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Red Market

Red Market

Book 5 of 5: Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series

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What's It About?

Who's Running the Human Chop Shop Known as Red Market?

Halloween is fast approaching. For bail enforcement agent Jinx Ballou, work has taken a turn for the macabre. Among the fugitives she's been hired to apprehend is Donnie Krueger, a man charged with illegally selling cadavers.

When Krueger himself turns up dead, Jinx finds herself behind the eight ball as the prime suspect in his murder.

Desperate to clear her name, Jinx dives deep into Krueger's morbid business dealings. What she discovers is far more gruesome—a site on the dark web called Red Market where body parts are harvested from the vulnerable and sold to the privileged.

Will Jinx bring down this black market of body parts, or end up carved like a jack-o’-lantern, her organs sold to the highest bidder?

As one of the few openly transgender authors in the mystery/thriller genre, Dharma Kelleher delivers yet another heartfelt crime novel that delves deep into the issues of freedom, power, and accountability.

Red Market is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter crime thriller series. If you enjoy heart-pounding suspense, page-turning plot twists, and queer women who kick ass, you’ll love Dharma Kelleher’s chilling adventure that cuts to the heart of privilege.

Curl up with Red Market and join Jinx on an action-packed thrill ride that will leave you cheering for more.

Read Chapter 1 Now

Chapter 1

The Jaws of Death

“Anybody got eyes on the target? Over,” I called into my radio.

“Negative, boss,” replied Nathaniel “Rodeo” Kwan, my second-in-command. “No sign of him by the front of the house. Over.”

I searched behind the line of overgrown shrubs that grew along the back windows. Our target enjoyed playing hide-and-seek, like many of the fugitives I was assigned to apprehend. And this one was a small guy, so he could hide in a lot of tight spaces. But he wasn’t back there.

I leapt atop a cinder-block wall that separated the residential backyard from the business on the next street over. The added six-foot height gave me a better view of the surrounding properties. No fences separated them from one another, so the target could be anywhere.

I pulled my binoculars from my tactical belt and scanned the area. A cloud of smoke partially obscured my view. The next-door neighbor was grilling food. The aroma of mesquite and roasting sweet corn drifted in. My mouth watered.

It was five thirty on a Friday afternoon, and I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. My team and I had spent the better part of the day chasing down a drug dealer who’d jumped bail. Now we had one more fugitive to catch before we called it a day.

When the smoke from the grill cleared, I spotted movement a hundred feet on the other side. “I see him. Behind the Davidsons’ house. Who’s over there? Over.”

“The Davidsons’?” Caden Morrow asked, sounding out of breath. He had recently rejoined my crew after a serious gunshot wound sidelined him a few years earlier. “Which one’s that? Over.”

“Sage-green house.” I leapt off the wall. “Second one west of the corner. Over.”

“I’m across the street. Beige stucco with solar panels. Almost had him. Just too damn fast. Should we tase him if we get close? Over.”

“No, it might kill him. Z? Where are you? Over.”

“Three houses west of you, Jinxie. Over.” Zahara Washington, the fourth member of our team, was a former MMA fighter turned bounty hunter.


“I can come around from the east side,” Rodeo replied. “We can box him in. Over.”

“Okay. Let’s do it. Caden, join him. Z, back me up on the west side. Over.”

She replied immediately, “Jinxie, we got bogies. Over.”

“Bogies? What do you mean? Over.”

“Coyotes. Three—no, four of them. Heading your direction. Over.”

Living close to downtown Phoenix, I rarely saw coyotes in the neighborhood. But for the past few years, our usually wet monsoon seasons had been all but non-soon seasons. Only a few days of rain happened during the last summer, which further exacerbated our ongoing drought.

Desperate for water and food, coyotes, bobcats, and javelinas now wandered deeper into urban neighborhoods. A day earlier, a security camera caught a puma padding down the streets of Old Town Scottsdale on the other side of the Valley, just as tourist season was beginning.

“Try to scare them off,” I instructed Zahara. “The rest of us will zero in on the target. Over.”

I strode east, keeping my eye on the quarry.

A man in a Hawaiian-style shirt approached the grill, holding a plate of raw steaks. He smiled nervously when he saw me, clearly not used to seeing me in my bounty-hunter gear. “Jinx? What’s going on?”

I snatched a steak from his plate. “Need to borrow this, Harold.”

“Hey!” he protested. “Jinx! What the hell?”

I ignored him, focusing instead on the target. When I was within fifty feet of him, I stopped by a flagstone path that led from a neighbor’s porch to an empty birdbath.

“Oh, Teddy,” I called and waved the steak in the air. “Look what I’ve got.”

Teddy turned and met my eyes. For a moment, I thought he would bolt again. Instead, he started wagging his tail. A good sign.

Rather than continue toward him, I simply crouched down and whistled as I would to my golden retriever, Diana the Wonder Dog. Teddy trotted toward me, a wary look in his eyes. The golden light of sunset made his tan fur look like burnished bronze.

In the distance, Caden and Rodeo were closing in. I gestured for them to keep their distance. Didn’t want to spook the little guy.

When Teddy was a few feet away, he stopped, clearly reassessing the situation. He knew me, but I wasn’t sure if he’d seen me in all my gear—ballistic vest, tactical belt, boots.

“Hey, buddy,” I crooned. “You hungry after all that running?”

Again, his tail wagged. He made the final approach. I resisted the urge to grab him right away and instead laid the raw steak on a flagstone. Teddy bit into it, tail wagging faster.

I picked him up along with the steak, allowing him to enjoy his reward. “Good boy.”

“Jinx, you have any idea how much that steak cost?” Harold stood nearby with a pissed look on his face.

I glanced at the plate. Three more raw steaks glistened in the harsh rays of the dying day’s sunlight. “Sorry, Harold. I’ll pay you back. Just had to grab Teddy before the coyotes got him.”

“Devon and I have guests over. Now we’re one steak short.”

“Sorry. Once I return Teddy here to Adelina, I’ll run over to Fry’s and grab you some more.”

“These steaks are grain-fed beef from A.J.’s.”

I sighed. A.J.’s Fine Foods was an upscale grocery store filled with gourmet items like Meyer lemons, five different colors of carrots, and sashimi-grade fish—the kind of ingredients featured on cooking shows but unavailable at standard chain supermarkets.

“Fine, I’ll run up to A.J.’s and get you a few grain-fed steaks.”

“Finally got him, I see.” Z rubbed Teddy’s head as he licked his lips, the steak nothing more than a fond memory. “He’s a cute little guy.”

Z reminded me of a much younger Grace Jones. Athletic build, close-cropped hair, intense eyes, and dark skin. But as tough as she was, she had a gentle heart, often reassuring our captured fugitives everything would be okay.

As the four of us trekked back to Teddy’s home, I asked her, “What about the coyotes?”

“Chased them off for now, but they’re still prowling the neighborhood. Best we get him inside with his mommy before they return.”

“We get steak, too?” Caden wasn’t a tall guy, perhaps because he was trans. But in the past year, he had definitely bulked up and was looking ripped, either from the testosterone injections or a lot of time at the gym. Probably both.

After quitting the team a few years ago, Caden had worked an office job for a while. Less dangerous, no one shooting at him, better benefits. But eventually, he realized he missed the excitement. I, for one, was happy to have him back.

“You expect me to buy all y’all dinner?” I asked, half joking.

“We missed lunch, boss.” Rodeo lowered his ever-present Stetson to shield his eyes from the glaring sunlight.

“Yeah, all right. Go grab us a table at Denver Steak House. I’ll be along as soon as I drop off Teddy here and pick up some more meat for my neighbor.”

I carried Teddy a couple of doors down to my next-door neighbor, Adelina Bosco.

Just as I stepped into Adelina’s yard, my eyes registered movement in the hazy twilight. A coyote sauntered between the front door of the house and me. Another two crept up to the side of me, boxing me in.

Teddy got squirrelly in my arms and started whimpering. The coyotes barked and circled, looking for vulnerabilities. I counted four of them now, all in full predator mode, hackles up and teeth bared.

Coyotes were generally timid around humans. But a small dog like Teddy would make a nice dinner. I was sure the smell of raw meat didn’t help. I remembered my mantra—WWWWD. What would Wonder Woman do? That didn’t help much either. I couldn’t outrun the critters.

“Get the hell outta here!” I yelled.

A coyote charged. I drove a steel-toed boot into its ribs before it could lunge at Teddy. It squealed and veered off but remained too close for comfort. I didn’t really want to hurt them, but they weren’t giving me many options.

Teddy became increasingly frantic and harder to hold. I tightened my grip. He was a fierce little guy who might fend off one if he was lucky. But we were outnumbered. If he got loose again, he was coyote chow.

The door opened. Adelina stepped out, stunning as always. She wore a bright-orange sundress with matching sandals that complemented her deeply tanned skin. Adelina looked beautiful but vulnerable in this situation.

“Get back inside,” I warned her.

Another coyote charged me and leapt. I countered with a roundhouse kick, nearly dropping Teddy into the waiting jaws of a coyote that had snuck alongside unseen. Teddy scratched my neck and tried to climb atop my shoulders, desperate to avoid the circling predators on the ground.

I held him with an iron grip in one arm, drew my Taser, and fired at the coyote at my feet. Tasing a human at this distance would have been ineffective. But both darts hit my small assailant.

When the juice flowed, the coyote let out a sharp cry and fell over, quivering. Its pack members closed in. There were six of them now. I could not possibly reload the Taser with one hand.

The report of a shotgun thundered, followed by a sharp, pitiful yelp from a coyote. No blood. It had been hit with a beanbag round. A second beanbag struck one of the coyote’s pack members. The rest of them retreated to a safer distance.

Zahara appeared on my right. “Pup okay?”

Teddy was practically screaming in terror, even though the danger had largely passed. I could feel wetness on my neck.

“Dog’s okay. Not sure about me.”

The tased coyote was regaining control of its muscles. Zahara stepped between us and ripped the wired darts from the wild canine’s coat. It yelped and took off after its fellows.

“Thanks for the assist.”

“Happy to.”

By the time I got to the front door, Adelina was stepping back out. She smelled of hibiscus. “Are they gone?”

“For now.” I handed over the pup. Teddy was happy to see her.

“Teadoro, perro malo!” She gave us both a worried smile and took him from my arms. “Oh my goodness, Jinx, your neck’s bleeding.”

I touched it, and my hand came away with a red smear. “I’ve survived worse.”

“Hi, Adelina, I’m Zahara.”

I blushed, embarrassed by my lack of social skills. “Sorry. Z here’s a member of my team. She’s the one who saved both the pooch and me.”

“Thanks so much, both of you. Teddy normally doesn’t run out when I open the door.”

“After tonight, I doubt he will again,” Zahara said, smirking.

“What do I owe you?”

“Owe us?” I laughed. “Nothing. I’m just glad Teddy’s safe.”

“You both have a good night.”

When she went inside, I told Zahara I’d meet her at the restaurant.

As I jogged home, I pulled up the FamFinder app on my phone. My husband, Conor, and I used it sometimes to see where the other was. According to the app’s geolocator, Conor was in downtown Glendale.

I called him.

“Hey, love! What’s the craic?” he asked in his lovely Irish brogue.

“The craic is good, babe. The crew and I are headed to Denver Steak House. Care to join us?”

“Aye, love, save us a seat. We’re just dropping one off at the Glendale City Jail. Should be along in an hour.”

“See ya soon!”

I hung up and called Rodeo to let him know our party just grew from four to eight. Then I ran inside and quickly bandaged my neck, changed out of my gear, and drove to A.J.’s.

Harold and I would probably never be friends. He’d never said anything specific, but I didn’t think he liked that I was transgender. I was sure the mob of hateful bigots that swarmed our street a year earlier didn’t help.

Or maybe they didn’t enjoy living a few doors down from a couple of professional bounty hunters.

Still, I tried to maintain at least a civil relationship with my neighbors. And his wife, Devon, was always nice to me.

I grabbed a bouquet of flowers and the package of the grain-fed sirloin steaks.

Devon answered the door when I arrived. “Sorry for stealing one of your steaks earlier. Hope I didn’t ruin your dinner party.”

She waved it off. “We managed. But thank you. These flowers are lovely. You shouldn’t have.”

I shrugged.

“Was that gunfire I heard earlier?” she asked.

“Beanbag rounds to fend off a pack of hungry coyotes that tried to eat Adelina’s dog. No bullets. No drive-by. Nothing to be concerned about.”

“Oh, okay.” She didn’t look convinced. “Well, have a good night.”

I rushed back to my SUV and drove to meet the others at the steakhouse.

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Signed Print Books (US. only): I personally sign and mail print books via USPS Media Mail. I usually fulfill the order within a day or so, and it usually arrives within a week.

Page Count and Other Details

  • Pages: 306
  • Print size: 5.5"x8.5"

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Kim S.

If you like incredible, fast-paced, non-stop action, a great plot, amazing characters and a satisfying resolution, you have chosen the right book with this one. This is a unique and stunning series featuring a truly engaging character, a bounty hunter named Jinx Ballou, whose sense of commitment to justice for all people (marginalized or mainstream) is inspirational. I have enjoyed each book in the series but I will say that this story is exceptional. It has the action, it has the suspense, it has the grit and excitement I have come to expect from this author, but this story really makes you stop and think about where we are headed as a so-called “woke” society. This story has heart. Lots of heart.

I was provided with an advance copy of this book, for which I thank the author, but I am sharing my honest and unbiased review on a completely voluntary basis.


Well I have to say I have not read any of Jinx’s novels before, something I am now sorely regretting. Because this one is a little cracker with something going on from the first page to the last. This is one hell of an author who writes very good stories that’s for sure. Highly recommended

Some things are worth repeating

Some authors write books that you enjoy reading but forget about as soon as finished. Some write books that you like and say that was a good read. Some write books that you finish and pick back up tk read again. Dharma’s ‘Red Market’ falls into the later group.
I got this book as a free advanced copy for people who review books. This book like a well-made movie keeps you engrossed and entertained when you read it. It has characters that are fully developed, not just cutouts to take up space and plenty of action, suspense and pathos to flesh it out. It doesn’t hurt that Dharma is able to weave to story around to plot lines. There is the main plot where Jinx, the main character, tries to solve a mystery and the subplot about the horrible treatment of transgenders, specially young ones, by many in todays world. The fact that Dharma is transgender gives her a powerful self-history that she uses when building her trans and other LGBTQ characters. If you are one of those haters, you should read this to maybe get a glimpse of what your hate does to others. Or maybe not in case it would like horse and water for you.
Oh and like I said about reading some books twice, this one I did. The first time to just enjoy the story and the second time get all the nuances of the story that were missed because of enjoying the story too much.


Once again, Dharma gives us a story with action, adventure, and SO MUCH heart. A brilliant weaving of fiction and fact that have you feeling every twist. Grab this one -you don't want to miss Jinx's adventures!