Please welcome Blair Howard author of Harry Starke. It sounds like a really cool crime novel!
Harry Starke: His Story and Mine
By Blair Howard, Author
So, the second book in the Harry Starke series, Two for the Money, is finished and available as an eBook and Paperback, and book 3, Hill House, is under way. The first book, Harry Starke, is doing better than I could ever have hoped. Harry is already being referred to as a “modern Mike Hammer,” a huge compliment. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge fan of the old masters of the game, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, etc., and I badly wanted to join that club, but I didn’t think I had what it takes. Not only that, I seriously wondered if such a character would work in today’s politically correct world. Finally, after more than 30 years of “writing about what I know,” (non-fiction, travel, etc., and historical fiction – The Civil War), I took the plunge and Harry Starke was born.
I didn’t want to write the overdone CSI-type story, so the police procedural wasn’t an option. I did want to write about a detective who doesn’t have to play by the rules, and doesn’t have access to all that fancy tech stuff, but gets the job done anyway, the old-fashioned way. The answer was Harry Starke, a larger than life private detective in a small town – Chattanooga. I say small town, we have a population of about 175,000, with a county population of 350,000. The Chattanooga PD has some 500 sworn officers and a great bunch of folks they are.
Harry Starke is an ex-cop turned PI, a tough individual with a past and many personal issues (don’t they all?) He’s famous, notorious, well educated, wealthy, dresses well most of the time, has a beautiful home on the Tennessee River, drinks moderately, thinks too much, loves his women, also too much, is involved in several on again off again relationships, has a conscience, a sense of justice, and is willing and quick to use violence as a means to an end. All three books are stand-alone. They can be read in any order, but it makes sense to begin at the beginning, right?
When I wrote the first book in the series, Harry Starke, I stepped way out of the box. Not only is the story written in the 1st person, I had no idea of the plot. I began with a situation: a beautiful girl commits suicide. That’s it. That’s all I had. The story grew from that. I was more than two thirds into the story before I knew how it was going to end, “who dunnit.” I figured that was a good thing: if I didn’t know who done it, there was a good chance the reader wouldn’t either. The second book, Two for the Money, was no different. This time the situation was a late night phone call. I didn’t figure that one out until I was writing the penultimate chapter. Book 3 is more of the same. The situation: two low-life’s stealing floorboards in an abandoned house find a long dead body. Again, I have no plot, just a bunch of characters, and a place to start. I love it. Each book, for me, is a new adventure, a journey, the outcome of which I have no idea. The writing is easy. The plotting and planning is not. My office looks like one of those police homicide departments you see on TV: papers, notes, everywhere, a large planning board, photos, and thoughts, ideas (the best of which usually arrive when I’m in the shower). Hey it’s great fun.
You can get a copy of Harry Starke here on Amazon U.S. or here on Amazon U.K. As always, Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. Two for the Money is available here in the U.S., and in the U.K. here.
Blair Howard was born and raised in a small town in England, near Stratford-upon-Avon, on the edge of the English Cotswolds. He is the author of the Harry Starke series of novels: hard-boiled detective stories set in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The first book was released early in September 2015; the second book, Two for the Money, was released on October 19 2015. Book 3 in the series, Hill House, will be released early in mid-December. Blair also writes sweeping historical epics, five historical novels of the American Civil War and the American West. He is also the author of more than 30 non-fiction books and more than 4,500 magazine, newspaper and web articles. You can follow Blair on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. Read his blog, and Visit his Website