The Body in the Wetlands by Judy Lynn

The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (April 23, 2019)
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 151610840X
ISBN-13: 978-1516108404
Digital ASIN: B07FZN7CVT 

    High summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

    When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

    When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

He said, “Three weeks ago, Miles disappeared from a neighborhood two subdivisions down. Police knocked on everyone’s doors. We all knew him, watched him ride by our houses a few times a week. He lived with his parents, and everyone tried to keep an eye on him.”

Jazzi shook her head, confused. “How old was he?” She hadn’t heard about a child going missing.

Leo pressed his lips together thoughtfully. “In his thirties, but an innocent. He’d suffered a head injury.”

How awful. Jazzi had heard something about it. An attractive young man’s face had been flashed across the TV screen for a few days, and the police were asking people to report any sightings of him. “He packed all of his things and just left without a good-bye?”

Leo shook his head. “Walked out the door and never came back.”

Now she remembered. She hadn’t paid much attention at the time. She’d had enough going on after finding Aunt Lynda’s body in her attic and Noah Jacobs’s body near the septic tank. She didn’t realize that the guy who’d disappeared lived so close to Olivia. “Do the police suspect foul play?”

“Not sure, but folks around here think he has to be dead.” The dog tugged on the leash, and Leo sighed. “I’d better get going.”

She watched him walk away. What a sweet old man, but Olivia had better be careful. He’d try to snag her every time she left the house. Olivia had mad people skills. After all, she and Mom ran a hair salon together, but Leo was lonely. He’d corner her whenever he could.

Jazzi climbed the ladder, tugged on her work gloves, and started nailing her section of shingles. When they stopped to eat lunch, she told Thane what Leo had said about the missing man. She remembered how hard Noah’s parents had searched for him when he disappeared. How awful would it be to not know what happened to your child?

Olivia and Mom had already eaten and were painting another bedroom.

Strong fumes hung in the air. Jazzi would have liked to tell her sister about the missing man, but it could wait.

Thane wasn’t surprised when she told him. “People think he got in a car with the wrong person.”

Jerod frowned. “The guy was in his thirties?”

“Not mentally. He’d be easy to talk into almost anything.”

Jazzi meant to ask Thane more, but the guys were ready to get back to work. Every time they left the air-conditioning and walked outside, the heat felt more oppressive. It was sweltering in late afternoon, but they worked through it. Even with frequent breaks for water, they felt wrung-out by the time they reached the peak. Tomorrow they’d finish the other side.

The weather man predicted the same heat as today. Jazzi mopped the back of her neck. Saturday was usually their day off. Instead, they were going to melt again. But when they finished, the roof would be done. When they gathered back in the house again, Olivia and Mom had finished their painting, and her sister offered to order food for everyone for supper. Jerod shook his head. “I’m going home to jump in our pond and cool off. I told Franny I’d grab something to eat on the way home.”

Ansel and Jazzi both shook their heads.

“I feel like a limp dishrag,” Jazzi said. “We’re hitting our pond, too. Then we’re going to throw steaks on the grill for supper.”

Mom reached for her purse. “Your dad and I have plans for tonight.”

“Thanks again for everything!” Thane called after them as they filed out the door. “See you tomorrow at nine.”

“Not me,” Mom yelled. “I love my girls, but the painting’s finished. Doogie and I are meeting friends in Marshall, Michigan, for a historic house tour.”

“We’ll be here, on time.” Jerod slid into his pickup.

Jerod, Ansel, and Jazzi never worked on flip houses on weekends, but for Olivia and Thane, they’d agreed to cram in as much work as possible until Thane had to go back to his job after the end of next week.

Jazzi loved her sister, and it was a good thing. This was a lot more work than they’d first signed up for. It had started with the roof. Then the floors. And then Olivia decided she wanted a new kitchen. And new bathrooms.

But they might as well do it now. What was one more week of work here?

On the drive home, when they turned out of the subdivision onto Sycamore Drive, a tall, thin boy was walking on the edge of the street.

Jazzi’s heart stopped. When they passed him, she craned her neck to get a better view of him. Not Miles. Too young and the wrong coloring. She thought about Noah, the son Aunt Lynda had given up for adoption, and how relieved his dad had been when he came to River Bluffs to claim his body. Yes, his adopted son was dead. But at least the family knew what happened to him. They could begin closure instead of playing one horrible scenario after another in their minds. She leaned back against the van’s seat and wished the same for Miles’s family. She hoped they’d learn the truth...and soon.

Judi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters.  She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.

Readers can visit her website at and her blog

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today and giving my book such a great kick-off!

    1. You're welcome. Thank you so much for stopping by!


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