The characters are believable ( and I loved his portrayal of Tom Stone, a cop who is divorced but without all the drama you often find in crime books) and the situations are easy to see in your head as you read them. I felt as though a movie was playing and all I had to do was watch! I would recommend this book to all who enjoy crime fiction.
As I took such a shine to Detective Stone, I just had to read on and on to find out what fate had in store for Stone and if he managed to solve the case. The more I got into the story, the more I read and the quicker the pages turned.
I like that the story was realistic, bringing about the relevant drug issues and social inequalities that come with it. … I echo Tom Stone’s concern of his daughter having anything to do with drugs. I can relate much there. As a parent myself that is one of my greatest fears – that my daughter will be introduced to drugs. I like that he is very human in that aspect.
I really liked the character of Tom Stone, a veteran LAPD Detective. Flawed but real, he’s trying to learn how to balance life and a career fighting the seedier side of life. With his faith, Tom’s partner Jake Starke, is better balanced, but less driven. Together they make a good team.
The books are also available in paperback.
And, guess what? We’re writing a 4th — a short story — what happens when Jake Sharpe and Tom Stone take their boys hiking? Plenty.
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Check Amazon U.K. for those who live in the land of British mysteries and crime dramas!
Here’s a reader review for our crime fiction novel Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights. Lon and I enjoy feedback from readers, whether it’s constructive or downright complimentary. Read below:
My internet was down and the good thing about it was, I got uninterrupted reading time. I finished reading Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights and I would like to commend you and Don for a great, awesome, readable and stand-alone book.
I must say that it was not difficult for me to follow the story, considering that I started reading book two first. I like that the story was realistic, bringing about the relevant drug issues and social inequalities that come with it. And I love the details. How drugs morphed into a “user-friendly” facade to get into the hands of the masses. That part I would say is very well researched.
I echo Tom Stone’s concern of his daughter having anything to do with drugs. I can relate much there. As a parent myself that is one of my greatest fears – that my daughter will be introduced to drugs. I like that he is very human in that aspect. He has fears and frustrations of the things he can’t control but tries anyway – to the point of being over-protective. I totally get it.
Tom Stone is one hell of a detective with a big heart. That’s what makes him unique among other detective stories I’ve read. He has strong family values such as love and compassion – despite his non-traditional setup. Family love is strongly felt in the story.
The promising love interest is not overbearing. I like Alisha. Just the right spice in the story. And I want to know more of Sara in the next book as well. I hope she’s in a better position. I’m a fan of happy endings.
Thanks, Hazel, for your support. If you’ve just come across our Tom Stone Detective stories, you can check them out here:
Peek at this overview of the first three Tom Stone stories that Don Simkovich did for CCN Sunrise in LA County’s San Gabriel Valley. And click our e-newsletter link below the video to get a free preview of Tom Stone: Day of the Dead Chapter One.
Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe are detectives who not only hunt down the bad guy but also protect their families.
The 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
EXCERPT TOM STONE NITTY GRITTY CHRISTMAS – CHAPTER ONE
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
EXCERPT FROM TOM STONE SWELTERING SUMMER NIGHTS – CHAPTER 26
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.
“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.”
“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.”
EXCERPT FROM TOM STONE DAY OF THE DEAD CHAPTER 30 – LATE JUNE / EARLY JULY 2018 RELEASE
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.”
ABOUT DETECTIVE TOM STONE — INFLUENCED BY HIS GRANDFATHER
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.
So why do we see a bit of Tony Montana in Angelino?
Scarface was not an easy movie to watch, but it was gripping. Al Pacino’s character has big dreams but unfortunately it’s through the criminal life. He sees others who have made it big and he knows he can do the same. He’s willing to sacrifice others for all the wrong reasons.
A memorable part of the movie was when Montana visited his mother and sister as we see in this YouTube clip. His mother knows what’s up. Below the clip is an excerpt from Anthony Angelino speaking with his girlfriend Sara.
Much of the world around us can look bright and shiny and we don’t realize how deadly it really is. Somehow we think we’re invincible. And maybe we’re too late in understanding what’s really important.
Tony Montana lived and fought for—?
It’s a question that’s worth pondering.
Why do people invest their lives in pursuing money when it’s fraught with danger?
EXCERPT TOM STONE SWELTERING SUMMER NIGHTS, CHAPTER FOUR
“What is going on?” [Sara] sounded like she was fighting to control her panic.
“Just leave me alone.” Angel looked in a mirror on the wall behind the counter and touched the cut. He winced. “Damn.”
“Angel let’s get out of here. Close it up, sell it off. Let’s leave LA.”
“And go where? And do what?”
“Here, let me look at that.” Sara reached her hands like she wanted to hold his face, but he slapped her away.
“My father took a bullet as a policeman in Yucatan to protect the mayor down there. It was a war between the cops and the drug lords. And with the help of the CIA, the cops ran the drug cartel out of town.” He shook his head. “Can you believe it? The cops actually won.
“But the mayor had other ideas. He just took over, formed his own cartel, and stuffed his pockets with all the dollars earned on the backs of cocoa farmers. Yeah, the drug lords did more for the community than the elected officials. And I knew then what I would do. Earn lots of money and give back. Sure, I could sell everything and run. And do what?”
Sara mumbled. “Sell cars.”
“Sell cars?” Angel laughed. “How about horses and buggies?”
“Angel.” She motioned to his nose and forehead. “What are they going to do next? Kill you?”
“They could have killed me a long time ago. They’re smart. They let me do the hard work and then come in and think they’re going to suck the profits away from me. I know more than they do, Sara. You’ll see.” He held her, kissed her on the forehead and his problems seemed to disappear for a moment until the front door opened.
Detective Tom Stone entered. He greeted Angelino and Sara with a half-smile. “Well, how about this?”
Angelino couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His first instinct was to strike out, but he stayed behind the counter and forced a casual tone.
“Yes. How about it? Good morning, Detective. To what do I owe the pleasure? Or are you here to find something to help you chill out?”
“If I did, this is the last place I’d look.”
Angel smiled. “Well, look anyway. There’s a lot of variety. Shatter or some crumble and if you want weed, we only carry the best like King Moses OG. I just need to see your medical ID card first.”
Stone ignored the comment and nodded at Sara. “How are you?”
“Fine,” she replied.
He had been impressed how she calmly gave her testimony during the hearings.
“Still making bad choices, I see.” He glanced around the shop. “Impressive.”
“Thank you.” Angelino beamed. “You should open up one of these places. You’d make more money in a single month than you would in a year being a detective.”
“Hey, I may not make a lot of money, but I got a little something for you,” said Stone.
“Oh, nice. What is it? Another false arrest?”
Stone smirked, reached into his pocket, and tossed a gumball to Angelino who caught it and popped it into his mouth.
“Mmm, tasty.” He blew a bubble.
Stone looked closely at Angelino. “You’re looking a little banged up.”
“Uh, yeah. Cut myself shaving.”
Stone smiled. “On your nose? And your forehead?”
“Shit happens. Life is funny that way.” He spit the gumball into the trashcan. “They lose their flavor too quickly.”
“How about that? I got it from one of your machines.”
“What do you expect for twenty-five cents?”
Stone looked at the shelves and surveyed the various flavors of weed. “I see you don’t have vending machines here.”
“Of course not.”
“Angel, what are you doing?”
“Making money while at the same time helping people.”
“This is illegal.”
Angelino responded. “Nothing illegal here. Everything’s on file. After all, this is a not-for-profit cooperative sanctioned by none other than the fucking City of Los Angeles.”
The Mercedes pulled into the front parking lot. What the hell?
Stone took his time browsing while outside Wu got out of the car and made his way to the store. Angelino kept a gun in his desk. Maybe this was the time to do away with both of them at once. He could only wish.
Sara looked outside and then spoke to Stone. “Nice seeing you again. I have work to do. I’ll be in the back.”
“You take care of yourself, Sara.” Stone sounded sincere.