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murder_unscriptedOctober 1, 2017

Murder Unscripted, by Clive Rosengren

Eddie Collins’ part-time actor pursuits take on a new dimension when his ex-wife, Elaine Weddington, turns up dead while filming her latest movie Flames of Desire. The production’s insurance company hires Eddie to represent their interests in the Americana Pictures film. Private eye is his main gig now, although he doesn’t turn his back on acting jobs when they come his way.

Elaine was a star of sorts, though her pictures were B-movies and never up for major awards. Encroaching middle age meant her leading-lady days were numbered, and she worked with a lot of jealous wannabes. Did one of them off her? What about her personal assistant or live-in boyfriend?

While searching through Elaine’s trailer, Eddie finds a list of initials with corresponding phone numbers. As he gradually ticks off the entries, he begins to form an unwelcome, less idealized version of Elaine. Then an assistant director is killed as she is about to share a damning revelation. The quest to identify one set of initials almost puts him in the hospital. Can Eddie handle the truth? Will it set him free, or kill him?

Book 1 in the Eddie Collins Mystery series.

red_desertOctober 1, 2017

Red Desert, by Clive Rosengren

Hollywood PI, sometime actor Eddie Collins is doing a bit on a sitcom when he receives an SOS from an A-list friend. Mike Ford’s Oscar has been stolen during a home invasion and Ford’s girlfriend has drowned in the swimming pool. Did she surprise the burglar? Whoever it was left behind threatening letters, and Eddie is hired to see if he can unearth their source.

All the dots connect around a movie Ford directed and acted in several years earlier: Red Desert. More than a few people associated with that shoot recall it less than fondly. Is one of them harboring a deadly grudge? Eddie has hired Reggie, an old Army buddy, to do surveillance. Soon Reggie, Eddie’s secretary Mavis, and everyone associated with Eddie Collins and Mike Ford seem to be targets. And smoke from the foothills is encroaching on Eddie’s Hollywood home/office. Is Eddie’s world about to go up in flames?

Book 2 in the Eddie Collins Mystery series.

velvetNovember 1, 2017

Velvet on a Tuesday Afternoon, by Clive Rosengren

For PI Eddie Collins, the moment Carla Rizzoli sashays into his office casts him deliciously into a scene from a classic noir. Only this femme fatale is a sweet ghost from his past, a time when he made his living exclusively as an actor. Then she was a full-time actress too, and they’d dated briefly before an old flame came back into her life. Now she’s known as Velvet La Rose and making a steady living as an exotic dancer at the Feline Follies. She needs Eddie’s services to find her missing brother Frankie Rizzoli, who sent her a cryptic message warning her to watch her back.

Eddie falls hard for Carla, who hasn’t given up on acting. In fact, she’s about to start work on a B-movie, Festival of Death. Now motivated by more than a paycheck, Eddie searches for Frankie, last seen hiding out among the homeless. Frankie was once a member of the military police, and an old photo identifies an old Army buddy, James Curran, who starts to cross paths with both Eddie and Carla with increasing frequency.

What is Frankie mixed up in and why doesn’t he want to be found? How does James Curran figure in? As Eddie questions the residents of Skid Row and works undercover as an extra in Festival of Death, he searches in vain for the links between Frankie and James and Carla. He needs answers soon, or Carla may slip through his fingers again, this time into oblivion.

Book 3 in the Eddie Collins Mystery series, which began with Murder Unscripted and Red Desert.

hapsburg_variationDecember 1, 2017

The Hapsburg Variation, by Bill Rapp

Eight years into his career with the CIA, Karl Baier once again finds himself on the front line of the Cold War. He is stationed in Vienna in the spring of 1955 as Austria and the four Allied Powers are set to sign the State Treaty, which will return Austria’s independence, end the country’s post-war occupation, and hopefully reduce tensions in the heart of Europe. But the Treaty will also establish Austrian neutrality, and many in the West fear it will secure Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe and create a permanent division.

Asked to help investigate the death of an Austrian aristocrat and Wehrmacht veteran, Baier discovers an ambitious plan not only to block the State Treaty, but also to subvert Soviet rule in lands of the old Hapsburg Empire. Then Baier’s wife is kidnapped, and the mission becomes intensely personal. Many of his basic assumptions are challenged, and he discovers that he cannot count on loyalties, even back home in Washington, D.C. At each maddening turn in the investigation, another layer must be peeled away.

Even if Baier succeeds in rescuing his wife, he faces the unenviable task of unraveling an intricate web of intrigue that reaches far back into the complicated history of Central Europe.

Book 2 in the Cold War Thriller series, which began with Tears of Innocence.

crazy_rhythmJanuary 1, 2018

Crazy Rhythm, by T.W. Emory

In the summer of 1950, private eye Gunnar Nilson reluctantly agrees to accompany Rune Granholm on an errand to collect gambling winnings. When Gunnar arrives at Rune’s Wallingford apartment, he finds the man dead, shot with his own gun. No one much cared for the caddish ne’er-do-well, but Gunnar feels he owes it to Rune’s brother, a good friend and casualty of World War II, to find the killer. When a paying client arrives, Gunnar puts this investigation aside.

Attorney Ethan Calmer wants him to investigate a series of phone calls menacing his fiancée, Mercedes Atwood. Mercedes lives in Broadmoor, a tony neighborhood occupied by Seattle’s moneyed class, many of whom are descended from lumber barons. A poor little rich girl, Mercedes is beautiful but strangely passionless.

Then, like the hula-girl lamp in the apartment of the late and unlamented Rune, Mercedes shows him her moves. Gunnar soon wonders if the two cases might be connected in some way, but how, exactly?

Book 2 in the Gunnar Nilson Mystery series, which began with Trouble in Rooster Paradise.

derosFebruary 1, 2018

DEROS, by John A. Vanek

When Father Jake Austin is assigned to his hometown of Oberlin, Ohio, in July of 2002, he has been away for a long time. A physician and a war veteran before entering a Catholic seminary, he is now a member of the Camillian Order. He takes comfort in his vows of obedience, poverty, chastity, and service to the sick.

Jake arrives just in time to attend his high school reunion, where an encounter with his high school sweetheart forces him to question his commitment to the priesthood. Before the night is over, one of his classmates will be dead, a second gravely wounded, and a third hospitalized. The carnage at the reunion comes on the heels of what appears to be an unrelated murder at the quarry. Overseeing the investigation is Jake’s former football teammate, Chief of Police Tremont “Tree” Macon, who is unwilling to rule out anyone as a suspect, not even Jake. As he struggles to prove his innocence and to find his footing in a town that remembers him as a hellion, Jake searches for threads that will connect these brutal attacks.

The war may be long past, but in some ways Jake is still waiting for his DEROS: Date of Expected Return from Overseas. Can he put aside his own demons long enough to find the living, breathing devil who stalks his classmates?

Book 1 in the Father Jake Austin Mystery series.

too_famousMay 1, 2018

Too Famous to Live Long, by David Linzee

Renata Radleigh is set to co-star in a new opera based on the movie Thelma and Louise, about to premiere at the Saint Louis Opera. Then the conductor, Vladimir Grinevich, is murdered. Everyone thinks a protestor murdered Grinevich because of his politics—everyone but Renata. She recognizes that his grisly murder was inspired by a famous death scene in an opera. If, as she suspects, the killer is someone close to the production, she might be in the best position to discover the truth. Unless the case is solved soon, her big break may be canceled.

Suspects abound: Grinevich’s ex-wife, a faded soprano who looked to him to revive her career, his own sister… even the head of the opera company. Struggling to make the show ready for opening night, Renata and company are buffeted by new shocks, as more victims turn up, each death inspired by an opera. The police are baffled. Renata’s only ally is her lover Peter Lombardo.

Too late, Renata realizes the scene is set for yet another opera-inspired death.

Book 3 in the Renata Radleigh Opera Mystery series.