The Grid (Thomas & Mercer; August 2015)
A former federal law enforcement contractor with a somewhat spotty record, Jon Cantrell has seen—and done—just about everything. Now he’s a sheriff, keeping the peace in small-town Texas. He thought that he’d finally settled into a quiet, less-complicated life—until his deputy gets himself murdered. Soon Cantrell’s search for the killer points to an online-dating site designed for extramarital affairs and to a woman who may have been the unfortunate deputy’s last date.
Meanwhile, someone is staging a series of seemingly random attacks on the regional power grid, and Cantrell is reluctantly pulled back into the federal fray when he accepts an off-the-books assignment to uncover the culprit. With the power company and the feds impatient for an arrest—and clues in his deputy’s case pointing to something more sinister—Cantrell must run parallel, conflicting investigations. But will he find what he’s looking for? Or is he about to take a fall?
Shadow Boys (Thomas & Mercer; December 2014)
For once, things are going well for former DEA contractor Jonathan Cantrell. He’s got a real job as a fix-it man for a law firm that specializes in handling government contracts. But when his ex-girlfriend Piper asks him to meet with a high-ranking police official and Cantrell is forced to take an off-the-books assignment to find a missing boy, everything starts to unravel.
Not helping the situation is his client, Deputy Chief Raul Delgado, an up-and-coming politico carrying his own tragic burdens he doesn’t like to dwell on. Forty years earlier, a racist cop brutally killed Delgado’s brother. Now, in a weird twist of fate, Delgado works for the very department that altered his life.
As Cantrell proceeds, he uncovers a puzzling link between Delgado, the missing boy, and a series of vigilante murders. As the link becomes clearer, Cantrell struggles to stay alive and find the missing child.
The Contractors (Thomas & Mercer; February 2014)
Private military contractors. They’re not just for foreign wars anymore. Jon Cantrell, a disgraced ex-cop, works for one such company. He’s a DEA agent paid on a commission basis, patrolling one of the busiest drug-hubs in the country: Dallas, Texas. When Cantrell and his partner and sometimes lover confiscate the wrong shipment of drugs, they find themselves in possession of a star witness in an upcoming cartel trial that could destroy the largest criminal organization in the hemisphere. To turn a profit, all they have to do is safely deliver the witness to the US Attorney on the other side of the state. An easy trip, except the witness doesn’t want to go and a group of competing DEA contractors and a corrupt Dallas police officer want everybody involved dead. This heart-stopping thriller takes readers deep into a strange underworld where the lines between government officials and mercenaries blur. In this complex network of drug traffickers, cartels, politicians, and police, no one’s hands are clean.
Dallas Noir (Akashic Books; November 2013)
Featuring brand-new stories by: Kathleen Kent, Ben Fountain, James Hime, Harry Hunsicker, Matt Bondurant, Merritt Tierce, Daniel J. Hale, Emma Rathbone, Jonathan Woods, Oscar C. Peña, Clay Reynolds, Lauren Davis, Fran Hillyer, Catherine Cuellar, David Haynes, and J. Suzanne Frank. Edited by David Hale Smith.
Crosshairs (St. Martin’s Press; August 2007) All he wants is to be left alone, a normal existence away from the assorted creeps and lowlifes inherent to his former profession as a private investigator. Unfortunately, peace and solitude are hard to find for Lee Oswald, a battle-hardened veteran of the first Gulf War, now weary after a decade as the fix-it man of last resort on the back streets of Dallas.
But when internationally-renowned medical researcher Anita Nazari begs him to help find the person threatening her daughter’s life, Oswald reluctantly returns to the shadowy world he’s tried so hard to leave behind. Once there, he finds himself engaged in a high stakes battle against a man known only as the Professor, a former intelligence operative intent on destroying the results of the doctor’s latest research, a seemingly innocuous discovery about the mystery illness dubbed the Gulf War Syndrome.
The Next Time You Die (St. Martin’s Press; July, 2006) When a bourbon-swilling Baptist preacher hires private detective Lee Henry Oswald to recover a stolen file, Oswald figures the job for a quick and painless infusion of cash.
But nothing comes easily in Dallas for anybody named Oswald, especially when a psychopathic hit man from out of town shows up, intent on finding the same scrap of missing paper.
As the stakes mount, each treacherous step toward the missing file forces Oswald to confront the haunting memory of a split second decision which ultimately cost the life of his best friend.
Still River (St. Martin’s Press; May, 2005) It’s not easy being named Oswald, not in the city where Lee Harvey grabbed his fifteen minutes of infamy and choked it to death. It’s especially hard when half the town seems determined to kill you for reasons as murky as the river that splits the city in two.
For Lee Henry Oswald, a private investigator, Gulf War vet, and terminal loner, it’s just one more burden to face as he trudges through the gritty underbelly of the concrete and glass metropolis that is Dallas in the new millennium. A simple assignment turns deadly when Oswald asks the right questions in the wrong places, and finds himself drawn into a shadowy world of smooth-talking drug lords and double-dealing real estate developers.
In the end, he learns that blood is not always thicker than water, especially the muddy tributaries of the Trinity River, where he confronts the deadly results of his own decisions as he races to save the life of his partner.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 — The series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 includes Lawrence Block, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman, Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, Ed Gorman, Harry Hunsicker, S. J. Rozan, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, and others.
Thriller 2 (Mira; April 2010) When some of the top thriller writers in the world came together in Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night, they became a part of one of the most successful short-story anthologies ever published. The highly anticipated Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down is even bigger. From Jeffery Deaver’s tale of international terrorism to Lisa Jackson’s dysfunctional family in the California wine country to Ridley Pearson’s horrifying serial killer, this collection has something for everyone. Twenty-three bestselling and hot new authors in the genre have submitted original stories to make up this unforgettable blockbuster.
Murdaland: Crime Fiction for the 21st Century is a literary journal devoted to writing that evokes the ethos and themes of classic crime fiction or film noir. (Mug Shot Press; 2007)