JOHN R. FEEGEL – Autopsy.

Avon 22574. Paperback original, 1975.

Feegel: Autopsy

   When a Florida tomato salesman apparently commits suicide in a second-rate Connecticut motel, the insurance company naturally refuses to payoff, and off to court they go.

   A lot of book is summarized in that one line. Feegel is both a lawyer and a practicing forensic pathologist, quoting from inside the back cover, and he lovingly fills in all the clinical details of embalming, funeral procedures, exhumations and so on that any of us would ever want to know. His courtroom expertise is equally evident, but may I say that the insurance company’s defense attorneys do a hopelessly inadequate job, and that’s a tremendously difficult premise to swallow.

   The detective story aspect rings completely false as well, which is surprising, since this book won an MWA Edgar as the best paperback mystery of the year. Again if I may, I’d say that Feegel is guilty of [literary malpractice] in his portrayal of the killer’s [deliberately misleading] post-mortem behavior, and the way he handles the questioning of the girl in the next room is most singularly strange. In fact, while Feegel, a Floridian, obviously doesn’t think much at all of coroners and policemen up here in good old Connecticut, that’s hardly a reason to make every one of his characters from this state a completely stereotyped caricature. How can a book so eminently readable also be so woefully inadequate?    (B minus)

– From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 3, Mar-Apr 1979.

[UPDATE] 07-22-07. It’s far too late, I know, but I’ll issue the author an apology anyway for misspelling his name as “Fleegel” throughout this review, and it’s been corrected. I also said earlier that I wouldn’t change anything in these old reviews, but in this case I overruled myself and made an exception, as you’ll see above.

   The following was taken from an online obituary for the author:

    “John R. Feegel, a Florida medical examiner who became an award-winning novelist, died on Sept. 16, 2003. Cause of death was not released. He was 70.

    “The son of a police officer, Feegel grew up to become a forensic pathologist, a trial attorney and the chief medical examiner in Tampa. He performed thousands of autopsies; the death of Elvis Presley and Atlanta serial killer Wayne B. Williams were two of his most famous cases.

    “Feegel also wrote seven mystery novels. In 1976, he won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his first book, Autopsy.”


   From Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, here’s a complete list of his fictional work that qualifies as crime-related, slightly expanded:

      o Autopsy (n.) Avon, pbo, 1975.
      o Death Sails the Bay (n.) Avon, pbo, 1978.
      o The Dance Card (n.) Dial Press, hardcover, 1981. Avon, pb, 1982.
      o Malpractice (n.) New American Library, hardcover, 1981. Signet, pb, 1982.
      o Not a Stranger (n.) New American Library, hardcover, 1983. Signet, pb, 1984.

[Later.] I’ve just noticed that the obituary said that John Feegel wrote seven mysteries, but Al Hubin lists only five. Hmm. That’s something that should be looked into.

[Still later.] Aha. I’ve found both of the missing titles:

      o Eco-Park: The Al-Hikma Legacy (n.) Authors Choice Press, softcover, March 2001.
      o Death Among the Ruins (n.) Writers Club Press, softcover, September 2002.

John R. Feegel[UPDATE] 07-23-07.   In my original post I included a comment that cover images for Feegel’s books were difficult to come by. The only one I could find yesterday was the one for Malpractice.

   In this morning’s email Bill Crider, whose supply of old mystery paperbacks is nearly endless, sent me two additional ones, both of which you now see here. Unfortunately the silver reflective covers don’t scan well, so the results are not up to either Bill’s or my standards, but I think they will do.

   I also asked Bill if he’d ever read one or both. His reply: “I read the first one because it won the Edgar. I remember nothing at all about it except that I was impressed by the forensic details. I thought of the book back when Patsy Cornwell was becoming famous and wondered if it was one of the first to introduce that kind of stuff.”

   Not being a fan of forensic details myself, it hadn’t occurred to me before, but I really think that Bill is onto something here.

STEVE HOCKENSMITH – Holmes on the Range. Nominated for Best Private Eye First Novel of the Year, 2007.

St. Martin’s, hardcover, February 2006. Trade paperback, February 2007.

   Book description:

Holmes on the Range

1893 is a tough year in Montana, and any job is a good job. When Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at the secretive Bar-VR cattle spread, they’re not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a comfortable campfire around which they can enjoy their favorite pastime: scouring Harper’s Weekly for stories about the famous Sherlock Holmes. When another ranch hand turns up in an outhouse with a bullet in his brain, Old Red sees the perfect opportunity to employ his Holmes-inspired “deducifyin” skills, puts his ranch work squarely on the back burner, and sets out to solve the case. Big Red, like it or not (and mostly he does not), is along for the wild ride in this clever, compelling, and completely one-of-a-kind mystery.

   About the Author:

Excerpted from the author’s Web site : “Though the town elders of Louisville, Ky., have yet to acknowledge it with so much as a single commemorative plaque, Steve Hockensmith was born in the Derby City on August 17, 1968. […] Hockensmith is also the creator of mystery-solving cowboys Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer. The Amlingmeyer brothers first appeared in Ellery Queen in the story ‘Dear Mr. Holmes,’ which was voted the fifth most-popular story of 2003 by the magazine’s readers. The Sherlock Holmes-worshipping drovers have returned to Ellery Queen‘s pages three times since then. […] Though he considers himself a Midwesterner at heart, Hockensmith currently lives in California’s Bay Area.”

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Sherlockians, western fans and mystery lovers who enjoy their whodunits leavened with humor should all be delighted by Hockensmith’s captivating debut, which features Montana cowboys and brothers Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer (better known as Old Red and Big Red, respectively). […] The melding of genres will remind some of the late Bill DeAndrea’s western Nero Wolfe pastiches, while the skillful plotting and characterization augur well for the sequel.”

Booklist: “The Amlingmeyers have graced the pages of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and their initial book-length case is every bit as memorable. At times, they may remind readers of Joe Lansdale’s Hap Collins and Leonard Pine with their smart mouths, penchant for trouble, and unflagging loyalty to each other. This is a great reworking of the Holmes conceit, and one suspects Hockensmith will have a steady readership as long as the Amlingmeyers are on the case.”

   Recently published:

On the Wrong Track: A Holmes on the Range Mystery. St. Martin’s, hardcover, March 2007. Trade paperback: January 2008.

JACK FREDRICKSON – A Safe Place for Dying. Nominated for Best Private Eye First Novel of the Year, 2007.

St. Martin’s Press, hardcover, November 2006.

   Book Description:

A Safe Place for Dying

An extortion letter arrives at Crystal Waters, one of Chicago’s wealthiest gated communities. It makes no specific threats, gives no instructions, demands only that $50,000 be gotten ready – chump change for an enclave where the cheapest house is worth three million. It’s easy to see it as harmless – a note from a nut.

Then a mansion explodes. The homeowners panic, and want it hushed up. If word gets out that a bomber is targeting Crystal Waters, their multimillion-dollar homes will become worthless, a last catastrophe for people strung out from living the good life too well. They hire Dek Elstrom to investigate.

Dek Elstrom used to soar high, too, when he lived with his multimillionaire wife at Crystal Waters, but that was before the dominos of his life tipped over and his ex-wife threw him out. Now reduced to living in a crumbling stone turret, bankrupt of everything but attitude, he’s not even his own ideal choice for the job. He’s too broke, however, to question the motives of a gift-horse client. He needs the money – and the chance to reconnect with his ex-wife. Another bomb goes off, and Dek realizes the culprit must be someone who is angry, needs money, and used to live at Crystal Waters. Then he realizes something else. He himself is the prime suspect.

A sly and clever caper among the richest of the rich, A Safe Place for Dying is for fans of Carl Hiaasen and Robert Crais.

   About the Author:

Jack Fredrickson has had his fiction published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and anthologized by the Mystery Writers of America in Michael Connelly’s Burden of the Badge. He lives with his wife west of Chicago, where he is hard at work on the next Dek Elstrom novel. Visit his Web site at

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “In an impressive debut, Fredrickson introduces Vlodek ‘Dek’ Elstrom, an intrepid investigator of Norwegian extraction who has neared bottom with his failed marriage and battered reputation. […] Smartly plotted, briskly paced and laced with humor, this accomplished first marks Fredrickson as a mystery writer to watch.”

Booklist: “Vlodek ‘Dek’ Elstrom is trying to put his life back together. A scandal destroyed his career as an investigator, and no one seems to have read the notice exonerating him. […] As he digs into the case, he wonders why the residents refuse to go to the police. Closing in, Dek suspects an inside job and becomes a suspect himself. Fredrickson has created an engaging new detective in this funny, hard-boiled story that will appeal to readers who enjoy Robert B. Parker’s Spenser.”

   Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures are pleased to announce the 2007 Barry Award nominations. The Barry Awards are named for of one of the most ardent and beloved ambassadors of mystery fiction, Barry Gardner, and are voted on by the readers of Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures. The 11th Annual Barry Awards presentation will take place at Bouchercon in Anchorage, Alaska in late September. The date, time and location of the awards presentation will be announced later. This is the first year that the Barry Awards are co-sponsored by Mystery News.

   Best Novel

White Shadow by Ace Atkins

Oh Danny Boy by Rhys Bowen

The Last Assassin by Barry Eisler

The Prisoner of Guantanamo by Dan Fesperman

City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin

The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos

   Best First Mystery

The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

The Berlin Conspiracy by Tom Gabbay

The King of Lies by John Hart

Still Life by Louise Penny

A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read

   Best British Mystery

Priest by Ken Bruen

Dying Light by Stuart MacBride

Sovereign by C.J. Sansom

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom

Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone

Red Sky Lament by Edward Wright

   Best Thriller Novel

Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder

The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst

Relentless by Simon Kernick

Cold Kill by Stephen Leather

The Messenger by Daniel Silva

Kill Me by Stephen White

   Best Paperback Original

Bust by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

The Last Quarry by Max Allan Collins

The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle

Live Wire by Jay MacLarty

Deadman’s Poker by Jim Swain

Crooked by Brian Wiprud

   Best Short Story

“Cain was Innocent” by Simon Brett (Thou Shalt Not Kill, published by Carroll & Graf)

“Shaping the Ends” by Judith Cutler (EQMM May, 2006)

“The Right Call” by Brendan DuBois (EQMM Sept/Oct, 2006)

“A Man of Taste” by Kate Ellis (EQMM Mar/Apr, 2006)

“The Flower Girl” by Paul Halter (The Night of the Wolf, published by Wildside Press)

“A Case for Inspector Ghote” by June Thomson (The Verdict of Us All, published by Crippen & Landru)

   For more information about the Barry Awards, visit the Mystery News website at and the Deadly Pleasures website at Questions about the awards and nominations can be directed to BarryAwards2007 [at] or caldrich [at]

   Congratulations to all of the nominees!

MIKE DOOGAN – Lost Angel. Nominated for Best Private Eye First Novel of the Year, 2007.

Putnam, hardcover, August 2006. Paperback: Berkley, August 2007.

   Book Description:

Lost Angel

The icy interior of Alaska is the setting for this breathtaking first mystery from the winner of the Robert L. Fish Award for short fiction.

Lost Angel is an astonishing debut novel from Mike Doogan. In the tradition of Nevada Barr and C. J. Box, Doogan explores the darker side of man’s nature against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

Moses Wright founded the Christian commune of Rejoice. The rough-and-tumble interior of Alaska may seem a strange place for such a community, but for twenty years it has served as a beacon in the wilderness. Two decades later Moses granddaughter, Faith, is the star of the younger generation. Pretty and intelligent, she’s the first teenager in the town to choose to experience the outside world. When Faith disappears, the elders of Rejoice look beyond their village for help.

Ex-cop Nik Kane lost his faith long ago-dissolved in a bottle. A few drinks, a dark night, and a shooting led to seven years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Nothing can give him back his career or his family, but the search for Faith may restore his soul.

By turns lyrical and hard-edged, Lost Angel is a remarkable first novel from a powerful new voice in mystery fiction.

   About the Author:

Mike Doogan has been called “the columnist Alaskans love to hate.” A third-generation native of the state, he lives in Anchorage. Currently, he is seeking a seat in the Alaska State House.

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Meet Nik Kane, the charming star of a new series by Anchorage Daily News columnist Doogan. Kane, a 55-year-old ex-cop who’s also an ex-con, not to mention an ex-husband, heads to the Alaskan interior to do some detective work for a remote religious community called Rejoice. […] While Doogan telegraphs the solution to the riddle of Faith’s disappearance, engaging, lucid prose more than compensates.”

Booklist: “A white-knuckle flight in a bush plane over the Alaskan wilderness jump-starts this debut novel, establishing both the unforgiving setting and the desperate resolve of the main character. […] This is a richly textured novel on several counts. Kane is achingly well delineated; his struggle to adjust to a much bigger, louder, more confusing world after the confines of prison – and to try to find meaning in a life stripped bare of supports – is gripping. All the exigencies of struggling through an Alaskan winter ring true […], and the portrayal of a religious community that holds both secrets and dangers is fascinating. A top-notch start to a projected mystery series.”

BRIAN M. WIPRUD – Crooked. Nominated for the PWA Best Private Eye Paperback Original of the Year, 2007, and for the Barry Award Best Paperback Original of the Year, 2007.

Dell, paperback, July 2006.

   Book description:


Nicholas Palihnic is a natty, tweed-suited hustler who knows every nook and cranny of New York – and a thousand ways to break a girl’s heart. Beatrice Belarus is a Manhattan art dealer with an insatiable appetite for money–and for anyone who gets in her way. And a painting titled Trampoline Nude, 1972 has neither nudity nor a trampoline. But when Nicholas is hired by an insurance company to find the recently stolen painting, a murdered art thief points him to a trove of gold buried beneath Manhattan – and suddenly all roads are leading back to Beatrice. As fortune hunters, lovers, and other strangers gather around him, there’s one thing Nicholas must remember above all else: in this business, it’s better to be crooked than dead….

   About the Author:

Brian Wiprud attended NYU film school before settling on a career in utility infrastructure. He is an avid fly fisherman and collector of taxidermy, two hobbies which, improbably, feature in his novels. His latest accomplishments include:
      * Independent Mystery Bookseller’s Association Bestseller
      * 2002 Lefty Award for Most Humorous Novel
      * 2003 Barry Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original

   Review excerpt:

Publishers Weekly:
“Wiprud’s engaging, hard-boiled style draws readers into both the art world and the underworld of New York, and his colorful cast keeps things moving with wit to spare – especially the plucky lead. Some pieces of this tale hang loose […] but the journey is a thrilling one, with an ending even the most astute readers won’t see coming.”

   Nicholas Palihnic is the brother of taxidermy collector and dealer Garth Carson, who previously appeared in:

Pipsqueak. Dell, paperback, June 2004.

Stuffed. Dell, paperback, May 2005.

   Newly released:

Tailed. Dell, paperback, May 2007. [with both Garth Carson and Nicholas Palihnic]

PACO IGNACIO TAIBO II & SUBCOMMANDANTE MARCOS – The Uncomfortable Dead; Carlos Lopez, translator. Nominated for Best Private Eye Paperback Original of the Year, 2007.

Akashic Books, trade paperback, September 2006.

   Book Description:


In alternating chapters, Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos and the consistently excellent Paco Ignacio Taibo II create an uproarious murder mystery with two intersecting story lines.

The chapters written by the famously masked Marcos originate in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. There, the fictional “Subcomandante Marcos” assigns Elias Contreras – an odd but charming mountain man – to travel to Mexico City in search of an elusive and hideous murderer named Morales.

The second story line, penned by Taibo, stars his famous series detective Hector Belascoarán Shayne. Hector guzzles Coca-Cola and smokes cigarettes furiously amidst his philosophical and always charming approach to investigating crimes-in this case, the search for his own “Morales.”

The two stories collide absurdly and dramatically in the urban sprawl of Mexico City. The ugly history of the city’s political violence rears its head, and both detectives find themselves in an unpredictable dance of death with forces at once criminal, historical, and political.

   About the Authors:

Paco Ignacio Taibo II is a Mexican historian and writer, the author of numerous crime novels and historical works (two of which won the Planeta Prize for Literature), and the founder of Semana Negra, the annual international crime writers’ congress in Spain. He lives in Mexico with his wife and daughter.

Subcomandante Marcos is a spokesperson and strategist for the Zapatistas, an indigenous insurgency movement based in Mexico. He first joined the indigenous guerrilla group which was to become the Zapatistas in the early 1980s. Marcos is author of several books, including Story of the Colors, which won a Firecracker Alternative Book Award, and Our Word is Our Weapon.

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Mexican crime writer Taibo and a real-life spokesperson for the Zapatista movement, Subcomandante Marcos, provide alternating chapters for this postmodern comedic mystery about good, evil and modern revolutionary politics. […] Taibo’s expertise ensures a smart, funny book, and Marcos brings a wry sense of humor. The authors mix mystery with metafiction: characters operate from beyond the grave or chat about the roles they play in the novel, and Marcos writes his fictional self into the story. Literary readers will nod and smile knowingly, though serious mystery devotees who prefer more grounded noir might be mildly annoyed by the hijinks.”

Booklist: “As one might expect, the political trumps the personal in this curious mix of crime novel and position paper, but it is just strange enough to attract a cult audience.”

   Previous Hector Belascoarán Shayne novels:   [English translations only.]

An Easy Thing. Viking, hardcover, 1990. Penguin, paperback, 1990. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2002.

Some Clouds. Viking, hardcover, 1992. Penguin, paperback, 1993. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2002.

No Happy Ending. Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1993. Warner, paperback, 1994. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2003.

Return to the Same City. Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1996. Warner, paperback, 1997. Poisoned Pen Press, trade paperback, 2005.

Frontera Dreams. Cinco Puntos Press; trade paperback, July 2002.

P. J. PARRISH – An Unquiet Grave. Nominated for Best Private Eye Paperback Original of the Year, 2007.

Pinnacle, paperback, February 2006.

   Book description:

An Unquiet Grave.

In a remote corner of the Michigan woods, behind rusted iron gates and crumbling walls, lies a notorious sanitarium and its forgotten cemetery. The ruin is empty now, and the bulldozers have come to raze it. But as they do, a secret emerges. The coffin of Claudia DeFoe, the youthful love of Louis’s foster father Phillip, is empty.

When Louis tries to find the remains, he crosses paths with a reporter searching out rumors that a former patient, assumed dead, is alive and killing again. In Hidden Lake hospital, where the walls are stained with secrets and the air thick with the history of lingering screams, Louis is on his darkest journey yet – into the mind of a deranged killer and into the locked rooms of his own psyche.

   About the Authors:

P. J. Parrish (sisters Kelly Nichols and Kris Montee) is author of the critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling Louis Kincaid series. Their books have been Edgar, Shamus, Thriller and Anthony award finalists. Both sisters, born in Detroit, Mich., were writers as kids, albeit with different styles: Kelly’s first attempt at fiction was at age 11 titled “The Kill.” Kristy’s at 13 was “The Cat Who Understood.”

Not much has changed: Kelly now tends to handle the gory stuff and Kristy the character development. But the collaboration is a smooth one, thanks to lots of ego suppression, good wine, and America Online.

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Bestseller Parrish’s gripping and atmospheric new Louis Kincaid novel (after A Killing Rain) is a quality read that will remind many of Dennis Lehane. […] Parrish manages to make what could be a formulaic plot fresh, both through her gift at creating sympathetic main and secondary characters and through her skill at creating suspense and sustaining a mood. The author’s ability to raise goose bumps puts her in the front rank of thriller writers.”

Chicago Sun-Times:An Unquiet Grave is a standout thriller. It is an intriguing and atmospheric story set largely on the grounds of an abandoned insane asylum, a haunting location that contains many dark and barbarous secrets. With fresh characters and plot, An Unquiet Grave is a suspense novel of the highest order.”

   Previous Louis Kincaid books:

Dark of the Moon. Pinnacle, paperback, January 2000.

Dead of Winter. Pinnacle, paperback, January 2001.

Paint It Black. Pinnacle, paperback, January 2002.

Thicker Than Water. Pinnacle, paperback, January 2003.

Island of Bones. Pinnacle, paperback, January 2004.

A Killing Rain. Pinnacle, paperback, February 2005.

   Newly released:

A Thousand Bones. Pocket, paperback, June 2007. [Kincaid takes a minor role in this case for his lover Joe Frye, the lone female homicide detective in the Miami-Dade Police Department.]

PETE HAUTMAN – The Prop.  Nominated for Best Private Eye Paperback Original of the Year, 2007.

Simon & Schuster, trade paperback, March 2006.

   Book description:

The Prop

National Book Award winner Pete Hautman delivers a fast-paced mystery set in the torrid, unforgiving Southwestern desert, where the stakes are sky high and all bets are off.

Peeky Kane is a prop player at an Arizona casino owned by the Santa Cruz tribe. Her job is to play poker. She makes a handsome living off the suckers who populate the card room. Life is sweet.

But something’s not right at Casino Santa Cruz. When Peeky inadvertently finds herself in a fixed game and comes away a couple thousand dollars richer, she finds herself drawn unwittingly toward the dark side of professional poker. Peeky has always thought of herself as a straight shooter, but now things aren’t so clear. And they’re about to get a lot murkier.

When a band of clown-masked robbers makes off with millions of the casino’s dollars and leaves behind four corpses, Peeky recognizes one of the robbers as a casino employee, and fears that one of her closest loved ones might also be involved. That same day, Peeky’s son-in-law turns up to tell her that Jaymie, her beloved daughter, has been stealing money from Peeky for years to feed a crack habit.

Numb from these revelations, Peeky is compelled to action by an unlikely source when the most powerful member of the Santa Cruz tribe calls upon her to help him save his troubled casino. Peeky must draw on her years of reading poker faces and playing the odds to save the casino, her daughter, and herself.

   Review excerpts:

Publishers Weekly: “Hautman’s Godless (2005) won a National Book Award for Young People’s Fiction, but his impressive, sharply written new crime thriller is definitely for adults — especially those who would rather play poker than do anything else. […] Peeky’s life takes a few sharp turns after some crooked dealers find a new way to steal money and make her an unwilling accomplice. As this short but action-packed novel shows, Hautman is the kind of cool, expert player who keeps the cards coming.”

Booklist: “A cop’s widow who was briefly on the force herself, Peeky is cruising into middle age when she notices a couple of dealers scamming jackpots. […] Signs point to an inside job, and Peeky finds herself both under suspicion and roped into investigating the crime — even as she must track down her troubled daughter with a potentially violent son-in-law. There’s a lot of muss and a little fuss, but Peeky maintains her wry, letting-it-all-hang-out vibe come hell or bad boyfriends. As an addition to the mystery game, she’s as welcome as pocket aces.”

   An earlier series of books by Pete Hautman featured Joe Crow, Sam O’Gara, Axel Speeter, and Tommy Fabian, a group of small-town gamblers in Minnesota. (In some books they have only very minor roles):

Drawing Dead. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, Oct 1993. Pocket, paperback, October 1997.

Short Money. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, May 1995. Pocket, paperback, July 1997.

The Mortal Nuts. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, June 1996. Pocket, paperback, September, 1997.

Ring Game. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, October 1997. Pocket, paperback, October 1998.

Mrs. Million. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, March 1999. Pocket, paperback, March 2000.

    Most, if not all, of the author’s other recent fictional work has been intended for the Young Adult market. For more information, this link will lead to his web page. This book appears to have been Peeky Kane�s first and only appearance, so far.

LORI G. ARMSTRONG – Hallowed Ground.  Nominated for Best Private Eye Paperback Original of the Year, 2007.

Medallion Press, paperback, November 2006.

   Book Description:

Hallowed Ground

Grisly murders are rocking the small county of Bear Butte where Julie Collins has spent the last few months learning the PI biz without the guidance of her best friend and business partner, Kevin Wells. Enter dangerous, charismatic entrepreneur Tony Martinez, who convinces Julie to take a case involving a missing five-year-old Native American girl, the innocent pawn in her parents child custody dispute.

Although skeptical about Martinez’s motives in hiring her, and confused by her strange attraction to him, Julie nevertheless sees the opportunity to hone her investigative skills outside her office. But something about the case doesn’t ring true. The girl’s father is foreman on the controversial new Indian casino under construction at the base of the sacred Mato Paha, and the girl’s mother is secretly working for a rival casino rumored to have ties to an east coast crime family.

Local ranchers, including her father, a Lakota Holy group, and casino owners from nearby Deadwood are determined to stop the gaming facility from opening. With the body count rising, the odds are stacked against Julie to discover the truth behind these hidden agendas before the murderer buries it forever. And when Julie unwittingly attracts the attention of the killer, she realizes no place is safe – not even hallowed ground.

   About the Author:

Lori G. Armstrong left the firearms industry in 2000 to pursue her dream of writing crime fiction. She lives in Rapid City, South Dakota.

   Review Excerpt:

Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader:   “Rapid City P.I. Julie Collins is still rather new at the business when she’s hired by bad boy motorcycle leader Tony Martinez to help find his friend’s five year old missing niece. […] If you’re looking for one of those heroines who refrains from any and all vices and who shrieks at the sound of gunfire, you may want to pass on this one. But if you prefer your heroine to be a little on the dark side, especially one who likes to smoke, drink, engage in the occasional sexcapade, and knows how to kick some ass with little fear, this highly engaging and fearless PI fits the bill.”

   The first Julie Collins novel:

Blood Ties, Medallion Press, May 2005.

   [Coming soon:]

Shallow Grave, Medallion Press, November 2007.

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