"...those who enjoy the darker side of the genre are in for some serious thrills with this..."
Laura Wilson, The Guardian
Published in the UK by Polygon (March 19th, '09) and in the US by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Nov '09).
New writers (Novel Excerpts)
by Matthew Loukes
Goose Flesh, the second Slim Gunter novel, is a story of a dead man and his grieving mother. Barnaby “Goose” Chase died in a crummy bedsit, apparently of drink-related injuries. His mother Prudence isn’t convinced by the coroner’s bland verdict and turns to London investigator Slim Gunter. Slim, aided by his live-out girlfriend Lady, academic Barclay Lloyd and big Eddie Scarborough, scours some of the dirtier pavements in London, looking for answers. The places to look include grim pubs, park benches and some of the darker passages of the Bible. Slim’s efforts are hampered by an anonymous assailant, an ill-tempered policemen, a go-go dancer and a religious zealot, all of whom have something to hide. As the secrets start to emerge Slim’s own dubious past re-appears, threatening to ruin him for ever.
by Nick Quantrill
Joe Geraghty, Private Investigator, is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull. Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times. When Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry. As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends. With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.
by Mike Knowles
Wilson spent his entire life under the radar. Few people knew who he was and even fewer knew how to find him. Only two people even knew what he really did. He worked jobs for one very bad man – illegal jobs no one could ever know about. Wilson was invisible until the day he crossed the line and risked everything to save the last connection to humanity he had. One day changed everything. Wilson saved his friends and earned the hatred of a vengeful mob boss, a man who claimed he was Charles Darwin’s worst nightmare.
Wilson survived his transgression and went even deeper into the underworld of Hamilton becoming a ghost in the city – an unknown to almost everyone until he was paid back for his one good deed. It started off with a simple job. Steal a bag from the airport and hand it off. No one said what was in the bag, and no one mentioned who the real owners were or what they would do to get it back. One bag sets into motion a violent chain of events from which no one will escape untouched. Wilson learns that no one forgets, no one gets away clean, and no good deed goes unpunished.
by Gerard Brennan
Post-Troubles West Belfast. Summer of 2006. A group of fourteen-year-old kids have formed a criminal street gang. Taking advantage of the cease in paramilitary activities, and the shaky relationship between their community and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, they run freely through the streets, mugging pensioners for enough money to buy alcohol and drugs. Joe Phillips is their leader, but after a recent growth spurt, he fears he sticks out like a sore thumb among the gang and will soon be caught. He decides to retire from the life of crime. But Stephen McVeigh, a local football hero and wannabe-vigilante, is already on to him. He just needs to gather enough evidence to validate some rough justice.
by Raymond Embrack
In the days of the Rat Pack, comedy was for gangsters. Insult comic Artie Dean goes on a vendetta when a psychotic gangster steals his act and leaves him for dead. When Artie hits L.A., he takes on the mob, the cops, and every freak in town to become the new king of comedy and to collect one gangster's head.
Does The Hero Get The Check?
by Brian Murphy
Chicago Firefighter from Chicago, Cal Picha, just recently becoming a default bachelor (his old lady left him) learns that in Costa Rica, another day in paradise and a sunburn is the last of his worries after he winds up with a package being sought by seriously insane and homicidal Russian gangsters. It’s their opinion, anyways, that Cal Picha has their merchandise. It’s Cal’s opinion, he would love to return this particularly explosive item. It’s only that, dimes to donuts, he’d have to climb over too many still-warm dead bodies, then hand it over to an obviously pissed-off maniac crime lord. Those are some fucked-up odds.
The only one, it seems, likely to help Cal out in this tropical paradise gone “Dawn of The Dead” on him, is another Chicagoan, authentic thug, Jessie Touche, local bar owner and catacombs gangster— local legend in town. Cal just wonders if a steady diet of booze and cocaine is just the thing to keep Jessie sharp enough to stay alive, let alone help him out. At first, all Jessie can say is, “Russians? Here? Costa Rica? I hate those fucks! This isn’t New York. We got rules here!” And Cal? Apart from wondering is he’ll make it home alive, he still can’t stop wondering if he’ll ever get laid down there.
Paying For It
by Tony Black
Gus Dury once had a high-flying career as a journalist and a wife he adored. But now he is living on the edge, a drink away from Edinburgh's down-and-outs, drifting from bar to bar, trying not to sign divorce papers. That is until his best friend's twenty-year-old son is tortured and brutally murdered on Arthur's Seat. Now Col wants Gus to do some sleuthing and find out who and what got Billy killed. Easier said than done. Billy was caught up in a complicated crime web involving some of Edinburgh's most powerful, and dangerous, figures. The investigation will lead Gus back into the heart of his own tangled past -- the past he has been drinking to forget.
by Jeremy Trylch
A crime thriller about a guy with a hot car and a hot wife and the cool Mexican car thief who's out to steal them both. Set in the underbelly of Michigan's automotive industry, where jobs are scarce and opportunity nonexistent, a car thief named Shaggy Hernandez gets a shot at a score that could land him the cash to start over. But when GM gets the police involved, things get complicated for Shaggy, and he'll be lucky to stay out of jail and stay alive.
No Meaner City
by Rob McClure Smith
Glasgow, the Second City of the British Empire, is in the 1930s one of the most violent industrial cities in the world. Poverty, deprivation, and religious bigotry causes the rise of violent razor gangs--the Bloodhound Flying Corps, the Hi-Hi's, the Kelly Boys, the Baltic Fleet, The Brig Ahoy, the Death Valley Boys, the Beehive, the Ging-Gong, the Calton Entry Mob, the South Side Stickers, the Savoy Arcadians. The appointment of a gangbusting Englishman, Sir Percy Sillitoe, to the position of Chief Constable of the Glasgow police, signals a major confrontation, as Sillitoe's officers immediately adopt tactics as brutal as the gangs they seek to destroy and leave the streets of Glasgow red with blood.
The Skin Trail
by Jay Jeff Jones
When two university students, intimate friends since a mutually unhappy childhood, disappear two weeks apart it seems possible that the first, the unusually beautiful Kasya, has fallen into some part of the local sex industry. Her boyfriend, an enthusiastically transgressive party-boy, is last seen trying to find her. Drawn into the situation by chance and poor decisions is Dodge, an expatriate living an edge-like existence in a city on the cusp of long overdue change. Economically stale and prospect poor, Plymouth’s urban dead-end is susceptible to the crudest versions of crime and corruption.
Dodge is evidently something of a damaged individual, visibly scarred and only just settled into a possibly redemptive relationship with a quirky and easy-going criminal lawyer. He works casually as a daytime cook in a café owned by an Old Etonian drop-out and sometimes at night as driver for a Union Street club. To begin with the police aren’t that interested. The girl’s parents send a friend to look into things, an ex-commando home from Middle East contracting work and with old friends and enemies around the city. He suspects that Dodge has more to tell than he’s letting on. Under pressure Dodge is compelled to follow the trail, possibly through sex slavery, people trafficking, licensing fraud and murderous grudges from the city’s covert history.
The Disassembled Man
by Nate Flexer
Frankie Avicious is a hard-luck fellow, the kind of guy who couldn’t get a break if he smashed his fingers with a hammer. Living in a bleak desert town, stuck in a loveless marriage, and spending his days slaughtering cattle, Frankie has nothing to look forward to but his next swallow of bargain whiskey. His behemoth of a wife is threatening to leave him, and a local sociopath is threatening to kill him. And then there’s Scarlett Acres, a stripper with a heart of fool’s gold. Frankie can’t stop thinking about her. She reminds him of somebody from long ago. If only he had a few bucks, he’s sure he could convince her to run away with him.
Frankie’s father-in-law, Richard Richardson is Director of Operations of the local slaughterhouse and happens to be the richest man in Huerfano County . But he doesn’t approve of his daughter’s husband and has been reluctant to provide them with any financial support. What’s a fellow to do? With the encouragement of a mysterious fedora-wearing traveling salesman, Frankie sets out to reverse his destiny through a simple act of murder. The consequences of his brutality turn out to be far worse than even he could imagine
The Cool And The Dead
by Raymond Embrack
A Peter Surf thriller. The son of a murdered 90's gangsta rapper now gets his own death threats. From the same killers in his father's never-solved homicide. Surf takes the case and winds up partnered with the son, a violent rap poser who thinks he’s The Second Coming. Keeping him alive means returning to the violent hip-hop 90's, moving up today’s murder charts, and taking on the rising empire of a twisted Black Caesar.
by Stephen Hawley
Police undercover Perry Naylor is ordered to target a boyhood friend as part of a drugs sting. A friend who can finger him for murder if he ever discovers Naylor's a cop.
by David Manderson
He’s a nice guy – quiet, gentle, loyal and considerate, just trying to do what he thinks is right. So why does he kill people, especially women? In Glasgow he makes his murderous plans during a sweltering heat-wave. But it seems that even the best-made killings can go wrong, and soon he learns that the hunter can become the hunted, the killer the prey. It’s all he can do to keep on course as the net tightens, but he’s too clever for them; he can still dodge his pursuers, hide, carry on his campaign – and then everything goes out of control.
5 From 7
by Damien Seaman
Breaking up proves hard to do for estranged lovers Jenny and Sue. They just happen to work in the same small-town pizza factory as the nauseating Sheila Deedes. The same Sheila Deedes who’s just been found done to a turn in one of the ovens. And someone thinks Jenny did it. When Sheila’s death turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg, Jenny and Sue get back together to solve the crime. But Jenny soon finds that clearing her name is the least of her worries.
by Raymond Embrack
A Peter Surf thriller. The cool west coast private eye is hired to protect the first female quarterback in pro football. She is the target of a new breed of extreme celebrity stalker as hot a celebrity as his targets. He wants to start the first snuff film festival. For Surf, this is a deadly new kind of sport with a kinkier halftime show.
by Charles Kelly
In the desert of central Arizona, car-crash victim Rhea Montero has a ticket for the underground. Michael Callan, her former lover, goes to her funeral. It's a sad affair, but it turns sadder when Daly Marcus, a old friend of Rhea's, shows up to mourn. Callan, an Irish-born investigative reporter for The Phoenix Scribe, tells Daly that Rhea was no good. Daly says she'll prove him wrong. In fact, both are wrong about Rhea. And the truth is fatal.
by Stephen Hawley
Release from jail after a nine year stretch means a stark choice between crime and poverty for blagger Tony Latham -- although for a professional armed robber like Tony, it's no choice at all. Even though he knows it's a bullet or a jail cell for him somewhere down the line, he immediately contacts his former crime partner and begins to plan a comeback.
The chance to heist a major cocaine shipment coincides with Tony meeting a young student, however, and another option to poverty or death suddenly presents itself to him: a fresh start abroad with the woman he loves. All that stands between him and a new life in the sun are the Irish paramilitaries that control the shipment and, inevitably, the forces of the law.
by Uriel E. Gribetz
Kevin Knowles is an undercover in the Narcotics Division in Bronx County . He lives with his wife and children in Maplewood , a seemingly idyllic suburb of the City, which is home to mostly blue collar families of cops, fireman and civil servants who commute to the City. Kevin’s life changes when his cover is blown on a case and he is nearly beaten to death. After months of rehab and after he evens the score with his assailants, Kevin returns to the squad and kills an innocent bystander, Ray Santos, in a routine investigation. A jury finds him not guilty, but is it an accident?
Mat Prey is one of the few lawyers living in Maplewood . The negligence firm that Prey works for in the City is hired by Milagros Santos, Ray Santos’ widow, to sue Kevin Knowles and the New York City Police Department for wrongful death. Prey, when he is assigned the case, doesn’t know that Knowles is his neighbor and when Prey finds out it's too late. Prey’s boss tells him he must continue with the case or be fired. Maplewood ’s residents turn against Prey and his family when they find out about the lawsuit against one of their own.
PERIL’S FOLLY is a story of betrayal and greed set against the backdrop of the mass exodus of the middle class from the city to the suburbs in search of a life of peace and quiet which for many has led to despair and solitude.
by Patrick Quinlan
Smoke Dugan is on the run.
A bomb-maker by profession, he dropped out of sight because of a misunderstanding with his employers about an airplane crash and $2.5 million in cash. Unfortunately, they've found out where Smoke's living – a picturesque seaside city in Maine . And Denny Cruz, a high paid assassin, is on his way from New York to collect him.
Smoke's girlfriend Lola Bell is unaware of his past. Sexy, smart and tough, Lola's a weed that grew up through the cracks in an inner city housing project. Her big eyes belie her secret weapon: she's spent a decade studying the martial arts. The tattoo on her shoulder reads, Girls Kick Ass. When Cruz decides to use Lola to get to Smoke, he has no idea what he's taking on.
A time bomb is ticking as Smoke, Lola, Cruz and anyone unlucky enough to come into their orbit are caught up in a drama of abduction, car chases and triple bluff where escape or violent death look like the only options. But nothing turns out quite as anyone might expect…
by Gary Carson
A cover-up in the pharmaceutical industry leads to blackmail, murder and chaos when a computer geek with insomnia, a vicious corporate spy, a beautiful sociopath, and two rival psychiatrists collide over a set of stolen clinical trial reports and a sleeping pill with some very strange side effects.
Where Dead Angels Sing
by Joseph M. Faria
Having turned his back on the mob and now presumed dead, Costa Jo is forced out of retirement by unknown forces determined on revenge. After witnessing friends and loved ones maimed and killed for something he did in the past, only God can stop him now from exacting punishment on those responsible.
Costa Jo whispered in the dying man’s ear, “Do you know where dead angels sing?”
This is Costa Jo, a fearless, wise-cracking, bone-crunching dynamo who hates guns, loves classic movies, munching on his favorite salt and vinegar chips, and has a big soft spot for dames. But don’t let that fool you; he’s a sweet guy with a murderous grin.
Day Of The Dudes
by Raymond Embrack
DAY OF THE DUDES is a novel inspired by a line from P.T. Anderson’s film Boogie Nights. This is the line where the stereo store guy tells porn actor Buck Swope how he got the stereo store job: “I hired you because your acting stuff might bring pussy into the place.”
DUDES is an L.A. noir about a stereo store guy who will go a long way to score; celebrity murderers; cops who kill for a development deal; and a violent feud in the porn world that turns L.A. into an X-rated war zone.
Eye Of The Burning Man
by Harry Shannon
Psychologist Mick Callahan, flawed hero of Harry Shannon's taut thriller Memorial Day, wants to escape his violent past. He's finally back in the game, with a successful radio show, a new girlfriend and money in the bank. And then along comes Mary, the young drug addict who saved his life in Dry Wells. Mick Callahan is the kind of man who pays his debts, even if that means putting everything on the line. When Mary is abducted from his home all hell breaks loose. Callahan gathers his eccentric friends, sets out to find her and ends up confronting a gang of vicious psychopaths at Nevada's bizarre Burning Man Festival.
When One Man Dies
by David White
Jersey P.I. Jackson Donne is ready for the next phase of his life. He's enrolled in school, eager to see what a life away from private investigating would be like. But when his friend Gerry is killed in a hit and run, it suspiciously looks like more than an accident. Donne is asked to look into the incident. At the same time, he’s hired to look into an act of apparent marital infidelity. With the discovery of a body on the front steps of Drew University, Donne decides to leave Gerry’s case behind and investigate the second one even more closely. As the cases start to twist a little too close for comfort, Jackson begins to wonder how far he wants to travel down this road of drugs, deception and murder. Donne must decide who to believe and what promises are worth keeping.
The Storm Giants
by Pearce Hansen
He's a cleaner and a trouble shooter, a government contract killer with no name and with no past worth examining. But now his latest mission is forcing him to break all the rules: the job is not what it seems, and neither is his beautiful target, Dawn -- someone's trying to pull a fast one, and he's not buying it.
A master killer on the run, protecting Dawn from a gauntlet of highly trained hit squads with the full power of the government behind them, our nameless hero is forced to re-examine everything he's ever believed about the nature of loyalty and patriotism, and about just who and what he is. Can there be room for love in the heart of a man whose entire life has been a tapestry of death?
by Terry White
Det. Annie Cheng, a transplanted Chinese-American, is investigating one of northeastern Ohio's most sensational crimes, a case known since the 1970s around Cleveland as the "Strawberry Girls," named for more than a dozen dead crack whores found in the worst sections of east Cleveland. But what is this new copycat killer trying to accomplish by dumping two more dead bodies just a hundred feet from each other along a quiet road in her rural suburb? Nothing much used to happen in Jefferson-on-the-Lake except for the usual lowlife bikers passing through each summer in search of runaway teens or the same drunken tourists trying to pick up those same girls along the strip of cheap bars known as Little Minnesota. Even more puzzling to Annie's colleagues in the precinct is why she would even consider accepting the assistance of Thomas Haftmann, burnout cop and self-proclaimed existentialist, who spends most of his evenings in a drunken stupor in Tico's Place.
by Bryon Querermous
LUNCHBOX HERO is the story of Kenny Shepard, a 26-year-old college drop out whose only aim in life is to be an action hero. He works as a secretary for Flint, Michigan PI Steve Vaughn, who was the co-star of a flashy 80's PI show called Parker Block. When two of Steve's clients and a bail bondsman show up at the office saying he's been MIA for a month and demand to know where he is, Kenny takes it upon himself to go looking. What he finds is Steve's dead body and a 10-year-old bank robbery conspiracy. With the FBI and several hired killers on his trail, Kenny has to hunt down a murderer before his experiment in reality TV is canceled for good.
And Then The Night
by C. S. Thompson
In the darkness of an abandoned building, Jim Rankin receives an instruction from his masters in the otherworld: "Go to Munro, Noctiviganti. You may wait in the dark no longer." But Munro is a city at war, where two factions of ruthless mobsters battle for power and a mysterious girl named Asturiana hunts for a secret from her past. Jim Rankin -- occultist, detective and killer -- will help her find what she is looking for. But Jim's only true loyalty is to the powers he serves, and anyone who stands in his way will be destroyed -- even if that means Asturiana herself.
Harry, Harry, Quite Contrary
by Jonathan L. Woods
This is the story of Harry Beckett. Black sheep of a wealthy Charleston, South Carolina family. Womanizer. Accused murderer. The dead man, gem dealer Charles Panama, was his next-door neighbor. A quarter of a million dollars of emeralds are missing. And Harry’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon. His old girlfriend has dumped him for a gangster. His lawyer thinks he’s guilty and wants him to cop a plea. His brother is too drunk to care. And his mother is angry with him – he’s ruining the family name. Only Harry knows he didn’t do it. But the only thing Harry can think about is the woman in the mini-skirt and black camisole, who was a close friend of Charles Panama. Her name is Lauren Mills. She drives a red Porsche 911, has extravagant tastes and a libido that won’t quit. And in Charleston the average summer temperature is 92 degrees in the shade – too hot for Harry Beckett.
An erotic thriller in the tradition of James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith and Suzanne Moore’s In the Cut, the confession of outsider Harry Beckett will draw you into its web of lies, lust, greed and murder, and spit you out the other side, gasping for breath.
by William Starr Moake
Dex Hamilton is a PI who stumbles into the dark side of paradise in Hawaii when sultry Kona winds make people sweat too much and get on each other's nerves. A rich man has disappeared mysteriously -- or has he simply run away from a beautiful wife who drinks mai-tais at nine in the morning? The awful truth is waiting on a yacht named Luck in Honolulu harbor.
by Pearce Hansen
When Speedy raises from Pelican Bay State Prison, he comes home to find his brother Little Willy a homeless crack addict, and his best friend Fat Bob bouncing SF’s underground punk clubs. After two of their childhood homeboys are wrapped up in chains by Nuestra Familia drug dealers and thrown in the American River alive, our heroes somehow get it together enough to plot revenge. Sure it complicates things a bit when the same cop who put Speedy in prison keeps dogging their tracks like an unwelcome relative, and it maybe takes the edge off Speedy’s game when he starts playing house with beautiful phone psychic Carmel. But when a racist coven of skinheads comes howling for Speedy & Carmel’s blood, and a serial killer with a monster in his head decides Speedy is the answer to all his unholy prayers, things get really interesting...
by James M. McGowan
This is an Irish-American crime story of family ties, violence, gun play, shootings, dark humour and the ultimate Irish sin, betrayal. Chris McGowan is exposed to violence early on and embraces it a little later. He kills his step father when he is sixteen. He is holidaying with his cousin Amy and his gangster uncle in Boston when an assassination attempt is made. Chris shines through, shields Amy from the bullets and kills the attackers. His uncle is wounded but survives. McGowan tracks down the organisers of the attack and dispatches them.
His uncle is killed in hospital on a second attempt a few days later. His cousin Amy disappears. Chris arranges payment of ransom of a million dollars but Amy has staged the kidnapping to get her father’s money and leaves Chris to be executed at the exchange. Fuck that. Chris escapes and sets about tracking down Amy. The cops chase Chris. The lawyers chase Chris for the million. The colleagues of the dead attackers chase Chris. It all ends in tears and a high body count.
by James R Winter
Life is good for Nick Kepler. The Cleveland-based private investigator gets free office space, secretarial help, and plenty of work from his former employers at an insurance company. It's a sweet deal until a manager gives him a couple of referrals. One is to a life insurance underwriter desperate to save his job. It seems the holder of a two-million dollar policy had a heart attack, putting the underwriter in danger of the unemployment line. Kepler thinks he can mail this one in, since the claims manager is ready to pay. That same day, the wife of a powerful attorney wants to know if her husband is being indiscreet. She's concerned about his political ambitions, which doesn't sit well with Kepler. He doesn't do political cases. He takes the case, though, since the client offers a larger-than-usual fee for his time. A simple cheating spouse case and a quick background check, right?
Wrong. In Northcoast Shakedown, Kepler finds himself in the middle of something much more complex and dangerous than he anticipated. The two cases become intertwined, with consequences reaching into local political circles, management at Kepler's former company, and to the seedy underside of Cleveland.
by Tony Griff
Rockwell Baker and Roland Jones have to make a guy disappear for Louie Ding Ding. Down in New Orleans Baron LaBlaste has put a spell on Tommy the Shoe. He’s got to go. But the Baron has become a celebrity with his new snack sensation - Voodoo HOT Zucchini ZombyChips. He’s holed up with his Aunt Lady Ezrulie, protected by a family of thieves and thugs.
It won’t be easy. Or impossible. Rock does not care for the Crescent City as much as Roll does. Son of a gun, they’ll have BIG fun on the bayou.
by Charlie Williams
No-one leaves Mangel - at least not alive they don't. Royston Blake is the Head Doorman of Hoppers Wine Bar & Bistro. He drives a Capri 2.81 and can walk down the street in Mangel knowing he's respected by folks. But now there's a rumour out that Blake's lost his bottle. Even Sal's heard the rumour. What's more, the Muntons are after him and the thought of ending up in the back of their Meat Wagon is almost too much to bear. Something's got to give. Determined to prove he hasn't lost his nerve, Blake embarks on a plan designed to re-establish his reputation as a hard man, ensure his everlasting appeal to women and seal his future with the new owner of Hoppers, even if he is an outsider. Murder, mayhem and a chainsaw called Susan intertwine in this astonishing debut which marks the appearance of a fresh, funny and brutal new voice in British crime fiction.
Dark as Night
by Mark T. Conard
A noir thriller in which a man, trying to help his brother stay out of trouble, is drawn into the violent and unforgiving world of the Philadelphia mob.
Chef Morris White wants to open his own restaurant and leave his past behind. But when his half-brother, Vince Kammer, is released from Graterford Prison and makes a deal with the mob, Morris finds it harder and harder to escape his own violent past and his hometown roots, which unlike the crisp, white linens of his restaurant, are black as hell and dark as night.
by Lancer Kind
Mylz’s credibility was destroyed. He should have been fired after COPS© found out that his girlfriend spied on him for her Yakuza crime boss. But as the door was hitting him in the ass, he passed a test that only one percent of the people in the world could pass—he has the ability to wield metaphysical forces. So COPS© gave him a raise and made him part of a new department called Thaumaturgy. But Mylz’s new position in a new part of town doesn’t help him sleep nights. Something happened that night when his girlfriend betrayed him, something that part of him won’t ever forget.
by Harry Shannon
Psychologist Mick Callahan was a television star until women, booze and ego brought him down. Now the former Navy Seal washout is a man on a mission—to get his life back on track. He reluctantly accepts a job hosting a radio talk show near his little home town of Dry Wells, Nevada. When a troubled young caller is murdered, Callahan decides to investigate. But then the mystery girl turns out to be the daughter of the richest man in the county. Suddenly Mick Callahan is compelled to uncover the dying town's sordid secrets, wrestle with his own memories of an abusive childhood—and then literally run for his life on the climactic Memorial Day.
Mine to Avenge
by Brian Cain
Two murders. Two rival gangs. One man in the middle with more to lose than either side.
A young couple has been murdered and Steve Dane (former government agent turned vigilante)is determined to find out why. The quest leads him to two separate gangs planning two separate events – a robbery and a kidnapping – to take place at the same place, same time. The first gang is no match for a man of Dane’s talents. But the leader of the other gang, Joe Thorne, is an old friend of Dane’s from his CIA days, and threatens to expose his activities if he doesn’t help with the kidnapping. Thorne thinks Dane’s ex-lover, Ava Sutter, also part of the gang, is just the person to help convince him. Instead, Dane and Ava make other plans; when she’s murdered as a result, Dane risks everything to settle the score.
The Long Ride extract
by James McKimmey
The Perfect Victim sample chapter
by James McKimmey
The Night Was Bright: an original short story
by James and Starr McKimmey
Winner Take All sample chapter
by James McKimmey
24 Hours To Kill opening extract
by James McKimmey
Cornered! opening chapter
by James McKimmey
Squeeze Play opening chapter
by James McKimmey
A dark extract from Squeeze Play
by James McKimmey
A dark extract from The Hot Fire
by James McKimmey
Eighty Thousand Eyes
by Richard Cross
What do you want from life? Financial security, and that one certain love?
So does Frank Lassiter.
Only Lassiter doesn’t have a clue how to get it. His lover has left him, his business is failing, and his debts are growing faster than mould on week-old pizza.
So when a sultry blonde with catwalk looks and the key to a cool two million makes the moves on Lassiter, he doesn’t stop to wonder why. He doesn’t even stop to consider the fact that she’s the mistress of a big-time gangster.
Lassiter simply closes his eyes, smells the perfume, and dives right in.
by John Knoerle
Cleveland, Ohio, 1945. Hal Schroeder returns from a two-year stint behind German lines as an undercover agent for the OSS. The horrors of war have left him bitter and cynical. He is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a local mob that is pulling bank heists. The feds have concocted a sting operation to capture the head of the gang and they want Hal to execute it. He agrees. But Hal Schroeder isn’t interested in being a hero. Hal Schroeder is interested in a fat payday.
Act Of Contrition
by Fred DeVecca
Adam Christoffer, right-hand man to the biggest drug manufacturer on the East Coast, escapes a police bust and finds his way to a small town in rural Masachusetts where he hides out and makes a good life for himself as a "psychic detective." No one really knows who he is or where he came from, but he, in his understated way, fits in. He finds things. And he does this, quietly, for twenty-one years.
Until one thick, slow, end-of-summer night, while sitting on his porch with his dog, listening to the Red Sox game on the radio, he is paid a visit by his friend Father Bob, a Roman Catholic priest, who violates the sanctity of the confessional and tells him of an unusual confession he has just heard. A soft-spoken man has confessed to the murders of hundreds of people and has asked for absolution. Among his many sins, he tells Father Bob, the worst of them is that he “…took the soul of Adam Christoffer.”
It sounds suspiciously like Adam’s former boss, the drug czar from Boston, but it can’t be him. Adam personally saw him shot and killed in a lonely, dark bar a long time ago, as a nor’easter howled outside. So Adam Christoffer begins the biggest quest of his life - a search for the ghost of his former boss Norman Saturn.
Somewhere along the way, a tiny, gray-eyed, hauntingly seductive woman hires him to locate her missing daughter, and now Adam has two things to find. His comfortable life seems like it’s about to go swirling down the angry waters of the river which runs through the center of his peaceful hamlet, as he searches for the missing girl and his evil former boss.
A series of odd encounters with small-time criminals from his past and strange new people from his present (and perhaps future) lead to mysterious late-night trips to New York and a mounting body count, all serving to confuse and disturb the determinedly pacifist psychic detective.
Until a startling conclusion, jumping at us from our memories of the September 11 terrorist attacks, serves to tie everything together, and finds Adam Christoffer back where he started - on his porch, with his dog, wiser, richer, and colder.
The Big Blind
by Ray Banks
The Big Blind features Alan Slater, double-glazing salesman, chip junkie and part-time alcoholic who’s looking for a little excitement in his life. He’s about to get it. In spades. His student girlfriend Lucy may well be banging her pothead housemate and UPVC sales have bottomed out. But far worse is Les Beale, Alan’s only friend and a violent gambling-addicted drunk. When Beale gets into illegal poker games and heavily in debt, it’s not long before someone is face down in the Manchester Ship Canal. With pressure at work, pressure from Lucy, as well as Beale’s escalating paranoia, Triad death threats and Alan’s own conscience eating away at him, Slater is about to have a mid-life crisis he can’t walk away from.
by John Swan
Blame it on the neighbours. They’re the ones who introduced recently widowed ex-cop John Swan to the tantalizingly widowed Meg Maloney, your classic blond bombshell. Turns out, it’s a match made in purgatory. Swan suspects Meg may have murdered her last husband. So what does sexy Meg want with a fat, middle-aged burnout like Swan?
He leads the femme fatale down one of his familiar rabbit-holes, an east Toronto community of touts and tarts where old pals gamble, carouse and stumble through an off-track betting parlour Swan calls The Farm. But it’s Swan’s mettle that’s tested when a recent acquaintance is found gutted in the flea-bag hotel parking-lot next to Swan’s tired chevy. Meg is aroused and inspired. Who’d want to kill Toby, a diaper deliveryman, and why?
Together, Maloney and Swan make the strangest detective duo since, well, ever. With dark humour and engaging style, Sap is full of shabby characters, sexy encounters and more twists and turns than your small intestine. God help us all if this spins into a series.
John Swan is not a nice guy. Not a clean guy. Not a polite guy. But he
delivers the goods. Sap is hard-edged, cynical and lean as a timber wolf
when the deer are gone. If you're looking for a Canadian PI who’s been
boiled to leather, Swan's your man.
Peter Sellers, founder of the acclaimed Cold Blood anthologies.
Sap is a very funny, very twisted book by and about the very funny, very
twisted John Swan, one of the most original and compelling narrators to
hit the pages of a pulp in a very long time.
Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and The Walkaway.
The New Roman Empire
by Robert D. Bennett
A chance meeting at a seedy south-side Chicago sports bar will lead sometime sleuth Dillon McDonaugh into a tight tale of intrigue, obsession and violence. When the under-aged daughter of a United States Senator enters McDonaugh’s life, he sees her as the only means out of his current financial dilemma. Accepting a cash retainer McDonaugh delves his client’s checkered past and her obsession with a mysterious sex club called The New Roman Empire. The hunt for the club will take McDonaugh to an uptown brothel, a suburban sanitarium and finally to an abandoned steel mill where he is nearly incinerated by an arsonist who is determined to throw him off the trail. When his client turns up dead, McDonaugh becomes the police’s prime suspect and the target of the real murderer who is bent on keeping both his identity and the location of The New Roman Empire a dark secret.
The story is rife with seedy, back alley characters and McDonaugh’s very small, but very devoted circle of friends. These include: Dr. David Zuckerman, a noted Northwestern physicist and world class computer hacker, Mighty Mouse Muldowney, a dwarfish forensics expert and Nimble Nan The Librarian, Dillon’s on again-off again girlfriend and full-time researcher. This contingent will form the gritty backdrop for the Dillon McDonaugh hard-boiled crime series.
by Ron Miller
It’s New York in the 50s and a burlesque queen turned detective sheds blood instead of clothing when she has to save a teenage girl from the chair. But what is she going to do when her client remembers every detail of committing the brutal murder? It’s a case that takes Velda from seedy pinup studios to the swamps of the Florida Keys . . .
Smell The Roses
by Duane Swierczynski
Lennon didn’t scream when the van smashed into his getaway car during the biggest heist of his career.
He didn’t scream when they stuffed his naked, bleeding body down a drainage pipe. Or when they threatened to kill his family unless he gave them $650,000.
But Lennon’s going to enjoy listening to everybody scream when he gets even.
Smell The Roses.
A new way to think about America’s favorite crime.
by Patrick J. Lambe
Tony is the kind of guy whose name is invariably preceded by ‘alleged’ whenever he makes the papers. The clerks at Ellis Island changed his grandfather’s last name from Carlucci to Carlisle. He’s thinking of changing it back, for business purposes. When his best friend is murdered by someone he can’t get to through his normal channels, he has to go through the legal ones, and he calls in a marker from the first man he ever wanted to kill: private investigator Reilly. Reilly’s got his own problems. He’s suffering from all three Irish curses, but fortunately he only remembers what two of them are. But he’s one to pay back a debt, even if it means taking on a corrupt New Jersey State Trooper.
Cold Caller sample chapters
by Jason Starr
Nothing Personal sample chapters
by Jason Starr
Fake I.D. sample chapters
by Jason Starr
Hard Feelings sample chapters
by Jason Starr
Tough Luck sample chapters
by Jason Starr
Short Noir: Nobody Gets Outta Here Alive
by Miles Archer
Pelham Fell Here
by Ed Lynskey
Frank Johnson has been featured in 27 of Ed Lynskey's short crime stories published in Futures, Orchard Press Mysteries, Shots, Shred Of Evidence, Judas Ezine, Mississippi Review, and 3rd Degree. He is the protagonist in two sequel novels, The Dirt-Brown Derby and The Blue Cheer. A fourth ms., Bring The Heat, has been started.
Pelham Fell Here occurs over a three-day weekend in October 2001. Frank Johnson, a young gunsmith, lives in the fictitious small town of Pelham, Virginia. On a Friday afternoon he meets Rennie Darling who works in a gun shop owned by Frank's cousin, Johnny Chapman. Later that night, while discussing Rennie, Chapman convinces Frank to call her. Trouble swiftly ensues. Saturday morning after their first date, Rennie calls Frank. A shotgun load in the chest has killed Chapman. The Sheriff kicks off a murder investigation; Frank becomes the lead suspect. Suspecting a frame job, he's advised to telephone Robert Gatlin, an eccentric but brilliant defense attorney who champions the underdog. Gatlin, out of the country, directs Frank to evade arrest until his return. Frank's subsequent flight propels the narrative. He tangles with a savage white supremacist group he believes are Chapman's murderers. Proving it to clear his name erupts into a running gun battle. To even up the odds, Frank taps unlikely allies in a fearless friend and two bounty hunters. Action builds to the climatic showdown. The violent resolution also has something to say about our own present world.
White Knight Syndrome
by Jochem Vandersteen
Noah Milano is a Los Angeles security specialist with more than a few "family" problems. Because, in his case, his family is "the family." He's the estranged son of a mobster, which creates a big deal of tension and more than a few problems. Fiercely independent, and determined to sever all ties with his past, Noah has to adjust from being a spoiled mobster son to being an independent operator with little money. When he's hired to bodyguard a beautiful and rich teenage girl he's drawn into a web of family secrets, homicide and the dangers of falling in love. It's not easy to be a White Knight in a world filled with betrayal and mob violence but Noah Milano is going to try anyway... even if he has to die doing it...
by Raymond Embrack
In Barracuda, private eye Peter Surf goes on a vendetta against R.A.V.A.G.E., a terrorist group that only targets private eyes. With its martini mix of retro-cool, complex plot, ice-cold killers and red-hot ultravixens, Barracuda redefines the way of the eye.
A Season Of Strange Dreams
by C.S. Thompson
Jim Rankin is Noctiviganti, a man who can visit other worlds in his dreams. Five years ago he disappeared, unable to face the horrors he found there. Now his masters are calling him back home to the city of Nottamun, a place where black magic and gangsterism go hand in hand. The place where he left the girl he loved, and where his mistake cost his best friend's life.
Beware The Solitary Drinker
by Cornelius Lehane
Brian McNulty, veteran bartender at Oscar's on the Upper West Side, respects his customer's privacy. And their space. But when one of them -- a tarnished but innocent young woman seduced by New York's bright lights and glitter -- is murdered, and another battered innocent charged with killing her, he reluctantly begins his own investigation. Brian's commitment to the chase is given a boost with the arrival of the dead girl's sister, a young business woman from Massachusetts, determined to uncover the killer. She's put off by Brian's jaded attitude and offbeat lifestyle, but comes to rely upon his familiarity with the city's darker underside. He, in turn, enlists the aid of a cadre of neighborhood cronies. Their suspects are all of the regulars at Oscar's, each with more to hide than the next. A leftist politically, a dedicated union man, Brian learns that when you dig into people's lives, rich or poor, you find things kept hidden for good reason. By stirring up these ghosts, you change the shape of the landscape and put your friends -- and yourself -- in harm's way.
Paying For It
by Stuart Mark
Kathleen and Bernadette are two very different women; one a middle-age mother with a lifetime of regret, the other a teenage Glasgow prostitute chasing a simple ambition. They meet for the first time in a room from which there is no escape and quickly discover that, despite very different backgrounds, they have two things in common; a mutual dislike for each other and the fact that they are both dead. Each has left questions with the living, the answers to which uncover dark events that end in a further death and force Kathleen's son and Bernadette's only friend into their own acts of self-preservation. As Kathleen and Bernadette get to know each other, their understanding, of both life and death, grows. Just when it seems that death will finally give them what life could not, they are faced with a choice that will have profound implications for those they love. Can the Dead make a difference? Should we all pay for our actions?
by J. Michael Blue
In J. Michael Blue’s new rust belt crime novel, the sins of the past punch gaping holes in the comfortable, successful lifestyle ex-con, Wes Hayes, has built for himself. His fast growing beauty salon business is so starved for cash that it may require life support from a predatory juice loan investor. LeAnne, Wes’s ex-wife, is demanding he fix all of the problems in her chaotic world, including the philandering ways of her abusive second husband, and the misbehavior of Wes’s teenage daughter. To complete his trouble Trifecta, Wes is being pursued by the brother of a man he killed in a bar fight, and Roy Waddell has promised his mama that Wes will soon be as dead as Roy’s brother Bobby. Wes Hayes believes in paying his debts and atoning for the errors of his past, but he has come too far since his days as a con to give up what he has without a battle. He hopes he can save himself and protect those he loves without a second round of sinning, but he has never learned how to trust the cops or how to turn the other cheek.
The Carillon Man (screenplay)
by Andrew Jamieson
Welcome to Carlisle, the last great border city. An isolated place, the kind of urban sprawl that people travel through on the way somewhere else. The kind of place where every dark corner hides a secret. To a PI like Morgan Peoples, secrets mean trouble. Especially when the keepers of those secrets are attractive women. To a regular guy like Morgan Peoples, attractive women mean only one thing, and that's just too bad. Left to take care of an expensive client, Morgan is faced with sleaze and lies everywhere he turns. The sleaze he doesn’t mind. It makes the job more interesting. The lies? They’re the part of the job that makes it harder day by day. And Morgan doesn't like being played for a fool. Time to stop being polite and start cracking heads.
The Emerald Triangle
by Miles Archer
Miles Archer’s erstwhile hero, Doug McCool returns for another wild adventure. San Francisco, 1974: The Symbionese Liberation Army, the Zodiac Killer, the Zebra Murders, People’s Temple and Reverend Jim Jones. McCool tangles with the famous, infamous and just plain crooked as he weaves his own bizarre path through the events of that wild decade — The Seventies. Meet commercial marijuana growers living in bucolic tranquility; enter the world of drunks, bikers and whores; come eyeball-to-eyeball with the notorious Zodiac and the even more terrifying and sinister Reverend Jim Jones-- all leading up to an explosive encounter with the IRA. Plus the sage advice of McCool’s "dear old gray-haired mother". A wild mix of murder, political intrigue, an unsolved mass murder case, dope dealing, gun-running and enough sub-plots for three books--another rollercoaster ride through the streets of San Francisco!
"The best gumshoe detective novelist since Chandler." - Spc. Michael DeWitt, United States Army, Korea
No Time To Mourn
by Tim Wohlforth
"She's back there," Lori gestured with her head toward a shape bent over a drink at the end of the bar. Hardly human. More like a bundle of black clothes someone had left on the barstool.
As PI Jim Wolf's eyes adjust to the dim light of Big Emma's, the bundle morphs into the semblance of a woman. Around fifty with high cheekbones and a touch of wrinkle around eyes with dense pupils. Her black suit exudes quality, Nieman-Marcus or Saks. Full red lips that match bright dyed hair provide the only color. It was as if an artist had begun to colorize her just before she walked out of a frame in a 40's noir movie.
A slight stiffening in her posture suggests she senses she is being watched. She doesn't look up. Just keeps staring into her glass.
"Someone shot Edward, her husband. He died in her arms."
"So what can I do?"
"Keep her alive. She says the same killer is after her now."
Wolf has no choice but to get involved. A professional killer succeeds in murdering her and then seeks to take out his only witness. Wolf, in turn, must discover the hit man's boss. His hunt leads him to tangle with a lesbian motorcycle gang and battle a helicopter in the desert. He discovers the truth at an old mission in California's Central Valley.
In His Shadow
by Dave Zeltserman
Introduced by Allan Guthrie.
Johnny Lane. Denver PI with a winning smile. Popular with the ladies and successful enough to have a regular column in the local newspaper. From his opening case, the search for missing teenager Debra Singer, it appears that Johnny has a keen, albeit individualistic, sense of morality.
With the undertaking of a new case, the search for adoptee Mary Williams's biological parents, Zeltserman's casual prose style becomes edgier, more visceral (and the jokes become darker), as, propelled by seemingly good intentions, Johnny starts to pluck at the loose bandages hiding his own deep emotional scars. When finally unwrapped (gradually over the course of the rest of the novel), the naked truth is a painful sight.
Much has been made of the debt In His Shadow owes Jim Thompson (in fact, the novel is dedicated to him) and, yes, there are undoubted parallels. Still, good as it might have been merely as a Thompson pastiche, Zeltserman's book is far more than that. Hell, it's got a PI as a protagonist. It's also heartfelt and moving in a way that Jim Thompson rarely achieves and has the same kind of haunting quality that pervades William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel.
It is only a matter of time before Dave Zeltserman is recognised as a giant of modern noir.
The Sky Is Crying
by Brian Thornton
It’s January in Tacoma, and that means rain. Soaked almost to the skin and fed-up with his thankless position as a teaching assistant for local rainmaking law professor Charles Hanrahan, law student Sam Grant marches up to the old goat’s office to quit. When he gets to Hanrahan’s office he finds the professor strangled with his own Harvard tie, and is himself standing over the body when building security arrives.
Now Sam finds himself plunged into a shadow world of half-truths and outright deception, where a variety of interests compete to spin the death of his erstwhile boss to their own advantage. First come the two “odd couple” cops who seem overly interested in Sam’s “help” with their investigation, even if it means that he incriminates himself in the process. Then there’s the student activist who claims to have committed murder as an act of protest, and the school administrator who seems interested only in protecting his school’s reputation. Sam’s own friends, the millionaire who attended law school because he was tired of paying others to sue his competitors for him, his trophy-wife-in-the-making girlfriend, the wounded Gulf War vet downstairs, all take a more than casual interest in the resolution of the mystery surrounding Hanrahan’s death. Lastly, there’s the beautiful young reporter who seems intent on using the murder and Sam’s involvement in it as a launching pad for her career. This is a place where people say things for effect, and where the truth is relative. After all, it is law school...