Thursday, December 27, 2012

Long Way Down (Gus Dury) by Tony Black

As much I've enjoyed Tony Black's new DI Rob Brennan books I've been waiting for Gus Dury to return for what seems like forever. Finally, he's here in nifty little novella.
Still a dark, conflicted boozing down on his luck guy Gus is asked by Danny Murray to track down old schoolmate and ex-con Barry Fulton.
During this investigation Gus shows us he's not the usual knight errant. Sure, other PI's can drink a bit too much or get a little rough but they're friendly uncles compared to Gus and how he for instance takes on Barry's wife.
If you're in for something really dark, joing Gus Dury all the long way down...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Favorite Sons of 2012

It is the end of the year again, so time to tell you about my favorite PI reads of the year...

BEST PI NOVEL: Whiskey Island (Milan Jacovich) by Les Roberts
BEST DEBUT: Frame Up (Fenway Burke) by James Phoenix
BEST NEW PI: Randall Lee in Changes by Charles Collyot
BEST ACTION SCENES: Ressurected (Adam Wolf) by Steve Trotter

Special mention to Jim Cliff's Jake Abrahams who was a close runner-up for Best New PI.

I'm pleased that Les Roberts still manages to put out books that are quite traditional PI but still feel new and fresh.
James Phoenix just blew me away with his debut that is so full of love of the genre.
Charles' Randall Lee is just one of the coolest characters in genre fiction and I'm enjoying his second outing (Pressure Point) right now. I love the guy and his girlfriend even more.
Steve Trotter managed to put out a great action movie in Kindle form with the first Adam Wolf novel that has me longing for a second one.

I was really pleased to see Tom Lowe return to crime fiction with The Butterfly Forest and to finally interview Charles Knief.

Special thanks this year to O'Neill DeNoux, Sean Dexter and Phillip T. Duck for helping my books become better and James W. Hall for writing a fantastic blurb for me.

And of course a great, great thanks for all of you buying the Noah Milano and Mike Dalmas stories and reviewing them!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lock & Load (Ryan Lock) by Sean Black

I just love novelettes... This is one is billed as a short story but, like my books Redemption, Scoundrel and The Alabaster-Skinned Mule the word count qualifies it as one.
That's not the only thing this one has in common with my Noah Milano series. Noah started out as a bodyguard in The White Knight Syndrome, Ryan Lock is a close protection specialist too.
In this story he is hired to protect an actress from her violent ex. When a sexy video shows up Lock does everything within his power to help her.
I liked Ryan. He seems like a very normal guy as opposed to say, Jack Reacher, but is stil plenty tough. I enjoyed the LA setting which this British author writes remarkably well.
All in all, a great short read with enough bones to count as a well-rounded adventure.

Q & A with Dani Amore

Dani Amore is really putting out a lot of work, all featuring private eyes. So we just HAD to interview her... Not only that, she just became a member of the Hardboiled Collective.

Q: What makes your detectives different from other hardboiled detectives?
More often than not it's a certain outlook on life. That perspective manifests itself in different ways with different characters. Sometimes it's a sense of humor that frequently crosses the line, or a reliance on alcohol, or a heightened thirst for revenge.

Q: How did you come up with the characters Rockne, Garbage Collector and Cooper?
Well, all three characters are based quite closely on people I've met in real life.
John Rockne is based on an actual private investigator I worked closely with. Which is ironic, because he's kind of the anti-PI.
The Garbage Collector is another guy I know. He works in an entirely different field, but trust me, he's got the same kind of no-bullshit, get-the-job-done approach exemplified by The GC.
And Mary Cooper, well, Mary Cooper is not just me, but my whole family. We pride on ourselves on taking a joke too far. Most of the time, though, we have more of a dry sense of humor - very deadpan. Which allows us to repeatedly say inappropriate things and let people wonder if we're kidding or not. It's great fun.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
I think it's opened up readers to a whole new set of authors, and that can only be a good thing.

Q: What's next for you and your 3 main detectives?
The sequel to DEAD WOOD is up next. John Rockne is going to finally track down Benjamin's killer, and make him pay.

Q: How do you promote your work?
A little bit of everything. Contests, giveaways, paid advertising, social media. I'm not really sure what works and what doesn't, so I just sort of careen from one thing to the next. It reminds me of how I approach holiday parties.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
I like to read cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s. It's amazing how people would jam meat and jelly into some kind of strange mold and serve it as dinner. It's like a cross between comedy and horror.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
I enjoy the hell out of them. Lunacy is quite a bit of fun. My Dad used to hunt chipmunks with a bow-and-arrow.

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
A guy named Frank Bill.

Q: Why do you write in the PI genre?
For the same reason I swing by the bar instead of going straight home: I just can't help it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Target Lancer (Nate Heller) by Max Allan Collins

I'm a big fan of Max Allan Collins' work but I was afraid this one might be disappointing me. You see, it's about the murder on JFK and I've seen that plot just too many times. Max surprises us all however, because this tale is not about what happened in Dallas but what happened in Chicago, a little while before the killing.
Nate Heller is hired by the Secret Service to help them prevent the assassination of JFK in Chicago. He faces Secret Service politics, historical people like Bobby Kennedy and finds some time to have sex with an aging exotic dancer.
This is classic Heller. A well-researched story that manages to weave a historical plot together with a nice little pulp-style story that would fit in Black Mask magazine. Our hero Nate Heller is ruthless and intelligent as always, making for enjoyable if not always nice company. Oh, and the last two pages were so fantastic this would have been a good book even if the rest had sucked. They gave me everything that I like so much in that hardboiled bastard Heller.

Cadaver Blues (Phuoc Goldberg) by J.E. Fishman

Phuoc Goldberg is a debtman who doesn't seem to be very tough at first glance. In the first few pages he shows you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, punching out a young punk's teeth out.
What follows is not as hardboiled as you might expect, but it IS pretty funny and breezy stuff. Phuoc is hired by the hot Mindy Eider to track down her uncle before the bank owns the house he isn't paying off. Phuoc is not a PI and that makes the investigation a bit haphazard. I had a lot of laughs because of the funny dialogue and cynical comments Phuoc made. It did take a bit longer for the thriller part to step into overdrive and make me enjoy this as a crime novel as well as a comedy.
If you like your detectives a bit screwy this makes for a nice little read. I for one, will be there for the second Phuoc Goldberg Fiasco (as this series has been named) to see where J.E. Fishman takes his (anti-)hero.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Q & A with Graham Smith

Graham Smith has a few things in common with me. He's from Europe (the UK), he's a reviewer and interviewer (for Crimesquad) and was featured in the ACTION - PULSE POUNDING TALES anthology. Now he's here for an interview about PI fiction and his character Harry Charters...

Q: What makes Harry Charters different from other hardboiled detectives?
I’m not terribly sure that he is particularly different from other hardboiled detectives as he fits all the stereotypes within the genre. He has a serious drink problem, a past which haunts him, he’s beyond world weary yet retains a dry and laconic turn of phrase.
Despite all this he retains a sense of justice, although his justice is usually meted out via brutal methods.
For all Harry’s many flaws he does care about his cases and he will move heaven and earth to resolve them.
Having re-read that answer I realise what a cliché he is. But then again if it ain’t broke…

Q: How did you come up with the character?
I was invited to submit a noir story to a blog and I just sat down and starting writing about a drunken PI. I set the stories in the fifties as I wanted him to have a war history to explain his fighting ability. Other character traits are staples of the genre and I just added then in where appropriate. One thing I was always aware of though was the need for him to be likeable as a character if not a person. He’s very self depreciating and I often used his wry humour to show this trait with lines like “Men came here to drink to forget. I’d have to remember this place. It suited me.”
To me lines like that encapsulate so much of his character. He wants to remember a place where he can go to drink away his memories.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
I’m for it and against it. I love books and their smell and the feel of one in my hands. Yet I own a Kobo and like it for it’s ease of transport. Also as a book reviewer for I can see a day when advance review copies are replaced with Kindle or Kobo files which will be much cheaper fro publishing houses and since getting my Kobo everything I have read on it has been a review copy.

Q: What's next for you and Harry?
I’m currently working on a re-write of my debut novel and when that’s done I’m gonna head over to Mariscoper and catch up with Harry. I think he’s finally gonna tell me about the case that went wrong. He’s being coy about it, so I don’t yet know whether it will be a novella length or a short story for another collection.

Q: How do you promote your work?
Via Facebook groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, interviews, guest blogs and so on. I prefer the writing over the promotion and I actually do very little direct “Buy my book. It’s fantastic.” type of blatant self promo. I’d rather engage potential readers with posts or conversations and strike up some kind of friendship.
I hate the idea of losing readers through pointless bombarding with promo. I’d sooner retain the ones I already have through making my stories as good as they can be.
Whenever I get involved in promo blasts I always feel as though I’m prostituting myself. Until I remember that prostituting yourself is every man’s dream as then you get paid to … And that’s enough of that thought!

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
I have rarely strayed from crime fiction in my reading since reading the Lord of the Rings. Most of the books I read can be classed as crime fiction despite some being mainly action based ie Matt Hilton’s Joe Hunter series or Tom Cain’s Sam Carver novels. I also read the Da Vinci Style of historical artefact thriller but almost all of the thrillers I have read have a crime element.
Having said all the above my favourite novel is HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean. Pace plot and character combine perfectly aboard a WWII battleship defending the Russian convoys in the North Atlantic.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
I love them and wish I could create one. The idea of a psychotic friend who will turn up kill the baddies leaving the investigator to get on with mystery solving is genius in its simplicity. They can do the things your lead character can’t do in terms of brutality. They can allow the lead to show moral depth by decrying their behaviour. They are an immense source of humour, Elvis Cole delivered one of the best lines I’ve ever read about Joe Pike “I wouldn’t say he’s taciturn but he thinks Clint Eastwood is a blabbermouth”, Windsor “Win” Lockwood III answers his phone with a simple “articulate” and who cannot love Bubba Rogowski? I fell in love with him as a character when I found out the floor of his warehouse home was littered with landmines as a security device.

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
All of the above will continue to influence PI novels along with many newer authors such as Harlan Coben, Terrell Griffin, Jefferson Parker and even the softer end of the scale such as Alexander McCall Smith. Lots of current UK writers such as Stuart MacBride and Mark Billingham write police procedurals which are as dark and twisted as those early PI novels.
As a writer myself I credit every book I’ve ever read as having an influence on me. Whether I learn what works or what is terrible doesn’t matter. I’m learning.

Q: O'Neil DeNoux came up with the following question: How did you come up with the name of your detective?
With my character set in the fifties at an age where he’d fought in WWII my first thought was to think of people I knew who were the right age. Obviously my grandfathers names came into my head first. One grandfather is called John “Jock” Smith. I couldn’t see that name working as well so I named him after my maternal grandfather Harold Charters. I shortened Harold to Harry as Harold was too English sounding for an American character.
Grandad boxed a lot in the Army and those were the stories he told me of “his” war. So when I sat down to write “Dealt a Better Hand” I added a boxing match so I could put Grandad back in the ring one last time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Prodigal Sons: John Caine by Charles Knief

I've been trying to find Charles Knief since the start of this blog for my Prodigal Sons feature. I loved his 3 John Caine novels when the came out. They were all great mixes of Travis McGee and Spenser and I read them together with my first Lee Child novel. Charles didn't get the huge sales Lee did but John Caine will always be a favorite.
I found Charles on Facebook and he was happy to answer why he hasn't written about John Caine for some time and if John might return. Here's what he told me...

My life has been very, very busy since 2001. Part of it was the design and building of some very special homes in Rancho Mirage, California, made from special building materials, the first and only in California. I designed them, built them, poured all of my money into them, and then lost them due to the housing crash in 2008-2009, losing all my money, as well. That took four years of my life and it was a very creative, rewarding (except for the money) time. You can see some of them in my photos and Timeline, as ABC did a story on the houses.

To survive, I took a contract with the USMC at 29 Palms and worked for a year there, making great friends and doing something I felt was important. I wrote then, but have yet to complete the rewrite. Always said that Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center is one of the nastiest places in the world, but has the greatest people in it and I was lucky enough to become friends with many of them. The temp fluctuates from 20 to 120; there are dust storms, mud storms, rains storms, wind storms, insect storms, hail storms, ice storms, and then it's just plain HOT for half the year. I once saw a sandstorm in the middle of a rain storm. After I did fairly well there, I was asked to take a contract with AF's Space Command as a program manager, and I worked there until 30 November 2011, when the contract ended.

After that, I delved into many different things, none of which I can talk about right now, but all of which have been interesting. It looks like I'll keep on doing what I'm doing now until I get too old to cross the street or feed myself.

John Caine is in a novel I wrote in 2000, but have yet to complete, called THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT. He is a minor character there. The new novel, with no name, takes place in 1911-1912. It will be completed this year and I suppose I've got to find a new editor and agent, as both of them have died since I last wrote.

Thank you for your interest. I don't think about writing much these days, but lately the Muse awakens me at 0400. I've got some things going now that take up all my creativity and energy, but come February, they should be over and I'll complete my two unfinished, unedited novels and see who wants them.

The Garbage Collector (Garbage Collector) by Dani Amore

Few genres work so well in short story format as the PI genre.
Dani Amore shows this with this cool little tale of a nameless PI hired by a bunch of lawyers to take care of their garbage, retrieving a rogue law partner.
Not much information about the nameless PI who they call the Garbage Collector but he IS a cool guy and I hope to see more of him.
The story does what a good PI story SHOULD do, introduce an interesting case, a tough PI and a nice little surprise in the end.
A good way to sample Dani Amore's work, especially because right now this one's for free, as is my own Alabaster-Skinned Mule by the way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On The Shoulders Of Giants (Jake Abrahams) by Jim Cliff

Jake Abrahams biggest role models are Rockford and Spenser. It's no wonder he decided to becom a PI.
In his first solo case he has to track down the missing daughter of a disgraced police captain. When she turns up dead Jake gets involved in a serial killer case.
The charm of this book is the fact Jake really loves his fictional influences and that he uses Google and books to teach himself what to do in an investigation. At times it read a bit more like a police procedural than a PI novel, which was a bit of a shame.
I had a good time going along for the ride with Jake and hope to take another one soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing

A cool thing is happening around blogging crime writers, called The Next Big Thing. Each author tags five other authors to answer ten questions. Talented Hardboiled Collective member Bill Crider tagged me. So here are the questions and answers...

1. What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is called GUILT but might end up being called GUILTY because Jonathan Kellerman has a new novel coming out with the same name.
Im also working on a Mike Dalmas collection and some other stuff that's too early to talk about.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
All my Milano stories are about redemption and guilt in some way. I wanted to explore those feelings deeper and so I came up with a plot in which Noah tries to make amends for his deeds more directly than usual.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
It's a crime novella, specifically a hardboiled detective one.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Dane Cook would do a great job. He has the charm and attitude to pull it off.
When I first created Noah I envisioned him as Vince Young but I'm not sure he looks tough enough.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Security specialist and ex-mob fixer Noah Milano tries to save the stepfather of a young girl whose biological father he killed from death row.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be self-published and available for Kinlde via

7. How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
I'm still busy with it, but think it will take two months to finish. My last one, Scoundrel took me four months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any book by Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais and early Dennis Lehane fit the mark.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Take a look at question 2. As always I've also been inspired by the great PI-writers that came before me.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Readers might enjoy the fact this one will be longer than the last few Milano stories. Also, we finally meet Noah's dad.
For people who haven't read about Noah Milano yet they will enjoy the fancy martial arts moves, the fast-moving plot and the fact Noah's just one of the coolest investigators around.

In one week these great people will blogging in this project as well, I tagged them...

James Winter
Les Roberts
Dana King
Charles Colyott
Keith Dixon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

As The Sun Turns Black (Matt Spears) by Barry Crowther

This is a great hardboiled novel, it reminded me of a more hardboiled Myron Bolitar. It had about as many twists as a Bolitar novel and Matt Spears' sidekick Nathan is just as rich and just as deadly as Myron's psychotic sidekick Win.
Debt collector Matt Spears tries to track down a missing girl who might have become the victim of serial killer Red. Soon he discovers links to a dangerous gangster and connections to a sleazy reporter. Luckily he has two good cops assisting him along with his friend, Nathan a forensic account / hitman.
The setting is Manchester but the story has a very American feel to it.
A thrilling read, exciting and very dark. Just the kind of stuff I like to read.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Q & A with Richard Thompson

Here's an interview with the talented Richard Thompson,former civil engineer now writing the excellent Herman Jackson series.

Q: What makes Herman Jackson different from other hardboiled detectives?
The owners of Once Upon a Crime Mystery Bookstore in Minneapolis tell me that until about a year ago, I was the only author doing a series about a bail bondsman. It seemed like a natural choice to me, since he would be comfortable dealing with people from all levels of society and all degrees of respectability or criminality, and he would also have a sufficiently flexible schedule to pursue a trail of clues when he needed to. And with a secret criminal past of his own, he also has a lot of insight into the worlds of his clients.

Q: How did you come up with the character?
Herman was born in late 1999, to star in a short story called “Numbers Game”, which I was writing for the Boney Pete competition at Bloody Words in Toronto. (It won, by the way.) I had been thinking about the setup for a long time, ever since watching a movie called Midnight Run, in which Robert De Niro plays a bounty hunter. He was good in the role, but I thought the most interesting character in the movie—not the most likeable, but the most interesting—was the goofy, frenetic bail bondsman with the shady past, the person De Niro worked for.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
Interestingly, the first time I heard somebody positively assert that in ten years or less, there would be no more paper books or traditional bookstores, it was also in 1999, at Bouchercon in Milwaukee. It hasn’t happened, obviously, and it’s not going to happen in another ten years, either. Or if it does, I don’t want to be here to see it. I think eBooks and traditional print compliment each other, actually. And in an industry where it continues to be harder and harder for new writers to break into print, e-publishing has given us some much needed new options. But one format does not have to wipe out the other. We can buy a lot of things online, but the world still has stores and people still enjoy going to them. And I keep thinking that one of these days, we are going to outgrow the notion that anything done electronically is somehow better than anything done in a traditional way. It’s just not so, folks.

Q: What's next for you and Jackson?
The third Herman, in which he runs afoul of a human trafficking ring, has been done for several months. But I have irreconcilable differences with my editor about some of its plot points, and I am now in search of a new publisher. Meanwhile, I am working on a thriller about a group of homegrown agrarian anarchists who manage to get their hands on a live ICBM silo and intend to use it to nuke Wall Street.

Q: How do you promote your work?
Well, there’s the website, of course, at, but mostly I don’t do electronic promotion. I talk to a lot of book clubs and library groups, and I go to a LOT of bookstores and give the owner or manager a free copy of my book if he or she promises to read it. And of course, I get invited to speak a lot more places since winning the Minnesota Book Award this year.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
I read a lot of nonfiction—history, psychology, sociology, art, and, of course books on writing and on literary theory. I also like sci fi, though with a few notable exceptions like Neil Gaiman and William Gibson, it seems as though most of the best stuff was done forty to sixty years ago. And I like authors who stubbornly defy being put into any category.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
One might also mention Mouse, in Walt Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series. I like the device. It’s as if the hero and his darker comrade together constitute a single complete character. And it allows the main hero to keep his personal honor intact while still getting the dirty work done that the plot demands. There’s a line in one of Donald Westlake’s books something like, “Yes, there are things I won’t do. But things get done, all the same.” I like that.

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
I think the most pervasive current trend in all of literature is one of cross-pollination. We draw upon and let ourselves be influenced by a great pantheon of specific writers and general styles. Literary authors are adopting the structure and dramatic beats of the better mystery writers and PI writers are more and more doing characters with a great deal of depth and with both internal and external problems to solve. I think this is a very healthy trend. I think hardboiled PI, like jazz, is and always will be a uniquely American art form, but it is also evolving into something that’s hard to tell from serious literature.

Q: O'Neil DeNoux came up with the following question: How did you come up with the name of your detective?
I never know how I come up with the names of any of my characters. Mostly, they tell me. I don’t start with a character, I start with a setup and a scene, and the character walks on stage and introduces him or herself. Or sometimes I will open a new page in one of my many notebooks and have a conversation with the character, after which I will ask for the name. In Herman’s case, I immediately liked the name because it was odd enough that I thought people would remember it easily. I also liked the phonetic similarity with Hermes, who besides being the messenger of the gods was also the god of travelers and theives, which seemed to fit with Herman’s checkered past.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fiction - The Color of Blood (Mike Dalmas) by Jochem Vandersteen

‘An action hero with a liking for justice rather than law – Mike Dalmas 
is my kind of guy.’ Zoë Sharp, author of the Charlie Fox novels

Mike Dalmas returns doing the cop's dirty work. This ex-Special Forces vigilante is a father and a husband who is blackmailed by the Bay City cops to do the stuff their badge prevents them from doing. This Mike Dalmas story appeared in Kindle some time ago with Trestle Press. It's out of print right now, but Mike Dalmas will return with a short story collection soon. To remind you about the character here's...



Mike Dalmas was alarmed by the presence of a Crown Vic parked in front of his home. He was driving into his street with his SUV, his daughter, Margie sitting beside him. They’d just went to soccer practice. Dalmas was very pleased with his daughter, she’d scored two times.
Dalmas felt the Crown Vic didn’t belong on his driveway and neither did the man leaning against it. Dressed in his trademark cheap suit, smoking a cigarette, was Homicide Detective Carver. Dalmas had a special deal with Carver. The cop would keep the fact Dalmas, former Special Forces, killed the man that molested Margie under wraps and in return Dalmas would take care of the dirty work the badge didn’t allow Carver to take care of. Dalmas didn’t appreciate Carver’s visit to his home. He liked to keep that secret life as separate from his family life as possible.
Dalmas parked and left his car. He opened the door for Margie. She walked over to Carver.
“Hello sir, are you waiting for daddy?”
Carver smiled. “As a matter of fact, I am, kiddo.”
Dalmas, carrying Margie’s duffelbag filled with her soccer outfit, joined his daughter. The bag seemed to way nothing to him.
Dalmas, lowered his massive body until he was at her height and gave her a little peck on the cheek. “Sweetheart, go inside, okay? I will be along shortly.”
“Okay, dad!” she said and sped off inside.
When she was out of eyesight Dalmas got very close to Carver’s face and hissed, “Never visit me at my home again.”
     Carver held up his hands in surrender, “Take it easy, Dalmas. I didn’t know that would piss you off this much.”
     “Now you know. Remember it.”
     “I will, I will. I just need to talk to you for a sec.”
     “I need your skills again for a very special mission. Word on the street is that a few of the Bay City gangs are banding together. Imagine how tough they will be when they unite. We’ll have an even harder time keeping them in check.”
     “So, what do you need me to do?”
     “I want you to break up that cooperation. And I’ve got a great idea to do that. You kill one of the gangleaders dressed in the colors of another gang. That will break up their little supergroup nicely.”
     “Won’t there be retaliations? A gang war?”
     “Can’t be as terrible as these guys working together.”
     Dalmas thought about the possible innocent bystanders that could get killed in a full-fledged gang war. He also thought about one united gang and how quickly they would become a power the police might not be prepared for. He’d done missions like this before, in the Middle-East. He had little moral problems assassinating a note gang leader. He came to a conclusion. “E-mail me the details.”
     Carver shook his hand. “Great, I’ll get them to you asap. By the way, great to see your kid looking happy like that after everything that’s happened to her. You’re a great dad.”
     Compliments from people other than his wife meant little to Dalmas. He was just too self-confident for them to do a lot. “Thanks. Now leave.”
     “Sure,” Carver said and got in his Crown Vic. Dalmas watched him leave the street before he went inside to join his family for lunch.

Carver’s intel was pretty extensive. Pictures of the gang leaders, the places they visited, the colors they wore. Dalmas knew colors were important with gangs, they served to identify which gang you were with. That’s why he visited some clothing stores. He also made a pretty unique purchase at one of the stores.
     An old Chevy that was traded in for a brand new Lexus at the car dealer where Dalams worked was left off the books by him. He dirtied up the license plate with some mud and put his stuff inside.
     He drove the car to the place where Iron Dave, the leader of the Street Lords, the biggest gang in Bay City, used to frequent at this time of day. Iron Dave fancied himself a big rap-superstar and was trying to tape a record. That was why he went to the Phono City Studio daily, together with a few of his men.
     Dalmas sat in his parked Chevy and waited. He was wearing a black ball cap with a red bandana wrapped around it and a black oversized Adidas sweater. It identified him as one of the Bay Kings gang. He had a baklava covered around his face and was wearing shades to keep his identity concealed.
     Iron Dave left the building. He was dressed in a white wifebeater, his neck was filled with gold chains and on his head he wore a black bandana. Two gangbangers, dressed in similar clothing but less jewelry, flanked him. Dalmas noticed the handguns stuck in their waistbands.
     Dalmas opened the window of his Chevy and yelled, “Bay Kings rule, assholes!”
     Making sure the gangbangers got a good look at his cap he waited a few seconds before firing a silenced 9mm Beretta. Iron Dave was hit in the chest three times, killing him before his body hit the pavement.
     His bodyguards drew their guns, Dalmas gunned the engine. The Chevy almost flew around the corner, gunshots shattering the back window.
     The Street Lords ran around the corner, guns ready. The Chevy was standing still just around the corner. Without hesitation the gangbangers opened fire on it, perforating the figure behind the wheel with their bullets.
     When they were confident their target couldn’t be breathing anymore the came closer, pointing their guns through the Chevy’s window. What they saw made them curse.
     Sitting behind the wheel of the Chevy was store mannequin doll, clad in Bay Kings colors.
     The gangbangers slammed the car with their guns’ butts, swearing they’d get the man who killed their leader.
     Dalmas heard it all from under the manhole cover that the Chevy covered. He almost smiled.

Dalmas had just put the kids in bed and sat down on the living room couch with his wife, Donna. She snuggled up to him, glad to have him at home in the evening. So often these days he went on these covert missions he didn’t want to talk about.
They were watching the local news and what Dalmas saw disturbed him. His body tensed, his teeth gritted.
Donna gave him a worried look. “Terrible, isn’t it?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Terrible. Let’s watch Family Guy or something.”
The news that had disturbed him was about how two innocent bystanders got wounded when a couple of Street Lords had killed a Bay King member in a drive-by shooting. The bystanders were still alive but badly wounded, that relieved Dalmas somewhat, but not enough. The assassination of Iron Dave might have set off something he wouldn’t be able to live with.
He’d call Carver and find a way to deal with this.
Dalmas was driving over to work when he gave Carver a call.
“So you heard about it, huh?” Carver said.
“I did. I was afraid this would happen.”
“I know, I know. I was aware of the risks as well. You have to look at the bigger picture here, though. Like I told you, these gangs banding together is even worse.”
“I want this war to stop. How can we achieve that?”
Carver laughed. “You could kill them all?”
“Not an option. I haven’t got the time or firepower. And, contrary to what you seem to believe I am not a mass murderer.”
“I was just kidding, Mike. Word on the street is the Street Lords will keep killing off random Bay Kings until they hand over the man who killed their leader. That might be a problem of course. Unless you want to turn yourself in to them?”
Dalmas was silent.
“Mike?” Carver said.
Dalmas was still silent.
“Are you still there?” Carver asked.
Dalmas spoke, “I’m going to give them what they want.”


Tyrone Banks left his girlfriend’s house at 2300 hours. He was still buttoning his fly when he got into his car. He sat down behind the wheel and chuckle. “That Diana, what a fine, fine piece of ass.”
An arm, strong a steel, wrapped around his neck. There was someone behind him in the backseat.
“Sleep tight,” Dalmas said and started to apply enough pressure to Tyrone’s windpipe to make him pass out.
Dalmas got out of the car, slid Tyrone over to the passenger seat and took the wheel.

 A buddy of Carver working at the Gang Unit had served up the intel on Tyrone. Dalmas had asked for the name of the most heinous member of the Bay Kings. Tyrone’s name had come up immediately. He was suspected of robbing and killing two elderly women, dealing drugs and raping a sixteen year old girl. The Gang Unit had been keeping an eye on him for some time, knowing exactly when Tyrone went on a booty call, visiting Diana, his girlfriend. Being married she could only receive Tyrone when her husband was working late. That made it easy for Dalmas to know where to find him when.
     Tyrone was lying tied up in the trunk of his own car while Dalmas drove over to the place he’d agreed to meet the current leader of the Street Lords, Cold Francis. Carver’s Gang Unit friend had managed to set up a meeting, using an undercover cop.
     Dalmas arrived at the abandoned warehouse where the meeting would take place. An El Camino was already parked there.
Wearing the same Bay King outfit he did when he assassinated Iron Dave he got out of the car. He went over to the trunk and opened it. He hauled Tyrone out of it. Tyrone’s arms were bound behind him and he was gagged. He struggled a bit at first, but the 9mm Beretta Dalmas put against his ribs forced his calm.
The warehouse’s dock door opened. Standing in the door opening were Cold Francis, a big guy wearing army pants and a .45 handgun and two bodyguards, armed with Uzi’s.
“That the guy you holding there?” Francis asked.
Dalmas nodded. He knew Francis had gotten his nickname because he was known to kill someone in cold blood, not even blinking.
“Hand him over,” Francis said.
Dalmas gave Tyrone a push. He lost his balance and fell to his knees in front of Francis.
“This is payback, bitch!” Francis said and let his .45 do the rest of the talking. He shot Tyrone right between the eyes.
Tyrone fell down. Francis kicked him in the ribs, calling him a few bad names.
“Now what do we do with you?” Francis asked and pointed his gun at Dalmas.
Dalmas had his 9mm up in a split-second. Both gunmen stared at each other for a few seconds that seemed to last an eternity.
Francis started to laugh. “Don’t worry, man. I appreciate you bringing this asshole in. I appreciate the show of good faith, you know. Maybe we can end this little war.”
Dalmas nodded and lowered the gun. Francis lowered his.
Slowly Dalmas backed up to his car. He went in and drove off.

Dalmas ditched Tyrone’s car and drove home in his SUV. When he got out of the SUV he could see there was a light on in their bedroom. Good, Donna was still awake.
 He entered his home and walked up the stairs. Donna was in bed, reading a Tess Gerritsen thriller. She lowered her book and gave him a funny look.
He was still wearing the Bay Kings outfit. He smiled apologetically.
“Mid-life crisis already?” Donna asked. He admired her good sense of humor.
“Work outfit,” Dalmas said.
“Take it off quickly and get to work over here,” Donna said and patted the bed.
Dalmas did. He knew afterwards he’d have no trouble sleeping. Yes, he got a man shot over a crime he didn’t commit, but that man deserved it. Not only that, that death would save many other lives. The only thing Dalmas regretted was that his life had been in danger for a few seconds when the .45 was pointing at him. He knew Donna and the kids would be devastated if he ever got killed.
In the bedroom that night he would make sure he made the most of his time among the living.


Liked this story? Look for Mike Dalmas in ACTION PULSE POUNDING TALES or read my other work, such as the Noah Milano series.

Friday, November 2, 2012

In For A Ruble (Turbo Vlost) by David Duffy

Turbo Vlost is back... He's still depressed that the woman of his dreams left him when he's hired to test the security of Sebastian Leitz's computer systems. Soon he becomes involved with a dangerous group of cybercriminals and their henchman, Karp. And then there's the dark family secrets of the Leitz family that will shock and fascinate you.
:Low on the action, high on the character-development and research this is quite a literary piece of work.
The characters are remarkable and troubled, the dialogue between Turbo and his lover Victoria are very entertaining and the most is made of the Russian and New York backdrops.
Great reading for PI fans that want just a bit more fat to chew on than most mystery novels.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Q & A with GM Ford

I've wanted to interview Mr. Ford since I started this blog. With the return of his PI Leo Waterman we've got the perfect moment for this.

Q: What makes Leo Waterman different from other hardboiled detectives? 

 Leo's humanity. He's a regular guy forced into irregular circumstances. He doesn't take himself or anyone else too seriously. I'm not altogether sure he's hardboiled either. More like poached. 

Q: How did you come up with the character?
Leo's a composite of some of the detectives I've loved along the way. At about ten, I fell in love with Nero Wolfe and haven't been the same since. Travis, Spenser, Fletch...guys like that. A little bit of James Crumley's C. W. Sughrue and Milo Milodragovitch thrown in for spice. I see the world in comic rather that tragic terms, so I always knew there was going to have to be a humorous element to them. The secret is to keep the serio out of the way of the comic and the comic out of the way of the serio. Mixed up in the wrong proportions, it doesn't work at all.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
A godsend. At last, writers have options. For the past twenty years I've been listening to unpublished authors moaning about how they're misunderstood geniuses. How big publishers only want one kind of book, as if there's some conspiracy to keep them out of print, which is, of course, horseshit. Publishers are in the money business.
You show them something they can make a bundle on and they'll snap it up in a second. They don't care who wrote the damn thing. They're looking to make a profit.
With the advent of ebooks, you can publish it yourself and let the general public decided whether it's any good or not. They're remarkably good at separating the wheat from the chaffe. My present publisher is Thomas & Mercer (Amazon) whose approach to the business is antithetical to traditional publishers such as Harper Collins, for whom I toiled for twenty years. No book tours, no signings, no sitting around waiting to hear what some fat-ass critic in New York said about your book. Just get the book in front of as many faces as possible and let the readership decide whether or not the book is worth reading.
Q: What's next for you and Waterman?
I've just started Leo Waterman #8. "Chump Change." Should have it done by the end of the summer 2012.
Q: How do you promote your work?
I'm pleased to say that I no longer have to do much of anything. Amazon could wring a hundred thousand units out of the Boy Scout Handbook. All I have to do is write good books and cash the checks. Let's hear it for algorythms.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
 Been reading quite a bit of neurobiology lately. Incognito, Thinking fast and Slow, Sleight of Mind...that sort of thing. When I'm writing, I read almost exclusively non-fiction. I find non-fiction less likely to creep into my voice.
Q: Will Corso return as well?
RIP Corso. Nope. We've seen the last of Frank. Onward and upward.
Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
While the psyhco part is a fairly recent addition to the genre, the "man of thought and the man of action" pairing has been there from the very beginning. Dupin and his partner, Holmes and Watson, Nero and Archie, Travis and Meyer. It goes on and on. They're buddy movies with a mystery. The psycho part allows for amoral things to happen without tarnishing our hero's semi-saintly aura. Allows for a wider range of options. 

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
To be honest, I haven't read much recent mystery fiction. The one that comes immediately to mind is Urban Waite. "The Terror of Living." The guy can write.

Q: O'Neil DeNoux came up with the following question: How did you come up with the name of your detective?
That's easy. Leo...because I wanted an old fashioned name. And Waterman because we both live in Seattle, which is about as watery as cities get.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baronne Street (Burleigh Drummond) by Kent Westmoreland

I already knew Kent Westmoreland writes fantastic short stories, but with this one he proves he can also write a great novel.
Suave New Orleans fixer Burleigh Drummond investigates the murder of the one woman he really cares about, Coco. Soon he and his not-quite psychotic but very dangerous sidekick are hip-deep into Big Easy crime and politics and facing off a gay mobster and his thugs.
Kent really knows how to write first-person stories. We're right there with Drummond as he tries to come to grips with the guilt and losses he feels.
The mystery isn't that great, but the atmosphere and the quality of the writing itself is high-class stuff as is Burleigh Drummond's character.
This is one of those crime-writers you maybe hadn't heard of before but should be reading if you like this blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Q & A with Barry Crowther

Barry Crowther lives in the USA but is a Brit. He's also the author of the Matt Spears series and Sons of Spade's guest today...

Q: What makes Matt Spears different from other hardboiled detectives?
One of the main things that makes him different is that he isn't a PI or Police detective. He's a debt collector with a checkered past and a team of people he works with, who are quite colorful. I still stick to several of the hard boiled crime conventions when I work on Matt's novels, for example, there is always a clearly defined task (mystery) that must be solved, he is part of a duo so he has a foil to work off, there is usually violence and a little sex, plus the language is very contemporary. It's not very often that one of the gangsters in my books get shot in the leg and says 'oh fooey!'. To me the writers who present vicious and nasty characters and don't allow them to speak are copping out. I'm not saying they need to scatter expletives all the way through but it still has to be real.
Q: How did you come up with the character?
He was the culmination of several characters that I tried to work with but didn't quite hit the mark. To a degree all heroes or heroines are expanded versions of the consciousness of the writer. They are the writers alter-ego: tougher, smarter, sexier. I wanted him to be a little flawed too. His partner Nathan Draper is a homogenized side kick from various sidekicks or heroes that I had been reading or watching on the small screen from being young. He is smart, dapper, efficient and also violent. He even has some blue blood, so a type of Raffles-style hit man, if that makes sense. Matt can only go so far, then you need another more extreme character to go the remainder of the distance. More of Nathan is revealed in the second book 'As the Sun turns Black' and his links to MI-5.
Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
I really think this is as important to the publishing industry as the Gutenberg press. The shift in technology and the publics acceptance has opened doors to many types of fiction that may not have seen the light of day in traditional publishing. To me, this is a carbon-copy style movement that the music industry has been transitioning through for the last twenty years. There are good and bad parts of this. I am still nostalgic (as my children seem to groan about) of vinyl discs. Nothing was cooler than going and buying a couple of seven inch singles on a weekend and rushing home to play them and then decide on whether the B-sides were go or not. The whole thing was an experience. Like browsing a bookshop, buying a novel because you thought the cover was cool and then reading it only to be amazed at how good it was and why you had never heard of the author. It was cool…but it's the past, and that's long gone!
Q: What's next for you and Spears?
The plot for Spears three is pretty much in shape, but I am working on the prequel to the novella 'Nothing' right now. It's an enjoyable process and involves quite a bit of research so Matt and Nathan's next adventure will have to wait a few more weeks before the fun begins.

Q: How do you promote your work?
Mostly I use Twitter as my social media outlet as well as my blog and also the KDP Select program from time to time. It's important to try and cut through the noise sometimes and offering people free samples is an easy way to get some eyeballs on your fiction and hopefully turn them into fans. I'm not very happy about the number of new 'writers' that are coming to Amazon as some kind of get-rich-quick scheme and using all kinds of tricks to get readers to buy. They seem to forget one of the most important elements of selling fiction - writing. Recently I've picked up a few pieces of fiction that need a tremendous amount of work before they should have been released and one of the "authors" revealed that they didn't even write it. It was ghost-written for them, they were in essence just the promoter! This sucks, and muddies the water for the writers that look at writing as a long-term career. 
Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
My reading tastes are pretty broad. Right now, I'm reading a Jeffrey Archer novel and a new Russel Blake action thriller, they couldn't be further apart. But if pressed I would say the mystery/crime genre is my thing but I do enjoy Horror fiction too. Horror was my first love and I was a big fan of Brian Lumley (Necroscope series) when I was younger, so I would always fall back on the scary stuff if needed.
Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
Love them all. Much prefer the colorful over the top nut jobs as good guys than the prosaic bumbling buffoon of the thirties and forties. Give me a Tarantino style sidekick any day of the week.
Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
Personally, I think David Peace's novels will change the landscape of crime fiction. In the UK for sure, maybe not in the US unless enough people get turned on to him. Most of my novels are UK based with the exception of the Zero quartet which is based in Michigan and California, so I get the way Peace works. David Peace has not only introduced a new style to the crime fiction genre but also created a world where true crime and fictional crime cross over. It's very hard boiled and not for everyone but his Red Riding series blew my mind. The only other crime writers I see emerging as new leaders are the scandinavians: Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell. They seem to be leading the charge, but to me they are heading back around to the beginnings whereas Peace is heading into something new.
Q: O'Neil DeNoux came up with the following question: How did you come up with the name of your detective?
Lots of names belonged to the main series character before I landed on Matt Spears. I have another series character who is part of a paranormal mystery series and his name is Alex Campbell. I was going to go with Alex initially but thought that I might want to use Alex Campbell in the future so I had to be more creative. (Alex is the protagonist in Killing Flow). So I have a friend called Matt and I thought that worked. First name then was in the bag. The last name came about when someone was doing an interpretation of first names and how they related to biblical times. They used a book, so my wife put her name up for analysis, which came up blank - it's Wendy and just for you trivia buffs this name was invented by JM Barrie solely for the purpose of the Peter Pan books. Another name Peter was interpreted as The Rock. My name came up next and Barry was interpreted as The Spear. I wrote this down and then when I got home I looked it up and then thought, what about Matt Spears. It stuck.
 Q: What question should we ask every PI writer we interview and what is your answer?
That's a tough one! I would probably ask about the process. Do you plot or do you write and discover the storyline as you go along? That's something that interested me with writers since I began. For the Matt Spears Mysteries I write and plot methodically. Each scene is plotted and the whole thing hangs together as a tapestry before I even write the first word. For the Zero quartet I tend to write scenes by hand based around the previous scene and then when I have 20,000 words in the can I start typing them into my writing software (I use Scrivener) this then allows me to polish them, add more scenes, scrap the bad ones and then add more story or depth if needed.  I like to understand the process of how a novel came to be. This is as intriguing to me as the mystery contained in the novel itself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Frame Up (Fenway Burke) by James Phoenix

The last time I felt like this reading a book was when I was reading The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais.
When I read that debut of PI Elvis Cole I was so pleased to see someone understood the greatness of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series but managed to give it his own twist. Through the years Crais developed his own voice and Cole became more and more unique. That bodes well for the future of James Phoenix and Fenway Burke.
In this novel we follow PI Fenway Burke's defeat at the hands of a dangerous assassin and his return in a way that reminded me of Spenser's defeat at the hands of the Grey Man (in Small Vices). There's also his meeting with Harvard lawyer Megan who gives Susan Silverman a run for her money when it comes to intelligence.
The surprises here are that they actually get married and start a family, taking the idea of the Spenser series (a tough guy involved in a steady relationship with an intelligent woman) to the next level.
I really enjoyed how Fenway schooled himself to be more of an intellectual equal to Megan.
There's a few Hawk-like guys in here as well, Ax and . They're not Pike or Hawk yet, but I'm sure they'll grow on me in the novels to come. I do think I like Fenway's dogs better than Pearl.
I liked the Spenser references that will appeal to the hardcore fans, like a Starbucks versus Dunking Donuts discussion for instance.
One of my favorite books this year... Get it here.

Mirror Image (Daniel Rinaldi) by Dennis Palumbo

I'm a big fan of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series so I had hopes I'd love the Daniel Rinaldi series as well. Both feature shrinks as sleuths.
I wasn't disappointed. Danny is a harder boiled Alex (he for instance used to box). The cops surrounding him feel real enough but aren't as entertaining as Milo Sturgis (but which fictional cop is).
The story deals with a patient dressing up as Rinaldi and getting knifed in Rinaldi's parking lot. Did the killer really want to kill Rinaldi? Or are there ties to the victim's rich father? Dan Rinaldi investigates and along the way ends up sharing his bed with a very sexy DA with a dark side and uncovers some very dirty secrets.
There's series of climaxes in the last few chapters revealing surprise after surprise in a way only Harlan Coben does better.
A well-written thriller with an intricate plot.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Q & A with O'Neil De Noux

Vice-president of the Private Eye Writers of America, cop, a driving force behind the great Big Kiss Productions and author O'Neil De Noux was kind enough to answer my questions...

Q: What makes Lucien Caye different from other hardboiled detectives?
 Lucien is tough but not outwardly. He’s not a law-and-order guy. If he thinks a criminal should get away, he lets them. He’s practical and has a soft heart. He’s a womanizer but is not aggressive in his pursuit. He drinks – occasionally. He doesn’t smoke or wear a hat. He reads a lot and doesn’t consider himself near as good as his heroes Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and Mike Hammer. He is deceptively smart with a wicked sense of humor.
Q: How did you come up with the character?
 Setting created Lucien Caye. I wanted a private eye living and working in the French Quarter in the 1940s-1950s. Once I came up with the character, he took over and told me what to do with him. I’m not kidding. Ray Bradbury once said he didn’t write his books, his characters wrote the books. It’s the same here. I set up the plot and let the characters take me through it. I hear Lucien’s voice as I’m writing him. The same goes with my other recurring characters.
Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
 It’s the best thing that’s happened to my writing career. After over twenty years of living as a low-list writer and going around with a tin cup begging agents, editors and publishers to put my books out there – I took control of my career in 2009 and teamed with a group of New Orleans artists, writers, editors, a literary lawyer, an agent and a publicist to form a co-op – BIG KISS PRODUCTIONS and we're doing it all – writing, editing, layout, design, promotion. We're still a little light with the promo but the products are excellent and we're doing better each month. At least we get most of the royalties (70% eBooks and 35% of trade paperbacks).
Any way a writer can control more of his product – the better.

Q: What's next for you and Lucien?
Enamored is my first PI novel and is set in 1950. Three years before that, Lucien Caye was hired on a wandering daughter case that has it all - murder, blackmail, villains galore, a bevy of pretty women and a black kitten to boot. This second Caye novel is a very sexy crime story set in 1947 New Orleans. The book will be released in 2013.
Q: How do you promote your work?
This is my weak link. BIG KISS PRODUCTIONS is still trying to get a foothold here. I do my best, but it’s not enough. Most of my sales are from word or mouth or the fact that amazon and google have the books listed on search engines.
Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
 Historical fiction. BATTLE KISS, published earlier this year, is my epic novel (320,000 words) set at the Battle of New Orleans. It was a titanic endeavor and I’ve followed it up with a companion book that will be out in 2013. This one is only 230,000 words. I have a degree in European History and enjoy historical fiction.
Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
 Whatever gets you through the night. Whatever a writer feels about his/her character, series, book needs is good. I don’t have one of those although I find them entertaining and very interesting.
Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
 I really have no idea. I don’t look for that.
Q: Keith Dixon came up with the following question: How do you arrive at the structure of your books?
 My books are character-driven. I develop a plot and outline the elements necessary to the story. I get it written, then get it right. Drafts. Along the way the characters do a lot of unexpected things. In order for the book to make sense, things in the plot change. It makes the books less predictable. Sometimes a minor character grows into a major one and their ancillary plot grows.
Q: What question should we ask every PI writer we interview and what is your answer?
 How did you come up with the name of your detective?
In my case, I found it on a banquette (a sidewalk in New Orleans). When I spied the blue-and-white tiles embedded in the sidewalk on Royal Street near Toulouse Street in the French Quarter, I saw ‘Lucien Caye’. I later learned it was actually ‘Lucien Gaye’ (like Marvin Gaye) and the ‘G’ has been worn down by people walking over it to make it look like a ‘C’. I later learned it was the name of a restaurant on Royal Street that went out of business in 1941.