About Karen Keskinen

Karen Keskinen

Karen Keskinen was born in Salinas, California, and grew up around the block from John Steinbeck’s childhood home. As a girl she spent many hours exploring the Marina Dunes on Monterey Bay, adjacent to her father’s strawberry farm. She has also lived in Wellington, New Zealand, and in California’s Northern San Joaquin Valley. She now resides in Santa Barbara.

Keskinen was drawn to stories early on. She started a neighborhood newspaper and dashed off numerous plays, pressing neighborhood kids and her three brothers into acting roles. And like many of her readers when they were young, she devoured books. She biked downtown to the Steinbeck Library, wandered into an aisle, shut her eyes and raised a finger as she spun in a circle. The book she was pointing to when she opened her eyes was the one she read next.

A keen curiosity about people and their intertwined lives remains a driving force in her work. Keskinen is the author of Blood Orange, Black Current, and Dragon Fruit, the three books in the Santa Barbara-based Jaymie Zarlin mystery series. Currently she is at work on a new series, also set in California’s Central Coast. The first book in the series is titled HARDBALL.

About Jaymie Zarlin

Private Investigator Jaymie Zarlin and her assistant Gabi Gutierrez peel back the luscious skin of a California beach town to expose corruption and murder.

Zarlin, who prefers to work missing-person cases, finds herself pulled in to investigate a series of brutal homicides. As she struggles to help the most vulnerable, each case brings her a step closer to uncovering the truth about her own brother, who died years earlier in police custody. Through it all, Zarlin navigates sharp divides marked by race, money, gender and privilege in her seaside town.

“If a story is not about the hearer [s]he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.”

 — John Steinbeck (East of Eden)