So I went through this iffy period awhile back where I was reading all these classic Agatha Christie mysteries. (Maybe you can relate.) And somehow, she kept harping on the “green-eyed monster.”
Oops, wrong monster.
Christie was, of course, being super classy and referencing Shakespeare. The famous line in Othello reads:
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
And it just seemed like every other Christie mystery I read would end with the big reveal that the murderer had killed for — ta-da! — jealousy.
This started to bug me.
I felt like, “Why do you have to keep talking about this, Agatha? Fine, jealousy’s bad, duly noted. Can we do something else now? Maybe some evil murdering corporate tycoons? ENOUGH ABOUT JEALOUSY ALREADY!!”
The truth was … yes … I was super jealous. The green-eyed monster was eating me alive.
I eventually got over it. Officially. Mostly.
Did her stories help? Who can say? But all these years later, Agatha Christie’s Zero Tolerance Anti-Jealousy Policy is still deeply installed in my mind. I can’t get within a whiff of the stuff without my internal Poirot murmuring some smug remark.
And the irony is, I wound up writing my own deep dive into jealousy’s misery.
Except unlike with Agatha Christie, here it’s the detective who’s writhing in the monster’s grip.
In Origin Story, the free prequel mystery to my new Empath Detective Series, Mark Falcon tells the story of years back when he was dating this amazing woman named Akina… and he was constantly terrified that she wanted someone else:
She was this lean rock star fantasy that seemed almost impossible in real life. I could never look straight at her and believe she was for real, much less interested in me. And she was always “on”. Even at work, doing genius-level chemistry with fat corporate lab guys twice her age, she could get away with eye shadow and black lipstick.
But with all that, she could still sometimes be a normal girlfriend.
She stopped laughing, and really looked at me. “How are you?” she said.
“Fine,” I said. I couldn’t look back. I hated this feeling, feeling both jealous and also too humiliated to admit it. But whenever it came, it felt like the dark, deep, secret truth.
Since this is the prequel, it’s also the story of how Mark first discovers that he’s an empath and can sense people’s emotions. Turns out, he’s not the only one who’s jealous…
That’s when the jealousy hit.
Not my jealousy. A jealousy vibe, aimed right at me, burning like a laser of lethal rage.
I gasped. Who the hell? Then, behind Akina, way across the restaurant by the entrance, I saw him.
He was standing rigid, ramrod straight like some Secret Service guy, his face muscles tight and his gaze boring into me.
We locked eyes.
He turned and vanished out the door.
I crashed up from the table to chase him.
So yeah, Origin Story is still a murder mystery, with bad guys and such.
Plus, like the other books in the series, it’s regularly amusing. Especially since Mark’s telling the story to Pete…
Mark: It’s funny how little you can do these days without your keys. I considered embarking on a walkabout. But in Northern Virginia, it would probably be illegal. I wound up parked in the hall outside my door, waiting for Zack to return from his Friday night revels.
Pete: Was he hitting the clubs?
Mark: Not exactly.
Pete: He was roleplaying, wasn’t he?
So if you liked Murder Feels Awful and you haven’t grabbed your copy of Origin Story yet, don’t miss out! I wrote this as a special free gift for readers like you who sign up for our email club here. Origin Story is only for you all — it’s not available anywhere else.
So … [cue dramatic music] … will Mark escape the green-eyed monster before it corrodes his heart to toxic sludge? Not to mention catch the Condo Killer when he’s barely discovered he’s an empath? Only one way for you to find out…
I’d love to hear what you think! And I’d also love to know — what novels have helped you grow into the person you are today? Please comment and let me know!
We all love to be entertained, sure. But deep down, I think we crave those special stories where the characters actually face their darkest weaknesses and change. That’s the kind of book that changes us.
I’d love to hear yours. Thanks!