Tag Archives: Crime Mystery

Perchance to Dream Blitz

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The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 8

Crime Mystery, Mystery, Private Investigator Mystery

Release Date: October 13, 2020

Publisher: Fedora Press


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A simple missing persons case gets complicated for an L. A. private investigator.

When two young Kardashian-like sisters, Brentwood debutantes, go missing, their father calls in Malone to find them. The client, the ultra-wealthy owner of Los Angeles’ largest luxury car dealership and a candidate for the L. A. city council with a trophy wife half his age, can’t imagine where his daughters have gone. Malone embarks on what he expects to be a routine missing persons gig, a simple bread and butter case for a gumshoe, but things get complicated. After Malone interviews one of the missing girl’s close friends, she inexplicably commits suicide. Next, there’s a mysterious murder. He uncovers hints of blackmail. Once again, Malone must descend into the seedy underbelly of the City of Angeles in his quest to find the missing young women and get the answers to some very pressing questions.


The Malone Mystery Novels Series


Other Books in the The Malone Mystery Novels Series



Come What May

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 1


Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 2


Cold Comfort

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 3


Foregone Conclusion

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 4


Live Long Day

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 5


Foul Play

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 6


Black Deeds

The Malone Mystery Novels, Book 7




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About the Author

LARRY DARTER is an American crime fiction writer. His Malone novels include Cold Comfort, Live Long Day, Foul Play, and Black Deeds, and he is the author of the T. J. O’Sullivan crime thriller novels.


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Two for the Road Blitz

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An Adam Fraley Mystery

Mystery, Crime Mystery

Published: September 2020

Publisher: Melange Books


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Private investigator Adam Fraley and his colleague, Tamra Fugit, the woman
to whom he is engaged, travel vastly different paths, as they take on two
seemingly unrelated missing person cases. The trails take them through
idyllic lands darkened by underworld intrigue, twisted relationships. carnal
temptation, physical danger, and personal tragedy. Such are the legal
ramifications they confront during their crossing of both state and
international boundaries, that the FBI is eventually drawn into the matter.
From the very beginning, little did the investigators realize that the two
roads they were travelling eventually would come crashing together in a
manner entirely unexpected, testing not only their professional skills and
resolve, but their personal faith in each other.




Chapter One

April 1997


The paramount lesson Adam Fraley learned early on in the private
investigation business was to place a premium on case selection. Much like
personnel hiring, you want to make sure you take on the right case, just as
you would the right person, lest you end up drowned in disappointment and
endless damage control. Fortunately, he had thus far successfully managed
this aspect of the business. First, by hiring Tamra Fugit several years ago
as his office manager. Secondly, by relying on her knack for making the
right choices. Still, no selection system was foolproof. As an old boss of
his was fond of saying, “You can only ride horses so many times before
you get bucked off one.” Consequently, the admonition was always in
the back of his mind when he and she met for their regular Monday morning
caseload review.

“What’s on the agenda?” he asked from a visitor’s
chair positioned in front of her desk.

“Two cases—one for you and one for me,” she said, working
her desktop computer.

He halted in mid-motion the sip of coffee he was about to take to look
askance at her.

She swiveled her chair to face him. “I’ve assisted you in
nearly every case we’ve taken on since I was hired here, Adam. And
thanks to your generosity, I will soon own half of the business. No better
time for me to start taking half ownership of some of the cases, don’t
you agree?”

“By ownership you mean taking to the street—the actual gumshoe

“Yes…surveillance and tracking.”

“Who’s going to take care of the office end of it while
we’re out gumshoeing?” he asked, carefully setting his coffee
cup on her desk.

“Think of it this way,” she replied. “As with the modern
family, the mother sometimes stays home to tend to the house and kids while
the father is at work. Conversely, the husband stays home while the working
wife takes to the road. We are destined to become a family business, are we

“You’re looking terrific today,” he abruptly said to the
woman who would have to be subjected to prolonged physical duress, say like
an extended hike through the Mohave desert, to look bad—the woman, by the
way, he happened to be betrothed to. But for her presence, the Adam Fraley
Private Investigations office could best be described as nondescript, he

“Do you realize your auburn hair, beautiful green eyes, and bright
yellow dress offset very well the dull cast of this office?” he

“You’re digressing,” she said. “Or are you

“Okay, what are the two?” he asked in resignation.

“The first is for you,” she said, sorting through some notes on
her desk. “I received a call from a woman by the name of Carmen
Rivera. She was calling from Bogota, Colombia, where she lives. She has a
son by the name of Manny who is attending Coastal State College here. She
and her husband have not heard from Manny in over a month. Normally, he
checks in with them at least once or twice a week. He lives in an off-campus
home which he shares with another student who, for whatever reason, claims
no knowledge of his whereabouts.”

“She’s contacted the cops?”

“Yes, and received the standard reply. Since he is an adult and there
is no evidence of foul play, they will not get involved at this

“We should send the department a thank you note, considering how much
business that policy of theirs generates for us. You have the address for
the kid?”

She again scrambled through the notes on her desk, picked one out and
handed it to him. “Here you go.”

“Before we get started, how are we handling the fees? It’s not
like we have a history of job requests from overseas on which to draw from.
In fact, we have no history of it…right?”

“Correct,” she said. “However, if we do take the case,
she will wire us a down payment upfront with the remainder to follow once we
have concluded our investigation.”

“What do you think?” he asked. “Legitimate?”

“She spoke in a very cultured voice and with a mother’s
concern. My sense is the Rivera family could very well be one of the five
percent of the populace who control the wealth of the country.”

“Five percent…is that a fact or your opinion?”

“It comes from a former roommate of mine who spent a half year in the

“Doing what?”

“Studying the Colombia rainforest region.”

“For what?”

“Six course credits,” she cracked. “She was in a study
abroad program.”

“Well, it’s not likely we’re going to break the parents
financially,” he said. “And the second case—the one
you’ve put a claim to?”

Tamra glanced at another note on her desk. “I received a call from a
man named Mickey Riley. He says his sister went missing about four weeks
ago. He wants us to find her.”

“Let me guess…the cops don’t want to get involved
because she is an adult and there is no evidence of foul play.”

“You got it.”

“So, does Mickey have any idea where his sister might

“With her husband somewhere, he says.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Adam asked, no doubt repeating
the same question the cops asked the brother.

“According to Mickey, the husband, himself, is a bad thing…a
very bad thing. Apparently, his sister has become a virtual prisoner of her
husband, to the point he won’t even let her out of the house. A
control freak, to say the least.”

“So, you aim to free her?”

“I aim to find her. It’s up to the brother to free her.
He’s coming in for a meeting this afternoon. I should know more then,
including where would be a good place to start looking for her. Meanwhile,
your mother called. She’d like to know if we want a wedding planner.
If so, she knows of a good one.”

“We’ve already decided we don’t need one, don’t you

“I certainly do, but apparently you failed to pass that bit of info
along to her.”

“I’ll tell her when we finish with these two cases,” he
sighed, perturbed by his oversight.

“You know, this will be a good time to go on the road,” he
followed. “Noelle will be on her school-sponsored camping trip. We
should be home by the time she returns.”

“If all goes well,” Tamra responded with a deadpan

Adam leaned across the desk. “I have a proposition for you. How about
we flip the cases? You trail after the missing student and I chase after the
missing sister? You know how volatile these simmering domestic situations
can get. They’re invariably about some demented guy’s passion to
control another, usually a helpless woman, like the one you describe in this
case. The moment you show up, you become a threat to take away that control.
Needless to say, he’s not going to like that at all.”

“Are you worried for my safety? Would you rather I go chasing after
porch poachers…sit in the car for hours on end waiting for a home
delivery to be stolen? We still have one of those requests on the back
burner waiting for a decision.”

“No, I’m not worried for your safety. It’s the safety of
the captive wife’s husband, I’m worried about,” he joshed,
rising from his chair to give her a quick kiss, followed by a longer one,
before heading out of the office. “Before you leave, I have two other
items to run by you,” she said, halting his movement.

“Okay…the first?”


“Harold Jenkins, the attorney from The Justice Brigade called. He
wants to know if you’d like to meet with him regarding the merger idea
that he discussed with you over the phone a while back.”

Adam slipped back into the chair, indicating it was a subject requiring
immediate attention. “What do you think?” he asked of her.

Tamra gave a slight shrug. “I remember you mentioned the idea at the
time. Run it by me again.”

“They’re interested in bringing us into their fold via some
sort of a partnership, whether it be a corporate takeover, merger, or
retainer-type arrangement. Whatever it takes to get us on

“A big operation like theirs? What for?”

“Law firms have a need for tracking missing persons or conducting
background checks, as you well know…”

“Yes, we’ve conducted several for them recently,” she

“Right, and apparently they liked the results. The Justice Brigade is
one of those young, aggressive, fast-growing firms looking to gain a leg up
on their competition. It’s not like they don’t have many law
firms to compete with.”

Tamra flashed a look of surprise. “By doing their own detective

“My guess is they’re planning to become a one-stop shopping
operation, so to speak.”

“What’s in it for us?”

“Well, it could mean a steady work flow, which is no small matter.
Looking down the road a way, there’s Noelle’s college tuition
costs looming on the horizon. Right now, we’re operating at a small
profit margin, enough to keep us afloat for the time being. However, as you
and I have discussed, we’ve reached the stage where we’re either
going to have to raise production or raise prices. I have a hunch joining
forces with the Justice Brigade would lessen our office management burden
significantly. Taking on the bulk of our paperwork would be an insignificant
addition to their overall workload. Doing so would allow us to concentrate
on the detective work.”

“You’re making it sound like—what do they call it in the
business world—a white knight coming to the rescue. I don’t see
it as magnanimous move on their part, Adam. They are simply making a
business pitch.”

“Oh, I agree, but at the moment we’re discussing potential
benefits, not the drawbacks. Jenkins also pointed out we would be working
under their legal umbrella.”


“Meaning they would provide us free legal service, both personal and
professional. And depending on the business arrangement, perhaps even
corporate benefits, like retirement plans, something foreign to

“Adam, we may be gaining corporate benefits, but would we not be
losing our corporate identity?”

“That’s going to depend on the details of the proposed
agreement. The question is how much independence we would be surrendering,
starting with the case selection process. Who is going to have the final say
on which ones we take on?”

“I do see one potential benefit in that regard,” Tamra opined.
“They could serve as a filter to the possible legal landmines of each
case. There are always those we have to consider.”

“True, but then there are other issues—potential conflicts of
interest, the need to report to a supervisor, how it may affect the positive
relationship we’ve developed with local law enforcement officials over
the years—not to mention the more logistical items like office
location. No question, there would be details galore to be worked out.
Perhaps not so many if it was a retainer-type agreement, which could
suffice, for all we know.”

“Something along the lines of a rental car company operating in the
maintenance section of a car dealership,” Tamra suggested. “Have
you consulted with your old boss on this?”

“Pete? No, though I definitely intend to before any final decision is

Adam was already having second thoughts on the proposed relationship,
particularly its impact on the freedom of choice regarding the case
selection guidelines. Currently, the procedure was greatly influenced by
their location. They were operating out of a street-level office situated on
the corner of a moderately busy street. Walk-in traffic was
steady—granted, not always a good thing for a P.I. outfit. It led to a
significant amount of “impulse buying,” which was not in tune
with most of the trade’s target base. Passersby would spot the store
sign and on the spur of the moment decide they would rid themselves of
lingering suspicions that their spouses were cheating on them, or an
employee of theirs had his or her hand in the till, or they wanted their
outdoor cat trailed so they could find out where it was spending the day.
Following one walk-in guy’s request that they conduct a background
check on his neighbor whom he suspected was a mass murderer, he joked to
Tamra that they should post a sign on the front entrance stating We
don’t do serial killers. It was one of the reasons a growing number of
private investigators were forsaking the brick-and-mortar store for the home
office where there was less chance of the delusional individual wandering in
off the street to seek their assistance. In a home-based operation it was
much easier to concentrate on corporate clients who were interested in
tackling problems like insurance fraud or employee theft. That’s where
the money was.

Yet, despite all the challenges posed by the walk-in trade, it did offer
what Adam considered the most rewarding aspect of the profession—the
opportunity to fix a family for the man or woman in the street. Tamra had
picked up on this preference of his early on and had developed the skills to
take on cases based on the attributes of clients, more so than the task
involved, a distinction that greatly reduced the possibility of subsequent

“In selecting clients, you want to pick someone whose side you wish
to be on,” he had advised her. “There are no honeymoon,
probation, or engagement periods with clients. Therefore, you want to be on
the same page with them from day one. Lawyers may look at it differently,
giving greater consideration to the case.”

Her earlier mention of a white knight potentially acting as a filter for
the business brought him an inward smile, for there was no better filter
than her in screening out the nightmare client.

“Maybe these two cases we’re taking on simultaneously will give
us an indication of how raising the production end of the operation impacts
us…office-wise and field-wise,” Tamra continued.

Adam glanced at the wall clock. “Maybe so…now, what was the second
item you wanted to bring up before I head off?” he asked, hurrying her

“I received my first subpoena.”

“Relating to Adam Fraley Private Investigations, I


“Another good reason to join The Justice Brigade,” he quipped.
“Seriously, you are to be congratulated. I’m surprised it took
this long. In this business you come to expect them. What does it pertain

“Do you recall those background checks I conducted for the Midtown
Mall security people for that job opening they had a few months

“Sure do.”

“One of the applicants is suing, claiming she lost out to a far less
qualified candidate. I’m not sure why they want my

“Which side are you testifying for?”

“The security firm…any tips?”

“Stick to the facts of the background checks and be very careful with
your opinions. I had a similar case not long after I first got into this
business. I conducted background checks on a group of applicants for an
upper level position in a banking firm. As in your case, one of the
applicants sued for being bypassed for what she called a less qualified
candidate. The bank felt they had a solid case and, in my opinion, they did.
In the court testimony, however, one of the bank’s personnel managers
on the hiring panel stupidly commented on the witness stand that he
considered the plaintiff a dullard. When the judge’s final ruling came
down in favor of the plaintiff, the word ‘dullard’ appeared five
times in the written decision. He cited it as an example of a preconceived
bias. As a result, the plaintiff ended up getting the job and the careless
personnel manager wound up without one. He was fired.”

“I’ll be sure to watch my language,” Tamra

“When’s the court date? It’s not going to interfere with
present business, is it?”

“No, it’s a month away.”

“You’re fortunate, though I should say we’re fortunate.
Often those subpoenas are served hours in advance,” he said.
“Nothing like having a monkey wrench thrown into your regular workday
plans before you even get started on them.”

Adam paused a moment, reflecting on Tamra’s proposal about who would
handle which assignment. Both cases could present dangerous circumstances,
he knew from previous experience, so trading cases based on the facts as
presently known could be premature.

“Tamra, I’m not comfortable leaving you in charge of a domestic
case that could go awry,” he said.

“The future is always unclear, no matter what type of case we take
on,” she countered.

“This is the nature of the business we’re in.”

“Then promise me that you’ll fill me in the moment your
intuition tells you that you’re in over your head.”

“You’ll be the first to know, she said, gathering her notes.
“With that in mind, we best hit the road.”

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About the Author

Henry Hoffman is a former newspaper editor and public library manager. He
is the author of the Adam Fraley Mystery Series and is the recipient of the
Florida Publishers Association’s Gold Medal Award for Florida Fiction.


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Guilty? Blitz

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Stockholm Sleuth Series, Book 4


Mystery, Crime Mystery
Date Published: March 2020
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Stockholm: From one day to the next, 16-year old Hanna just vanishes without a trace. Her worried parents hire detectives Lars and Elin to find their daughter. The two of them do just that and very quickly. However, Hanna’s problems are far from over – she is trapped in the clutches of a “loverboy”. Just a couple of months later, the two private detectives are asked to help once again, because now Hanna is facing a much more serious issue. This difficult assignment pushes everyone involved to their limits …
GUILTY? is the fourth, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series.
If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin’s sleuth series.
Other Books in the Stockholm Sleuth Series:
Stockholm Sleuth SeriesBook 1
VANISHED? is the first book in the Stockholm Sleuth Series and where we meet the two private investigators, Elin and Lars. If you like fast action and surprising twists, then you’ll love Christer Tholin’s Swedish crime novels.
Stockholm Sleuth Series, Book 2
In the crime novella SECRETS?, fledgling private investigator Elin Bohlander takes on what looks like an easy assignment — at first: to determine if her client’s boyfriend is having an affair with another woman. To do this, Elin follows him to a secluded cabin in the woods, where she soon discovers that what’s actually transpiring is stranger than anyone thought. Having ventured too far, she’s stumbled upon a hornet’s nest and put her life at risk. But it’s too late. Can Elin win the unequal fight against a gang of brutal child molesters?
Stockholm Sleuth Series Book 3
Christina’s idyllic existence with her husband Patrik comes to an abrupt end when Patrik suddenly vanishes from their suburban home in Stockholm. Christina is precipitated into a hellishly desperate and anguished search for Patrik – which after six weeks turns up nary a trace of him.
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About the Author
As a crime-story afficionado of long standing, Christer Tholin always wanted to write detective stories of his own that would not only be exciting, but that would also be set against the backdrop of the natural beauty of Sweden – and that would afford him the opportunity to portray Swedish society as seen through the eyes of a foreigner. The result: his “Stockholm Sleuth Series.”
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The Perpetual Penitent Blitz

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An Adam Fraley Mystery
Crime Mystery
Published: October 2019
Publisher: Melange Books
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A grieving father goes missing following the gruesome death of his three-year-old daughter in an accident directly attributed to his own negligence. For reasons both personal and professional, private investigator Adam Fraley takes on the task of tracking down the father at the request of the dead child’s older sibling. In a case fraught with intrigue, danger, and the overhanging threat of family disintegration. Fraley’s search ultimately takes him to remote regions of Haiti where he discovers he is not the only one in search of the father. Soon, he finds himself entangled in the tentacles of a lucrative international insurance scam involving the falsification of death records. Fraley’s probing is viewed by the crime syndicate’s masterminds as a serious threat to their continued existence, leading its operatives to mark the private investigator for elimination before he exposes them.
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About the Author

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Henry Hoffman is a former newspaper editor and public library director whose works have appeared in a variety of literary and trade publications. He is the author of the Adam Fraley Mystery Series and a past recipient of the Florida Publishers Association’s Gold Medal Award for Florida Fiction.
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The Murder of Paolo Mancuso – Blitz

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A Joey Mancuso, Father O’Brian Crime Mystery, Book Five
Crime Mystery
Publisher: Sand in My Shoes
Release Date: August 4, 2018
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This time is personal, very personal. Paolo Mancuso was killed in a bar in Little Italy 20 years ago. To this day, his murder has gone unsolved. A cold-case The NYPD has not paid much attention to in all these years. Enter Antonino “Tony The Hammer” Falcone. Paolo’s best friend and co-mafia family member. Tony, in his death-bed, reveals to Joey that the mafia had nothing to do with his dad’s murder. Something Joey always believed it had. Instead, with his last breath, Tony whispers only three words to Joey – Barcelona, Wetherly, Stevens. With just those three words, Joey sets off to Barcelona. Is it justice or revenge, Joey seeks? Will he learn things about his dad’s past, he wished he hadn’t? Is Joey about to go up against one of New York’s five mafia families? Will he solve Paolo Mancuso’s murder?
Now retired, former NYPD Homicide Detective, with the Midtown South Precinct, Joey Mancuso, had looked at the murder book many times during the time he was with the NYPD. Lacking clues and any evidence, he was never able to pursue the perpetrators responsible for his father’s death. Currently a licensed private detective in New York City and half-owner of an Irish Pub in New York’s Financial District with his half-brother, Father Dominic O’Brian, the pastor at Saint Helen’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn, also a licensed private detective, they set out to solve the murder of Paolo Mancuso.
The brothers, Mancuso and O’Brian have been called by the New York press; – “The Last Advocates of the Victims,” for the relentless pursuit of the perpetrators, they exemplified in their last cases, working as consultants for the NYPD or as investigators for criminal law firms.
But, this time is personal, very personal. And, Joey’s determination in solving this case, his dad’s unsolved murder, could make him do things outside the bounds of justice. Is it justice or revenge he seeks?
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Other books in the Joey Mancuso, Father O’Brian Crime Mystery Series:
A Murder on Long Island
A Joey Mancuso Father O’Brian Crime Mystery, Book Two
Published: May 2017
The Manhattan Red Ribbon Killer
A Joey Mancuso – Father O’Brian Crime Mystery, Book 3
Published: November 2017
The Case of the Antiquities Collector
A Joey Mancuso, Father O’Brian Crime Mystery, Book Four
Published: April 2018
A Murder On Wall Street
A Joey Mancuso, Father O’Brian Crime Mystery, Book One
Published: January 2017
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About the Author

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Everyone loves to solve mysteries, and Multi Award Winning Author, Owen Parr is no different. Taking a page from Agatha Christie’s -Poirot series and Conan Doyles’ – Holmes series, Parr infuses his thirty years of Wall Street experience into his crime mysteries and exposes its underbelly. His characters come to life in the vividly described locations of his novels. And, you’ll need to look beyond the obvious, if you want to solve the crimes.
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