Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Free Fiction: Runaway Bride Part Six (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

Hired by a young man to find out why his fiancee ran away roadie / PI Lenny Parker finds her quickly and sees her drive away with a big black man who turns out to be a pimp called Larry Thunder. For earlier episodes click here.
It's been awhile since the last one, but enjoy...



Lenny parked his Dodge Ram at a McDrive, after picking up some cheeseburgers and a large Coke. Casey had some chicken nuggets.

“Well that went pretty pear-shaped,” Casey said.

“Yeah, sure did,” Lenny admitted. “So what now? I still want to talk to Tina.”

“I figure there’s  way easier way to do this. We figure Tina’s a hooker now, right? Why don’t we just order her?” Casey suggested.

“That’s so simple it might just work,” Lenny said between two bites of his cheeseburger, ketchup dripping down his beard.

“Just call Larry and order the chick,” Casey said, belching after a sip of Coke.

“There’s only one problem with that idea… I don’t have his number.”

Casey sighed. “Do I really have to think of everything for you? These days hookers are all on the internet. We should try to book her online.”

“Book her online? What are you talking about?”

Casey grabbed her phone and logged into a website called Lenny looked with her on the small phone screen in awe.

“We fill in the data we know. Like her physical description, the area she would operate in and click the Search-button,” Casey said.

“How do you know all this stuff?” Lenny asker her.

“Hey, a girl gets lonely sometimes, so sue me. I’m not always able to pick somebody up in a bar when I have a hankering for some pussy,” Casey said.

Lenny almost choked on his fries.

“God, repressed much? Didn’t know you were a devout Catholic,” Casey remarks. “Hey, think I hit pay-dirt already! Looks like her stage-name so to speak is Jillian.”

Lenny looked at the profile picture on the site Casey was pointing at. Her face was made blurry by some kind of Photoshop-like software but he could still make out enough to make it indeed very likely this was Jill. She was dressed in a short-short skirt and just a lacy bra, wearing fuck-me shoes with stiletto heels.

“You might be right,” he admitted.

“Right, now to set up the appointment,” Casey said. “There’s this motel nearby here you can rent by the hour that would be just perfect for this.”

“How do you know--,” Lenny started to say but the rolling of Casey’s eyes had him shut up.

“It’s done. She should be arriving there in three hours,” Casey said.

“Won’t Thunder be with her? And what will he do when he sees us?” Lenny wondered.

“He’ll be only there to drop her off and pick her up. We’ll just ask one of the guys to open the door. We’ll hide in the bathroom or something until Thunder is gone.”

Lenny leaned back and whistled. “Sheesh, you’re good at this stuff. Maybe you should have become the PI?”

“Just consider me the Metal Nora to your Nick, Thin Man. Or should I say Thick Man?” Casey said and ate the last chicken nugget.

Finding Chloe (Leah Ryan) by Tracy Sharp

Leah Ryan, former car thief and now a repo agent is hired by the boyfriend of an exotic dancer to find her. When she investigates someone is trying to frighten her. Leah is not one to back down though and as the bodies start to pile up she finds herself investigating a very difficult case.
I just loved Leah! She's so very tough but still very human. She's so punk rock! I also liked her brother and best friends Jack in the supporting cast.
The pacing is great, never getting boring. The descriptions are very vivid and I could so often picture Leah in her car or making love. I actually figure it has a cinematic quality that would make this a good Netflix show.
It actually looks like Tracy isn't writing this series anymore, which is too bad because Leah is one of my favorite female PI's now!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Free Fiction: Served Cold Part One (a Brody Chen serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

I felt like writing about a new, very unique character that operates in a world we PI fans all know and love but is very different from my guys like Vance Custer, Noah Milano or guys like Spenser, Scudder or even girls like Milhone and Warshawski. Here's Brody Chen...

I had my feet on the table of my new desk when Carl Rogers told me he was going to quit my dad’s process serving firm as well. Technically, after my dad died it’s my firm. Carl, a fifty-something burly guy in a suit told me, “Sorry, Brody. It’s nothing personal. You know I love you, but I can’t afford to stay working for you.”
“Yeah, yeah. Why should you be different than the other guys, right?” I said.
“I’m really sorry. If you need something, just give me a call.”
“I need you to stay on,” I told him.
He studied his shoes. “Sorry, Brody.”
“Sure, sure.”
Carl left my office. That was the last one to go. Three weeks ago my father died, leaving me his company and a whole lot of debts. It turned out my dad hadn’t done too good a job handling his finances and owed a lot of people a lot of money. The only thing I could do to pay of his debtors was sell the house. I kept the office. After all, without my dad I had no other choice than to try and continue his work. I dropped out of high school years ago, earning some money doing freelance journalism jobs for metal zines in print and online. It nowhere earned me enough dough to make a living though. So I sold the house where I used to live with my dad and started living in the office.
The employees of my dad apparently had little trust in my ability to lead a company. And who could blame them? I was just an eighteen year old high-school dropout with a weak spot for leather, tattoos and heavy music. Not exactly CEO material, admittedly.
I leaned back in my chair and chucked the empty can of Monster Energy in the waste basket. Now what was I to do? Run this company all alone or just give up. Shit, I’d been thinking about just giving it all up and just hang myself or something a lot since my mom died. But now, five years later it seemed stupid to quit. I mean, I didn’t go through the hell of coming to grips with mom’s suicide to just end it now, right?
I turned on the stereo, Carnifex blasting their deathcore through the speakers. This kind of music always fueled me with the energy to go ahead and tackle my problems instead of submitting to them. I used to tag along with my dad on some of his jobs when I was still a kid and he couldn’t get a babysit. I’d picked up some stuff. Maybe I could do this job. Maybe I didn’t need Carl or the others.
I switched on the laptop. There was a picture of me in my younger and happier days as a wallpaper. I was going to replace that with a picture of Bring Me The Horizon or something. I couldn’t bear to see the old me, still innocent, still happy. Still fucking weak and stupid.
I went through dad’s e-mail, his password still my name and date of birth. Not very careful for a guy in his kind of business. As I went through the e-mails I found, among the many e-mails from people he owed money to, a message from a lady wanting to make use of dad’s services. It looked like a fairly easy job, so a great one to start with. The writer of the e-mail, Cheryl Hill, wanted dad to deliver her husband the divorce papers. She added he’d refused to accept them from her, so she now was looking at affordable process servers to deliver the papers for her. Her husband, one Tom Hill owned an auto wrecking business in Brooklyn and she suggested to deliver the papers to him there.
I wrote her back, attaching the standard contract that was on dad’s laptop. Now to wait until I got a signed copy back. I passed gathering as much information I could about the business details of the job. Luckily dad had left an amazing number of documents describing those things. That was probably the work of the office worker he’d hired a few years ago. She’d already left the firm a few months before his death though, going back to college. I never really had the attention span for education. It took me a huge effort to go through the documentation without letting my mind wander off to the concerts I wanted to see, the confusing feelings I had about dad’s death and the sheer panic at the thought of having to make a living all by myself, the office couch for a bed.

Three hours later I got a scanned and signed copy of the contract in the e-mail. Time to see if I actually had what it takes to do this job.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time (Rafferty) by W. Glenn Duncan

Boy, these Rafferty books are fun! As much as they seem to owe to Spenser I enjoy the hell out of them. In this one Rafferty is asked by the girl he frequently ogles in an adjacent office (hmm that sounds a bit creepy) to help her great-uncle who is being harassed by some vandals. Meanwhile he is tracking down a guy who pretended to be a bounty hunter in an effort to have Rafferty along killing a pool cleaner.
The stakes aren't all that high and the mystery might not be that strong but the dialogue is just awesome. There's some very touching bits between Rafferty and the great-uncle and Cowboy is just one of the coolest sidekicks ever.
If you're in for an awesome, light classic PI read you need to pick this one up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Robert B. Parker's The Hangman's Sonnet (Jesse Stone) by Reed Farrel Coleman

I was convinced Reed wouldn't take the easy way out with this series and he doesn't disappoint. You see, it would have been easy to take the premise Robert B. Parker left him with and just tell the same story over and over again, never changing the character. Reed however manages to make Jesse Stone grow with each novel. I feel like Reed understands, knows, the character almost better than Parker himself did.
Struggling with alchohol and the death of his great love Jesse still manages to act as police chief, although his friends frequently need to cover his ass.
When a bulgary ends up in murder Jess investigates and becomes involved with the search for a missing master tape of a folk singer's biggest record.
For fans of Spenser (and who reading this blog isn't) there's also a cool short scene with the wisecracking PI that makes the book worth your purchase already.
There is absolutely a nice mystery within these pages that is wrapped up quite neatly. We see Jess clash with several authority figures and there's some wonderful characters walking around.  The highlight, however is how Jess moves on with his life and his struggles.