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June Bloom feels that her job as a low-level manager at the Fleener Plastics company can’t get much worse as she tries to navigate the absurdity and stress of corporate life and deal with her incompetent and sexist boss. When one of her employees goes missing, a flaky colleague who’s a self-proclaimed psychic gets a vision of the man’s dead body lying in the trunk of an unknown car. June is stunned to learn that her missing employee, Melvin, has been using a false identity and is due to inherit a fortune from his estranged and dying father. She has strong doubts about the psychic vision, but even greater misgivings about Melvin’s weird wife, a sexy Romanian internet bride with a bad temper. June soon comes to suspect that a scary ex-military man whom she was forced to fire at work might be involved in the kidnapping or murder. But she never expected it all to end with a gun pointed at her head.

S.E. Greco recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, DOWNSIZED OR DEAD.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
No movies, but rather a television show — do you remember the show “Green Acres” ? The guy who played Oliver, who was transplanted from the city to a very rural and remote farming community, felt as if he was the only sane person around. It’s sort of the same for my protagonist, June, except that she’s trying to solve a kidnapping or murder under these conditions.

S.E. Greco

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
Yes, I like humorous books and also mysteries. I’ve read some books that are supposedly humorous mysteries, but they never have enough humor for me. I wanted to write something that would keep a reader on edge, but also be laugh out loud funny.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I just hope they have some great laughs that will lighten and brighten their moods.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?


S.E. (Stephen Edward) Greco was born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs. He worked as an engineer at a major technology company before turning his attention to writing. His mystery, suspense, humor, and sci-fi stories have appeared in Suspense Magazine, The Dark City Crime and Mystery Magazine, Bards and Sages, The Society of Misfit Stories, Suspense Unimagined, Strange Stories, and other publications. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize anthology and he was a runner-up for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2020 Derringer Award for best mystery novelette. His first published novel was a mystery/thriller titled A Patient Enemy (8/8/22). The comedic mystery DOWNSIZED OR DEAD is his second novel. He resides in New York and divides his time between writing, reading, and oil painting.

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.

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