Thursday, November 3, 2016

PT Reade debuts New Noir Series with Thomas Blume!

The months weighed heavily.    I woke up early the next morning. In fact, I woke up early most mornings. If I slept more than five hours, I was useless the next day. It probably came down to my body’s confusion. In New York, my go-to drug of choice had been caffeine. Sarah had always called me the Man with the Styrofoam hands because I always had a cup of bitter precinct coffee in my hands.   Sarah…  I ate a quick breakfast of dry toast and coffee and reminded myself to buy some butter. I brushed my teeth and looked in the mirror.   Jesus, I looked like crap. I’d once been called “handsome,” by a female D.A. back in New York. The boys in the precinct had found it hilarious. But those days were just a memory now. 
Echoes of former glory etched by history, my face was worn by deep creases and hair flecked gray at the temples. I wasn’t the man I used to be, and I had never thought that he was up to much.  Moving into the stale office, I was smacked by memories of the day before.  I looked outside and opened the window a crack into the cool, moist atmosphere that seemed to pervade the English capital. People were coming and going everywhere, surrounded by the morning smells of London — baking bread, tea and coffee, car exhaust, and the after-scent of rain. In the distance, tower blocks clawed at the gray sky. Beneath my window, a narrow street crowded with hustling couriers and black taxis signaled the start of another day.  It was all pleasant enough, but I simply couldn’t let myself be swayed from my somber mood.  
I’d been in this dark place for a while now. Most people told me that the best way to overcome it was to think of the great memories I had of Sarah and Tommy, but trying to do that only reminded me of how badly I missed them.   I had come to London with the express purpose of finding out what had happened when my family had been murdered on the wrong side of the world. Six months later, those thoughts still burned in my mind. Murdered. Even now I could barely believe it was true, or perhaps some part of me just didn’t.   Remorse ambushed me again when I recalled the events.  I had let Sarah take the job in London while I had remained in New York to finish my night course at Columbia University. I had been gunning for Captain and the forensics qualification was my ticket.  I had encouraged her to go for the interim Editor position and had even agreed to her taking Tommy over the summer to see her home country.  I had. Me. I had sent my wife and son 3,500 miles away for a “temporary situation.”  Now they were dead and there was nothing temporary about it. They were never coming back.  
I could remember the night I found out like it was yesterday; a knock at the door. An officer’s voice on the other side.  “Detective Blume? I’m afraid I have some bad news.” 
The memories threatened to break me again, so I collapsed into the chair behind my desk and looked around, desperate for a distraction that didn’t come in a bottle. The tiny office space looked quaint enough, cluttered with papers, files, magazines, and folders. The beat-up laptop on my desk should have been euthanized years ago; I had no idea how it had survived this long…at least nine years. I sat down behind it, but rather than power it up, I reached for my digital camera, still sitting in the middle of the desk from yesterday’s meeting with Anthony.  
Frame and shoot.  I looked through the pictures and saw that I did indeed have a few clear pictures of the man. He looked to be in his early forties, a little overweight, and very pale. If I wanted to, I could probably track him down. I’d start by asking the desk clerk at the hotel and then —  My thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. I clicked the camera off, not wanting any visitors to see Anthony’s wife in such a way, and answered the door.  
There were two men on the other side, holding up Police badges. They were detectives, and, as was my habit, I found myself sizing them up right away.  “Mr. Blume?” the cop in front asked. He was tall but not muscular. He wore a mustache that looked almost chiseled on and had eyes that made me think he did a lot of squinting.  
“That’s me,” I said. “What can I do for you?”  
“There’s a situation we hope you can provide some answers to,” the second cop said. This cop was bulky but looked like he had done a lot of drugs during high school. You could see it on his slack, pock-marked face. He reminded me of a dog, but I couldn’t remember which type. They both looked at me like I was going to invite them in.   I didn’t. 
“What situation is that?” I asked.  
“Mr. Blume, do you know a man by the name of Anthony Taylor?”  Alarms instantly went off in my head, but I tried not to let it show. 
“I do,” I answered as nonchalantly as I could.  
“Well, Mr. Taylor committed suicide last night.”  
“Jesus,” I muttered, as guilt hit me again. Was there anything else I could screw up?  “And we also saw in his planner that he met with you yesterday,” the first cop said. “As you were an acquaintance of his, we thought we’d check to see what, exactly, you were meeting about?” 
“That’s private information,” I said, but I was pretty sure they’d tear that defense to shreds…which they did, promptly. 
“He killed himself and as far as we know, you are the last person that saw him alive. You know that the privacy shite won’t work here,” Moustache said.  
They were right, so all I could do was shrug. “He thought his wife was cheating on him but didn’t have the courage to confront her about it,” I informed them. I had stepped in front of the doorway, making sure they knew damn well that I wasn’t going to invite them in. Yes, they were just doing their job but for a reason I could not explain, I had a sense of responsibility for Anthony…not what he had decided to do, but in the personal ramifications of working with him. 
“And?” the dog-faced cop with the hazy eyes said.  
“And he turned out to be right. I presented him with the evidence yesterday.”  “Evidence?” 
“Yeah,” I said. “Pictures.”  The two cops shared an expression that enraged me…an expression that basically translated to: Get a load of this worthless son of a bitch. And damn them if it didn’t make me feel like shit. 

Hard Fall:
The Thomas Blume Debut

By PT Reade

I admit it; I'm a sucker for characters who have lost their family through a violent act and chooses to search for the answer to what had happened.  Blume had formerly been a NY cop, but had left the United States six months earlier, heading for London where his family had been murdered. He had been doing private investigative work in order to have the money to stay as long as he needed...

Now he was mostly using a camera instead of a gun. Which is what had called him to the attention of the local police. His last client had committed suicide after seeing pictures of his wife with another man, intimately involved... Blume couldn't be seen as legally responsible for his client's actions, but it saddened and then angered him... Most of his clients required his type of evidence to file for divorce--not this time...

Now the cops had given him two weeks notice to make his stay permanent or be sent back to America. Blume was not willing to give up the hunt to discover what had happened to his family. His landlord, who'd become a friend, tried to talk to him, with no success...

Not that I had much future, I thought. At least not in London. Even if the cops didn’t deport me, I was going to run out of money soon. Eventually I was going to have to figure out how to get some cash flowing in. Still, the thought of letting Sarah and Tommy’s case go cold made me hate myself. “No,” I shook my head. “This is too important.” 
“Why?” Amir demanded. “Why is it important to chase the killers of the dead? What do you hope to accomplish?”  
“You don’t want justice, you want revenge. And with revenge you will find only more pain and more guilt.”  
“What would you have me do, huh?” I asked.  
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “You seem incapable of helping yourself. Maybe you should try helping others.”  
“What do you mean?”  
“I mean use the talents God gave you. You’re a brilliant detective, Thomas. My sister owes her life to you. That is a gift I will never forget. Use your skills to help the living. Become a proper investigator.”

Then one day he noticed her...he'd seen her car out front of his building. This time she'd actually gotten out of her car and made her way to the door, only to turn around and go back. Who was this mystery woman?

His curiosity made him follow her... What did she want with me? He did something he'd never done before, he started investigating without a case. He'd learned that she was a recluse, lost her husband, and that her son had disappeared. It was enough to stir his memories of actually being on an important felt good... And when he looked at the picture of Jack Ellington, her missing son...he couldn't help but notice a resemblance to his own son...

Jack Ellington had disappeared when he was ten, while walking home from soccer practice. He thought of what his friend had suggested and realized that he might be able to help this woman learn what had happened to her son...he would be helping the living with his work... He couldn't bring his own son back, but just maybe he could find Jack....

As he continued his research, he found a notice that another young boy had disappeared after band practice. Could there be a connection? Finally he decided to approach his mystery woman...

“You know about my son’s disappearance?” she asked.  
“I do,” I spoke quietly. “I recently did some digging when I knew that you were looking for me.” 
“And how did you know I was looking for you?”  I smiled and said, “I’d be a terrible ex-cop if I hadn’t noticed you at my apartment. Especially when you were so bold as to knock on my door.”  She blushed, and it was that blush that helped me to see how Elizabeth Ellington had been incredibly beautiful one day — likely one day in the very recent past. Now, however, she looked deflated and tired like the faded glamour of a grand old hotel, shadows of the glory days clinging to its facade.  “Do you have any suspects?” she asked.  
“I do.”  She hesitated here and gave me a tired-looking grin. “I suppose I need to hire you, don’t I?” 
“That would be nice.”  
“What do you charge?”  I shrugged. There was no way I could tell her that researching her son’s case had managed to make me want to drink less. It had cleared my mind more than it had been cleared in the last six months. So I simply answered: “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

The results of his investigation closed the Ellington case... What actually occurred is hard to read about...but it is happening in today's world and we must face it, and talk about help stop it!

The climax of the story is actually the won't believe it...

While this is a short novella, it is a book I highly recommend mainly because I loved the main character. The author opened up this character to readers almost immediately and we find him hurt, sympathetic, determined, and still caring. This debut sets up a series through strong story development and leaves us hanging for how Blume proceeds into the future. Will he stay in London? Still searching for what happened to his family? Here's one reader that hopes so... Highly recommended.

Please note: This is a dark noir story. If you don't like that type of story, don't buy it and then rank it low when you don't. That's not fair to the writer in my opinion...


I work hard to create captivating and gripping stories that contain the best elements of Noir, Mystery and Hard Boiled Detective thrillers, but always with a twist...

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