Readers of my “Deets Shanahan series may be disappointed in my new Peter Strand private eye series. I understand. Deets is 72-year-old curmudgeon who deals in a tough, dangerous world. His are the kind of crime novels some describe as “hardboiled.” Peter Strand is a young Asian American who finds himself drawn into murder cases that are more puzzle than struggle. This is a more civilized, less violent mystery series. Some might dare call them “cozies.”
TodayThe Black Tortoise is released.ButI ask you to think about two books!
The Blue Dragon and The Black Tortoise are the first two San Francisco mystery novellas in the proposed “Yellow Road To The Sun Quartet” about Peter Strand, who, throughout, seeks answers to his own personal mystery. It is the entire road that is Strand’s journey. And these small mysteries hold keys to the larger one.
The Blue Dragon — Murder in a small apartment building in San Francisco’s Chinatown, prompts the absentee owner to hire Asian American Peter Strand to calm the anxious tenants. But Strand isn’t exactly what he appears to be. Neither are the tenants, Strand, a forensic accountant by trade, doesn’t intend to investigate the murder, but soon realizes that this isn’t a gang-related killing, as the police believe. The murder was committed by one of the tenants. Finding out which one exposes the secrets of the Blue Dragon and brings Strand face-to-face with a few ghosts of his own.
The Black Tortoise — When his employer asks him to investigate a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, Strand meets a cast of quirky characters who all seem to be hiding a harmless secret or at worst, a bitter resentment. Peter soon finds evidence of a probable fraud. Unfortunately, the cover up leads to murder, and Strand continues his quest for larger meaning. The third book, the Red Phoenix, is well underway
I‘m not exactly changing genres, merely exploring the range within the genre in terms of both style and length.
Orca has published the first two books as part or their Rapid Read Series, a wonderful program seeking to publish books accessible to all readers, including those who speak English as a second language and those who love to read but who have little time to do so. While the books may be part of school and library programs, the pocket novellas are meant for everyone who likes a good, short, read.