Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Off the Books (Nick Forte Detective Thriller, #6) by Dana King


Dana King

Hard-boiled Private Investigator
Publication Date: March 15, 2024
Page count: 205 pages



Nick Forte has lost his detective agency and makes ends meet doing background checks and other paperwork. He pays for everything else through jobs he takes for cash and without any written contract. What starts out as a simple investigation into a traffic accident exposes Forte to people who have truly lost everything and have no viable hope of reclaiming their lives. That doesn’t sit well with Forte, leading him and his friend Goose Satterwhite to take action that ends more violently than anyone expected.


“The return of Chicago private detective Nick Forte, the tough protagonist of two Shamus Award nominated novels, is well worth the wait. Nick’s latest escapade Off The Books—the first in nearly six years—will surely earn additional praise for the acclaimed series.”

--J.L. Abramo, Shamus Award-winning author of Chasing Charlie Chan. 
"Nick Forte reminds me of Robert B. Parker's Spenser: a PI with a finely tuned sense of justice who doesn't take anyone's s***. Any fan of hardboiled detective fiction is in for a helluva ride."

--Chris Rhatigan, former publisher of All Due Respect Books



I told Jason Worthington I’d find his daughter in a week. I surfed the internet and searched flophouses, cathouses, bar rooms, pool rooms, jails, hospitals, morgues, and SRO hotels. Found her in a pay-by-the-hour motel at 10:48 p.m. two days after her father and I spoke.
Worthington would have preferred me to find her alive.
Cindy’s body was warm, the spike still in her arm. She looked as if she’d fallen asleep waiting and didn’t hold my tardiness against me.
I did what any real-life professional investigator would do, and what no fictional private eye would even consider.
I called the police.
The cops kept me at the scene half the night, at the station until dawn. They asked the same questions both places and got the same answers.
“Why were you there?”
“Her father asked me to find her.”
“Why was the father looking for her?”
“My guess would be to keep what happened from happening. You’ll have to ask him yourself to be sure.”
The usual bullshit.
I called Worthington on my way out of the police station. Told him I had news but would prefer to deliver it in person. I didn’t suppose I needed to tell him anything after that, but it wouldn’t hurt to allow him time to prepare before I scarred the rest of his life.
He answered the door already dressed for work. Navy suit, white shirt with French cuffs, gold links. His tie was blue with small designs, maybe horses, gathered in a perfect four-square knot. Red suspenders. A suit coat hung from the newel post behind him. His forehead gleamed beneath a silvery hairline. His teeth were as white and straight as a Klan meeting.


Please welcome Dana King, the author of today's featured book, Off the Books, to the blog today, answering the question:

Did you have a minor character who insisted on playing a larger role in the story. If so, please tell us about it. And if not, please tell me how you get the characters in your head to behave.
Dana King: Since Off the Books is the sixth Nick Forte novel, the continuing characters know their places by now. It’s typically a subordinate character we’re not likely to see again who tries to wrangle more screen time than I originally intended. In this book it’s Laurie, a waitress in the anonymous diner Forte frequents when he’s in Lundy, Illinois.
The original intent was for a bit of comic relief. Forte has driven a hundred miles early in the morning and stops into the diner for breakfast. There he is served by a young woman on summer break from Southern Illinois University. Laurie is about twenty, cuter than she is pretty, and a free spirit. She and Forte hit it off right away, though his interest is paternal rather than carnal; she reminds him a little of his daughter, Caroline.
That was supposed to be it for Laurie. I had so much fun writing their interactions I brought Forte back for supper at the end of the day; the diner becomes his go-to place to eat in Lundy. Laurie gets to know him well enough to intervene in a set-up that might have been catastrophic for Forte had the bad guys got their way.
And that’s where things go off the rails. Laurie learns things about Forte she never suspected and does not care to deal with. The relationship is strained. Things get worse from there.
A character who began life as a light interlude for Forte shouldered her way into becoming a vehicle to explore different aspects of his personality, not only showing how others see him, but how he sees himself. Neither point of view is consistently flattering. Laurie is a character I hate to leave behind.
How do I get my characters to behave? Simple. Several years ago my daughter – a/k/a The Sole Heir and the basis for Forte’s daughter Caroline – bought me a plaque that sits on my writing desk. It reads:
If you were in my novel you’d be dead by now.
These people are all in my novel. It behooves them not to get too far out of line.


Off the Books is Dana King’s sixth Nick Forte private investigator novel. Two of the earlier books (A Small Sacrifice and The Man in the Window) received Shamus Award nominations from the Private Eye Writers of America. Dana also writes the Penns River series of police procedurals set in a small Western Pennsylvania town, as well as one standalone novel, Wild Bill, which is not a Western. His short fiction appears in numerous anthologies and web sites. He is a frequent panelist at conferences and reads at Noirs at Bars from New York to North Carolina.


Dana King will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. 


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Marcy Meyer said...

I like the excerpt. Sounds good.

Dana King said...

Thanks for hosting me today. I'll be around all day, so if anyone has questions, please leave them in the comments and i promise to get back to you.

Dana King said...

My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by.

Sherry said...

This sounds like a great read