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The Hooker with the Heart of Gold

Okay, not really. I just like the way that sounds.

I was born in New Jersey, but I've lived in Austin for many, many years. Summers aside, it's a great place. Come to Austin, and you'll find an eclectic mix of hemp-clad environmentalists, tobacco-chewing rednecks, and tech-startup hipsters. For a person who enjoys mocking others, it's almost too easy.

I live with my husband and our pre-teen daughter, and together we've rescued a turtle named Fluffy (don't judge) and two cats that loathe one another. I dislike odd numbers and will go out of my way to arrange/buy/do things in even quantities. Some call that OCD, but I prefer "charmingly eccentic."

I started writing seriously in 2008, after finally discovering (at age 35) that this is what I wanted to do when I grew up. My first novel, NO CAN DO, was a finalist in both the 2015 and 2014 Writer's League of Texas Manuscript contests, and a semifinalist for the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. (Okay, technically it's my third novel — but the first to which I'm willing to subject the word.) You can read the synopsis below, along with a review from Publishers Weekly (which was the prize for advancing so far in the Amazon contest).




Inside the secretive world of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech company, Kate Shepherd has spent the past decade leaning in, speaking out … and going nowhere. Everything changes after the holiday office party, when Kate causes a scandal that gets her banished to China. To salvage her career, Kate must change her reckless ways: no more flirting with execs, no more spiking her post-workout smoothies, and definitely no dating mysterious Asian playboys with hidden agendas. 

Then a smartphone prototype disappears from the factory where Kate is auditing labor conditions, and the worker who lost it turns up brutally beaten. Kate’s convinced the unscrupulous factory owner was responsible, and given his government allies and ruthless security force, worse attacks will follow if the device isn't found soon. Kate’s managers insist she forget about the worker and the prototype, but Kate didn’t get where she is by following orders. 

Enlisting the help of David Liu, a sexy entrepreneur with a suspicious interest in her work, Kate embarks on a human rights investigation that backfires so spectacularly she ends up implicating herself in the theft of priceless, industry-disrupting technology. Now the only way to clear her name — and escape the homicidal thugs convinced she’s hiding their prototype — means tracking down a device she’s never seen, outwitting dangerously corrupt officials, and then double-crossing some of the most powerful men in the tech industry. Kate went to China hoping to save her career, but unless she finds the prototype before the Shenzhen police find her, she’ll lose her job, her freedom, and quite possibly her life.




From Publishers Weekly:

"A blend of corporate thriller and light rom-com humor powers this delightfully offbeat manuscript."

"Smart plot twists and insights into life in China add even more fun to the action and tech trickery."

(scroll down for the full review)


About the Author:

Dani Denatti is serving a life sentence in corporate America, but she hopes to be granted parole someday. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, her daughter, and two cats that loathe each other.





The Full Review from Publishers Weekly:

A blend of corporate thriller and light rom-com humor powers this delightfully offbeat manuscript. After Kate Shepherd commits the ultimate corporate faux pas at her Silicon Valley company’s Christmas party – tipsily kissing the VP – she’s dispatched to do a compliance audit of a contractor in Shenzhen, China. Here, the intrigue picks up: If you expect Kate’s VP, Alistair Cartwright, might be a non-starter, or that mega-wealthy and powerful Chinese businessman David Liu is nothing but a playboy with only a romantic interest in Kate, think again. Meanwhile, Kate’s audit of Dado Tech to ensure that workers are being treated fairly hits some early snags, as the discovery of a security breach at the plant bars Kate’s access. The tension ratchets up once Kate’s hacker brother, Jake, informs her that a prototype Einstein phone is missing, and trouble closes in from all sides. Smart plot twists and insights into life in China add even more fun to the action and tech trickery.