by Gabriel Valjan
March 13-24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Boston might be white with snow, but there’s nothing but a winter’s darkness for Shane Cleary, a former cop, veteran, and reluctant PI. There’s an international war within the mafia over drugs, and he has been asked to find the nephew of the local crime boss. When federal agencies descend on the city and order the police department to stand down on a homicide, the BPD reaches out to Shane for answers.
Shane’s past in Vietnam comes to haunt him when the corpse of a veteran is found on Boston Common, frozen to death in front of the State House. Then, a former army buddy comes to town looking for justice. His presence endangers all that Shane holds dear.
Shane must come to terms with a side of himself he thought he had left behind. The mounting body count and circumstances compel him to play a game of Liar’s Dice. Can he deceive and detect deception around him? Protect those he loves, while he solves the cases?
Praise for Liar's Dice:
"Gabriel Valjan writes like a poet but his PI Shane Cleary packs a wallop worthy of Mickey Spillane."
Clea Simon, Boston Globe bestselling author of HOLD ME DOWN
"Gabriel Valjan is the godfather of organized crime fiction and LIAR’S DICE is all the proof you need."
James L’Etoile, author of the Detective Nathan Parker series
"Gritty, smart, sharply written, Valjan’s Liar's Dice is a welcome addition to the canon of fine PI fiction."
Reed Farrel Coleman, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of SLEEPLESS CITY
"A fast-paced mystery that kept me flipping the pages, needing to find out what would happen next. Shane Cleary is a complex, brilliantly written protagonist. A terrific read."
Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Never Coming Home
"Warning: Pick up a copy, turn the page, and you’ll be hooked. Liar's Dice ticks the boxes: an interesting tale that’s economical and tight, descriptions that are full and rich, dialogue that’s real, and characters that spring to life. Gabriel Valjan just has a way of making every word count."
Dietrich Kalteis, winner of the 2022 Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for best novel
"Gabriel Valjan crafts a vivid portrait of 1970s Boston to life in LIAR’S DICE. Shane Cleary deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the city's other famous PIs—a haunted but compassionate character who cuts through a swath of Mob crime with Valjan’s trademark wit and style."
James D.F. Hannah, Shamus-winning author of BEHIND THE WALL OF SLEEP and SHE TALKS TO ANGELS
Genre: Crime Fiction; Mystery; Private Investigator; Noir; Historical Fiction
Published by: HISTORIA
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 292
Series:Shane Cleary Mystery, #4
Book Links: Amazon
Read an excerpt:
Thou Shalt Not Say No
I heard the slap of the Boston Globe on our doorstep.
It was seven-thirty and Bonnie had already kissed me goodbye. It was a kiss. A long, slow kiss to make a man lose his dignity. I begged her to stay home, to play hooky from work and give the boys in the office a reprieve. She told me she couldn’t. I watched her walk out the front door. Her perfume may have hinted of spring but the mercury in the thermometer said winter.
The phone rang and interrupted my trip to the front door for the paper. I answered on the second ring.
“Glad you’re still there,” she said.
“I’m at a payphone on Comm. Ave.”
“I noticed a Cadillac parked across the street when I left.”
“It’s a car that stands out, I’ll give you that, but what’s the problem?”
“The man inside the car. He’s getting out.”
“I thought I was the PI and you were the lawyer.”
“I’m serious, Shane.”
“So am I. Okay, I’ll play. Describe him to me?”
“Six-six. Menacing. Dark winter coat. He’s headed to our door. Wait, he’s stopped.”
“To light a cigarette, but he’s not having any luck. He keeps trying with his lighter.”
“That’s Tony Two-Times? Not exactly subtle, is he?”
“It goes with the job description.”
“Oh my god, Shane. He’s reached into his jacket.” I’d never heard Bonnie’s voice hit that note, not even during sex, though in my defense, this was panic and not ecstasy. We were nearing our anniversary, and I suppose months of cohabitation or what the Census Bureau calls POSSLQ or Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters had eroded her tough exterior.
“Never mind,” she said. “It’s a newspaper. I thought he might’ve had a gun.”
“Go to work, Bonnie.”
I did the rude thing and hung up on her. It’s not that I wanted to do it, but Tony Two-Times, uninvited and unannounced, was not the same thing as the guy at your door with the news you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Tony was a ‘friend’ and the mob always sent your friend to kill you. I moved fast and pulled my .38 out of the holster, hidden under a coat on the rack. I opened the door and kept the revolver behind my back.
The cold air punched my lungs and my eyes watered. I found Tony doubled over, picking up my Boston Globe. When he stood upright, he blocked the wind and the sun. An unlit cigarette stuck to his lower lip. “You gonna invite me in, or what?”
I stepped aside, back against the door. He pressed the paper into my chest. I put a hand over it. He paused before he stepped in. His dark eyes bore into me. “Relax, Cleary, and saddle the Colt you’re hiding behind you.”
“You could’ve called.”
“This conversation is best in person, face to face.”
“If you say so, Tony.”
“I say so. I’ve gotta job for you.”
Tony had tapped one foot against the other to knock off any snow, salt, or sand. He took the cigarette from his lips and pocketed it. He wiped his feet on the small mat, and took off his hat and coat and hung them on the coat rack. I holstered my sidearm and directed him to the kitchen. He walked down the hallway, talking. “You really thought you needed to draw your piece on me?”
“You weren’t what I expected with the morning paper.”
Excerpt from Liar's Dice by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2023 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.
PI Shane Cleary returns in another gritty tale of crime set
in Boston in 1970.
Liar’s Dice is the fourth book in author Gabriel Valjan’s
Shane Cleary mystery series, and it’s a riveting return for the reluctant
former cop turned private investigator. Thank you to Partners in Crime for
introducing me to this series!
Shane Cleary is a good and honest man, caught in the middle
between the cops, the feds, and the bad guys. This time around, there are a
couple of different cases working, and I really enjoyed how things came together.
I also didn’t figure much out on my own, so I was compelled to keep reading and
have Shane do all the heavy lifting for me. We get to see into his private life,
including his cat, Delilah. The author created a splendid “look & feel” of
Boston in 1970, and I felt like I was back in that time and in that place. The
story embeds the reader in the mob culture with mood, dialogue, and speech
patterns. I learned some things, too. I never ever thought about there being
Canadian mobsters. The story is suspense-filled and tense, but there are moments
of pure humor that had me laughing out loud.
While this is not the first book in the series, readers can
easily enjoy this as a standalone. There is even a character guide provided to
keep the names and personalities straight. But the entire series is excellent,
and readers shouldn’t miss the previous novels. I recommend LIAR’S DICE to
mystery readers who enjoy grittier tales, PI stories, crime fiction featuring
organized crime and crime families, and fans of the previous books in the
Gabriel Valjan writes historical crime fiction. He is the recipient of the Macavity Award for Best Short Story and he has been listed for the Bridport and Fish Prizes, the Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, and Silver Falchion Awards. He lives in Boston’s South End and answers to a tuxedo cat named Munchkin.
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