A .32 caliper pistol found at the scene with the victim's fingerprints on it. The medical examiner declares that the victim, Marlowe Black's pregnant fiancé's, death was caused by suicide.Two of his friends are seriously wounded shot on different days hundreds of miles apart while Marlowe stood within ten feet of them both.Marlowe discovers evidence of twenty-four prostitutes killed but not reported missing. Where they lie buried is unknown, that they are dead is not.The mystery shooter keeps Marlowe on the run, while he attempts to resolve who killed his fiancée and why. Who attempted to take out two friends; who sent several hit men to three different locations to end his life; who killed the prostitutes and where do they lay buried? All Marlowe needs to do is stay alive long enough to outsmart a man who easily outsmarts him repeatedly until the last gunshot is fired.
Larry gives an overview of the book:
Death is the ultimate test of faith, I thought and wondered why I remembered my CO at that moment. Captain James Todd Wright had led with his presence. When the war began, he was an enlisted man from Savannah, Georgia. With time, diligence and due to extreme bravery, he quickly earned the rank of staff sergeant. After a string of catastrophic battles along the path through Europe to Germany, he became a field- commissioned lieutenant. By mid ’44, he was our company commander.
By then, I had already fought with him for over a year and remained a friend despite the fact that I refused to climb into an officer’s uniform. I gained the rank of platoon sergeant, felt grateful I lived long enough to gain that honor, and never desired higher accolade. I would have been fine dying with three stripes sewn to my sleeves.
As the Battle of the Bulge ground our company into memories and remains we would never identify, Wright must have sensed the cloaked demon that caressed his neck as it accepted him.
We had hunkered down in a bomb crater running low on ammunition and hope. He turned to me during a lull and after we both lit cigarettes, said, "You know, Marlowe, my minister back home once stated in a Palm Sunday sermon that death is the ultimate test of faith. I think by now, I’m ready for that test, how about you, my friend? Together, we've watched a lot of good men die."
"My faith ran dry a few months ago, sir," I said without revealing the surprise I felt, and cupped the ember of my cigarette to pull in a long drag of smoke without illuminating our location.
He laughed lightly. "That’s what I appreciate most about you, Marlowe. You never bullshit anyone for any reason. Hope you never change. I'm getting the ammo I see laying over there. We're both getting low." He pointed at a fallen GI and moved five feet to the right. His head crested the edge of the crater, and a German sharpshooter drilled a neat hole through the center of his forehead.
I wrote this book to be an emotional roller coaster similar to what I went through during the time I sat pounding the keyboard. I had just lost a new friend, a man older than my father, but a person I'd admired for years, even decades. He was Mickey Spillane, and lived in the town where I moved in 2000. I felt fortunate to have to time get to know him as someone other than a writer. He was a big-hearted man who cared deeply for the under-privileged. His passing was sudden and unexpected, and to me it sucked that he was gone.
Then, there was our oldest daughter fighting Crohn's Disease. There is no explanation for her getting it, no passed on DNA, but my wife and I watched her fight for her life, lose 10 pounds in 7 days before we finally got her to the right doctor who stabilized her enough to heal as much as a Crohn's patient can heal. She has since gotten her first college degree and is working on a second. Yes, we are proud of her. Her courage is outstanding; her joy of living admirable.
So, emotional turmoil wrote this book as much as I did. Marlowe Black deals with serious death and loss, but for him revenge is justice, and sometimes, not often, the opposite is also true in his world.
I set his life in the 1950s, since so many people think of it as a wonderful time in American history. It wasn't really, some of it was awful, which Marlowe would tell you if you asked him.
This is the second book in the Marlowe Black Mysteries Series. The first book is "Beholden" and the third, soon to be available, is "Drop Dead Cadillac."
Born, raised and educated in New York, Larry Schliessmann is a 2004 winner of the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, an Ezine Articles Platinum author, and a 2009 winner of the “National Novel Writing Month.”
He writes the blog “Larry Schliessmann’s Marlowe...