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Help Me Solve My Murder Chapter One

My newest book releases April 22, 2024 so I'm sharing with you a sneak peek.





An audio file with the name Play Me appeared on my computer screen.

I hesitated. Someone had hacked into my computer in front of the only sponsor willing to give me a chance after a massive scandal. I would be crazy to play the file.

“Ms. Fortune, if you have nothing else, I’m glad to have met you. Coming up with nine podcasts on a short notice is impressive.” Mrs. Josephine Redman held her hand out, and I saw my dream vanish again.

“I have one more idea,” I said as I double clicked on the file, and my heart hammered in my chest fearing I might’ve made the worst mistake in my life.

Mrs. Redman sat and played on her phone like she had done and passed on each podcast. As she settled, an unfamiliar voice played through my speakers.



“Hello, fellow murder enthusiasts! I’m Kenzie Stuart, for Help Me Solve My Murder, and I’m dead.”



What the fuck? I thought, and I paused the track.

Mrs. Redman shifted her cell away from her face, staring at me with her piercing green eyes. “Play more,” she said.

I obliged, and Kenzie’s voice started again.



“I need your help finding my killer. Before we begin, take a moment to compile a list of those who would want you dead. Whose name appears at the top? Would anyone in your family make the list?”



I stopped the file and let the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding onto out. Kenzie could make her own podcast, and she didn’t need me as a co-host.

“Is there more?” Mrs. Redman asked me.

“Yes,” I answered after glancing at the audio player. One minute remained. I wouldn’t tell her the truth because after this clip I had nothing else. I had never met Kenzie and never learned if she died or not.

“You want a co-host? After everything that happened to you?” Mrs. Redman sounded unsure.

“Ms. Stuart isn’t like anyone else.” She had helped me in a tight jam. I could take this brilliant idea and use someone else after I received their family’s approval.

“She better not be if she’s dead.” Mrs. Redman laughed at her own poor joke. She stood this time with her phone left on her chair and handed me one of her business cards. She never handed them out unless she intended to work with the person.

I stopped myself from jumping for joy as I took her card.

“My assistant will call you soon to set up your contract meeting and also your first studio session,” Mrs. Redman said.

“Thank you, Mrs. Redman.” The urge to hug her swept through me, and I refrained myself. Tears sprang into my eyes. I stuffed her card into my pocket and put my laptop away. I swiped at my tears away from her view. After I had lost my podcast, I promised myself no one would see me cry over it.

“Kaya, call me Josephine. You have a much bigger future than with Murderaholics.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Redman. I mean Josephine.” My cheeks heated at the mention of her kind words and at the name of my old podcast.

“I have big expectations from you.” Josephine led me out of the conference room and pointed toward the first right.

Me too. At least I used to. My life had been a nightmare, but I finally crawled out of my depression. I had considered starting a podcast on my own, but with my funds being low, I couldn’t even afford a horrible microphone. I found the auditions for Redman Entertainment and went for it. The administrative assistant had called me, saying I’d meet with Josephine today.

I waved to the receptionist and headed toward the elevator. After I pressed the button for the basement parking, I glanced at the door to the stairs, contemplating to run down the fourteen flights after a thousand questions flipped through my mind. I had a lot of tasks and limited time before the assistant contacted me. Would they call me in a day or a week? Could I find Kenzie Stuart by then and get her family’s permission?

The elevator dinged, and a hot guy stepped out. His cologne of sandalwood and vanilla filled my nose. Of course, he also smelled good.

I smiled at him and stepped inside.

He snarled at me, taking off down the hall.

Whatever. He could not ruin my good mood. Nothing mattered except Kenzie Stuart’s existence. I could find another murder victim, give them a voice, and possibly solve their murder. The point of my podcasts was to help people.

When the elevator doors opened to the basement, I sprinted to my car and took out my laptop. I connected to the internet and searched for Kenzie while her voice played through my speakers.



“For the last year, the police haven’t solved my murder. My case has gone cold, which is a fancy term for they have no new evidence.



“I attended my second year at the University of Garfo in North Dakota and lived at a sorority house, Phi Beta, with my sisters, sorority sisters. I added their twenty names to my list, but would they kill me for spending too much time in the bathroom?”



I found many details on Makenzie Stuart online, but none on Kenzie, except for a business. She had been a college student. What did every student have? A social media account. I searched for her on the popular one and scrolled through names upon names. For some unknown reason, the fourteenth Kenzie Stuart stood out to me. I clicked on the pretty brunette’s profile.

She wore a black winter cap and had done her makeup for her picture. Upon closer examination, the image seemed manipulated, as if she appeared too flawless with her lengthy eyelashes. Kenzie had been pretty and probably popular like me.

Messages upon messages of RIP and words missing Kenzie filled her page. I opened the obituary someone had tagged her in. On a scrap piece of paper, I wrote her birthdate, death date, and parent’s names like I did whenever I started a murder case. I hadn’t figured out if I would represent her story. Finding someone else for the AI voice was possible, but it felt unsettling. Could the real Kenzie have contacted me beyond the grave, or had someone simply messed with me?

Kenzie had only been nineteen when she died. If I didn’t do her podcast, I could at least look into her murder. At her age, I had attended college and found my passion. I had years to do it. She missed the chance to follow her dream and live.

My eyes were hot, and I searched for a tissue in my glove box, dabbing at my eyes.

Someone had posted a tribute video to Kenzie. I skipped it for now. How would I explain crying in a parking lot after getting a new job?

Kenzie had her mother listed under her family members, along with a dozen other girls as sisters on her social media account. Her obit listed no siblings in the survived by or proceeded in death sections. I found they were her sorority sisters by the Phi Beta chapter page on the university’s website.

Her mother had mentioned a few posts with her dad. Their smiles had been stolen last October, right after they lost their daughter. Kids were never supposed to die before their parents.

An anger began to boil inside of me. I had seen countless stories like Kenzie, but I had never felt close to them like I did with hers. Perhaps because we shared similarities. Or maybe because she had contacted me after death.

I shook the idea away. Emotions never broke a story. Besides, I didn’t feel this way last year. I vaguely remembered the story on the news, but I hadn’t paid too much attention to it, since I had my own problems. How could one death compare to four at a much larger college and of course, covered by my nemesis? The new cheerful co-host caused vomit to fill my mouth. My old podcast replaced me with someone too happy every second of every day.

I pushed those notions away and focused on Kenzie. Her story deserved to be told, not placed on the back pages only to be forgotten. Even if not by me, by someone. Maybe the police couldn’t catch her killer because no one knew she had died.

The Garfo Forum released the first story on Kenzie’s death with virtually no information. Someone had strangled her and tied her up in her room at her sorority house. I wrote roommate with a question mark to ask her parents or the sorority advisor. Despite there being twenty or more women present, no one had heard or seen anything.

The next story stated basic facts of Kenzie being found by a sorority sister, Haleigh Morris. She was a twenty-one-year-old blonde senior, according to her social media account. She had posted a nice tribute to her dead friend.

I found another article, but it only mentioned a $10,000 reward from the university for details about Kenzie’s killer. Had anyone come forward? Would the police even tell me?

When I became popular with my former podcast, higher ups in the police department would suggest that their captains share information, since millions of viewers would hear and I portrayed the police in a good light. I also never shared information they didn’t want, unlike my ex-co-host.

Kenzie’s mother posted an opinion piece a few days ago. She gave her daughter a voice. Kenzie had loved to dance and attended school to become a nurse. She had a massive interest in her family’s ancestry. For her mother’s fortieth birthday, she had spent hours digging through an online database until she found pictures of her great grandfather and him signing at Ellis Island when he arrived in America. Something, according to her mom, she would always cherish.

After the tear jerker article, I watched the tribute video. It started off with pictures of Kenzie as a baby, building up through her toddler, teenage, and college years. Upon starting her life at Garfo University, she shared a story and laughed.

The urge to run and hide swept through my body. Kenzie’s voice matched the one on the Play Me file.


If you're wondering what Help Me Solve My Murder is about...


After failing every pitch, podcast host Kaya Fortune has one last chance when a Play Me audio file appears on her computer. She plays it in front of the only sponsor willing to give her a chance after a scandal, and the voice of the dead girl asks Kaya to help solve her murder.

The sponsor loves the idea and gives Kaya a contract with the stipulation her co-host is dead. Kaya has never met the girl and isn’t certain if she’s dead. Kaya must determine why the deceased girl reached out to her from beyond the grave.

Along for the investigation is Kaya’s hot producer, Tobias Carr, who dislikes Kaya because of the scandal and insists on being involved in every process, including the research. The more they dig into the dead girl’s murder, the more suspects they cross off.

With the help of an odd computer whiz, tension turning into steamy with Tobias, and a whacky cat, Kaya may solve her co-host’s murder.

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