She’s wild, she’s sassy, she’s “out there.” Her platinum curls go everywhere. She’s fond of leopard prints and the color chartreuse. She has an easy-come-easy-go attitude where men are concerned and cheerfully acknowledges that she’s not the sort of woman that a man takes home to meet his mother. With her black belt she could do some serious damage to anyone who messed with her—especially to the person who messed with Carlene Arness, her step-sister, by poisoning her with cyanide-laced tea.
Meet Kat Berenger, one of Hazel Rose’s sidekicks in Murder at the Book Group. This is how she’s described in the opening chapters:
In Chapter 1:
Her black leather vest displayed well-toned biceps, good advertising for her job as a personal trainer. Leopard tattoos decorated each bicep and leopard-print cuffs topped stiletto-heeled chartreuse boots. The chartreuse also streaked across both eyelids.
In Chapter 2:
A belly diamond winked at us over her jeans with thigh cutouts.
In a later chapter:
Her getup of the day, unconventional even for her, involved yellow patent leather and leopard velvet. How did all that patent leather breathe?
Kat is bound and determined to find the person who killed her stepsister. She tells Hazel of her plans to hook up with Detective Mick Jairdullo so she can get inside information. Mick has made it known that he’s very interested in her, but his girlfriend Beverly is a major obstacle. He says he’s breaking up with her, but Kat is skeptical. Beverly is one loose cannon, a real “nut job” is how Kat assesses her. Kat doesn’t want to get in the middle of that relationship but she throws up her hands and sighs. “You gotta do what you gotta do—it’s all in the name of justice.”
So—does Kat hook up with Mick? If so, what does Beverly do? Stay tuned.
My inspiration for Kat comes from a woman I used to see at the gym. Like Kat, she had abundant blonde curls and a fondness for chartreuse and leopard prints. One day she arrived sporting a leopard cowgirl hat. On another day it was leopard boots. On another day—you get the idea. I never spoke with her beyond a hi and a wave and knew nothing about her. I didn’t even have a sense of her personality. The last time I saw her she was walking across the parking lot wearing chartreuse boots with stiletto heels and leopard cuffs.
So I created Kat Berenger out of what was little more than an image I might have seen in a magazine. I gave her a flamboyant personality, a job as personal trainer at the gym, and a black belt. If the original “leopard woman” only knew how I reinvented her in these pages … I hope she’d be pleased, or at least amused.
More about the fabulous Kat when Murder at the Book Group debuts on December 30.