Months after a series of bombings shattered the city of Phoenix, bounty hunter Jinx Ballou still struggles to rebuild her life, haunted by the people she’s lost.
When a new job offer comes her way, she is forced to choose between returning a fellow transgender woman to custody or taking on a legal system that provides justice only to those society deems worthy.
In the third book of her highly acclaimed and groundbreaking Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series, author Dharma Kelleher once again takes readers on a thrill-a-minute ride through the sun-scorched streets of Phoenix, Arizona.
Author Dharma Kelleher spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing the third installment in her Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series, A BROKEN WOMAN:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I want readers to see transgender people as complex human beings like anyone else, and at the same time understand how the justice system is often stacked against those who dare challenge gender norms. Also, I want readers to see that human trafficking goes on under most people’s noses without them realizing it.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was portraying the villains without seeming over the top, particularly the human traffickers with their sadistic viciousness.
At the same time, the opportunity was to open readers’ eyes to the dark underworld existing just beneath the veneer of civil society.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
How the justice system gives a pass to men who call for women to be raped and for LGBTQ to be murdered, but when the targets of this hate push back, the justice system is particularly vindictive in its punishment.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
In crime fiction, transgender people are overwhelmingly portrayed as sex workers or murder victims. I created Jinx Ballou as a bounty hunter who is a trans person with agency, while at the same time a person with deep flaws working through the challenges of trauma.
Why did you choose to make Jinx Ballou a bounty hunter?
I was looking for a protagonist for a new series. I didn’t want to write a police detective or a private investigator. I wanted something different. I had read Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series and decided to take the bounty hunter character in a new, darker, grittier direction.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Some of my biggest influences have been Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder series and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. Both Matt Scudder and Lisbeth Salander are complex characters who have faced crushing traumas.
She is the author of the Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series and the Shea Stevens Outlaw Biker series. Her work has also appeared in anthologies and on Shotgun Honey.
She is a former journalist and a member of Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She lives in Arizona with her wife and three feline overlords.
Learn more about Dharma and her work please visit her website.