The joint had a nautical theme

Up front, near the door, were four nickel slot-machines and one that took quarters. They looked dusty and unused. Along the wall opposite the bar there were booths pretending to be upholstered in red leather. They were empty except for one near the middle that held an old blond overflowing a shiny black spaghetti-strap dress and a fat man in a dark suit with his face in a bowl of chili. At least, it looked like chili. Their table was flush with empty highball glasses. The old blond was washed-out by too much neon and not enough fresh air. She took a drag on her cigarette and glared at her date’s head like she wanted to put it out in his bald spot. Maybe this was Gwen.

He still gets excited.

Two stiff young deputies bracketed the open doorway of a room on the first floor. Two older deputies caressing cigarettes leaned against the columns supporting the second story and blew smoke at the stars. All four jumped when Parkins almost put the unmarked sedan’s bumper into one of the columns, tortured the transmission into Park, threw open his door, and rushed into the room, holding up his badge like it was the Olympic torch. Slack-jawed, the deputies just watched him pass.

Fortuna reached over the front seat, turned off the ignition, and said to Ben, “He still gets excited.”


Anchored to the bottom…

The dead woman’s skirt billowed like a parachute as she slowly rotated in the current from the pool filter. Her hair drifted around her head like sea-grass. Jill’s hair wasn’t that color or that long. That should have made him feel better, but it didn’t. There was a dead woman anchored to the bottom of the swimming pool.

An impatient friend asked me…


JFK, Gov. Grant Sawyer, Sen. Howard Cannon, and Sen. Alan Bible – Sept 28, 1963

When can I read “Landmark Kill?” And my response was:

“I have learned to spare no labor upon the process of writing a page four or five times over if nothing less will bring the words which express all that I mean, and nothing more than I mean.” Thomas Henry Huxley, 1927

“Reader’s draft” of prequel completed…

JFK-motorcade-view-of-Landmark-coverI just transferred the first “reader’s draft” of LANDMARK KILL to my wife’s Kindle. She’s an avid reader of all genres and probably the best editor imaginable for a first draft. Her contributions to JOEY’S PLACE are incalculable. If any of it works for her then I know I have something good started. After several months working on the story, letting it go is a bit unsettling. Still, every chick must leave the nest…

Set in September 1963, LANDMARK KILL is as much a thriller as it is a crime story. Like JOEY’S PLACE, it drills deep into the blood and bones of a lost Las Vegas, America’s famously infamous playground, and its ties to national politics. Det. Heber Parkins plays a major role in the story as the rough-edged, rookie partner of “cagey old Dave Fortuna,” but the main character is a jaded young gambler who’s drawn by chance into a many-layered murder mystery that traps him between the law and the Mob.

On the left is the “concept” cover for the book. Check back here or join my mailing list to be the first to know about publication dates.