Miles of Fun, Miles of Files

Paul Panepinto is bored at work. How could he not be? He’s a painter trapped by lapsed policies, cold chocolate in a Federal Funding mug, and long stints of muzak while on hold with Mortgage Depot. Also there are his smarmy daydreams of ‘better times’ with Suzanne Biedertyme to get him through the monotony.

Panepinto works in insurance.

As with most of the office hacks in Michael J. Sahno’s Miles of Files, Panepinto’s silver lining is that he works for not just any insurance company, but for Flambet Insurance. As the name suggests, the place is about to go up in flames.

Enter Graham Woodcock, the British second-in-command to Flambet’s witless heir, James. Woodcock’s embezzling from the company IRA through the phony accounts of non-existent employees Dolores Buenas and Philip Banks.

When Panepinto stumbles across the accounts with a few errant keystrokes, the novel’s central thread is set. Miles of Files is on its way to being a literary PI story focused more on the innocent and the victimized than on the PI or the crook.

Continue reading Miles of Fun, Miles of Files

Murder and the Father of American Diplomacy

We all know Ben Franklin as one of the nation’s earliest Renaissance Men: scientist, printer, writer, businessman, scholar, politician, diplomat. Fireman. In David R. Andresen’s short mystery Murder in a Blue Moon Ben takes a break from his more gentlemanly pursuits, such as chess, to solve a serial murder in Philadelphia.

It’s fall of 1752, the American Experiment still a quarter century from Independence. Constable Geoffrey Hunter turns to his friend over glasses of Madeira to mull the facts of a case involving prostitutes with broken necks and surprised looks on their faces.

The short mystery develops quickly, clues tying the mystery together sparse, the time between each murder so great they go undetected for nearly a decade. The narrative style befits the times. We take our modern P.I. and dial the voice back to the 18th Century. Andresen succeeds at doing this without slowing the yarn or making it stumble:

I’m not known for being a quiet man, but much of my work required discretion and the rest was so much a simple litany of common greed, sin, and sheer folly that I found it best to spare him and me the despair and disgust so many of my duties as Constable entailed.

When our good Constable does unburden his heart of the details of his case,  it requires the author of Poor Richard’s Almanac to put this puzzle together.

An imaginative slice of early American life that’s a tad more lurid than average, Murder in a Blue Moon is a quick, entertaining read.

True Crime Review: Ivory Tower Cop

George Kirkham and Leonard Territo pair up to deliver an informative, fast-paced police procedural in Ivory Tower Cop, exploring a serial rape case based on actual events. The thriller digs into half a dozen savage crimes, the latest developments in forensic science, arcane Biblical studies, historical detail from The Third Reich, and Nazism’s reach into the present with a pace and range worthy of Dan Brown.

ITC

David Roth is an internationally recognized expert on the behavioral profiling of serial rapists, a professor at the University of Miami, and a widower who lost his wife and son to a drunk driver several years before the events of this story. He’s fast-tracked through the police academy to team up with Miami PD’s special victims unit, headed by an attractive young Cuban-American, Maria Sosa. Stir in romance among the story’s numerous other fine attributes.

Full Review

ONE DEAD COP

One Dead Cop

Taillights cut a pool of red in the dark where three African heavies in police uniform manned the makeshift roadblock.  A fourth figure loomed over the driver-side door two cars up.  The cops held their rifles clumsily.  Probably they were cops, Raines thought. Criminals in the West African Republic handled weapons better than the police did.  The cops moved alongside and scrutinized his car, then took up positions at the rear.  Raines decided against running the blockade, though he doubted the rifles were loaded.  He checked his mirrors, all black; his watch, a faint glow.  He tapped the wheel.  Half past midnight.  Fifteen minutes since he’d left home.  Twenty since the Ops Center informed him of the cable requiring immediate action.

The big cop waved him up, palm downward, fingers beckoning with im- patience.  Raines lowered his tinted win- dow before the cop could tap it with his dirty hand.  Sweat- and booze-reek poured through the window on the humid air.  The cop grinned.  His big, round face glistened with sweat in the red-tinged dark.

“Evening boss,” Raines said.

Read Full Story (Published by Umbrella Factory Magazine, September 2012)

ONE DEAD COP

One Dead Cop

Taillights cut a pool of red in the dark where three African heavies in police uniform manned the makeshift roadblock.  A fourth figure loomed over the driver-side door two cars up.  The cops held their rifles clumsily.  Probably they were cops, Raines thought. Criminals in the West African Republic handled weapons better than the police did.  The cops moved alongside and scrutinized his car, then took up positions at the rear.  Raines decided against running the blockade, though he doubted the rifles were loaded.  He checked his mirrors, all black; his watch, a faint glow.  He tapped the wheel.  Half past midnight.  Fifteen minutes since he’d left home.  Twenty since the Ops Center informed him of the cable requiring immediate action.

The big cop waved him up, palm downward, fingers beckoning with im- patience.  Raines lowered his tinted win- dow before the cop could tap it with his dirty hand.  Sweat- and booze-reek poured through the window on the humid air.  The cop grinned.  His big, round face glistened with sweat in the red-tinged dark.

“Evening boss,” Raines said.

Read Full Story (Posted to Umbrella Factory Magazine, September 2012)