ROBERT W. TINSLEY “Smuggler’s Blues.” PI Jack Brady #1. First published in PI Magazine, Spring 1989. Collected in The Brady Files, Kindle edition, 2011.

   Jack Brady is a big guy, not easily intimidated. He’s a former Navy SEAL and now a PI whose home base in El Paso TX, which as far as I know is a first among fiction PI’s. At six feet four and 280 pounds, he also finds it difficult to find furniture that fits him. And with El Paso right on the border with Mexico, one suspects that many of the cases he gets involved with involve border incidents of one kind or another.

   This first case, “Smuggler’s Blues,” certainly does. Brady is hired by the brother of a man who died while being smuggled across the border, a Salvadoran who had recently been released from prison there for political reasons. The man supposedly drowned, and his death would have been written off as that, if Brady and his client hadn’t interfered.

   The story is too short to be more than an incident, and by itself leaves little impression. Brady, who tells the story himself has just enough of a way with words to make the telling enjoyable. Efforts to sound like a tough guy are just a little iffy; a little more “down and gritty” would have helped. Chalk this one down as an early one in Brady’s career.

      The Jack Brady stories

“Smuggler’s Blues” (Spring 1989, PI Magazine)
“Killer” (Winter 1989, PI Magazine)
“Graveyard Shift” (April 2002, HandHeld Crime)
“No Good-Bye” (June 2002, HandHeldCrime)
“Beating On The Border” (Summer 2003, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
“Hijack on the Border” (Oct/Dec 2003, SDO Detective)
“Horse of the Same Color” (Fall 2003, Hardluck Stories)
“Grasshopper” (Winter 2003, Hardluck Stories)
“Double Death” (February 2004, Shred of Evidence)
“A Kiss Is Just A Kiss” (April/May/June 2005, Futures)
“For Felina…” (Winter 2004, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
“Out of the Shadows” (June 2005, Mysterical-E)
“The Horse Holder” (Aug/Nov 2005,Shred of Evidence)
“Sweet Dreams”
“The Prodigal”
“Questioning the Dead”
“The Running Man”
“Moby Dick in a Can”

   These last five may be original to the Kindle collection.