Erica Jensen

Created by Debbi Mack

Licence? I don’t need no stinkin’ licence!

Playing by the rules and following orders while deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 as a Marine left ERICA JENSEN with a fucked-up back, PTSD and an addiction to painkillers, so she’s decided to keep it low key. And who really needs all that tiresome paperwork to become an actual private investigator that the state of Maryland would require?  Not that her history of opioid addiction would help.

And so instead, Erica calls herself a “researcher,” running background checks and tracking down assorted deadbeats on her computer, and only occasionally hitting the streets to conduct–you know, research.

She’s stubborn, skittish and quick to anger, but she does have mad computer skills. She lives alone in an apartment in Baltimore, does yoga and meditates, has a strange fondness (for an American) for Marmite on toast, and attends court-ordered therapy. She is, as the title of her Shamus-nominated 2020 novella puts it, “damaged goods.”

Which is what makes her so compelling–she’s a strong, tough character, flawed but admirably independent. It’ll be interesting to see where the author takes her… and I LOVE that cover!


A New York Times bestselling author, Debbi has worked as a waitress, a photography model, a substitute school bus driver, a typist, an attorney, a freelance writer, a reference librarian, among other things. She also writes a series about lawyer-private eye Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae, and hosts a popular podcast, The Crime Cafe, where she grillscrime fiction, true crime, suspense, and thriller authors.


  • “Fans of flawed but empowered female detectives will be pleased with this exceptional mix of character study and detective work.”
    — Publishers Weekly on Damaged Goods
  • “Best private eye novel I’ve read in ages. Pitch perfect pace and plot with a well-drawn protagonist.”
    — M. Ruth Myers on Damaged Goods



  • October 30, 2021
    THE BOTTOM LINE: Paperwork! Who needs it? So this ex-Marine turned unlicensed PI, who came back from Afghanistan with a fucked up back and PTSD, calls herself a “researcher.”
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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