Three Strikes, You’re Dead

Private investigator Eddie Shoes heads to a resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, for a mother-daughter getaway weekend. Eddie’s mother, Chava, wants to celebrate her new job at a casino by footing the bill for the two of them, and who is Eddie to say no?

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About the Book

Book Three in the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series

Private investigator Eddie Shoes heads to a resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, for a mother-daughter getaway weekend. Eddie’s mother, Chava, wants to celebrate her new job at a casino by footing the bill for the two of them, and who is Eddie to say no?

On the first morning, Eddie goes on an easy solo hike, and a few hours later, stumbles over a makeshift campsite and a gravely injured man. A forest fire breaks out and she struggles to save him before the flames overcome them both. Before succumbing to his injuries, the man hands her a valuable object. He tells her his daughter is missing and begs for help. Is Eddie now working for a dead man?

“…a compelling page-turner of a novel by a true master of the genre.” —Midwest Book Review

Eddie wakes in the hospital to find both her parents have arrived on the scene. Will Eddie’s card-counting mother and mob-connected father help or hinder the investigation? The police search in vain for a body. How will Eddie find the missing girl with only Eddie’s memory of the man’s face and a photo of his daughter to go on?

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The Buzz

“Three Strikes, You’re Dead gives us another vivid adventure with the quirky, genuine private eye Eddie Shoes. As usual, author Elena Hartwell’s characters are so real you feel like you could run into them at your local dive bar. Three Strikes takes us even deeper into Eddie’s complex family relationships with her charming-but-deadly father Eduardo and hilarious mom Chava, giving us further insight into Eddie’s psyche. The laugh-out-loud moments are many in this vital third installment, and you’ll find yourself wishing you could stay longer in the world of Eddie Shoes.” -USA Today bestselling author LS Hawker
“Three Strikes, You’re Dead is an exciting ride with a likeable protagonist and a wonderful cast of supporting characters. If you enjoy your mysteries with suspense and a touch of humor, this book is for you.” —Catherine Bruns, USA Today Best Selling Author of the Cookies & Chance Mysteries
“With outstanding characters and a thrilling plot to entertain them, those who are fans of sleuth mysteries will fall in love with Eddie Shoes and her outlandish family. Although it is the third book in a series, it makes a fabulous stand-alone read and is a nice asset to have in your library.” —Susan Sewell for Readers’ Favorites
“This one was hard for me to put down.” —Long and Short Reviews

Meet the Characters

Eddie Shoes, Private Eye

Eddie Shoes, born Edwina Zapata Schultz in Spokane, Washington, to a single, teenage mother. Brought up to be self-sufficient and independent, she left home at eighteen and ended up in Seattle. There, she met her mentor, private investigator Benjamin Franklin Cooper and fell in love with homicide detective, Chance Parker. "Coop" taught her everything she knows about running an investigation, but he finally lost the battle with his own demons. When guilt over Coop's suicide sent Eddie fleeing, leaving Chance behind, she lands in Bellingham, Washington. There, she decided to rebuild her life. Now she has her own PI firm, her own house, and her own way of doing things, until one day, when her mother shows up on her front doorstep.

Chava Ester Schultz

Eddie's poker playing, card counting, card shark of a mother. After her daughter left Spokane, Chava moved to Las Vegas to pursue her goal of becoming a professional poker player. Given her ability to count cards, she did very well, until she counted cards one too many times in the wrong casino. With some unsavory characters a little too interested in her, Chava decided it was time to pay her daughter a little visit. Bellingham would be a good place to lay low. What she didn't realize, was how much fun it would be to involve herself in her daughter's cases.

Chance Parker

The homicide detective Eddie abandoned in Seattle, relocates to Bellingham, where his path crosses Eddie's once again. Chance isn't showing any signs of re-starting their relationship, and yet ... he also doesn't push her away. Chance doesn't show his feelings much, keeping them close to the vest. It's clear if the two are going to resume seeing each other, Eddie has to make the first move.


Half Tibetan Mastiff, half Irish Wolfhound. Franklin may just be the love of Eddie's life.

About the Book

Book Two in the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series

Private Investigator Eddie Shoes is enjoying a rare period of calm. She’s less lonely now that Chava, her card-counting mom from Vegas, is sharing her home. She also has a new companion, Franklin, a giant dog of curious ancestry.

Hoping for a lucrative new case, Eddie instead finds herself taking on a less promising client: her best friend from her childhood in Spokane. Dakota has turned up in Bellingham, in jail, where she is being held on a weapons charge. Eddie reluctantly agrees not only to lend her friend money for bail but to also investigate who is stalking her.

Soon after Dakota is freed, she disappears again, leaving Eddie to answer to the local cops, including her ex-boyfriend Chance Parker. Has Dakota been kidnapped? If not, why did she jump bail? What are Eddie’s business cards doing on the bodies of two murder victims?

The key to these mysteries lies in Dakota and Eddie’s shared history, which ended when Eddie left home after high school. As a person of interest in both murder cases, Eddie is forced to go in search of the truth, digging into the past and facing her own demons.

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The Buzz

“…an engaging mystery that will keep you stumped to the very end.” —Susan Sewell for Readers’ Favorite
“Author Elena Hartwell showcases a delightful heroine in a story that promises pleasant romance and a hint of danger with a twist of an ending.” —Review, L. Kane for InD’tale Magazine
“…Fascinating characters and a story that dares you to put the book down make this book a winner.” —Rich Zahradnik, author of the Coleridge Taylor Mystery Series

Elena Hartwell

After twenty years in the theater, Elena Hartwell turned her dramatic skills to fiction. Her first novel, One Dead, Two to Go introduces Eddie Shoes, private eye. Called “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct,” by author Peter Clines, InD’tale Magazine stated, “this quirky combination of a mother-daughter reunion turned crime-fighting duo will captivate readers.”

In addition to her work as a novelist, Elena teaches writing workshops. She also does developmental editing, working one-on-one with authors on novels, short stories, and plays. If you’re interested in working with Elena on a project, please contact her.

When she’s not writing or coaching, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Luna, aka, “the other cat upstairs.” Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

(Photo credit: Mark Perlstein)

One Dead, Two to Go

Book One in the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series

Private Investigator Edwina “Eddie Shoes” Schultz’s most recent job has her parked outside a seedy Bellingham hotel, photographing her quarry as he kisses his mistress goodbye. This is the last anyone will see of the woman … alive. Her body is later found dumped in an abandoned building. Eddie’s client, Kendra Hallings, disappears soon after. Eddie hates to be stiffed for her fee, but she has to wonder if Kendra could be in trouble too. Or is she the killer?

Eddie usually balks at matters requiring a gun, but before she knows it, she is knee-deep in dangerous company, spurred on by her card-counting adrenaline-junkie mother who has shown up on her doorstep fresh from the shenanigans that got her kicked out of Vegas. Chava is only sixteen years older than Eddie and sadly lacking in parenting skills. Her unique areas of expertise, however, prove to be helpful in ways Eddie can’t deny, making it hard to stop Chava from tagging along.

Also investigating the homicide is Detective Chance Parker, new to Bellingham’s Major Crimes unit but no stranger to Eddie. Their history as a couple back in Seattle is one more kink in a chain of complications, making Eddie’s case more frustrating and perilous with each tick of the clock.

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“ONE DEAD TWO TO GO is a well-written fast-paced story that kept me fully engaged from beginning to end. It’s one of those stories where you get to the end of a chapter and think, “Okay, just a few more pages.” And the next thing you know, you’ve read three more chapters.” —Mayor Sonni, Readeropolis.
“Hartwell has created quite a winner in the unique and clever Eddie Shoes, and this first case features not only a twisting, turning, fast-paced plot, but also a number of nuanced, quirky relationships, making for a story that is fun and increasingly absorbing, especially as readers learn more about this headstrong heroine’s past.” —RT Book Reviews (Bridget Keown)

A Story About


Each novel has its own mystery, allowing for readers to start with any book in the series. I work hard to create a stand alone book, though I hope it piques your interest to read the entire series. Each time you read a new Eddie Shoes story, there's a new victim, perpetrator, and crime to solve. The characters grow and change throughout the arc of the series, however, adding to the larger picture. While each novel has characters specific to that particular mystery, many characters reappear in other books.


Though humorous, all the books in the series have suspense. In addition to solving the mysteries for each story, Eddie and her crew often find themselves in situations that jeopardize their psychological or physical well being. Though my writing doesn't include graphic sex or violence, there's plenty of suspense to hold your interest and make you turn the page.


In addition to solving a mystery in each book, I also explore the mysteries of the heart. Eddie Shoes and Chance Parker once lived together in Seattle, until a shared tragedy split them apart. Now that Chance is living in Bellingham, Eddie has an opportunity to set things right between them, and maybe, just maybe, start over again.

Contact The Author


For media and press inquiries:
Sara Wigal
JKS Communications
(615) 393-6974