Illusion of Safety


B. J. Packer started her career in public health, inspecting retail and wholesale food licensees and teaching professional food manager certification classes. She currently owns a consulting business where she helps clients write food safety plans that meet state and federal requirements. She lives in Minnesota and spends winters as a grateful snowbird in Arizona.

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“In Illusion of Safety, her impressive debut novel, B. J. Packer takes us deep into the unique environment of health and food inspection in a state health department. While that world is foreign to most readers, Packer uses exceptionally well-drawn characters, authentic dialogue, and detailed setting to place us squarely in it. B. J. Packer’s Illusion of Safety is certain to entertain and engage—highly recommended reading!”

—Duke Southard, Award-winning author of The Fallacy of Closure and the Detective Parker Havenot series


When health inspector Laura Simonsen begins gathering information on a patient with salmonella poisoning, she has no reason to believe she’s dealing with anything out the ordinary. But on the same night the elderly victim dies, the owner of a small meat market is murdered in his parking lot, and Laura suddenly finds herself entangled in something far more hazardous than contaminated food.

Laura and a colleague assist homicide detective Thomas Garcia by investigating the records at the factory where the contaminated food was processed. They discover fraud, theft, and a possible connection to the murder. Perhaps even more unsettling, Thomas shows signs of wanting more than a working relationship with Laura, who’s reluctant to start something new after having escaped an abusive husband.

Now Laura must decide how closely she wants to guard her heart and—more urgently—figure out how to avoid becoming the next murder victim.


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