About This Issue

First of all, if you’re here for the first time, welcome to the new location of The Thrilling Detective Web Site, and if you’ve been here before, well, you already know the drill.

In fact, if trouble is your business, murder is your meat or gumshoes are your glory, you picked a good time to drop in. On April 1st, 2019, we celebrated our twenty-first anniversary, and our site can now drink legally in every state of the union. Please browse reponsibly.

But I digress…

As you’ve probably noticed, if you haven’t dropped by in a while, things are looking a tad different around here. That’s because I’m in the middle of moving the site from our old server and turning it into a WordPress site.

There are going to be a lot of growing pains, as I slowly revamp and transfer a cranky, temperamental twenty-one year old web site over here, but ultimately we’ll have a site that’s an even better and more useful resource for fans of fictional “private eyes and other tough guys and gals who make trouble their business — and not their hobby.”

I wasn’t kidding about it being a long, hard slog — I’m only about a third of the way — but as I’m wending my way through, I’m becoming more and more intrigued by some of the possibilities of WordPress, and I’ve been encouraged by some of your comments and feedback. Some of you have even sent me some beer money to keep me going… always appreciated.

Right now, there’s no real rhyme or reason as to what gets moved here, and when — it’s all pretty much impulse and stream-of-consciousness, as I try to figure it all out. But don’t panic — we’ll get there. Likewise, don’t get your panties all twisted about us losing anything. We’re going to save it all. We’re simply tweaking and simplifying and updating it, moving things from one site to another. Yes, it’s taking a while, but it’s also sorta fun, as entries that haven’t been touched for years suddenly get tasered back to life, and decades-old typos and run-on sentences get slapped into submission (replaced, of course, by new typos and new run-on sentences).

One thing that I keep hearing is that people want me to publish fiction again. I’m not sure that’s viable, but I’d like to hear your comments and suggestions. So, I’m posting two pieces of fiction in this issue, as a sort of trial run. The Dead Beat Scroll is an excerpt from Mark Coggins‘ new P.I. novel, and Sunsetis an unexpectedly moving vignette by Glenn (Bill) Duncan, Jr. that has Texas P.I. Rafferty paying tribute to his creator (and Bill’s dad) W. Glenn Duncan.

By the way, don’t worry. All those great stories and excerpts will eventually wind up here. In fact, the Thrilling Detective Fiction Masterlist has already moved.

Another of the exciting new features to the site will be the comments section — I’m hoping to hear from even more of you. Each post/page has a comments section, and I hope you’ll take advantage of it, letting me know how I’m doing, what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, and what you would like to see here.


This issue’s “cover” may seem like overkill, but a great photo is a great photo. And Mark Coggins, whose new novel, The Dead Beat Scroll, is being excerpted in our revitalized fiction section, just happens to be a great photographer. As well as a great writer. Don’t you just hate him?

Anyway, he suggested I use the photo up there to illustrate his excerpt, but I decided it was just too good for that (especially since I’d already found what I think is the perfect photo for it — also taken by Mark, that rat bastard.

But our cover’s San Francisco street scene? I just love it. It’s so good, so dark, so unsettling.  And that tunnel… so foreboding… It’s one of many included in the book (yeah, when was the last time you read a private eye novel that was also illustrated?)

Mark says that photo — and the area in which it was taken, was the inspiration for “The Golden Fingers,”  the notorious “rub-and-tug place” mentioned in his excerpt. Mark goes on to inform us that, the area is  where Miles Archer gets his in Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, although there was no building there in the twenties —  just a “bare slope leading down to Stockton.”

Kevin Burton Smith


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