 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Register to attend here.

“When a mentally ill woman is the only witness to a murder, her family rallies around her even though it means running all over Las Vegas in this hard-hitting but affectionate debut…Fast-paced, funny, and gritty—the perfect read for lounging by a casino pool.”

Kirkus Reviews,

“The true story here is one of a sister helping a sister, a mother-and-child-reunion, and a woman on the road to recovery…The novel captures Helen’s condition, and her dead-husband repartee, with a lightness that belies the real-life notion of a woman so far gone that police reel away from her body odor. This sets an early tone for a murder mystery full of chuckles and lovable characters, though the novel grows more serious as it progresses.”

—Leia Menlove, Foreword Reviews

“Loved it! The characters gave the story so much life. I absolutely loved them all. Sarcasm was sprinkled over everything. I found myself having to stop because I was laughing uncontrollably at times. I think this book was more of a comedy than a mystery… Would recommend for anyone who appreciates what being different is all about.”

— Ilusha Bassue, Goodreads reviewer,

“It’s a rare occasion that you come across an author with a style that flows so easily that you can’t put the book down. Happily, this was one of those occasions! I found it very hard to put this book down and read well into the night – way past my bedtime! The story gets you in from the start and keeps a hold of you until the end. The characters are likeable, the storyline solid, humorous and interesting and the author keeps you guessing until they deliver a satisfying ending. A great read, highly recommended.”

— Leanne Tovo, Goodreads reviewer,

“I would recommend this book for every fan of suspense and mystery – you definitely won’t be disappointed :)”

— Matgorzata Durma, Goodreads reviewer,

“This was a fantastic read involving mental health, love, acceptance and compassion. Really enjoyed this book on many different levels, and recommend it to those liking mysteries and warm endings.”

— Laurie Peak, Goodreads reviewer,

“A Justified Bitch is the perfect read for anyone who wants a book that will keep you entertained until the end!”

— Rebecca Guthrie, Goodreads reviewer,

“This book was refreshingly different than most books i have read lately! It’s not the serious action packed thriller mystery you might be expecting. I was actually relieved when it turned out to be funny! ”

— Sarah Rife, Goodreads reviewer,

“In this brilliant tale of mental illness, murder, and families ties, H.G. McKinnis captures life on the side of Las Vegas tourists seldom see and throws light on the often misunderstood phenomenon of hoarding. Suspenseful, funny, moving, and inspiring, A Justified Bitch is well-crafted and engaging from beginning to end.”

— Megan Edwards, author of Getting off on Frank Sinatra

Chapter One
Friday, July 2

The Las Vegas heat shimmered off the patched asphalt, giving an opaque and eerie quality to the air. Sitting on her porch,Helen stared into the afternoon sky, rocking and humming quietly. The corner lot gave her an exceptional view of the neighborhood. Through the wire-enclosed backyards, she had an unobstructed view of the cluttered expanse all the way to the next corner. In the opposite direction, long-abandoned treasures lay baking in the sun: old cars, worn-out furniture, and less defined objects—maybe toys, maybe tools—all of them showing signs of exposure to the harsh desert environment. Across the street, beyond a car tagged with an orange tow-away sticker, she tried to decipher the hieroglyphics of the new graffiti spray-painted across the front of the Sanchez house. No message there.

A bike jump had been set up behind the car, and two teenagers wearing nothing but cargo shorts were practicing kamikaze acrobatics on their skateboards. One kid, a short Latino with tattoos on both arms, flew off the ramp and landed on the sidewalk, pumping his fist in the air and laughing in triumph. No message there.

Next door, Lupe and Fuzzball were howling, the sound rising and falling with unceasing monotony. Not a message she wanted to hear.

Bobby plopped down beside her, wearing the same shorts,T-shirt, and hiking boots he had been wearing ten years earlier when he stepped off a sixty-foot cliff in the Ruby Mountains. Helen glanced toward Bebe’s house, afraid she had seen something horrific, but not sure. It could have been another hallucination, or a late-morning dream. “What do you think?”

Squinting, Bobby craned his neck toward the back fence, a sagging chain-link. Don’t really know.

From the corner of the yard, Stripes crept toward them. Wary, the cat crouched in the brown grass, ears up, pupils wide, something in her mouth. Her green eyes focused on Helen, as if trying to communicate telepathically. Connection made, she crept forward, her coloring a perfect match for the dry grass, her prize poking out the side of her mouth like a mini cigar, then she zipped forward and deposited her gift at Helen’s feet.

Helen stared at the offering, a woman’s finger, the fingernail sporting a French manicure with a tiny fake diamond at the tip. The opposite end looked as if it had been snipped off with pruning shears, the white of the bone even with the flesh. “How about that? Bebe must have lost her press-on finger.”

Bobby gave a disgusted snort. She wears press-on nails, not press-on fingers. Looks like she cut it off.

Helen’s stomach knotted in sympathy. “Why would she do that?”

The baying from the next yard took on a mechanical quality,then quickly mutated into the familiar sound of emergency vehicles. When a squad of police cars screeched to a halt in front of Bebe’s house, Helen realized she hadn’t imagined things—the flashing lights proved that.

Uniforms slammed out of the cars, swarming around the house like well-armed ants. A large uniform, consisting of khaki pants and a matching shirt, banged his fist against the door. “Metro! Open up!” When no one answered, the man waved another uniform forward.

Helen wondered if it would be worthwhile to sell used uniforms in her booth. The police sure seemed to need a lot of them.

The new man hoisted a hand-held battering ram, and at some unseen signal smashed open the door. A gang of uniforms raced inside, their voices echoing back through the opening.

“Watch it!”

“Christ Almighty!”

“It’s a damn slaughterhouse.”

“Don’t step on anything!”

“Check the hall!”

“Holy shit, wait for Crime Scene! Wait for Crime Scene!”

“Back out, goddamnit!”

Trade Paper:  $15.00 US / $20.50 CDN ISBN:  978-0997236958
ePub: $9.95 US / $13.60 CDN  ISBN: 978-01945501029
Audiobook: Unabridged (still in production, this will be updated later)
$26.00 US / $35.53 CDN  ISBN:  978-0997236972