For most folks, today is Super Bowl Sunday. For me, it’s launch day of Thin as Smoke, the fourth Gaslight Mystery.
If you’ve read any of the earlier mysteries, you know that Michael McCree and Simon Hart are two private eyes in 1920s Ireland; and that Michael began their relationship in the role of a covert op for an agency not-to-be-named here. No spoiler alerts from me!
Michael wormed his way into Simon’s flat after winning a fisticuffs wager. From that point, he worked his way into the surly man’s PI business, and from there into his four-poster bed. More out of than into, as a matter of fact.
With each ensuing novel, the relationship between roustabout Michael and snotty, angry Simon grows more tangled, more edgy, more sensual in its tacit promise of pursuit and climax.
The newest mystery opens May 1, 1924. It’s been exactly one year from the morning private investigator Simon stumbled into Michael’s newspaper office, rumpled and unshaven, bearing an obituary notice. For the darkly handsome PI, that day was a journey through ghastly memories of finding his former partner murdered. For the brash Irishman with a secret, the day brought into his life the man he wanted to be with the rest of his days …
Opening words of Heart to Hart, Gaslight Mystery 1:
Michael’s life began all over again on Monday. The rain that had been threatening for weeks finally banged Dun Linden with bare fists just as dawn broke, pummeling and pounding, leaving everyone a little off balance. Setting the banner line for the day’s newspaper edition, he’d looked up from the linotype into the most arresting pair of eyes he’d ever seen. They were soulful and tormented, of a color somewhere between teal and turquoise, like a rare metal seen once in a lifetime. Or an undiscovered ocean on the edge of a wet dream. He stared in spite of himself at the man behind the eyes.
He was tall—all of six feet, almost as tall as Michael. A black felt bowler hat covered his hair. But Michael knew it had to be as dark as the eyebrows and the growing shadow around his upper lip and chin. Had the man even slept last night? The mouth itself was sulky, arrogant, almost angry.
Michael’s cock set up a slow hammering beneath the stiff leather apron.
Segue to one year later: May 1, 1924. Michael and Simon are now partners in a PI firm, and they have an off-and-on sleeping arrangement which Simon still, after twelve months, is finding difficult to accept. Long story.
As the new novel opens, the men are sitting in the gay pub Paddy’s waiting for an undercover tryst with an agent. Why there? Because that tavern is the unlikely headquarters of Michael’s secret employer.
Michael is already planning a celebration; Simon is dreading it.
Just as Simon is barely beginning to warm to Michael, something happens which will utterly change their relationship. A gaunt man appears at Michael’s elbow, murmuring into his ear. And while Simon watches them dance on the crowded floor, his gut wrenches with all the agony a jealous man can feel.
In this excerpt, Simon gets a closer look at this new man who will prove to be closer to Michael than merely a dance partner in a homosexual tavern.
He shuddered. Who is this creature, and why is my gut in knots looking at him?
Despite the cadaverous look of his face, this stranger was striking, even sensual. Simon had learned to appreciate and fear those men who guarded their secrets with their eyes. He thought briefly of the Brown Man, a former opponent. If he didn’t know damn well it was impossible, this man could be Chanda Gopala in one of a thousand disguises, come back to exact some perverted retribution.
The musicians were coaxing long minutes from the song. Simon had instantly learned the lyrics a few months ago from a scratchy table-model gramophone with a wind-up spring motor. Paddy’s often cranked it up when their players left to drink, or eat, or fornicate.
Some day he’ll come along,
The man I love
And he’ll be big and strong,
The man I love
And when he comes my way
I’ll do my best to make him stay.
He wondered what the hollow-chested man was telling Michael, his mouth plastered in his ear …
So why in hell would Samuel Dashiell Hammett, the well-known writer of hard-boiled crime novels, be closeted in a gay tavern in Dun Linden, Ireland?
And how does this gaunt man with the hooded eyes forever change the lives of two PIs?
If you don’t already own the first three mysteries, isn’t it time you rushed over and bought them?
Heart to Hart: http://amzn.to/12gBwlL
Sparring with Shadows: http://amzn.to/14QXtqW
To the Bone: http://amzn.to/1bEXep2
The mysteries can also be found on my Amber Quill Press author page:
And now: Thin as Smoke cover reveal …
Now on Amazon:
For your Kindle, choose Mobipocket .prc
Or on the publisher’s web page: