Deni Starr has published five murder mystery novels; four are about murder investigations in the world of boxers and boxing, which draw from her substantial knowledge of the pugilistic arts.  Her latest novel is “Murder By The Sea,” a murder mystery set in a small coastal town in Oregon, with an eccentric investigator and surprising plot twists and turns..

The Sean O’Conner & Cindy Matasar Boxer Mystery Series 

by Deni Starr
All Rights Reserved

Below the Belt

Cover art: M Puckette

This is the first novel in the crime mysteries series about murder in the world of boxing.  It introduces the two co-protagonists: Retired boxer Sean O’Conner and Cindy Matasar, a criminal investigator with the public defender’s office. Sean is asked to look into a new boxing gym in Portland because his friend, Maybelle Preacher, has doubts about it after her grandson joins. Sean agrees and asks Cindy for technical assistance in the area of investigation. They team up to expose the boxing gym as part of a fraudulent social service program for early released convicted felons and solve several murders in the process while becoming good friends.
Published 2016 by Silver Leaf Press.

Sucker Punch

Cover art, M. Puckette

Cindy is assigned as the investigator to what would appear to be an open and shut case of wife-beater murdering his wife, but she and the public defender lawyer assigned to it find odd facts that point to their client being framed for a crime he didn’t commit.  Since their client is a retired boxing professional, they ask Sean to look into his past to see if there is anything in it which would point to someone with a motive for framing their client for murder.
Published 2017 by Silver Leaf Press.

Throwing in the Towel

Cover art, M Puckette

Sean is asked by a boxing trainer to find out why a promising teenage boxer has suddenly become depressed. Before Sean gets around to doing so, the young man is found dead; it seems to be a suicide from jumping off a building. Sean suspects the young boxer was murdered, and convinces Cindy to leave the public defender’s office and join him in a private investigation into the boxing scene and the death of Damiyun Walker.  Cindy and Sean become both business partners and lovers.

They discover that Damiyun found out that a thirteen year old Vietnamese girl was being used as a sex slave by a local gang and he was killed when he tried to rescue her. The homicide detective looking into these two deaths also ends up murdered under circumstances which indicate someone in law enforcement is behind running the sex slavery of Vietnamese girls in Portland.

Sean, a Vietnam vet, has to connect with his past contacts in the Marine Corps to find out who in Portland has the connections in Vietnam to get these girls past ICE enforcement, and ends up in a show-down with the ringleader.
Published 2018 by Silver Leaf Press.

Photo: Deni Starr, Office location of Matasar & Associates

Saved by the Bell

Cover art: M Puckette

Sean’s impression of their potential client is that he is a brat–the only child of an overly protective mother. The young man in question had been fired from his job as a night janitor, and after insisting on talking to his manager about it, ends up facing criminal charges for making threats. Overnight, the case becomes far more serious after the manager is found murdered and their client is the prime suspect.

Photo: Deni Starr, Bishop’s House

Cindy and Sean look for evidence that someone besides their client was involved in the killing.   Then abruptly, she and Sean get fired.  While Cindy is trying to get them back on the case, Sean notices that an oddly large number of businesses located in the building where this janitor firm cleans have gone out of business or had some catastrophic disaster, all related to someone getting inside information on the business and exploiting it. Could the “someone” in question be working for the janitorial firm?

Sean and Cindy have to put the clues together to catch the murderer before their client’s inept arrogant lawyer and his paramour paralegal botch the case entirely and send a young man to prison for life.
Published 2020 by Silver Leaf Books.

Murder by the Sea

While BJ McKay is incarcerated, her sister Cindy is murdered near her home in a small town on the Oregon coast. When BJ is finally released from prison nine months later, she heads to the beach for answers. She finds the sheriff has made no arrests and has no suspects or leads. He’s also hostile and unhelpful.

BJ begins to investigate on her own and learns that before her death, Cindy had changed her locks and bought a gun, actions that didn’t square up with BJ’s knowledge of how Cindy would act. BJ also discovers the outside phone line had been cut. To make it all more confusing, Cindy was owed money from customers, and antiques she was selling through her business were mysteriously missing. No one could locate her car either.

After making friends with some of the quirky locals, BJ gets a little help with her inquiries, but then another inexplicable murder occurs and someone breaks in to search Cindy’s house.
Suddenly BJ is getting too close to figuring things out for a killer’s comfort. Will BJ put the pieces of the puzzle together in time?  Or will she be the next victim of a malicious murderer?
Published in 2020 by Launch Point Press