Crime Thrillers and Stupid Criminal Stories: Week 2 Feature

Stupid criminal stories gives us a chance to chuckle while we write our Tom Stone Detective thriller novels and short stories. In week two of each month, we’ll feature a story that shows not only does crime not pay, it’s sometimes good for a laugh or two.

Here are selections from the Reader’s Digest: The 15 Unluckiest Dumb Criminals Ever featuring this little escapade that gets you right up the nose.

Drug thieves in Silver Springs, Florida broke into a home and saw three jars. Whoa! Their lucky day. Cocaine, no question about it. They grabbed the jars, took them home, snorted them down, got caught and discovered the jars were urns and they were snorting the remains of the victim’s husband and two dogs.

We’ll have the link to the Reader’s Digest crime shorts down below. ‘

In other news:

Hey, look at what’s new: a sneak preview of Tom Stone Chapter 1 from our upcoming book Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill.

Get in on the fun this month by clicking here and joining our reader’s group.

You can also email me, Don, directly at if you have any questions or problems accessing the sign up form. We do not spam. We send out our newsletter from one to two times per month.

In other thriller and crime news, we got a new 5-Star Review for our thriller novel Tom Stone: Day of the Dead. It’s brief but nice. And you can read it by clicking here on the Amazon page.

If you’re new to our blog, here’s a good post that will orient you to what it’s about. It’s titled If you’re new to our crime thriller blog.

Now, you can dig into those Reader’s Digest brief stupid criminal stories by clicking here on this url:


The Quirky and Sane Heroes in Popular Crime Fiction

Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

As we continue crafting our Fourth Novel in the Tom Stone Detective Story series–One Shot, One Kill–a realization struck me and Lon that Tom Stone is different than some other popular, fictional crime fighters.

He makes sense and he works to make sense of the chaos around him.

By the way, stay up to date with our adventures and click here to join our Reading Group.


You’ll get first notice on previews, discounts and more.

61 Hours (Jack Reacher, #14)

Jack Reacher – Entertaining and Socially Inept

Quirks, tempers, and gruff outsides mark many fictional detectives and thriller heroes. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is one of the most colorful characters I’ve known. In 61 Hours, Reacher is traveling on a bus that gets stuck in the snow in a town where the police are suspecting a prison break. He has no luggage and makes it clear to the people he meets that he travels light.

Reacher is a former military policeman and looks at every situation through the eyes of what crisis could erupt. He’s witty and lives with a wary eye, waiting for the bad guy to spring into the open at any moment.

And he’s a loner—just like a good thriller hero.

Detective Harry Bosch – The Tough Guy

Slightly different is Harry Bosch, Michael Connelly’s Los Angeles detective character. Bosch isn’t quirky like Reacher. But he’s cop-tough and gruff. He gives brief, deep guttural answers and is fairly much a loner except for his teenage daughter.

Everyone Nods: The Dragnet Style Files: "The Big Amateur ...

Sgt Joe Friday (Jack Webb) – Dragnet – The Man of Few Words

One of our first blog posts on this site was about Jack Webb’s infamous character who showed little emotion and said few words. Webb played him neutral and said you don’t where he stands on topics like religion and politics.

Tom Stone: Day of the Dead (Tom Stone Detective Stories -  Book 3) by [Bixby, Lon Casler, Simkovich, Don]

Detective Tom Stone – Rational, Sane

Then there’s Detective Tom Stone. We realized after writing three novels so far that Stone is the calm one in the center of quirky and desperate characters, like the eye of the hurricane. The rational one who works hard to keep society heading in a straight line so people don’t destroy each other.

In Book One, Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas, Stone reluctantly accompanies his partner on the force, Jake Sharpe, and hands out Christmas presents at a group home. He befriends a boy, Andrew, who constantly fights the staff at the group home and can’t sit still. He sees the boy as growing up and heading right into the prison system which is the fate of so many kids in foster care. Through the novels, we see the relationship deepening.

He has two daughters who are middle and late teens and he has worked hard to remain on good terms with his ex-wife Kelly, realizing that both of them focused on their careers instead of on each other. Yet, he and his ex- have given them stability.

Being loyal to friends and family is important to Stone, just as its important to his girlfriend, a savvy black woman Alisha Davidson.

Davidson is the defense attorney for the man that Stone is originally pursuing, Anthony Angelino – a quirky and desperate character who both Lon and I enjoyed creating and shaping. But Stone sees her determination and how she approaches her work and develops deep respect.

Here are links to the books.

Click here for our Crime Books page

Click the titles to see the books in their outlet:

Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead

Our work in progress is Book 4 Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill

If you like short stories, we recommend A Deadly Path – a father-son hike above the Los Angeles foothills turns tragic and uncovers the mystery of an unsolved murder.

Jake Sharpe and his son, Darrell, invite Stone and Andrew along for a hike.

Here’s an Excerpt

The mountains that ran west to east created a wall of wilderness between Los Angeles’ urban sprawl and the High Desert. Unfortunately, the cracks and crevices made great hiding places for crazies. Fugitives could crawl back in for miles, find a campground, or live among the coyotes and bears and surface along the homes and stores that ringed the wilds, stealing food or shaking someone down for money.

Another shot rang out.

Or shoot someone for sport.

Darrell was breathing heavily from panic. He slid across the dirt by his Dad. “What are we going to do?”

“Calm down, buddy,” whispered Jake. “We’ve got options.”

The boulder that protected them was several feet high and wide. Not bad. But Jake had no line of vision and if the shooter was creeping toward them, he could sneak up unnoticed. To the right and closer to the falls was a stack of large rocks that were stacked like a fortress. It was a good hiding spot. Getting behind it and keeping watch on the boulder would give them room to move back and forth.

Down the trail, just a little, was another stack of rocks. It would make sense for them to appear they were running back that way, like they were trying to escape.

Jake looked at his son. “I got an idea.”

“Yeah?” Darrell sounded hopeful as he pressed his back against the boulder. There were no more shots so either the gunman had gotten tired of the torment or else he was picking his way closer.

Jake knelt and locked eyes with Darrell. “See that rock?” A flat stone lay beside him.


“I want to keep whoever’s doing the shooting distracted. Pick it up and throw it down the trail.” He pointed. “Low, so it hits near the rocks.”

“That’s it? That’s your idea?”

“For now. Yeah. I want us to have a little space so we’re not stuck together. Believe me, son, I’m not letting anything happen to you. Now, just toss that stone way down there.”

If you’re new to our crime thriller blog …

then welcome. Lon and I are glad to have you as we work on our 4th novel in the Tom Stone Detective series, which is really a crime thriller series. We’ve also created a thriller short story, A Deadly Path.


A bit about this site: we’d like to encompass a wider range of crime fiction entertainment from classic authors like we did on Edgar Allen Poe, to brief write-ups on TV shows that include the British drama Endeavour, plus the legendary Jack Webb and Dragnet and — from the late 1950s — Have Gun will Travel.

Stay tuned for contemporary authors like C.J. Box and more author interviews from today’s indie authors, plus crime updates on cocaine smuggling and other wild stuff.

So this site is a way to get to know our style and take in a wider view of thriller news and crime dramas.



If you’re not aware of it, our books are on our Crime Books page where you can read summaries and get a load of the fun covers.

Writing and Editing Manual Typewriter

If you like watching video, here I am discussing our crime novels on a San Gabriel Valley, California talk show on the Crown City Network.


Lon Sungalsses and HatAnd if you want to learn about my co-author, Lon Casler Bixby, here’s a brief interview with him: Author Interview: Lon Casler Bixby.






Some of the independent authors we’ve featured include:

PHOTO S.N. BronsteinS.N. Bronstein who writes about Miami prominently;





Meghan Holloway
Follow Meghan online and learn more about her exciting projects.

Meghan Holloway who has a fluid style in her storytelling;








Stewart Giles Author PhotoSouth African novelist Stewart Giles,






Author photoMurder at Midnight author Faith Martin.






Colleen M. Story CroppedAnd if you enjoy reading about the writing process here is a blog post from Colleen Story, wellness writer: Why Writing Crime Fiction, or Any Genre, Doesn’t have to Kill You.





Enjoy browsing our site. If you want to contribute a post as a guest author, please contact Don Simkovich at Make sure you put “guest author post” in the subject line.

Cover story for short story thriller A Deadly Path

Los Angeles fascinates me with its diverse people and landscapes and I always felt that a great setting for a crime thriller story would be in the San Gabriel Mountains above LA.

Eaton Canyon flowers

I’m close to a popular canyon for day hikers and those taking a fire road up a couple thousand feet to a lookout point called Henniger Flats or hiking on to Mount Wilson, famous for it’s observatory and TV antennas visible across the LA basin. It’s Eaton Canyon.

When Lon and I conjured up the short story for Tom Stone: A Deadly Path, featuring Detective Jake Sharpe taking his son on a hike gone terribly wrong, I took some shots of Eaton Canyon’s entrance.


There’s a waterfall that runs down from the mountains and it’s a popular destination spot. But … this is part of Los Angeles County … so you never know what lurks behind the next corner.

So we let our imaginations run wild with the help of our cover artist Ben Southgate and came up with this rendition.


A Deadly Path is now live on Amazon so check out a free preview here.

You can also get it for fuh-ree, that’s FREEwhen you visit our page here and join our author newsletter list. We send it out about twice a month — the first week and third week — and announce our specials, promos, discounts and we respect your privacy the whole way.


If you’re new to our blog and our crime fiction books, then here’s a little guide of other posts to give you a taste of who we are and what we write:

Our crime fiction books page — Click here.

Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.


And there’s also a video of Don appearing on a local cable talk show to chat up our Tom Stone stories.


Have a look around … and enjoy!!!


Get Short Story Thriller A Deadly Path Free

We just released our short story thriller A Deadly Path — it’s live on Amazon (click here) — and we’re excited!

TS-SS-ADP-FrontCover-V3-Hero-500x313Detective Jake Sharpe decides it’s time to take his 12-year-old son Darrell hiking in the foothills above Los Angeles and get the kid out from behind the video games.

Detective Tom Stone and 9-year-old Andrew go along with them and get caught up in an unexpected — we’ll just say that it ain’t good!

How would you like to read A Deadly Path for free?!

And get a free chapter of Tom Stone: Day of the Dead?

Here’s all you have to do. Just scroll down a bit.



To get it free, plus a free chapter from Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, simply click here and enter your email. 

If you have questions, email Don at and put “Free Short Story” in the subject line.

Thanks! And Enjoy!









Cover Reveal for A Deadly Path — Short Story Thriller

A Deadly Path is a short story thriller with a strong family theme like the Tom Stone Detective novels.

Detective Jake Sharpe wants to get his 12-year-old son Darrell out from behind video games and into the foothills surrounding Los Angeles. Jake chooses a hiking trail to a waterfall that he and his wife Tasha took the kids on when the children were younger.

Tom Stone and the boy he befriended in the foster care group home, Andrew, join the hike which is filled with the complaints of a pre-teen trying to go his own way in life and the antics of Andrew, a nine-year-old boy who still bears the emotional scars of a troubled home life in his toddler years.

If you live in the greater Pasadena area, can you guess what location inspired the cover for A Deadly Path?

Read this post that we wrote the other week and you can learn more about it.

The story will be on Amazon by late October.

Get A Deadly Path for free

Join our newsletter that we send out twice a month and we’ll send you a free pdf of A Deadly Path. Click here to access the url that looks like this:

Tom Stone enewsltr image

Your privacy is always respected.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“Aren’t we there yet?” moaned Darrell. “How much farther?”

“Not too far. Just enjoy it.” Jake undid his pack and pulled out a bag of trail mix. “Want some?”

“No thanks.” Darrell reached in his and grabbed an apple.

“I didn’t bring you here to torture you,” Jake sighed. “I thought we might have a nice time together.”

“Yeah, I know, Dad.” Darrell looked around.

“You guys begged to come here when you were little.” That was another world and another era.

“It’s cool.”

Jake put on his pack. “Glad to hear.”

“It’ll be cool to see the falls,” mumbled Darrell.

Suddenly, Jake had an idea. “Want to have some fun?”

“Sure, whatever.”

“We can beat them to the falls,” said Jake, smiling.

“How? They’re already ahead of us.”

“I know a short cut. It has some steep parts but it’ll save a lot of time.”


“Can you imagine their faces,” laughed Jake, “when they show up, we’re already sitting there?”

“Yeah, that’d be fun. Let’s do it.”


“Hopefully Andy won’t want to look for his stupid gold,” said Darrell.

“Be easy on the kid.”

“He’s just so, you know, retarded.” Darrell wrinkled his face in disgust.

“That’s not nice.” Jake headed up a clearing to his right, squeezing between boulders and on to a little used path.

“I know. He’s just too goofy.” Darrell followed along trying not to scrape against the rocks.

“So were you at his age.”

“No way.”

“He’s doing so much better. Just a couple of years ago he wouldn’t even go to a park.” Jake hurried his pace. “It’s partly his age. It’s partly what happened to him when he was little. But he’s growing up and doing better. Mostly.”

Andrew was a puzzle, one of the many thousands of kids who grew up with abusive families and were then put into foster care group homes. But Stone met him during a Christmas toy drive and decided he’d give him as much exposure to a family as possible.

“You and mom talked about that, huh?”


“Taking in a kid like Andrew.”

“We did. We’ve wanted to help where we can, but our house is full with you guys. I know you can’t understand how good you got it, Darrell.”

They climbed up a steep grade. It was just a few more bends to the falls and Darrell got excited about getting there first and surprising Stone and Andrew. They went down to where the canyon widened into a clearing and several tall trees were clumped together like an oasis.

“Hey, didn’t we go this way when I was a kid?”

Jake agreed. “We actually did. And we all played hide and seek.”

Pop, pop, zing. The sound of a bullet that Jake knew all too well whistled off a rock behind them. “Down.”

“What the—?” Darrell panicked.

Another shot rang out and dust rose just a couple of feet away. Jake scrambled behind a boulder and pulled Darrell with him.

“Oh my, God,” cried Darrell.


Check out all our Tom Stone stories on our Crime Fiction Books page

Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.



Classic Crime Author: Edgar Allen Poe

Recognize this guy — a classic crime author born to struggling actors in the early 1800s? I’d give you three guesses, but his name is in the title.

Edgar Allen Poe

While Lon and I are busy with our works-in-progress including a short story Tom Stone: A Deadly Path and Book 4 in our Tom Stone novels, we’re going to keep the blog updated by focusing the first week of the month on Classic Crime Writers. We don’t have a specific order so feel free to suggest authors. But, Edgar Allen Poe, born in 1809, came to mind for me. I always thought he lived much later, like the late 1890s.

He was “the first writer of international stature to emerge from the US,” as noted in a write-up in the Guardian during his bicentenary. His stories and works have enjoyed a timelessness, evolving into various media like The Fall of the House of Usher.


Poe produced quality work, which is why the Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore says we can’t get enough of him:

One reason Poe is read so widely is that there is something in his writings for everyone. His works span the range of human emotions — joy, passion, hope, rage, despair and, of course, fear. Also, he appeals to us on many different levels. His superb control of technique is often the most obvious and the most superficial level, one which the majority of Poe’s readers unfortunately never seem to get beyond.

To me, as I remember the little Edgar Allen Poe that I’ve read, his writings have a menacing quiet–like someone tip-toeing through a dark house, afraid of what’s around the next corner.

Poe wanted an audience for his stories and poetry and had an entrepreneurial side to him. The Poe Museum refers to him as “the first author to try to make a professional living as a writer.” He’s also called the “father of the detective story.”

The Murders in the Rue Morgue, published 1841, is considered to be one of the world’s first detective stories, focusing on the extraordinary analytical powers of Monsieur Auguste Dupin to solve a series of murders in Paris.

Here’s a brief excerpt after a murder has occurred:

The persons who first entered the house all agree that the door of the
room where the daughter’s body was found was locked on the inside.
When they reached the door everything was quiet. When they forced
the door open they saw no one. The windows were closed and firmly
locked on the inside. There are no steps that someone could have gone
down while they were going up. They say that the openings over the
fireplace are too small for anyone to have escaped through them. It
took four or five people to pull the daughter’s body out of the opening
over the fireplace. A careful search was made through the whole
house. It was four or five minutes from the time they heard the voices
to the moment they forced open the door of the room.

Read the short story by clicking here and downloading a .pdf.

Edgar Allen Poe remains a literary force more than 200 years after his birth. He has achieved a timelessness that many writers dream of achieving.

Now switch gears to crime thrillers tackling contemporary issues — the Tom Stone novels and the age-old desire to be one’s own boss and make huge sums of money.

Check out excerpts and more on our Crime Fiction Books page.

Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.