Guest Blogger: Judy Penz Sheluk – Crossover Characters

Crossover Characters by Judy Penz Sheluk

I love it when an author takes a major character from one book and gives them a small role in another. John Sandford does this to perfection (well, he does everything to perfection) with his Lucas Davenport “Prey” series and Virgil Flowers novels…in fact, his Virgil Flowers series is a spin-off of Prey, which makes it all the more fun when Davenport turns up for a few paragraphs. Michael Connelly masters this equally well, with Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller, among others. Then there’s Tana French, whose Dublin-based detective series cleverly allows a small character in one book to become the lead in another. Sheer brilliance.

I don’t claim to be as gifted as Sandford, Connelly, or French, but I have been influenced by each of them (and many others). And so, when I began writing Skeletons in the Attic, book 1 in my Marketville Mystery series, and my protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable discovered an antique locket, my thoughts immediately turned to Arabella Carpenter, the protagonist in my Glass Dolphin Mystery series. The Glass Dolphin, you see, is an antiques shop, owned by Arabella, who just so happens to be an old school friend of Callie’s.

Past & Present (book 2 Marketville) is the story of a woman looking for answers about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, who immigrated to Canada from England in 1952 and was murdered in Toronto in 1956. I’d become somewhat obsessed with the TSS Canberra, the ship my recently deceased mother (also Anneliese) came to Canada on, and so my immediate angle was to have the client contact Arabella for any ephemera related to that ship. Sadly, Arabella comes up empty, but she does have a referral to dig into the case: Past & Present Investigations, the company newly formed by her good friend, Callie.

In my most recent release, A Fool’s Journey, Callie is charged with finding a young man named Brandon Colbeck, who disappeared 20 years earlier without a trace. The case takes her on a trail of deception and decade-old secrets, and along the way, vintage tattoo flash (the term used for generic tattoo artwork) becomes an important part of the investigation. This time, not only did I conjure up Arabella, I also included her ex-husband, Levon Larroquette, an antiques picker (who in my head looks like a young “Star is Born” Kris Kristofferson). Not only is Levon a major character in the Glass Dolphin series, in book 2 (A Hole in One), he’s the prime suspect in the murder of his estranged father.

I’m currently working on book 3 of the Glass Dolphin series, expected to release sometime in 2020. So far, Callie hasn’t entered the picture…but it’s early days and anything is possible! Who knows, maybe one of the minor characters in the Marketville series will come along for the ride. In the meantime, here’s a bit about A Fool’s Journey, which just released on Aug. 21 in trade paperback and on Kindle/Kindle Unlimited:

In March 2000, twenty-year-old Brandon Colbeck left home to find himself on a self-proclaimed “fool’s journey.” No one—not friends or family—has seen or heard from him since, until a phone call from a man claiming to be Brandon brings the case back to the forefront. Calamity (Callie) Barnstable and her team at Past & Present Investigations have been hired to find out what happened to Brandon and where he might be. As Callie follows a trail of buried secrets and decades-old deceptions only one thing is certain: whatever the outcome, there is no such thing as closure.

A Fool’s Journey, book 3 in Judy’s Marketville Mystery series, is available in trade paperback at all the usual suspects, and on Kindle.

Barnes & Noble


Judy Penz Sheluk is the bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mystery and Marketville Mystery series, and the editor of The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense. Her short stories can be found in several collections. Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at

3 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Judy Penz Sheluk – Crossover Characters”

  1. Thank you for featuring Sheluk. And for mentioning other author’s crossover characters. I had heard of those authors but have not read any of their books. You left out Scott Turow. In his Kindle County series, a character who gets just a mention in one book can become the viewpoint character in a later book.

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