Jacqueline Carey

Alias: Jay Carey


Jacqueline Carey is the author of The Crossley Baby and other New York Times notable novels.

Short stories from her collection Good Gossip first appeared in The New Yorker Magazine. She has reviewed books for the New York Times, and she had a mystery column at Salon.com.

She graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977, then moved between New York City and Montana a couple of times. Now she lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

Her husband, Ian Frazier, and their children, Cora and Thomas Frazier, are all writers.

Recently she started to write mysteries under the name Jay Carey.

Jacqueline Carey writes:

I've been lucky. My literary novels won some rave reviews. The New York Times chose three as Notable Books. The Crossley Baby earned me a Guggenheim Fellowship.

But I had a strange revelation when I was writing the last, called It's a Crime. The novel is about the culture of corporate greed that lead to the financial collapse of 2007, and featured a couple of mystery novelist characters. As I described the plots of the books they'd written, I thought, "That's what I should be doing."

So now I am writing mystery stories under the pen name Jay Carey. The stories are set in the year 2048 in Sarasota, Florida, when climate change has redrawn the landscape and even the law-abiding feel the heat.

My heroine is Detective Eureka Kilburn, who solves crimes while dealing with global warming's more lurid aspects. She is a climate refugee herself. She grew up in the Virgin Islands, which she fled as a teen after seeing a mountain slide away. Now in her thirties, she's been on the Sarasota police force for a decade. She's seen a lot of changes in that time. After a few bad hurricanes most of the townspeople moved north and the snowbirds never returned. All but three cops are gone. Eureka is in charge only by default.

Imagine what Sarasota has turned into. The rising sea has poisoned the town water with salt. Jellyfish clog the harbor. Floods have turned many of the houses black with mold. Power outages mean people often live in the dark. The courthouse roof blew away long ago.

We Are All Accomplices (Alfred Hitchcock, April 2015) features a teenage Eureka, still living in Miami, who meets a cop as they both watch furniture sailing away in a flood. Then the convenience store at which she works is robbed.

In We Are Not Insured Against Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, December 2014), a life insurance salesman come to town at a time when death lies around every corner. Det. Kilburn wonders why.

In We Don't Trust the Night (Alfred Hitchcock, July/​August 2014), a young girl is traumatized when she tries to fetch water from an urban spring and instead witnesses a particularly vicious beating. Years later, she thinks she sees the perpetrator again.

We Hate the Taste of Jellyfish (Sherlock Holmes, March/​April 2014) begins with a fortune teller predicting a suitor's death as the people of Sarasota net jellyfish for dinner on a now submerged Bayfront Drive. Curiously, the man really does die a few days later.

To read We're Upside Down and Inside Out (Sherlock Holmes, July/​Aug 2013), click on the link labeled "mystery story" above. In a post-hurricane landscape roofs, cars, and the innocent and the guilty have all turned topsy-turvy.

In We Don't Call It Stolen Property (Alfred Hitchcock, Jan/​Feb 2013) Sarasota's housing market has collapsed. You can't say the homes have any real monetary value at all. One bungalow, however, is always kept ready for buyers who never come. Then a few odd objects go missing, and a severed toe is found.

As the cover of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine puts it, Det. Eureka Kilburn is keeping the peace in torrid times.

And I am having a ball.

P.S. I bet there are not many of us who have published stories in both The New Yorker and Alfred Hitchcock.


Selected Works

The husband of an avid mystery reader is arrested for accounting fraud in this tale of corporate culture run amok.
Two sisters each want to adopt their niece. But who will be the better mother-- the high-powered executive or the stay-at-home mom?
Abandoned by her mother in the flower power sixties, a sharp-eyed teenager watches another, apparently perfect family break up.
Twelve interlocked stories set among a small circle of friends in New York City begin and end with weddings.

Quick Links