Category Archives: Writing

DEEP SIX Review from Kingdom Books

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Great New PI Mystery from D.P. Lyle, DEEP SIX, an Alabama Case

With a publisher name like Oceanview, it’s easy to suspect the new detective title from D.P. Lyle might be set in Florida — but no, even better, it’s on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and it’s a lively investigation laced with both humor and danger.

And expertise! D.P. Lyle isn’t just an award-winning author of crime fiction. He’s also a forensics expert consulting for the top TV crime shows and is the expert I’d most like to know was coming to a crime-novel dinner party, because he’s quick to correct the scenes and the reasoning. In other words, his firearms and ‘tec services make sense. Thank goodness!

But who knew (from that background) that he could also be so entertaining? Well, the truth is, although I take note of his forensic pointers regularly, this is the first time I’ve read one of his crime novels … and I’m going to have to gather up some of the others soon. There are already three series (see Lyle’s website) and DEEP SIX launches the fourth.

Jake Longly is a former pro baseball player, and the last thing he wants to do is work in the family business, private investigations, for his dad Ray. But he’s not above taking an occasional surveillance job for a bit of cash flow. Unfortunately, checking on a possible womanizer for his father’s caseload puts Jake into the neighborhood of his suspicious and assaultive ex, who’s good with a baseball bat. Escape from the situation takes Jake and his classic car directly into the circle of a gorgeous beach bunny, Nicole, who turns out to also be a very smart script writer — and eager to assist in “surveilling” while also, umm, taking part in adult activities with Jake.

Add a Ukrainian mobster, a high-money land grab, and some deft legal and risk-taking twists, and it looks like Jake Longly could get hooked on the adventurous side of his dad’s PI business, after all. That is, if he and Nicole can survive!

With a quick pace, great scenes, and “murder and mayhem” right and left, DEEP SIX promises a lively new series ahead for D.P. Lyle and Oceanview. Add it to the summer reading stack, for sure!

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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Writing


ITW Roundtable: July 18-24: Dialogue Can Be Tricky: How Do You Do It?



The unique and fun  ITW Roundtable series continues this week, July 18-24, with: Dialogue Can Be Tricky: How Do You Do It?

Dialogue can be tricky, as the author has to give each character a unique voice that is also distinct from his or her own. This week we’re joined by ITW Members Jean Harrington, Arthur Kerns, Bernard Maestas, L.S. Hawker, Shaun Harris, Lynn Cahoon, Terrie Farley Moran, J. C. Lane, Stephen Morrill, Steven Kuehn, Sharon Potts, Kat Martin, Elizabeth Noble, Susan Israel, Charles Atkins, D. P. Lyle, Joel Fishman, Jerry Kennealy and Alan Jacobson, to ask: How do you do it?

Join us for a lively discussion and exchange:


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Posted by on July 17, 2016 in Writing


Mysteristas Interview

Original Post:

Please welcome D.P. Lyle, author of the Jake Longly series and numerous other works.

Q: What’s your idea of a perfect day?

A: One perfect day would be a nice cup of strong coffee, a walk around the harbor in Dana Point, a round of golf where I shot par, and completing 3000 words of my latest book. That would be nice. But I can think of one better – any Saturday in the fall watching the Alabama Crimson Tide beat the hell out of their opponent.

Q: Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?

A:  Interesting question. I’m not sure I have a signature accessory but I do have a fountain pen on my desk at all times. I collect them and I love to write with them. He goes back to my childhood – – my father was an accountant and kept his ledgers with a fountain pen and the smell of the ink brings back great memories. My favorite color is blue and my favorite fragrance would be my mom’s pecan pie cooking in the oven. My signature expression is – – whatever is, is. It basically means that you can believe whatever you want and you have the constitutional right to be wrong because whatever is, is. As for favorite meal, that’s easy. From the time I was a child my father and I always made barbecued ribs, coleslaw, and cornbread for New Year’s Day to watch football. I do that every year. It’s actually my favorite day of the year.

Q: Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?

A:  Obviously, there are many, but two are essential to me. I’ve read everything that James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard ever wrote. I learned more from these two wonderful writers than from anyone else. Their styles are totally different and yet they both write gritty crime fiction. James Lee Burke is poetry in motion and writes such beautiful and lyrical prose that it is sometimes breathtaking. Elmore Leonard on the other hand writes in a clean and concise manner that every writer can learn from. And if you want to write dialogue, you must read Elmore.

Q: Do you listen to music when you write?

A:  I actually can’t write in a quiet room. If it is too quiet, my mind goes elsewhere. I was the same way in medical school. I couldn’t study in a quiet room. I always had music on. It’s as if the background noise forced greater concentration. That’s still the case today. I mostly listen to blues and blues-based rock.

Q: If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?

A:  That’s a funny question. I would say milk chocolate for smoothness and throw in some nuts – – likely pecans being a southern boy – – for insanity. And my latest book is crazy and fun and wild and set on the Gulf Coast.

Q: What made you interested in writing this particular story?

A:  I’ve always enjoyed the work of Carl Hiaasen and love his humorous take on crime fiction. I specially like most of his earlier work. I’ve always wanted to write a comedic thriller since I love both comedy and thrilling stories. In my latest book, Deep Six, that’s what I attempted to accomplish and I think it worked out well. I’m very pleased with the result.

Q: What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?

A:  I don’t ever think about themes but if I had to put a theme on all of my fiction it would simply be good versus evil. That’s common and a cliché, but that’s pretty much what most crime fiction comes down to I think. I’m not big on writing or reading stories that make glowing social commentary because there’s enough of that on the news. I’m bored with it. For me, a story needs to be fun and interesting and move along quickly and I try to do that with my writing.

Q: Tell us about your main character.

A:  The protagonist of Deep Six is Jake Longly. Jake is an ex major league baseball pitcher and now owns a bar/restaurant on the Gulf Coast. His father, Ray, is an ex military type who is no nonsense and runs a private investigation firm in the same area. Ray and Jake don’t often see eye to eye. Ray wants Jake to work for him and doesn’t understand why Jake would think owning a bar and chasing bikinis was a good career choice. Such a career was fine with Jake. But as fate would have it Ray convinces Jake to at least do a stake out for him and, as I’m sure you expect, things didn’t work out well. That’s how the story starts and it goes completely sideways from there. So you would say Jake is a reluctant PI.

Q: Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.

A:  That’s not an easy question to answer and I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it. But I would suspect that Jake would be a combination of Nolan Ryan, Raylan Givens, and Lewis Grizzard – – the latter being a Southern humorist if you’re not familiar with.

Q: If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?

A:  That’s a fairly easy one. Of course, James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard. I would also invite Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck as each of these had a great influence on my reading early on. Lastly, Leonardo da Vinci simply because he’s one of the most interesting and brilliant humans that has ever lived and dabbled in so many arenas. I particularly would like to talk to Leonardo about his scientific and anatomical work.

Q: What’s next for you?

A:  Since the second edition of Forensics For Dummies came out in April and Deep Six was just released, I’m involved in promoting those two titles but right now I’m working on the next Jake book as well as outlining another book in an entirely new series. Of course, the radio show that I do with Jan Burke, Crime and Science Radio, is ongoing and always keeps us busy. Also, for ITW, I run Thriller School, CraftFest, and Master CraftFest, and each of these is time-consuming.


Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Writing


Deep Six Signings and a Cool Review

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I’ll be signing DEEP SIX at these locations:

July 16:SoCal Launch Party: Mystery Ink, Huntington Beach, CA

July 23: A great day with the fabulous Anne Saller: Book Carnival, Orange, CA

July 27: NorCal Launch Party: Book Passage. Corte Madera, CA

Details are here:

And here is another cool review from Coupondipity. Thanks !!!

I have a deep, dark secret. When I’m reading a book, in many cases, I will read the characters’ dialogue out loud to see what it sounds like in “real life”. Don’t judge me. And I have to tell you, the dialogue often sounds ridiculous when you speak it out loud. I usually exclaim into the room (when nobody’s around so they don’t haul me off to the loony bin), “Nobody talks like that! She should say this…”. And then I rewrite the character’s dialogue on the fly and I must say, it’s a lot more believable.

But guess what?! That didn’t happen in Deep Six! Not because I didn’t give in to my wild compulsion to start acting out the characters, but because Lyle’s dialogue is real, gritty, and oftentimes humorous.

Here’s the thing: Jake Longly is an ex pro baseball player with only a few things on his mind (I’ll let you guess). In his spare time, he owns a dive bar where he seems to eat and drink a lot of the profit. But Jake’s daddy, a private investigator, sometimes hires Jake to help with a case. Mostly because owning a dive bar and chasing women isn’t daddy’s idea of what a responsible offspring should be doing.

Jake and his new girlfriend (whom he met when his ex-wife bashed in his car windows with a baseball bat) are on a stakeout for daddy, and the object gets herself murdered, seemingly in front of their very eyes. Daddy is not going to be amused by this turn of events. And you’ve probably guessed by now that some very bad guys think Jake has not only witnessed the murder but will likely sing like a canary if pressed. With girlfriend Nicole, and his sidekick ‘Pancake’ (you gotta read any book if there’s a character named Pancake!), Jake finds himself in some fairly dicey situations.

There are a lot of twists, turns and unexpected happenings, and Lyle describes everything clearly and with a lot of humor, which I tend to really enjoy.

If you’re looking for a great summer read, this one ticks all the boxes!

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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Writing


DEEP SIX Review in The Big Thrill

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Deep Six by D.P. Lyle

Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard. Or Is It?

By Dawn Ius

Fans of D.P. Lyle’s darker, more noirish work may suddenly feel like they’re on the butt end of a badly written punchline, but Lyle’s new book is no laughing matter. Actually, that’s a lie. It’s funny as hell.

DEEP SIX is a comedic thriller. No joke.

While it may come as a shock to readers, the genre-shift wasn’t a surprise for Lyle, who credits his family for instilling in him the power of laughter. After eight successful dark and gritty novels, Lyle says he was ready for something light and … well, comedic.

“I had this idea for a funny story about a guy who gets bamboozled into a stakeout, and so I just started writing,” he says.

No outline. No concrete plot. No sense, in fact, of where a “comedic thriller” would even fit in today’s somewhat fickle marketplace. To Lyle’s pleasure, readers appear to be laughing (out loud!) with him rather than at him—and that is certainly something to chuckle about.

“Comedy is hard,” he says. “I could do stand-up comedy no problem, because when you’re speaking in front of an audience, you can gauge their reactions. It easier than writing. You don’t know if the one-liners and gags are making people laugh, because you write in a vacuum.”

True, but Lyle’s vacuum seems to be infused with laughing gas, because DEEP SIX is funny in all the right places, creating a page-turning experience reminiscent of Carl Hiasson’s work.

DEEP SIX centers on ex-professional baseball player Jake Longly who, despite much protest, gets sucked into doing a gig for his dad’s PI business. He’s just supposed to hang around, snap off a few shots of the suspected adulteress, and report back to pops. Easy peasy. That is, until his target gets herself killed.

An investigation into her death leads Jake and his cohorts—new girlfriend, Nicole Jemison and computer genius Tommy Jeffers—deep into a crime where murder and mayhem run rampant along the sugary beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama.

While the plot absolutely lends itself to comedic relief, Lyle’s true talent shines in the development of his characters—from the loveable Jake whose foot is found in his mouth more often than not, to his tough-as-nails, sarcastic girlfriend, Nicole, the perfect partner-in-crime. Together, they’re a hoot.

“If you read my other books, you’ll find there’s a Nicole in all of them,” he says. “Smart, sarcastic, tough, and alarmingly pretty. I like characters like that—the kind that end up being so much more than they appear at the start.”

Lyle credits his mother for both his love of writing strong female characters, but also for his sense of humor, noting that she could “turn everything into a party.” His father, on the flipside, gets the nod for Lyle’s exceptional worth ethic—even as a successful author, he still practices medicine, a career he pegged at the tender age of 10 after watching the first “blue baby” heart surgery on TV.

“Dad was always about work first, play second,” he says. “He worked at the post office for 30 years and had an accounting business at night—even when he didn’t have to. My parents were of that generation. They never had to ask me if I’d done my homework. Of course I had—that was my job.”

These days, Lyle continues the family tradition by burning the candle at both ends, a routine he says he can sustain thanks to his needy, nocturnal cat—and a deep hatred of sleep.

It doesn’t hurt that DEEP SIX was one of the easiest books Lyle has written—and by some people’s measurement, perhaps his best. The novel came back from his editor with zero structural edits—as in none. (He’s not kidding!)

“That’s unheard of,” he says. “There’s always edits, always something. But I fixed the manuscript up in a few hours. Some books are just easy. Others are not. This one was.”

If you think that would inspire him to keep writing more Jake Longly books, you’d be dead wrong.

Ha! I’m just messing with you.  Book two, Fractured Image, is already underway.

But if belly laughs aren’t your thing, don’t worry, Lyle is heading back to the grit with another new character that is, “flawed out the gazoo. The kind who would kill you in an instant. My kind of character.”

. . . says the man who, in his other career, has saved dozens of lives.

Dawn Ius is a short story author, novelist, screenwriter and Journalist. She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the Managing Editor of the International Thriller Writer’s online magazine, The Big Thrill. Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, Dawn’s contemporary YA debut ANNE & HENRY (Simon Pulse, 2015) reimagines the intensity, love and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time. OVERDRIVE, an edgy mystery / heist YA set in Las Vegas launches Sept 2016 (Simon Pulse) Dawn also writes paranormal young adult under the last name DALTON. Connect with her on Twitter via @dawnmius, or get the full scoop at


Posted by on July 1, 2016 in Writing


Laughter Is Good Medicine

Originally posted on Mystery Fanfare:

Laughter Is Good Medicine

I love to laugh. Bet you do too.

It’s good for you. It relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and might even boost your immune system and make you healthier, definitely happier. I use it every day in my practice. With virtually every patient I see, after going through all the medical stuff, the last thing I say to them as they leave the office is: “Laugh a lot.” It’s that important.

I grew up with humor. My mom could turn anything into a party and always seemed to find the funny in everything. Dad had a drier sense of humor, but a sense of humor none the less. My sisters, cousins, and friends each had great wit.

In my early teens, as I began reading novels, I was captured by the usual suspects—Hemingway, Steinbeck, Verne—but also by the great humorists Mark Twain and Will Rogers. Later I dug into more modern humor writers like Carl Hiaasen and Tim Maleeny. I admired how each employed humor and downright knee-slapping funny in their essays and works of fiction.

Most of my early work is harsher—darker stuff with very bad guys—but I always included splashes of humor. I couldn’t help myself. Besides, humor is a great way to diffuse tension and humanize characters. But I had long wanted to write a more comedic thriller. And finally, I did.

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DEEP SIX is a humorous thriller starring Jake Longly, ex professional baseball player, Gulf Coast bar/restaurant owner, and someone who’d rather run his dive and chase bikinis than do “honest work.” At least that was his father Ray’s take. Ray has a gray past, being involved in government secret ops of some kind—Jake never knew and Ray never shared—but is now a P.I. He wants Jake to work for him. Not a chance.

But, Ray does talk Jake into doing a bit of surveillance work—watching the house of a suspected adulteress. Of course, the woman gets murdered practically under Jake’s nose. And the story is off and running.

Jake, and his latest girlfriend Nicole Jemison. turn out to be fairly effective P.I.s—though Jake is reluctant to wear that mantel. But they can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and out of the crosshairs of the ruthless Victor Bookoff and his minions. Throw in Jake’s ex Tammy and her new husband and attorney Walter, who it turns out was having an affair with the deceased woman and naturally becomes the primary suspect, along with a couple of thugs and cartel hitmen, and well—-the pot boils.

After I finished DEEP SIX, I loved it. But would others? I mean, humor is hard to judge. One person’s funny is another’s ho hum. Very tricky stuff. Turned out my agent Kimberley Cameron and publishers Bob and Pat Gussin at Oceanview did indeed love it.

Now that makes me laugh.

As Lee Child said: “We all know Lyle’s erudition and expertise—-but who knew he was this funny?”

Certainly not my cat, who sees all this as annoying and not about him—the prerequisite for him to find anything interesting. Well, you can’t make everyone laugh.

DEEP SIX is available July 5, 2016.

More Information and to Pre-order a copy:


Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Medical Issues, Writing


DEEP SIX Launches July 5th

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DEEP SIX, the first in my new Jake Longly comedic thriller series, launches on July 5, 2016. Pre-Order your copy today from your local indie bookstore or from:





We all know Lyle’s erudition and expertise – but who knew he was this funny?

Lee Child, NY Times Best Selling Author


Corruption, vendettas, cartel killers, oh my!  Deep Six puts the fun back into late night reading with this fast-paced romp through murder and mayhem.  Prepare to flip the pages.

Lisa Gardner, NY Times Best-selling Author


I hate D.P. Lyle. He’s already the smartest, most generous, hardest working son of a bitch I know. Now, with Deep Six, he’s also one of the finest writers.

His wistfully dogged, romance-challenged, wisecracking hero Jake Longly calls to mind James Crumley’s C.W. Sughrue, and I can’t think of higher praise. The story is paced like a lightning strike aimed directly at the human heart. How the hell does he do that?

Read this smart, wickedly funny, extraordinary book. Then you can hate the author as much as I do.

David Corbett, Bestselling Author


D.P. Lyle returns in superb form in Deep Six. Smart, wickedly funny, expertly constructed and deftly executed, Lyle is at the top of his game as he takes his readers on a romp on the Gulf Coast that goes down as smoothly as a cold beer on a hot day at a bar next to the beach. Jake Longly is a character worth rooting for, and Lyle’s fans will be cheering for an encore. Find a comfortable chair and plan to stay up late to enjoy the ride. Highly recommended.

Sheldon Siegel. NY Times Best Selling Author of the Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novels.


In Deep Six, gifted storyteller D.P. Lyle has crafted yet another winner.  A comedic thriller that weaves through the Gulf Coast with wild abandon.  This book has it all, memorable characters, a stunning plot, and as always, Lyle’s impeccable sense of place. Bravo!”

Philip Donlay, best-selling author of the Donovan Nash series


Readers will love Jake Longley – ex-big league ballplayer, beach bar owner and reluctant PI, and the sharply defined ensemble of characters in Deep Six is just as outstanding. Page turning action and knock out dialogue from a master craftsman and story teller. I devoured this one!

Robert Dugoni, #1 Amazon and New York Times Best Selling Author of My Sister’s Grave


D P Lyle’s latest thriller, DEEP SIX, is the first in a new series and already I’m looking forward to the next installment.  Set in Florida’s sultry west coast and peppered with quirky yet expertly-drawn characters, DEEP SIX is a fast-paced thrill ride that’s laugh-out-loud funny interspersed with white-knuckle suspense.  Readers of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey series will love Jake Longley.  D P Lyle’s latest, DEEP SIX, has it all:  white-knuckle suspense, humor, and a wise-cracking hero that makes for a fun and thoroughly entertaining read.

Linda Castillo best-selling author of the Kate Burkholder series


A true page turner, smart and stylish, with crisp prose and a cast of colorful characters who show both humor and grit. Twists and turns a plenty, Deep Six is a terrific read!

Daniel Palmer, author of Delirious, Helpless, Stolen, and Desperate


Kudos to D.P. Lyle for the fastball pitch of a new series. Jake Longly, retired Major Leaguer and reluctant P.I., is a new voice in the thriller scene. With sharp dialogue and remarkable characters, Deep Six is something Elmore would be proud of.

Terri Nolan, author of the award nominated Birdie Keane series. 



Jake Longly has a good life. His career as a Major League pitcher for the Texas Rangers in the rearview mirror, he now owns a successful beach-front restaurant/bar and spends most of his time chasing bikinis. A thirty-something male’s dream.

Ray, his father, sees things differently. Ex-military, ex-covert op, Ray now heads Longly Investigations and can’t understand why Jake won’t work for him. Why his son prefers wasting his time with drinking and jumping from woman to woman is a mystery to him. Their relationship had long since settled into one of tolerance, with flares of friction.

Then Ray convinces Jake to do some surveillance work for him. Watching the home of Barbara Plummer, a suspected adulteress and the wife of software and real estate mogul Henry Plummer. No sweat. Jake could sit in his vintage Mustang, sip whiskey, and watch a dark house with the best of them. Of course, he never suspects Barbara might be murdered. Right under his nose. Not to mention Barbara’s secret lover is none other than attorney Walter Horton, Jake’s ex-wife’s current husband.

This launches Jake and his latest female companion Nicole Jemison, screenwriter and daughter of a Hollywood A-List director, on the trail of the killer, or killers. Husband Henry Plummer? Lover Walter Horton? Someone with a vendetta against either Walter or Henry?  If it were only that simple.

Jake and Nicole find themselves locking horns with Victor Borkov, a man of many vices and even more criminal enterprises, who will do what’s necessary to protect his empire. A man who uses and discards people without hesitation and who has no reservations about deep sixing enemies from the Sea Witch, his floating palace.

This story navigates through big money corruption, crimes and misdemeanors, cartel killers, and too many murders to keep score, even with a spreadsheet. Jake and Nicole find themselves in deep water. Very deep water.



It was precisely 12:12 a.m. when the window shattered. A crack-crunch, an eardrum concussing pop, and a spray of glass shards. It didn’t explode by itself, mind you, but rather courtesy of a cavity-backed, perimeter-weighted two-hundred-dollar five iron. A Callaway. I recognized it because it was mine. Or at least it had been.

I knew the exact time because the flying glass yanked me from sleep, my forward-slumped head aligned squarely with the dashboard clock. Took a couple of seconds to gain any sort of perspective on what had happened.

Of course, sleep wasn’t part of the job. Watching the house two doors down and across the street was. In my defense, nothing had moved in the house, or even along the street that snaked through the high-dollar neighborhood, for at least a couple of hours. But sitting in the dark, behind the wheel of my car, boredom did what boredom does. Knocking back the better portion of the bottle of Knob Creek hadn’t helped either. Stakeouts were mind numbing and a little more numbing of the mind couldn’t be all bad. Right?

“Jake, what the hell are you doing?” the reason for the glass explosion screeched through the jagged hole.

This wasn’t just any window. It was vintage, the reason it shattered rather than simply spider-webbing. The original passenger window of my otherwise spotless 1965 Mustang. Burgundy with black pony interior, now littered with glass shards. Going to be a bitch to find a replacement.

Speaking of bitches, I recognized the grating voice even before I looked up into the face of my ex. Tammy’s the name; crazy’s the game. I’d lost four good years listening to it. Mostly whining and complaining, sometimes, like now, in a full-on rage. She had a knack for anger. Seemed to need it to get through the day.

She gripped the five iron with both hands, knuckles paled, cocked up above her shoulder, ready to smash something else. If history offered any lesson it was that she might graduate from the side window to the windshield and so on until she got to me. Tammy didn’t have brakes. Or a reverse gear.

Cute according to everyone, except maybe me, she was a beach-blond with bright blue eyes, a magic smile, and a perfect nose. Some plastic surgeons were gifted. Expensive, but gifted. I knew. I’d paid for the nose.

But cute Tammy had a short fuse. She could go from zero to C4 in a nanosecond.

Like now.

“Funny, I was just fixing to ask you the same thing?” I said.

Still shaking the cobwebs loose and trying to get oriented to person, place, and situation, I managed to get the characters involved sorted out pretty quickly. Staring at a cocked five iron in the hands of your ex-wife will do that. The place came along in short order. Peppermill Road. A loop off Perdido Beach Boulevard that arched through The Point, a megabuck enclave nestled into another expensive enclave known as Perdidio Beach. Very high up the financial food chain, The Point was a row of seven-figure, stilted homes that hung off Peppermill like charms on a bracelet, each facing the Gulf over a wide sugary beach.

Okay. Two down, one to go.

Person, check. Place, check. It was the situation I struggled with.

“Why are you parked in front of my house?” she asked, chin jutted forward, eyes flashing that anger I knew so well.

Well, there was that.

“I’m not. I’m parked across the street.”

The five iron cocked another couple of inches. Her knuckles whitened even more and her pilate-pumped forearms tensed. “Don’t mess with me, Jake. Why the hell are you here?”

“Is that my five iron?”

Tammy’s face flushed and the rage that rose up in her chest was almost palpable. I knew I could be infuriating, could push her buttons like no one else. Lord knows she had told me often enough. Truth was I did sort of enjoy it. She actually was cute when she was mad. Dangerous, but cute.

That little vein that ran down the middle of her forehead expanded as she spun, switching to lefty, and shattered the Mustang’s small rear passenger window. Also original. Probably even harder to replace.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. What’s wrong with you?” I was smart enough not to add “other than the usual,” but it did cross my mind. Did I mention the woman never could find her own brake pedal?

She pointed the five iron at my face. “Why are you spying on me?”

I now noticed that she was wearing black sweat pants and a cropped pink t-shirt, exposing her tight belly. She would be hot if she weren’t so insane. I’d married the hotness, and divorced the insanity.

I began brushing glass snow from my shirt and shaking it from my hair. “I’m not.”

“Really? You going to go with that?” At least she had lowered the five iron. “You’re parked across from my home, clear view of my living room, and you have your pervert glasses with you.” She nodded toward the binoculars on the passenger’s seat. They were also frosted with shattered glass.

“Night vision. I need them for my work.”

“Work?” She didn’t even make a feeble attempt to cover the sarcasm in her voice.

“I’m on a case. For Ray.”

“Just great. The only person I know who makes you look smart.”

Ray, my dad, actually was smart, sometimes frighteningly so, but Tammy and Ray had never really hit it off. Ray didn’t play well with most people. Neither did Tammy. So they mixed in an oil-and-water, cat-and-dog, fire-and-ice kind of way.

“You remember him?” I said. “He’ll be happy to hear that.”

Another button pushed.

“Don’t be an ass. I tried for four years to sweep him out with the trash, but some lint you just can’t get rid of.”

I smiled. “And he always speaks so kindly of you.”

She bent forward at the waist, her eyes now level with mine. “Right. So why are you working for Ray?”

“He needed someone to do a bit of surveillance work.”

Her expression said she wasn’t buying it. Like I was lying. Can’t imagine where she got such as idea. She gave a soft snort as if to add an exclamation point. “Why not that red-headed behemoth that follows him around?”

“Pancake’s busy.”

Another snort. “Probably eating.”

“Or sleeping. He tends to do that about this time every night.”

She shook her head. Sort of a disgust shake. “And here I thought you swore you’d never work for Ray.” She shrugged. “Guess that’s like every other promise you ever made.”

“Doing a little surveillance isn’t exactly working for him.”

“Surveillance? A big word for snooping.” I started to say something insightful about collecting evidence and not snooping, but Tammy wasn’t finished. “I don’t really give a good goddamn who you snoop on as long as it’s not me.”

“It’s not.”

“Right.” She took a step back and the five iron rose again. She searched for another target. Her gaze settled on the windshield.

“Put the club down and listen.” She lowered it a notch, but her tight jaw didn’t relax an ounce. “I know most things in your world revolve around you, but this has nothing to do with you.”

Her head swiveled one way and then the other. “Who? What did they do?” She was now in full gossip mode. A Tammy staple. “I bet it’s Betsy Friedman, isn’t it?” Not waiting for a response she continued. “Is she humping someone?” She looked toward a gray house with a large fountain in front just ahead of where I was parked. “I bet she is.”

“I can’t talk about it.”

“Sure you can.”

“No, I can’t.”

“Right. All that private eye protect the client shit?”


Longly Investigations, my father’s PI outfit. Ray Longly had been a lawyer and a former FBI Special Agent and then did some kind of spook work for the Feds he would never talk about and now for the past five years a PI. Ever since he split from the alphabet soup of D.C. agencies. Or they split from him would be more accurate. Part of Ray’s “never playing well with others.”

“And your antics aren’t helping the investigation,” I said.

A quick burst of laughter escaped her collagen-plumped lips. “That’s rich. You couldn’t investigate a flat tire. You’re an idiot.”

Sort of explains the divorce, doesn’t it? Partly anyway. Before, back when I played major-league baseball, she’d thought I hung the moon. Could do no wrong. Took her to the best restaurants and nightclubs and vacations down in South Beach, sometimes Europe. Tammy loved Paris. And loved playing a Major League wife. Rubbing shoulders with big-name athletes, believing that she could be a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Truth was, she probably could. Even today at thirty-one.

But four years ago, after my career ended, after I pitched eleven innings on a cold Cleveland October night and never recovered from the rotator cuff injury that followed, and after the paychecks dwindled to nothing, she moved on. To a lawyer. The guy who owned the seven-figure, six-bedroom hunk of steel, glass, marble, and designer furniture across the street.

Circle of life on the Riviera. Not that one. The redneck one. Gulf coast style.

“If it’s not Betty, then who?” she asked.

I shook my head. “At the risk of being redundant, I can’t tell you.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“You pick. Either works for me.”

The five iron elevated again. I uncoiled my six-three frame from the car and stood, looking at her over the roof.

“Take a breath, Tammy.”

That’s when the police cruiser rolled up, settling near the curb maybe twenty feet from my Mustang. A uniformed officer stepped out, remaining behind the open door, right hand resting on the service weapon attached to his hip. He was trim and fit in his perfectly applied uniform and spoke in a calm, even voice.

“You folks want to dial it back a bit?” he said. “Maybe tell me what’s going on here?”

After the niceties and introductions, him—Officer Blake Cooper, me—Jake Longly, her—Tammy The Insane, she told her story. Amazing how it had no relationship to reality. She began slowly but quickly built momentum, telling the good officer that I was pond scum—her words—and that I was a despicable piece of crap—more of her words—and a couple of other monikers that are better left unsaid, finally stating that I was stalking her. Spying on her. In the middle of the night.

Welcome to Tammy’s world.

While she spoke, Cooper’s gaze moved over her, stopping at the most interesting parts. When he was finally able to extricate himself from all things Tammy, he looked at me. “Sir, were you spying on her?”

“If I was, I’m not sure parking in plain sight right across from her front door would be the wise choice.”

“You want to explain that?”

I did.

“Surveillance? On who?”

“Can’t say. It’s a private matter.”

Cooper walked around the door to the front of his cruiser, hand now off the gun, thumbs hooked beneath his service belt. “You live here? In the neighborhood?”

“That’s a hoot,” Tammy said. “He lives in a cardboard box behind the shopping center.”

She can be so endearing.

“No sir, I don’t. I’m on a job. For Longly Investigations.”

“Ray Longly?”


“You work for him?”

“He’s my father.”

Cooper nodded. “That explains a lot.”

Ray didn’t restrict himself to only the FBI shit list. He and the local gendarmes didn’t play well together either. Seems he frequently butted heads with them over one thing or another. Usually stomping on their turf. Or at least they tended to see it that way. And more often than not that was the truth of it.

Tammy jumped in. “See, I’m not the only one that thinks your father is a goof ball.”

Cooper turned her way. “Ma’am, that’s not exactly what I said.”

She shoved one fist against her hip, staring at him. “Sounded that way to me.”

Again he looked her up and down before getting back to me. “Want to tell me what this’s all about?”

Boy, did I ever. “I’m on a job. Doing surveillance work for a licensed private investigation firm. I wasn’t doing anything until she went ‘Tiger Woods’ on my car.”

“I take it you two know each other,” Cooper said. Not really a question.

“We used to be married,” I said. “Probably not hard to figure why it didn’t work out.”

Again the five iron elevated.

“Ma’am, please don’t do that,” Cooper said.

She shook her head and lowered the club. “I want him arrested.”

“I don’t think that’ll be necessary.” Cooper eyed me. “So you’re Ray Longly’s son? The baseball player?”

“Ex-baseball player,” Tammy said.

“I am,” I said.

“You were great in the day.”

“That day is long gone.” Tammy again.

Cooper took a deep breath and puffed out his cheeks as he exhaled slowly. I think he was finally beginning to realize just how difficult communication with Tammy could be. When he spoke it was calm and measured. “I got a call. One of your neighbors said there was a fight going on. Complaining about the racket.”

“So, arrest him for disturbing the peace,” Tammy said. “Or something like that.”

Cooper sighed. “I think I have a better solution. Why don’t you run on back home,” he said to Tammy. And then to me, “Maybe you should shut down your surveillance for the night.”

Tammy’s chin came up and her shoulders squared. “And get off my street.” Always the last word.

“Will do,” I said.

“Ma’am?” Cooper waved a hand toward her house.

She hesitated, turned, started across the street.

“Can I have my five iron?”

“Bite me, Jake.” She extended a middle finger skyward but never looked back as she marched across the street, up the walk, and into her house. The door slammed hard.

“That was fun,” I said.

“Want to file any charges?” Cooper asked, his head tilting toward my Mustang. “For the damages?”

“Wouldn’t do any good. Her new husband’s an attorney.”

He nodded. “I see.” He looked around. “Anything going on I should know about?”

“Not really. It’s a domestic issue.”

Again he nodded. “Not much I can do since it doesn’t seem that you broke any laws, but I’d suggest you vacate the premises.” He shrugged. “To avoid further problems.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“One question,” Cooper said. “How’d you get in here? Past the guard gate?”

“I have a nice smile.” I smiled. Cooper didn’t. “They know me.”

Cooper hesitated, then nodded and handed me his card. He climbed in his cruiser, and vacated the premises.

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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Writing


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