Set in Chicago in 1964 amidst racial divisions, Mike receives anonymously a $10,000 Federal Reserve Note with an unsigned cryptic message it was for unspecified future trouble. Tracking down the sender and the purpose spins into a 40 year old kidnapping case involving four US Army officers in World War One, stolen gold with connections to the French Bonnot gang (the first to use automobiles in bank robberies); and uncovering a Babylonian sex goddess cult in a Chicago suburb. Death stalks Mike and Rick on this case, and also threatens their client. Murder, action, suspense and seduction--the kind of quicksand that is Mike's struggle with commitment to Molly. Reviewers call this "A blend of intelligence, keen observations, complex plot, and wounded soul protagonist." I call it a barrel of fun and a page-turner.
I love to read and write complex mysteries, especially private eye tales where one man stands alone down the gritty streets to fight crime and corruption. I love them also because one doesn't have to be politically correct. Scenes where Mike meets an attractive woman and the seduction temptation/dance begins are particularly challenging to write. I have tried to avoid the old "fade to black" in favor of giving the modern reader more detail of the lovemaking without crossing into pornography. The series may be read stand-alone, though each tale takes place in the 1960s, beginning with the first in the decade and each in a subsequent year. Some have commented that Mike seems to seek the perfect love. Perhaps so, but his calling and age are distractions to settling down. I also love history and put true events, persons and such in each novel.
The Nixon layout was as ritzy as anything I’d seen in Chicago. In fact, from the outside it would have easily passed for a top mansion in any hoity toity neighborhood from the Hamptons to Malibu. This palace made the rest of the street look shabby and put Chicago Heights on the map.
A squat Asian with a towel around his head, wearing shorts and a wife-beater shirt was spading flowerbeds. He reminded me of those villains in the old Charlie Chan flicks. Seemed like every plant lover in Chicago was out digging in dirt, trying to earn heatstroke. I parked in front and strode up the long straight walk, lined with perfectly trimmed miniature boxwoods. The Asian noticed me but didn’t acknowledge, just shifted his black distant eyes from me to the spade like he was ready to swing it at me should I make a false move. A nearby robin working for his lunch also eyed me in much the same way.
I pushed the doorbell and heard a three-note chime echo inside, followed by quick, light footsteps.
The door swung open and there she stood.
Slim, pale blonde, nearly my height and stylish without being brassy. Our eyes met on a straight line, something that can unnerve me but didn’t this time. Harp music would have put the right touch on the scene. I can imagine a good harp and liked this kind.
I took her for mid-twenties. She wore a tailor made cream-colored linen suit with navy and cream polka dotted scarf on her long white neck. She wore no jewelry save for dangling earrings, cages encapsulating silver-blue pearls. Quite expensive. The suit enhanced her curves, none of which dominated the others. But it wasn’t her body that took my breath away—it was her perfect angel face. Maybe that’s what made me think of harps. Appropriately, the sun through windows behind her kissed a glow to the edges of her hair. It might have been a halo. I stared.
Her sly smile said she enjoyed being stared at. The blood rushed to my face, though I hadn’t blushed since Miss Turner’s third grade class when Patricia Tubbs hollered out that my fly was open. My face was just as hot now. Or maybe I was coming down with something.
There are all sorts of blondes nowadays—most of them straight from a bottle—too brassy and too cheap to be passable counterfeit. Even Beasley could identify those without a magnifying glass. So many weak attempts to play Monroe or Mansfield. That sort usually sports very dark eyebrows or roots that shout “fake!” Then there’s the dirty dishwater variety who can’t make up their minds between blonde and brunette, and so they stand pat, like a scared bookkeeper holding a small pair in poker. Then there’s the rarest of the rare—a purely Swedish blonde with a complexion as clear as a tropical lagoon, whose hair is blonde everywhere. My eyes fed on that latter sort of blonde for a few harp riffs, my mind taking pictures. As fantastic as some dreams are, having a $10,000 dollar bill that lead me to this lovely’s doorstep beat any erotic dream I’d ever enjoyed.
This melody’s eyes were a rare color of ultramarine that I’d hate to have to describe—how can you convey the waters of a mountain lake on a clear July afternoon? Renoir would have gone nuts for that shade. All her features were worth staring at, enough to measure every subsequent female face by, even though it would be a futile game.
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David is a semi-retired college English composition instructor, who also has published the monumental 4-volume daily chronology of Mark Twain's life: Mark Twain Day By Day. His 8 novels and some 25 published short stories (of 85) may also be found on Amazon. David, a Cubs fan (they never quit), boasts an "editor cat" named Sophie, a calico who likes to rest on his arm while he drafts and claw through the shirt whenever he pens a weak sentence. "She has an aversion to adverbs," he claims. Father of 3 girls he understands drama.