Give Dad the Gift of a Crime and Thriller Trilogy

Crime Fiction Stories for Dads

Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe are detectives who not only hunt down the bad guy but also protect their families.

Tom Stone 3 PackThe Tom Stone Detective Stories are thoughtful gifts for Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas or just a special way to say “thanks, Dad.”

Detective Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe aren’t the perfect dads as we see in the novella and two novels that form the Tom Stone detective stories, where the duo stationed in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley end up chasing a small-time drug dealer who can’t shake the mob. But they care about their families and those who don’t have one.

Scroll down to enjoy samplings from each of the stories.

BOOK 1 — TOM STONE NITTY GRITTY CHRISTMAS Available on Amazon Kobo Barnes&Noble iTunes

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Cover
A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.


Available on Amazon Kindle for only 99 cents.

 Tom Stone Meets 6 yr old Andrew while handing out presents on Christmas Eve

Stone is divorced from his CFO wife and yet befriends a boy in a foster care group home who has no family.

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.”

Book 2 Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights — available on Amazon

Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights Cover
Can Angelino escape the mob’s clutches?


Stone spends plenty of time caring for his two teenage daughters, knowing that he has to trust them to make good choices. This excerpt comes after Stone catches his daughter in a marijuana dispensary.

Stone paused and considered what was really bothering him. “Meagan. I know that a little drinking and smoking pot doesn’t seem like a big deal. I’ve seen it creep on people and it does become a big deal. It gets them off track and their lives are ruined. I mean, what should I do as a dad? It’s not an easy choice. I could just shrug my shoulders and not worry about anything, not worry about you or worry about Carly. But we wouldn’t have a relationship that way.

“It’s inside a healthy parent to want to care and I’m trying to strike a balance. I know that I shouldn’t get overbearing. But if I care too little then I’m off in my world and you’re off in yours. I don’t want that, either. So it’s easy to mess up. I mean, real easy. For me, though, this was a no-brainer. I don’t want drinking and getting high to become a routine part of your life. You mean too much to me.”

Meagan listened, seemed to think about her dad’s passion, and relented. “Okay, Dad. I get it. I don’t like it. But I get it. You’re trying to keep me safe.”

“Trying. Without making you too angry.”

“Yeah, well. I can’t guarantee that I always want to go along with the program.”

“Understood.” Stone nodded as a bite of ice cream slipped off his spoon and onto the floor. Silver lapped it up like a frog zapping a bug.

“But all of this is your way of saying that you want the best for me, right?” Meagan sounded resigned.

Stone nodded.

“Yippee.” Meagan’s matter-of-fact tone was ripe with sarcasm. “Okay. You don’t want me smoking pot or getting drunk?”


“Should I ask if that’s something you did in high school?”

“I had my moments. Like you’ve had yours. But they were only moments. And on one occasion I came home after having too much to drink and stumbled through the screen door in Grandpa’s house. Ripped a big hole in it and fell on my face in the entryway.”

Meagan laughed.

“Grandpa didn’t say anything except ‘Get to bed.’ He told me later that he was both amused and saddened when he watched me crawl up the stairs. Said he had a weak, sick feeling as he realized he had no control in my decision-making. Even though I was hung over, he still got me up at six a.m. the next morning to help build a retaining wall in the yard.”

“So you’re not trying to control me?”

“No. I’m trying to guide you.”

“Honestly, Dad. Don’t worry. Look. I’m sorry I got you so upset. I just feel like I’m smart enough to handle myself.”

“I’m sure you are. But experience gives a different perspective. Let’s agree on this, Meagan. I’ll give you freedom to make your choices. Drugs of all kinds are off limits. Okay?”


“And if you have questions or concerns then come and ask me. I’ll treat you fairly. I love you and I want the best for you.”

Meagan nodded. “Sounds fair, Dad. Have fun tonight.”

“Thanks. I’m not going to stay out all night,” said Stone.

“Oh, and one more thing.”

“What’s that, kiddo?”

“Since you’re going out with Alisha, try not to get shot again.”

“Oh come on, it was just a graze.” Stone rolled his eyes.

Meagan smiled. “By the way, I really don’t mind watching Andrew. He’s a bit strange sometimes but I like him.”



Tom Stone 3 Pack


This excerpt focuses on a father and daughter who cared for a relative who had an abusive father and mother.

A man stood behind her on a stepstool with a screwdriver, looking closely at a window frame. He turned around and spoke softly. “Can’t beat the prices or quality.” He laid a hand gently on her shoulder. “Hey, she’ll be okay.”

“Thanks, Dad.” Leonna patted him, smiled, and then turned back to the detectives. “It’s a shame, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Stone agreed.

“Sara has overcome so much and now this. Ending up in the hospital again. She say anything to you?”

“No, she wouldn’t talk,” said Stone. “I was hoping you could fill us in.”

“I didn’t know where she was for the past few days. And then she shows up here, all beat up. Looked terrible. I drove her to the emergency room and she was holding her sides, saying Angel had beat the hell out of her. They admitted her right away.” Leonna paused. “Broken ribs, internal bleeding. She’s not doing good and they’re just keeping her comfortable.”

“What kind of man does that to someone?” said Leonna’s father, Robert Alvarez. “So sad.”

“Angel’s no better than what Sara had with her own parents.” Leonna took a deep breath. “An abusive father, drinking and drugs. Her mom and dad were always fighting.”

Robert set his screwdriver aside. “I hated my brother-in-law. I tried to get help for my sister soon after Sara was born, but it didn’t work. While growing up, she’d live with us for weeks at a time. Moving in when things got terrible and then moving back out when it got better.”

Stone first met Robert, Sara’s uncle, a couple of years earlier. Stone and Jake were investigating Angel and came across Sara at her apartment. She panicked and ran into the street where she was struck by a car. Robert was sitting dutifully with her when Stone visited her for questioning in the hospital.

“It’s a mystery why in God’s universe that some people like Sara are afflicted with abuse,” said Robert. “Just can’t escape it.”



Tom Stone is a modern-day detective serving in Los Angeles and yet he embodies the spirit of his grandfather who set an example that pursuing good is the right thing to do.






The gift of reading lasts beyond the book and we hope that you enjoy each of the Tom Stone stories since they show the importance of family and the tragic consequences when family life flies out of control.




Updating Progress on Our Crime Story: Tom Stone Day of the Dead

We’re ready to send our crime story-thriller Tom Stone: Day of the Dead to Beta readers. Yea!!!tbIq2nD

If you like bargain books, skim below to see how you can snag a Kindle deal on our police procedural-thriller Book 1 — Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas.

Our last Work-in-Progress was May 3 when I wrote that we were making final edits on our crime story/thriller Tom Stone: Day of the Dead. I can’t believe it was a month ago. But we have edited it thoroughly and keeping the story full intact. Soon, it will be a complete book on our Crime Fiction Books page of this blog.

So where are we now in the editing and publishing process?

We finished combing through the completed manuscript after reading it together and making updates. Then, Lon went through and read it again and made brief comments. Those edits are now in so now the work is to format it for Beta readers and prepare to launch.

There are a number of scenes that we like — not just because we wrote the story but because we feel the material is well-written.

Of course, part of what’s left is writing up the synopsis / book blurb, too.

Stay tuned for the cover reveal along with contests to show appreciation to our readers.

We’ve put a lot of care into our work and take pride in what we write.

If you’re new to the Tom Stone series then we want you to know that you can get started for only 99 cents with Book 1 Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas on Kindle

So, yeah, we like bargain books, too.

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Cover
A crime story that involves little-known neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Of course, if you download Book 1 then we’d deeply appreciate a review. We’ve got several good ones and thank those who have taken time to leave their thoughts and input on the story.

But now we have a complete crime trilogy taking place in and around the many colorful neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

We hope that you’re as entertained as we are by the story and the chase!



Work-in-progress update: Tom Stone Day of the Dead — Final Editing

We’ve not tamed the criminals in the crime fiction tale Tom Stone Day of the Dead. But we have tamed missing pieces, wayward commas, and some key chapters. Lon and I are pleased to announce that we are in the final editing stages for Book 3 of this particular series.

Starting today, we began reading version 4, Chapter One to finalize that what we’ve written is in place, makes sense and the reader will have a memorable experience for all the right reasons.

If you’d like, here’s a post I wrote on Goodreads about Writing Fiction with a Partner, Risks and Rewards. I delve more into how Lon and I have worked together.

Come late June, the trilogy will be complete each story taking place around Los Angeles, but especially in the Van Nuys-Burbank area.Van nuys Map

Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas, available for only 99 cents to introduce you to this crime fiction trilogy.

Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights,

Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

Look for giveaways, specials, etc and a look at how Lon and I have worked together. We began these stories in January 2015.

So Happy Reading! And we look forward to having you join in the adventure and misadventures in these and future Tom Stone stories.




Crime Fighting Television: Have Gun will Travel

This blog focuses on crime fiction writers, but let’s face it. We’re influenced by what we read and see.

Image Have Gun Will Travel

My co-author of the Tom Stone Detective Stories, Lon, told me about the 1950s crime-fighting western show Have Gun will Travel starring the late Richard Boone in the lead role of Paladin. I asked Lon what he liked about the show.

“I started watching it as a kid and liked it then. Now I see it through adult eyes and I like it more. The stories were written and aired from 1957 to 1963 but they hold up. They’re current, timeless, and they’re morality tales.

“The moral is ‘do what’s right.’ Paladin is a hired gun. He has a conscience and tries to do what’s right. He’s smart A gentleman, knows opera, fencing. Sometimes he has to kill people and he feels badly, but he does what’s right. I also like the acting.”

Lon watches episodes on cable and I pulled it up on YouTube and watched a segment. Cool stuff. Richard Boone, by the way, was a cousin to clean-cut crooner Pat Boone.

I watched a segment, “Show of Force,” where Richard Boone is playing cards in a fancy saloon in ‘Frisco and hears about bad goings on at a ranch. He looks at a headline in the paper and sure ‘nuff. There’s bad stuff going down. Paladin isn’t one to turn a blind eye to justice so off he goes. Watch the segment below after the story excerpt.

Paladin stands out as a strong and dignified character, unflappable in the face of bandits tying him up and threatening his life. He stands for what is good in the face of what is bad.

We even worked Paladin and Have Gun will Travel into the 3rd novel of our trilogy, Tom Stone Day of the Dead.


Here’s an excerpt where our character, Detective Tom Stone is watching the show.

Tom Stone 3 Pack


An actor dressed in old western garb pulled a gun from a holster and aimed at the television screen as a voice intoned. “Put the gun away, Counselor. What good is proof to a dead lawyer?” A simple range of musical notes sounded as an episode of the western Have Gun will Travel got underway.

Stone chewed on a pizza and Silver sat expectantly on the floor waiting for a piece of sausage or strand of cheese to slip and fall. The 1950s western, finding new audiences on cable, allowed Stone to escape away from programs with frenetic edits into a simpler world of black and white. He exchanged the pizza for a bottle of beer on the coffee table while the dog cocked his head, waiting for a bite—or drink.

In the episode “Show of Force,” actor Richard Boone known as Paladin got ready to take action in a dispute between ranchers. Silver started whimpering, focused on the last slice of pizza.

“Okay. If you insist.” Stone tossed a piece of sausage to the floor. “Don’t tell the girls. They say you should eat out of a dog bowl.”

Silver ignored the warning and inhaled the food without even chewing as the storyline unfolded and Paladin confronted the bad guys by talking straight and hitting them in the chin even straighter. A fistfight and chase on horse back ensued. Stone would have liked riding horse and feeling the wind while galloping after a crook. But even back then clues were necessary. He sat back in the sofa and sipped from his beer, letting the half-hour drama take his mind off the chase that continued eluding him. Silver looked over the coffee table, licking his lips.

“All gone, buddy.”

The phone rang, interrupting Stone’s relaxation. “Hello, Stone here?”

“Detective?” A man’s voice was hushed.

On the television set, ranchers squared off. “Yeah.”

“Robert Alvarez.”

“Yeah, yeah. What can I do for you?”

“I know you may be busy, but I wanted to give you an update on Sara.” His voice was strained.



Detective story update: Tom Stone Day of the Dead

Our police detective stories evolved. Here’s an update on the soon-to-be-completed Tom Stone Day of the Dead. We began writing our Tom Stone novels January 2015, scrapped the very first one about 13 chapters in and started fresh with Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas.

Tom Stone 3 Pack

Currently, we’re in the home stretch of finishing our full draft–we’re currently in Chapter 32 with Stone in a pivotal discussion. What will come of it?

Stay tuned for Special Offers as we prepare to publish this trilogy.

And stay tuned to this blog as we invite other authors to drop in and develop some cool features — or, as we like to say Kewl Features.

Come connect with Tom Stone, his family, friends and — alas, enemies. Enjoy this taste of Book 3 Tom Stone Day of the Dead with an excerpt from Chapter 18:


The pilot’s sunglasses gave him a hard look, but his lips were trembling. Angel kept the gun aimed with his finger tight on the trigger. The chopper slowed and the runners touched dirt.

“Shut it down,” said Angel.

“Okay, you got it.” The pilot turned off the power. “So, okay, man, I walk away? That’s cool with me. I won’t say nothing. Agreed? I’ll keep my mouth—”

Angel fired and the man fell forward, his sunglasses dropping from his face.

“Power lines, my ass.”

The whirring blades grew quieter and fell silent. He looked at his fingers and breathed a sigh of relief.

A quick look around the craft revealed a semi-automatic rifle stashed away and emergency flares. He found a first aid kit, bottles of water, and snacks. A daypack sat inside a cabinet along with bottles of wine and whiskey. Someone was prepared. That was the thing about DeVito. He was a first class guy and made sure all his vehicles were fully stocked and up to code. Angel packed the pistol and the other items, hopped out, and decided to take more revenge at DeVito’s expense.

He located the fuel tank and then made his way across rocks, pear-shaped cactus and grass that grew scraggly and wild like it was desperate for a sip of water. The sun was dipping lower. Angel knew he had to work fast to get out of the desert before nighttime hit and temperatures plummeted.

The chopper had landed in a depression with hills shielding the location from back roads, off-road adventurers, and hikers. That was to have been his graveyard while DeVito would sit in his estate, chomping on cigars and fondling women too stupid to know any better. Idiots.

Angel set down the supplies and cradled the rifle. No one was going to get in his way now.

He opened fire and the bullets flew wildly into the craft. Click. Click. Empty. He tossed the weapon to the ground. Nothing seemed to happen. Angel walked close to inspect his work. Gas leaked from the tank, but he was disappointed that it didn’t blow up like in the movies. He stepped back, lit a flare, and tossed it to the fuel leak. Fire caught and began to burn. He turned around, walked away, and a sudden explosion knocked him to the ground. He looked and shielded his eyes to see the copter engulfed in flames.


Available now on Amazon:

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Christmas

Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights