Detective and Thriller Fiction in Real Life

Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

If you want to read real life detective fiction that’s thrilling and suspenseful then that’s our style in the Tom Stone Detective Stories. We don’t read the news and then write, but we’ve written our crime stories and then see the news breaking.

An example were the March 16, 2021 massage parlor shootings in Atlanta that were terrible and heartbreaking. It was similar to the short story Tom Stone: Massage and Murder, available on Amazon.

A 21-year-old man was arrested in southwest Georgia within hours after the killings.

According to an Associated Press report:

Five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in a strip mall near a rural area in Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said. Two people died at the scene and three were transported to a hospital where two of them also died, Baker said.

Police in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, responding to a call of a robbery in progress, found three women dead from apparent gunshot wounds at Gold Spa. While they were at that scene, they learned of a call reporting shots fired at another spa across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, and found a woman who appeared to have been shot dead inside the business.


Massage and Murder is different as Detective Tom Stone hunts for a woman who was employed at a massage studio in North Hollywood. A man is shot and Stone goes on the hunt for a masseuse who flees the scene. He finds her and has to make a decision about justice.

But first, he confronts the owner of a bar where the masseuse is believed to be.


I searched her eyes. Solid and cold. “Some guy was shot down the street at the Bangkok Massage Parlor, and now he’s fighting for his life at St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

“Like I said, I don’t know anything.”

I looked hard through the darkness and saw the silhouette of a woman move from the table and down a hallway at the back of the bar, disappearing from view.

“Maybe she does.” I called out to her. “Excuse me—”

I dashed around the pistol-packing hostess, banged my knee against a table, and headed toward the hallway, under a sign that read Restrooms. At the end of the hallway, there was a security door that led to a parking lot in the back, but I didn’t hear it open. On either side of me were two more doors: Guys, Gals. Both were shut.

Jasmine came up behind me without the gun in her hand.

“Choices. Which one?” I asked.

She glanced at the door marked Gals.

I tried the handle, but it was locked.

“Do you have a key?”

I knew it was a dumb question as soon as the words left my mouth. Jasmine knew it too, and rolled her eyes. But she didn’t answer.

“I don’t want to break the door down, and I already hurt my knee in there so would you ask her to come out?”

She gave it a thought.

“Help me out, will you?”

“Help you out?”

“Yes. And her, too. I just want to ask her a few questions. What’s her name?”

“Emily. And why does a tough cop like you need me to help you out? Go ahead. Bust in there and drag her out.”

I wasn’t desperate enough to break into a woman’s restroom. “That’s not what I’m here for, and you’re not being helpful.”

“You don’t want to arrest her?”

The question made me curious. “Why would you ask?”

“Isn’t that what cops do? Arrest people?”

“Only if we have to.” The closed door made me think I’d have to. Following up with witnesses and suspects was never easy.

Best Crime and Thriller Weekend Reads: A Christmas Crime Story

Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas is often on sale. Book 1 in the Tom Stone Detective Stories series

Story Background:

Detective Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe are investigating a window that’s been shot out. Before they drive by the house in chapter one, they stop by a foster group home in Van Nuys to drop off presents on Christmas Eve.

Someone hit a button to play Must Be Santa. The song jingled through a tinny sound system
while the boys clapped and whistled. A man dressed in a red suit laughing “Ho, ho, ho” walked
from the restroom to an empty chair near the Christmas tree. “Merry Christmas, boys.”
“What’s up, Santa?”
“Hey, Santa!”
“Why don’t you come on Christmas Day?”
Josh spread his arms again. “Now we’ve got two special men here to help Santa hand out
presents. They’re detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department. Detective Jake Sharpe and
Detective Tom Stone.” The boys applauded and cheered again.
A yell and scream pierced the crowd and the boy, Andrew, broke free from one of the adults
and bolted toward the door.

Stone turned and in one stride caught the boy by his collar. “Hey, let’s settle down.” He knelt
and looked the boy in the eye. “I want to help you. I’m a cop, you know.” He smiled. “I might
have to make you have fun.”
The boy stopped, furrowed his eyebrows and touched Stone’s cheek. “You’re scratchy.”
Stone smiled. “So you’ve got an opinion, too, huh?”
Jake caught Stone’s eye with a surprised look and gave him a thumbs-up.
One of the adults came and took Andrew’s hand and led him back to his seat. The boy flailed
his arms for a moment as though to prove he was still out of control. He looked up at Stone as he
was being taken back to his seat. His eyes appeared both brown and green and seemed to plead
for help and understanding, despite the angry arms and legs churning.
Boys were streaming up to Santa, giggling and giving the man in the red suit high five’s and
then moved to get their presents. Jake motioned for Stone to come forward and help. Stone then
made his way to the Christmas tree and handed out presents, but Andrew continued squirming
and struggling against the staff member. Finally he went limp like he was resigned to being
confined. Andrew remained at the table while the last of the boys were moving through the line.
Stone set one present aside.
After everyone had gone through, except Andrew, Stone took the present and handed it to the
staff member. “This is for him.”
The tables turned into stations for decorating cookies and women wearing purple T-shirts that
proclaimed they were Ivy Acres volunteers helped the kids create their sugary masterpieces.
They spread frosting and the boys piled on chocolate chips, red-hot cinnamon dots, and massive
amounts of sprinkles. Bowls of chocolate pudding were devoured along with bagged popcorn
and pretzels. The music changed from classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and
Jingle Bells to a spiritual one, What Child is This?
Andrew stayed seated and stared at a sugar cookie. He pushed it with his finger and when
one of the volunteers came by and showed him frosting, he shook his head side to side and she
walked away. He rested his head on his hand and, except for a push and a prod, his cookie
remained plain and untouched.
Jake was laughing and talking alternately to the staff, the boys, and trading belly laughs with
Santa. Stone walked over to where Andrew sat.
A Styrofoam bowl held M&Ms and sprinkles.
“Hi there.”
“Your cookie looks like it needs a smile.”
Andrew shrugged.

The Tom Stone series is a thriller detective series available on Amazon.

Click here for Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Click here for the thriller detective series page.

Best Crime and Thrillers Weekend Reads

Each weekend, we’ll highlight crime and thriller authors–and related genres like mystery–so you get that spinal chill, goosebumps or the intrigue you’re seeking in fiction that’s written well. Indie authors will typically get the highlight and you can discover new authors, even if you’re looking for authors like James Patterson, Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline or others.

Photo by kat wilcox from Pexels

Authors: Don Simkovich and Lon Casler Bixby

Today’s excerpt is from Tom Stone: Subterfuge, Book 5 in the series (each one can be read as a standalone) Available on Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited and our Crime Fiction Books page.

Topics covered in the novel and the series include smuggling, human trafficking and narco-subs, plus the power of family and friends.

Available on Amazon


A mysterious man has washed ashore on a Malibu beach, just north of Santa Monica, so Detective Tom Stone and Detective Jake Sharpe make their way to question him while he’s recovering in the hospital.


The man’s moustache twitched while lying helpless and his eyes appeared flooded with the question of, Why did this happen?

Stone and Jake waited while he struggled to hold himself together.

“We need to know what happened to you and your son,” said Stone.

Delgado nodded in agreement. “We were cleaning my son’s boat when four men approached us. We were told we were being hired on a fishing boat and that we would be paid well.” Pain creased his eyes. “They gave us no choice. I was scared. Shocked. They just showed up.”

“Did you try to get help?” asked Jake.

When the interpreter relayed the question, the man scoffed and responded. The interpreter looked at Jake. “He says it’s a stupid question. No one was around. There were no police anywhere and the men were pointing a gun at him.”

“What kind of gun?” Stone studied Delgado as the question was relayed.

The answer was simple. “He says it was a big one.”

“Okay, I get it,” Jake said.

Delgado asked for water, Jake handed him a cup, and he took a few sips. He then described through the interpreter how he lived in a village in Baja, below Ensenada. He and his son trapped lobsters and crabs to sell to the local restaurants. It was enough to survive on.

“What happened when they took you?” asked Jake.

“A boat was anchored in the harbor, we got on and noticed there were other men like us who looked nervous and scared. We were told not to speak to each other. We sailed for about a half hour to the open ocean.” His words were strangled in his throat as he fought the memory.

The interpreter listened to what was said next, had Delgado pause, and told Stone, “He’s saying there was a boat waiting under the water. I think he means a submarine.” The interpreter confirmed with Delgado. “Submarino?”

“Si.” He became animated. “Submarino, submarino.”

“A submarine?” asked Stone.

Delgado continued through the interpreter. “We were forced to

get on board. Men pointed rifles at us and made us go down a ladder.”

“How many were like you?”

“Me and my son. Four others.”

“How many had guns?”

“There were four men on the submarine with guns. Inside was narrow, dark, and we had to squeeze together. There were no benches or chairs. It was totally empty except there were a lot of containers piled on the floor.”

“Containers? Do you know what was in them?” asked Jake.


“Did anyone tell you what you would be doing?” pressed Jake.

“Who were these people?” Stone cut in.

“I don’t know. They didn’t give names to people like me. I just wanted to stay alive and get home. We sailed. Hours and hours. We pulled up to another boat and were ordered to move the containers. It looked like a big fancy yacht.”

“Did you know where you were?” asked Jake.

Delgado looked frustrated and then tired. “How could I know?

I’ve only sailed around my village. I heard the gunmen say, ‘Los Angeles’, but I don’t know.”

“Anything else?”

“It was hard work. It took us a while to move everything. My knees were aching from the ladder. We got back in. I was so damned hungry. They gave us water and pan dulce, sweet bread.”

“Sounds worse than prison,” said Jake.

Delgado winced and took a breath. “I thought we were done and we’d go back home. I was happy.” He stopped as the translator spoke and then urged him to continue. “But we started sailing again and I knew that we were trapped. We stopped again, it was nighttime and raining.”

“Where was this?”

“It was storming and hard to see. It looked like there was land nearby.” He was thoughtful. “I saw some arch. Like a rock arch.”

“Where’d you get the canisters?”

The interpreter asked Delgado the question and then communicated the answer.

“A little boat was hauling nets full of the containers and we had to pull them up and take them below deck. We finished, the gunmen closed the hatch, we sailed, and then—”

Delgado paused while he was reliving the moment.

“Then what?” asked Jake.

“We got hit. I grabbed my son to cover him but the whole place shook from an explosion. We heard gunfire everywhere. The hatch was blown open.”

RECENT REVIEW — via Damp Pebbles


One aspect of Subterfuge that shone through was the character of Luis Delgado. Delgado is the lone survivor from a failed drugs run. His life has been destroyed and he’s scared of going home in case the cartels find him. He becomes the unpredictable element in a story filled with drama. Casler Bixby and Simkovich have written a story that can be seen from 4 sides.

Every time I opened this book I was desperate to see whether the characters would survive. Who would be gaining the upper hand and who would be taking a one way ticket on the next submarine smuggling drugs across the oceans. The authors do a wonderful job of making the readers feel empathy for some of the victims of the cartels. You want to protect them, you want them to win out, but you know they are up against all the odds and the chances of them being double crossed are high. The authors keep the action high throughout the book, luring the reader on for one more page in expert fashion.

Read the full review here.



#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Subterfuge (A Tom Stone Detective Story #5) #Subterfuge – Don Simkovich & Lon Casler Bixby @DonSimkovich @LonBixby

So fun to be included on the blog tour!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Subterfuge banner

Today I’m on the ‘Subterfuge’ blogtour, organized by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Authors :

Don-SimkovichDon returned to his love for writing fiction after years of writing and narrating a radio spot series, marketing copy, and handling the pressures of a wild and crazy family life.
Frequent calls to the local Sheriff’s office, plus the intensity of handling teen alcoholism and teen pregnancy pressed stories from his mind like Earth’s weighty layers turn shale into harvestable fuel.
Well, you get the picture.
Don has fine-tuned his craft writing romance to crime fiction and the recent Tom Stone detective stories.
He lives at the base of the San…

View original post 1,585 more words

Subterfuge Book Review

Day 2 of our Subterfuge blog tour with Damp Pebbles …

Run Away Irish Girl

Subterfuge was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book: Subterfuge
Author: Lon Casler Bixby, Don Simkovich
Publication date: 5th November 2020
Genre: Crime
Rating: 4 stars


A wounded man, fiberglass wreckage, and mysterious blue barrels wash up on a secluded Malibu beach.

Detective Tom Stone jumps into action in this gripping thriller novel and uncovers human trafficking as drug smugglers try a new trick.

The Ojos Negros cartel is back and bolder than ever, forming an uneasy alliance with LA mob boss Frank DeVito. Using hidden sea caves as drop-off points, the new syndicate maneuvers to expand their brutal drug empire, and guns down anyone who stands in their way.

Stone and his team trail the lone survivor, Luis Delgado, who longs to return home to Mexico but is trapped in a deadly game of subterfuge. He vows revenge…

View original post 273 more words

A Thriller Short Story to Grip the Heart

What is justice?

Detective Tom Stone confronts the question in Massage and Murder, a crime fiction short story.

Story Overview

A customer is shot during a private session with a masseuse at the Bangkok Massage parlor in North Hollywood. The woman escapes into the night and Detective Tom Stone is called into action. He investigates and first heads to a local bar where the bar’s owner tries to get him to go away.

Massage and Murder is on Amazon. Click here to read more about it.

You can get it free by jumping into our Tom Stone Readers Group and getting that occasional newsletter that keeps you up to date on our stories.

Short Crime Stories and Our Detective Short Story

Massage and Murder is written more in the traditional detective style than our novels. It may even have a detective noir feel, at least to the beginning. As in our other stories, this one takes place in the greater Los Angeles area in North Hollywood.

LA has a lot of intrigue for us as thriller and suspense authors. We know the area well since we live here, but instead of focusing more on the glamour areas of the city and tying in crimes, we tend to go for the grittier sections of the city like Van Nuys and Boyle Heights–two of the neighborhoods we explore in our first novel Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas.

If you’re a crime fiction fan and have read LA-based thriller, suspense and police procedural novels then you’re well aware of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware.

Just in the last year I’ve started reading Raymond Chandler with the legendary Phillip Marlowe and should have done so much earlier in my fiction writing career. His character descriptions are so well done that his stories are a must read for writers in any genre. And there’s plenty of dry humor.

Look back in our previous blog for a write-up on the legendary author. In doing some research I was surprised to find that he didn’t like working with Hollywood.

For more on Chandler and his literary abilities, check out this write-up on Crime Reads where Chandler is the focus in the art of beginning a crime story. Here’s an excerpt from Red Wind.

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

That’s a bit of Chandler and I’ll continue reading as many of his works as I can.

Now, here’s an excerpt from Massage and Murder.

“Good.” I started the Crown Vic and pulled onto the nighttime street, heading south toward the freeway. “You don’t have to ride along. I could get Emily’s info from the massage parlor, check your employment records, maybe even run your name and see what turns up.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you could.” She sounded like she was shrugging it off, but I got the feeling she didn’t want me digging around. I changed my tone and tactics.

“So you know her well enough to know where she lives?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Are you close friends?”

“I care about her, and the other girls like her.” Jasmine pointed to the left turn lane toward the 101 South.

“What other girls?”

“The ones trying to survive.”

I pulled up to the light, waited, and then headed south.

Jasmine continued. “She’s been trying to get on top of life, but it keeps knocking her down. But you don’t care about that, do you?”

“Someone was shot and it’s my job to find out why. Just like I’m curious as to why you felt the need to have your handgun tucked into your purse.”

“I never leave home without it.”

“Fair enough,” I said, “just make sure it stays in there.”

She nodded with a slight tip of her head.

Late night on the freeways in Los Angeles gave a sense of freedom. But during the day, so many cars clogged the lanes that it was impossible to feel free.

Jasmine looked out the window. “Take the Alvarado exit.” She spoke in a monotone like she had seen this situation before, maybe even lived it out herself.

“Got it.”

I drove in silence with the lights of downtown Los Angeles shining in the background, looking very much like a movie set. The sight was definitely romantic, unless you were chasing a suspect.

The Alvarado exit was in full view and beneath the overpass was one of the most densely populated homeless communities in the city. So many people struggling to survive. I headed down the off-ramp.

“Take a left.” Jasmine sounded drained.

I hit the left turn signal and when the light turned green, I headed onto the street, past a collection of cardboard shacks and pop up tents sprawled along the sidewalk.

“Up ahead, on the left.” Jasmine pointed to a run-down motel. The sign read Hourly, Nightly, Weekly.

Classic Crime and Thriller Authors: Raymond Chandler

A friend of mine who bought our second thriller novel asked me if I was a fan of Raymond Chandler. I admitted that I wasn’t and didn’t know about his works because I never considered myself much of a detective noir guy. I had skipped over some of the classic crime thriller authors, but I shortchanged my reading experience.

Raymond Chandler | American writer | Britannica
A popular photo of crime author Raymond Chandler as seen on, Esquire and more

As indie authors of the Tom Stone Detective Stories, Lon and I dig up facts and the works of other authors to give you a complete crime fiction, thriller and suspense reading experience. Be sure to check out our Crime Books page and dive into the adventures of Detectives Tom Stone, Jake Sharpe as they track down drug smugglers in and around Los Angeles.

You’re also invited to join the Detective Tom Stone Reading Group.

A few years ago I read Dashiell Hammet but also knew I needed to be up to speed on authors like Raymond Chandler. Not only is he considered legendary with the creation of Private Investigator Philip Marlowe but his stories also take place in and around Los Angeles and the old glamour days of Hollywood.

Who was Raymond Chandler?

He was a former oil executive who lost his job during the Great Depression and turned to writing pulp fiction. Amazing, huh? That seems so simple but imagine trying to make a living from writing pulp fiction in the 1930s with no Internet and no self-publishing options for indie authors.

Names and reputations often outlive and outlast a person’s actual life and Raymond Chandler is no exception. He was born in 1888 in Chicago and died in 1959 in San Diego. Imagine the world that he lived through and the changes he saw from childhood to the end of his life.

He was born in what I think of as the explosive age of inventions that saw horses and blacksmiths replaced by cars and mechanics. Unthinkable world wars took place and he died as the U.S. and Soviet Union engaged in a race into space.

He also lived during a time that crime investigations and technology were changing.

Forensic specialists in the early 1900s were self-taught and it wasn’t until the 1930s that universities started offering courses and degrees in criminal science, according to an outline of forensic science history through the New York State Police website.

In 1950, Cal Berkeley created a department for forensic science and the American Academy of Forensic Science was formed in Chicago.

Chandler lived through those changes, but I’m not sure how much impact it had on his writing. His stories are timeless like all great storytellers.

Chandler and Hollywood

Chandler’s Philip Marlowe character was brought to life on the big screen by Humphrey Bogart. A wonderful achievement. It seems that Chandler worked and lived during the most glamorous era of Hollywood. He viewed Tinseltown with more skepticism than he did favor.

“I have worked there a little over two years, which is far from enough to make me an authority, but more than enough to make me feel pretty thoroughly bored,” he wrote in a 1945 article for The Atlantic. “That should not be so. An industry with such vast resources and such magic techniques should not become dull so soon. An art which is capable of making all but the very best plays look trivial and contrived, all but the very best novels verbose and imitative, should not so quickly become wearisome to those who attempt to practice it with something else in mind than the cash drawer.

The making of a picture ought surely to be a rather fascinating adventure. It is not; it is an endless contention of tawdry egos, some of them powerful, almost all of them vociferous, and almost none of them capable of anything much more creative than credit-stealing and self-promotion.”

Did he think too  highly of writers and not highly enough of producers calling Hollywood a “showman’s paradise.” Showmen make nothing, he said, but they exploit what others have already made.

“For the basic art of motion pictures is the screenplay; it is fundamental, without it there is nothing. Everything derives from the screenplay …”

Getting Started with Chandler and Philip Marlowe

The book Trouble is My Business is a good introduction to Chandler. His introduction itself is worth reading as he details writing for pulp fiction thrillers and crime stories. He notes the timelessness of crime fiction:

Their characters lived in a world gone wrong, a world in which, long before the atom bomb, civilization had created the machinery for its own destruction.

And then you have to appreciate the opening paragraph:

Anna Halsey was about two-hundred and forty pounds of middle-aged putty-faced woman in a black tailor-made suit. Her eyes were shiny black shoe buttons, her cheeks were about as soft as suet and about the same color. She was sitting behind a black glass desk that looked like Napoleon’s tomb and she was smoking a cigarette in a black holder that was not quite as long as a rolled umbrella. She said: “I need a man.”

Don’t miss out on reading Raymond Chandler and the array of so many memorable characters and situations.

And you’re welcome to join our Tom Stone Detective Stories Reading Group for updates, fun and special deals.

Further Reading

For more classic crime authors, here’s a link to our post on Edgar Allen Poe.

Hey, if you enjoy BookBub, you can follow us there– just click on our names:

Don Simkovich

Lon Casler Bixby

Sneaky Scary Saturday and Sunday: Cocaine in the Vending Machine

A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Crime fiction thriller Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Available on Amazon as a stand-alone read or Book 1 in the Tom Stone series


Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 8 of our first novel, a novella really, where Detectives Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe begin finding clues that lead them to a vending machine at a bar on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood


Stone took the hammer and screwdriver, found the mechanism on the side of the machine,
and hammered at it. The door swung open.

The middle shelf was full of candy bars lined up alongside potato chips, single wrapped large
cookies, and bags mixed with pretzels and peanuts. The two shelves above and two of the
shelves below were nearly empty. Stone grabbed one of the bars and tore off half the wrapper. He
turned to Yaro. “What’s your arrangement with this guy?”

Yaro looked unconcerned. “He gives me a hundred dollars a month just to keep the machine
here. I guess that’s a lot in the vending world.”

Stone broke open the candy bar. Nothing.

“I’m just dying to know what it is you’re looking for, Detective. I mean, do you have a search

Jake looked around. “I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you. It doesn’t look like Daisy,
with her Daisy Duke shorts, is old enough to serve liquor. Do we need to check IDs?”

Yaro smiled. “I was just wondering what you’re after.”

“Tainted candy,” said Stone.

“E-coli?” asked Yaro.

“Something like that.”

“Come on, Stone. This is going to take all day. I’ll organize this.” Jake pulled out a sheet of
paper from his pocket. He wrote down the letter and number from the row and pulled out the
corresponding snacks. “When we find the other machines, we’ll see if there’s a pattern.” He
reached in and grabbed a handful of the snacks and laid them out on the table. He tore open two
candy bar wrappers and broke open the chocolate. The insides were soft and looked normal.
Stone grabbed another candy and nothing looked unusual when he opened it.

“You need help?” asked Yaro. He smiled and raised his eyebrows like he was amused by the
spectacle of a couple dozen bars lying ripped open on the table. Before Stone could tell him “no”
he reached in the machine, grabbed a bar and ripped it open. His eyes grew wide. “Hey.” He
dropped it on the table like it was poison. “What’s that white shit in there?”

“How about that?” exclaimed Jake.

“We’ll bag this one up,” said Stone.

Jake took a bag with a colorful picture of peanuts on the bright red packaging from the same
row. C9. He ripped it open and emptied it on the table. Nuts scattered along with a tiny bag with
what looked like white powder inside. “Damn.”

“Coke?” Yaro scratched his head.

“Maybe,” said Stone.

Join our Reader’s Group for freebies and fun!

Also visit our Crime Fiction books page.

Writing Crime Fiction is No Joke

Reading is a great escape, but also a thought-provoking endeavor

Photo by Prashant Gupta on Unsplash

Several years ago, I read a Janet Evanovich novel, Naughty Neighbor, and thumbed through it, enjoying the humor and the situations. It was a mostly light-hearted story which resonated with me because I took more to light fare than heavier, weightier reads. Naughty Neighbor was about a pig in a witness protection program, but overall it was more of a romance than a sleuth story.

As Evanovich wrote on Goodreads, “before the time of [Stephanie] Plum, I wrote twelve short romance novels. Red-hot screwball comedies, each and every one of them.”

The humor got me.

But in January 2015, I started writing a more involved detective story, one that would become our first novel Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas.

Now that I’m on my way to co-writing our sixth Tom Stone crime – thriller novel, I’ve really come to the realization that writing crime fiction isn’t just a game or a light-hearted affair.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I joke a lot and Lon my co-author and I have quite a sense of humor. I threaten to livestream our editing sessions, but he doesn’t think it’d be such a good idea.

We have quirky characters and plenty of light-hearted scenes. But this is one thing I feel absolutely passionate about–human life is precious, and crime robs families of their dignity. Crime also robs the criminal.

The more I write, the more that I want to bring out this truth.

I’m also dealing with the theme that preventing crime involves a personal interest taken in others.

Our detective hero, Tom Stone, gravitates to a boy in foster care in Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas. During a party when he and Jake are handing out gifts to the kids in a group home facility, he sees Andrew as a loner who can’t sit still and envisions him well into the future.

Stone knows that even though he and Jake are handing lots of popular toys, something critical is mission in Andrew’s life. A family. Stone knows the logical destination is a life in and out of jail for the boy—unless someone steps in and becomes a friend and gives Andrew at least a semblance of family life.

We also touch on this theme in our newest Detective Tom Stone short story,

The Smoke Shop Shootout.

Cover art by Lon Casler Bixby

A man named Davey agrees to pick up a young man he knows, JoJo, who’s getting out of county jail after a two-week stay.

JoJo’s familiar with the system and life on the streets.

JoJo has Davey stop for a pack of cigarettes and a gang-related shoot-out ensues. JoJo is wounded and Davey fights for his life.

While writing thriller novels or crime-related stories was new to me just five years ago, I’ve been able to draw on my life as a foster dad and adoptive dad and work with those on the streets.

It’s tough. It’s inconvenient helping others and I’m certainly no saint but personal and family involvement is one of the most necessary crime prevention techniques available today.

Make a commitment to help a child or adult. Tutor, become a mentor volunteer for their school or if they’re starting a business. Consider becoming a foster parent or even adopting out of foster care if appropriate. I know that’s a call and requires special people.

But it’s worth the effort and the time that’s invested in someone else’s life.

Meanwhile, Lon and I hope you enjoy each of the Tom Stone novels. They can be read as part of a series or as stand-alone reads.

Click here to see the full crime-fiction, thriller series on Amazon.

Stay up to date with us on our Tom Stone Facebook page and join our Tom Stone reading group for backstory on new releases and those occasional special deals.

Also, since we’re indie crime-thriller authors I also like to mention other writers who I’ve read and enjoy.

Keep a look out for something in-depth on indie authors including Mark Dawson, Dominic Piper, James Marx and more to come.

New thriller and suspense novel: Tom Stone: Subterfuge

A man fights for his life–and his family’s honor in this high stakes, gripping crime thriller.

Available on Amazon.

A mysterious man washes up on the beaches of Malibu, California along with chunks of fiberglass and blue containers bobbing in the surf.

Detective Tom Stone investigates and triggers a manhunt for a major drug smuggling operation involving narco-subs plying the Pacific Ocean.

Tom Stone: Subterfuge can be read as a stand-alone novel and is Book 5 in the Tom Stone Detective Series. Stay up to date on our Tom Stone detective thriller novels and short stories–join our reading group. Click here.

Excerpt from Chapter Six:

A moment of terror gripped Delgado. A flashback to the gunfire inside
the submarine shook him. Ordered to stand on the deck and wait for his
execution added to the torment. Survival instincts took over and he dove
from the submarine into the cold ocean. It was a miracle he was still
alive. Why him?

He shook off the guilt as he paced the sidewalk outside a motel
in North Hollywood plotting steps to his revenge. He looked at the time
on a flip phone that the police gave him. The department also used a
voucher to pay for his housing. He was told the courts and federal
agencies approved the arrangements made through the LAPD.

Delgado thanked them and told them that he had family in the
LA area who were hoping to see him. He explained they were going to
pay him for working so he could make some money while waiting for
the legal system to let him go home. Stone raised an eyebrow, but knew
it would be cash under the table and decided to let the comment slide.

He slipped Delgado an additional twenty out of his own pocket, wished
him well, and said that he would be in contact again soon and not to go
too far away. Too many questions still needed answers.

Delgado was glad the cops accepted his explanation. He was
going to make some money all right. What they promised him. But he
didn’t care about a few dollars. He just wanted to play their game, get
close, and kill those responsible for murdering his son.

Delgado wanted to be in the quiet of his fishing village as a
gleaming white BMW pulled to the curb. A window slid down and a man
pulled out a smartphone, matching a picture on it to Delgado.

He spoke in Spanish. “Get in.”
“Where we going?”
The man gave a simple directive, “Entra. Ahora.”

Delgado hesitated, looking at the man’s barrel chest.
“Amigo,” the man gave a winning smile, “we don’t have all day.
Mi nombre es Roger.”
Delgado opened the door and slid into the back seat.
“Quite an adventure you had,” said Roger.

Delgado nodded his agreement and shut the door. The back seat
had just enough room for his legs. The car was sporty but not large.
As soon as the door closed, they pulled away from the motel.

Initial book reviews:

“I like the mysterious characters”

“Fast-paced and pulled me in”

“Love the interaction with friends and family”

Book Reviewers and Book Bloggers:

If you’re a book reviewer or book blogger, let us know and we’ll send a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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