Thanks for dropping by. I’ve been fortunate to have 18 of my mystery novels find their way to libraries and bookstores here and around the world. What kind of crime fiction do I write? Hardboiled? Cozy? I don’t know. What they have in common though — besides murder — is the absence of super heroes and super villains. These are stories about ordinary people who give in to temptation and regular folks who, when challenged, face the odds to find justice or simply survive. The other common thread is that the stories are mysteries. In other words, we don’t know who did what until the end, giving you time to solve the mystery before the writer does.
This year the Deets Shanahan series celebrates 25 years in print. Killing Frost is the eleventh and possibly final book in a series about an aging Indianapolis Private Eye and his tough and funny live-in accomplice, Maureen. While the books never made it to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list, they have a loyal following and have received some great reviews. This is from Publishers Weekly: "Tierney's 'Deets' Shanahan series offers characters of depth and sensuality, and well-placed swipes of razor-sharp humor." Booklist called it, "A series packed with new angles and delights."
So far, there are two full-length novels and two novellas featuring this unlikely P.I. duo and their smart, unpredictable, gender-bending assistant. Their investigations take them to the diverse and exciting neighborhoods of San Francisco. Reviewers have been encouraging; “Tierney, author of the Deets Shanahan series, has a winner here” said Library Journal. Booklist said this about Death In North Beach: "This is a witty, very engaging entry in what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining new series.”
During the golden age of mysteries, most books were pretty short. Many were “pocket” books, designed to fit in the breast pocket of a man’s suit coat or in a woman’s clutch purse. They weren’t the size of doorstops as many of them are now. This was especially true of the pulp fiction of the ‘40s and ‘50s and even into the ‘70s, a trend that is undergoing a renaissance among 21st Century crime fiction readers. As I mentioned above with the Paladino and Lang series, I’ve been working on what I hope will be a number of short mysteries — more substantial than a short story, but a far quicker read than a full-length novel. In the Fall of 2015, Canadian publisher Orca released Blue Dragon, a mystery novella featuring Chinese American Peter Strand as part of their exciting Rapid Reads program, quality short fiction published under the Raven Books imprint. The Black Tortoise will be released spring, 2017.
I can’t speak for other series’ writers, but I suspect I’m not the only writer who wants — from time to time — to break free from the series format and tell a good story with new characters and a different setting. Readers aren’t always comfortable when writers venture too far from the familiar. I’ve done it twice so far, both with positive results. One was recent. Good To The Last Kiss (2011) garnered this starred review from Kirkus: “Tierney serves up a dark, twisty little gem.” The other non-series mystery, Eclipse of the Heart, was published back in 1993 and is now out of print: Publishers Weekly kindly said: "Plot is plentiful here, but depth of character most clearly distinguishes this fluid narrative that drifts through action, dreams and desire...” I look forward to writing not only more novellas, but also exploring more non-series mysteries like these.
When you get a chance, check out my crime fiction blog, Life, Death and Fog. I can’t promise I’ll always be on topic. However, it’s a place where you can have your say as well.
— Ronald Tierney