THE CHARLIE KOMENSKY FILES
Charlie Komensky - a real Private Detective
On the one hand, the idea that a fictional character could take on a life of his own is cliché. At the other end of the spectrum, perhaps the author might be suffering from some psychotic break and actually believe himself to be the character. The reader will have to decide which is true for Charlie Komensky. Just remember that abundant are the names of fictional characters who insert so well into the popular culture that they often are thought of as real, living people--Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty, Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Perry Mason, Nick and Nora Charles, Hercule Poirot, James Bond, and the more recent, clever, double fictional TV character, Richard Castle, who writes of himself as, and shares exploits with, the fictional fictional character Jameson Rook.
Notice a trend here? All of these characters are either action-adventure thriller or mystery-detective oriented. The only other contemporary characters who figuratively live forever seem to be trendy vampires or comic book supernaturals.
Okay then, Charlie's a real fictional character, and he doesn't want anyone to think otherwise. He's opinionated and old-fashioned. Younger readers will take him as mysogynistic, but he probably has more respect for women and women's rights than the average Wall Street banker. Politically conservative, he has strong opinions about what's right and what's wrong, and he acts on them, sometimes to his own detriment. Charlie is confused by friends who don't always act friendly, and by villains who have redeemable traits. There is no excuse for bad behavour, no grey area for criminality, and no quarter for evil. Yet Charlie is human, morally marginal, and flawed in ways that he may never understand.
So one day Charlie brings this writer of his acquaintance a stack of manilla folders, gets a big, shit-eatin' grin on his face, and says, "I think there's a story or two in here. An' if this ain't enough, I got more where these came from. If you don' want 'em, I'm gonna sell 'em to HBO."
The resulting first CK novel, The Flat Tire Murders, was originally published in 2012 as Primary Rubber: The Flat Tire Murders, and published in the currently-titled Second Edition in 2013.
THE FLAT TIRE MURDERS
Bullets, car bombs, brutal murder and more explode from the pages of this fast-paced mystery of lust, love, fraud and desperation. Private detective Charlie Komensky, in true murder mystery form, never fires a shot as he investigates an apparent double homicide. The ex-Chicago cop is hired by a rich, seductive client from Iowa, who insists that the murder of her lover, Danny Flatwood, can be solved by pinning it on the widow. As a train fanatic extraordinaire, Charlie also manages to get in as much railroading as possible as he heads off to Iowa City.
This is the first novel of the series. Introduce yourself to one of the most politically incorrect detectives you will ever meet. He's a throwback to the 1940s, on the verge evolving only with the help of his on-again-off-again girlfriend, who puts up with him despite the fact that every woman is "Doll" or "Honey." Featured as a Page-Turner in the December 2013 issue of Shelf Unbound.
Some thought the story was too slick, and Charlie's relationship with his girl too easy. When another file revealed that Charlie's relationship was anything but safe, and that his psychological state was anything but stable, the author pitched a novel that would show that side of Charlie to the public. Against Charlie's objections, he's protesting all the way to the back door of the bank--where private detectives always do their financial deals--after the 2013 publication of the second novel, The Steam Locomotive Murders.
THE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE MURDERS
The most gruesome and unthinkable murders keep Private Detective Charlie Komensky on the move through territory far beyond his geographic comfort zone in this second novel and third case of the series. The discovery of a body disfigured by fire and smoke inside an old steam engine interrupts Charlie’s vacation, and almost destroys his relationship with his capable but frustrated fiancée. As Linda threatens to break off the relationship completely, Charlie may stray from it with the young and willing female investigator assigned to the case. At the same time, shadowy criminal elements conspire to take advantage of Charlie’s distractions, and the grotesque murders mount up. Always on the financial ropes, Charlie tries to escape being shot, electrocuted, and framed for attempted murder while uncovering clues that lead to an old diamond heist and his own blocked memory.
To mollify Charlie's bruised ego--and because sales weren't enough to buy Charlie that restored Ford Pinto he so badly wanted--the author agreed to write a short story about an intermediate case, one that fell in the stack of folders between Flat Tire and Steam Locomotive. The story was published in digital format to coincide with the release of Steam Locomotive and the re-release of Flat Tire in September 2013 as Wheel Deadly.
In this short story (plot chronologically between the first and second Charlie Komensky novels), the publisher of a controversial political instrument for a Chechen separatist group sustains fatal, crushing injuries in a horrible SUV rollover. Was it murder, suicide, or just an accident? Still suffering mightily from injuries sustained during the investigation of The Flat Tire Murders, Charlie Komensky is faced with the most daunting challenge yet: He must solve a mystery while confined indoors under doctor’s orders, and he must do it with Linda, his fiancée, looking over his shoulder. Will the circumstances bring danger and gun play into Linda’s home in this short-story interlude between The Flat Tire Murders and the new novel, The Steam Locomotive Murders?
It's hard to keep a good man down, and Charlie is no exception. This next story is so personal, so difficult for him, that he insisted on writing it himself. It left him a broken man, looking for a new career, so why not a writer? Judge for yourself!
Just the most incredible Charlie Komensky file ever! Charlie has a lot to lose when his girl Linda is detained for terrorism resulting in the death of a respected scientist. Our hero treads a fine line between reality and lunatic conspiracy, and between the moral and the amoral, as he meets Linda's sister and follows the clues to an international coverup of torture, murder, and perversion in the church. In order to find the evidence that can blow the case wide open, he must delve ever deeper into a world where people will do almost anything to feed their addictions to sex. Can Charlie free his girl and set his world right again, or will it be too late?
It's a pious blast of murder! Now available in digital and paperback formats.
Charlie's sense of his own ability to judge a situation is still shaky. He decides to agree to a television interview still knowing full well that he hates to do interviews. But what the hell! He'll give it a try. It turns out that things might just get a little messy.
The stalker of a local news celebrity becomes a murder victim in the fifth story featuring Charlie Komensky, the train-watching detective. He can’t avoid getting involved when she’s killed during a TV interview almost right under Charlie’s nose. Did the celebrity look-alike stalker get targeted because someone mistook her for the real thing? Or did she learn something while stalking, something so powerful she had to be silenced? Charlie calls his own judgment into question when veteran anchor Linka Wurst turns out to be two different people, and Charlie may have slept with both of them. As her ties to the Russian Mafia are exposed, Charlie’s investigation becomes a threat to more than just organized crime in this fast-paced, enjoyable little thriller.
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