Thrilling Detective Fiction

“So you’re a private detective? I didn’t know they existed, except in books — or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors.”
— Bacall to Bogart in The Big Sleep


For the first ten or so years of its existence, The Thrilling Detective Web Site published online fiction, mostly original short stories, plus an occasional excerpt or classic reprint. In that time, we were lucky enough to put out some really good stuff, give some exposure to some up-and-coming writers, and even win a few awards. I couldn’t have done it without the dogged determination of long-time fiction editor Gerald So and my original co-editor Victoria Esposito, and so I want to thank them once again for all their hard work and support over the years. As I said, I could have never done it alone. And I didn’t.

And now, perhaps against my better judgement, after another ten years (or so), I’m thinking of starting it all over again.


So much has changed in publishing since those first ten (or so) years, and editors are increasingly viewed by some of the ego-bloated self-pub and KU brigade as somewhere between an unnecessary evil and dog shit, but a good story is still a good story — and deserves to treated as such, not rushed to publication to meet some cyber-quota, or because some “writer” or “publisher” is too lazy to put out the best story they can.

So please, if you don’t want to be edited, don’t start sending me your stories.

A few comments or suggestions would be nice, though, so I know what I might be getting myself into. And so far, nobody’s responded in any significant way.


I‘m starting small, with a favour for a pal or two, which — if you’ve ever read in the genre — is often how trouble starts. Mark Coggins has been a good friend to this site over the years — a contributor, an advertiser, a drinking buddy — and a damn good P.I. writer for even longer. His August Riordan series, about a tough, smart but altogether human private investigator, is a San Francisco treat that truly deserves a wider audience. Over the years, the series has drawn praise from Lee Child, Domenic Stansberry, Megan Abbott, Loren D. Estleman, James Crumley and a slew of other folks who know how many beans make five.

And now Mark has a new one in the series coming out, The Dead Beat Scroll, which involves the hunt for a previously unknown manuscript from Jack Kerouac, making the title one of the punnier word splatters of the year. I’m proud to say we’ve got an excerpt for it right here.

And we’ve got another treat for you. Earlier this year, P.I. writer W. Glenn Duncan, creator of much-loved Texas gumshoe Rafferty, passed away. In Sunset, his son, W. Glenn (Bill) Duncan Jr., who has continued the series, says “goodbye.” With a little help from Rafferty himself…

Meanwhile, there’s still plenty more fiction to check out. Feel free to stroll down the mean streets of our archives…

And please, let me know what you think. It keeps me going…


September 1998

Zen and the Art of Murder by E.M. Cosin (excerpt)
Our very first Thrilling Detective Fiction was a couple of chapters of a then soon-to-be-released novel by talented newcomer Elizabeth Cosin, featuring Los Angeles private eye Zen Moses.

October 1998

Hit and Run by Christopher Mills
Introducing Portland, Maine private eye Matthew Dain in a short story that may well leave you cold.

November 1998

The Riding Boy by Terry White
For your reading pleasure: Thomas Haftmann, an existentialist asskicker and P.I.

Never Take a Shave at a Shop Named Delilah’s by Henry Mazel (excerpt)
An excerpt from Murderously Incorrect, a new novel published by Crime and Again Press, and introducing NY eye Alex Rada.

December 1998

A Gift For the Conklins by Kim Sellers
A seasonal, non-P.I. tale. And what do you want for Christmas?

Headlock by Burl Barer
A sneak preview of a soon-to-be-published novel, marking the debut of P.I. Jeff Reynolds, or whatever his name is.

January 1999

Secret Dead Men by Duane Swierczynski
Mere words can not describe this bizarre detective tale, featuring P.I. Del Winter…

The Gift of Wallace Random by Hugh Lessig
Hard-boiled newshawk Picasso Smith meets a man who claims he can tell the future. I’d say “They don’t write ’em like this anymore,” except that Hugh Lessig does.

Spring 1999

Now You See Her… by Robert L.Iles
A short-short featuring private eye Peter B. Bruck.

No Good From a Corpse by Leigh Brackett (excerpt)
An excerpt from a rare, hard-to-find classic by one of the genre’s best writers, soon to (finally) be re-published after almost fifty years!

May/June 1999

Slightly Tarnished Armor by Christopher Mills
Back by popular demand. Another Matt Dain tale.

Truth Is The Perfect Disguise by Jack Curtin
A taste of what promises to be a great book, featuring a Philapelphia P.I.

Summer 1999

A Family Affair by Peter A. Parmantie
There’s ugly, and then there’s real UGLY.

“Detective Story” by Kathy Korty
Here ya go! Our very first poem.

December 1999

Detectives Inc.: A Terror of Dying Dreams by Don McGregor and Gene Colan
A Thrilling Exclusive! An excerpt from the classic P.I. graphic novel, and a peek at what went on behind the scenes in its creation.

January 2000

The Immortal Game by Mark Coggins (excerpt)
An excerpt from a much-talked about new novel, which features the long-awaited return of private eye August Riordan.

February/March 2000

It’s All in the Delivery by Peter A. Parmantie
P.I. Joe Angello’s back, with a tale of corruption, murder and breakfast.

“God Bless the Child by David White
Mama may have, papa may have, but…

April/May 2000

Special Delivery by Hugh Lessig
Newshawk Alamo Barnes and the gang at The Frisco Foil receive a package full of trouble…

June 2000

The Black Hole of Luck by Anthony Neil Smith
P.I. David Junior knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em…

Stalking Amanda by Jochem Vandersteen
Sure, security specialist Noah Milano has a few “family” problems, but that doesn’t stop him from helping other people…

September 2000

A Kiss Like Money by Victor Gischler
P.I. Connor Samson finds out the hard way that sometimes a penny saved is a penny burned.

Secret Smile by Tribe
Holy Toledo! You think she’s trouble? You should meet her sister…

The Desperate Minutes by Brian Evankovich
This well-armed father knows best–or does he?

Winter 2000

“Heavy Friends” by Scott Wolven
There’s nothing like a letter from a friend to warm the heart during the holidays… (Story withdrawn upon author’s request)

Blink of an Eye” by Anthony Rain
It’s winter in New York City, and it’s snowing…

The Half Monty (Part 1)” by Laura Lippman
Tess Monaghan plays the odds, and then plays her trump card. It’s a game, it’s a puzzle, it’s a candy, it’s a breath mint!

March 2001

A Vague Implication by Darren Subarton
“She was a prostitute but not your everyday $20 dollar grab-bag type of whore.”

Duces Tecum by Robert Hoyden
“A subpoena doo…sess…t…what?”

The Half Monty (Part 2) by Laura Lippman
The solution and conclusion…

April 2001

Ash Wednesday by Kent Westmoreland
In the wake of Mardi Gras, Big Easy eye Burleigh Drummond sets out to do battle, armed only with his wits and a killer hangover…

June 2001

Thoroughbred by Peter Parmantie
Joe Angello is back!

Hampton Blood by Anthony Rain
Miles Beckett gets out of the city.

Death Lessons by John Samony
Music, murder and all that jazz….

The Black Squall by Lori Stone (excerpt)
An excerpt from a witty new novel that P.I. trivia fans should really get a kick out of.

Summer 2001

Roselle Park by John Alvar
Sometimes a private investigation ain’t no walk in the park.

Friscoville by O’Neil De Noux
It had to happen –a cat story!

Millstone by Hugh Lessig
Newshawk Picasso Smith, Jr. discovers it isn’t only the wheels of justice that grind…

Still Water by Graham Powell
P.I. Thomas Ross realizes all the reptiles aren’t in the bayou…

Fall 2001

Give the Woman Credit by John Swan
Here’s a guy from Hamilton, Ontario who knows a dick when he sees one…

Just One of Those Things by D.L. Browne
Mary Kelly’s tired of being just “the girl” in the office, living through her pulp writing. So the Old Man sends her on a real case…

Lucky Stiff by Steve Kaye
P.I. Leonard Dolman doesn’t like domestics. Here’s one reason why…A blast from the past, well-worth re-discovering.

Winter-Spring 2002

Bourne Again by Stephen D. Rogers
What could be more relaxing than a ride to the Cape?

Death … and More Death by Bill Capron
The Colour-Blind Detective goes fishing, and hooks something bigger than he expected…murder!

Summer 2002 

Velda’s First Case by Ron Miller
A stripper with a heart of gold… and a P.I. ticket.

Totaled by Clayton Emery
Introducing P.I./grease monkey Susan “Tyger” Blake, a gal who knows how to handle herself, with or without a thirteen-inch crescent wrench. Nominated (almost) for a Best Short Story of 2003 Edgar.

Seeming by Peter A. Parmantie
Joe Angello’s back — the sad sack P.I. with a face only a wife could love.

The Drowning Detective by David Cox
A tasty tale of friendship from across the pond that goes down smooth as a pint on the house, with a nice, bitter finish.

Vulture Capital by Mark Coggins (excerpt)
An excerpt from the latest August Riordan novel.

Fall 2002

Closure by Dave White
An honest-to-God P.I. tale that dares to use the events of 9/11 as something more than a cheap thrill. Winner, 2003 Derringer Award for Best Short Story

“The Dover Affair” by Dave Zeltserman
The first-ever short story featuring Denver P.I./columnist Johnny Lane.

Woolworth’s … For All Your Defensive Needs by C.J. Henderson
You’ll never look at Slim Jims quite the same way again, I promise.

Spring 2003

Director’s Cut by Roger L. Simon (excerpt)
An excerpt from the Moses Wine novel. Evidently what the former hippie dick really wants to do, after all these years, is direct.

Little Holes by Mike MacLean
A nasty little story that’ll have you feeling dirty for days. I’m sure you’ll love it!

Summer 2003

Munchies by Jack Bludis
A lip-smackin’ little tale from back in the day, taken from the Hardbroiled anthology.

Get Miles Away by David White
A Jackson Donne story. The course of true love doth ne’er run smooth. Also available as an audio download.

Beating On The Border by Robert W. Tinsley
This one’s guaranteeed to push a few buttons.

The Thirteen Feathers by Ron Miller
The return of our favourite stripper-turned- PI: Velda Bellinghausen.

Hallowe’en 2003

Red Ransom by G. Wells Taylor
A Wildclown case. It ain’t easy being dead, but someone’s got a do it.

Holidays 2003

Crestfallen’s Getaway by Simon Wood
A complete story from the Fedora II anthology, introducing a great new private eye.

Full Circle by Peter A. Parmantie
The return of Joseph Angello, still ugly, still grieving, still pissed off.

Walking After Midnight by Ray Banks
Cal Innes may be walking after midnight, but he won’t play the patsy for anyone.

Whacking Scrooge by Hugh Lessig
What the Dickens? A Picasso Smith, Jr. tale that we think will really get your chestnuts roasting.

Velda, Girl Detective, Meets the Strangler by Ron Miller
A special holiday treat: a complete, downloadable Better Little Book, featuring everyone’s famous stripper-turned-detective.

 Spring 2004

God’s Dice by David White
Jackson Donne takes a shot, but faith is the hole card. Short-listed, “Notable Stories of 2004” by storySouth. Short-listed, 2005 Derringer Award

God Put a Smile by Ray Banks
Cal Innes finds out what “Suffer little children” really means…

Summer 2004

Take Down The Union Jack by Ray Banks
P.I. Cal Innes decides he ain’t workin’ for the clampdown.

Darkness on the Edge of Town by David White
Private eye Jackson Donne fills in a few blanks in his past.

The Port of Missing Men by Tim Wohlforth
Jim Wolf lifts the lid on… his own past.

Roofies by James R. Winter
Nick Kepler makes his Thrilling Detective debut with a little ditty full of sex, violence and pharmaceuticals.

No Vacation For Murder by Ron Miller
A complete, downloadable Velda Bellinghausen story.

Holidays 2004

For Felina… by Robert W. Tinsley
Jack Brady pulls a Marty Robbins. It’s a love story!

No Heroics by David Cox
Malloy steps in it again. Fark!

Spring 2005

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (excerpt)
An excerpt from the classic novel.You may have heard of it.

Validation by Stephen D. Rogers
A P.I. finds himself a beast of burden.

The Safest Place on Earth by Mark Best
Don’t bet on it… Winner, 2006 Derringer Award for Best Longer Short Story

Re: Your Murder by Christopher Gooch
A letter to a dead man makes a killer of a memo.

Get Miles Away by David White
An exclusive audio encore.

Summer 2005

Acquainted with the Night by David White
Our man in Jersey introduces a new P.I.

Dirty Barry by Ray Banks
Barry DeSilva, the “anti-Cal Innes,” does the nasty.

Consider It Lit by Stephen D. Rogers
Ever had a really bad day?

The Face in the Concrete by Tapani Bagge
Translated from the Finnish by Minna Haapio
Introducing lawyer/detective Onni Syrjänen who works the mean streets of Kerava, Finland.

January 2006

Out of Clay by Sarah Weinman
Introducing Stuart Kovacs, a P.I. who has something more than a monkey on his back.

Little Sins by Mike MacLean
Mike’s nameless P.I., whose moral code is surprisingly elastic, returns in another little tale of life in the ethical free-fall zone.

Fall 2006

One for the Home Team by Kim Harrington
It’s a family affair, just a family affair.

Breaking In by Daniel Hatadi
Introducing Danny Hawaii, rookie P.I. For those who love the sound of breaking glass.

Like a Matter of Honour by Russel D. McLean
A down-and-dirty tale featuring Dudee eye Sam Bryson. Bring your own soap.

With One Eye Open by D. H. Reddall
Cape Cod gumshoe Charles Stubblefield, last seen years ago in AHMM, makes his long-overdue return..

The Dybbuk Made Me Do It by Sarah Weinman
Stuart Kovacs returns, demon and all. Just for the hell of it.

A Dum-Dum for the President by Martin Brett (excerpt)
An excerpt from the 1962 pulp classic, featuruing two-fisted Montreal gumshoe Mike Garfin.

Winter 2006

Last Call by Stephen D. Rogers
Closing time, straight up.

Blondes, Blondes, Blondes! by Jack Bludis
Ken Sligo returns. Nobody rocks post-WWII Baltimore like Bludis.

The Wrong Man to Cross by Duane Swierczynski
Introducing Philadelphia P.I. John MacNeil. Have six-pack, will travel.

The Last to Know by Karl Koweski
Koweski nails the bar band scene with such force and poignancy your ears will still be ringing days later.

The Sorceror’s Circle by Michael Siverling (excerpt)
An excerpt from the new Midnight Investigations novel.

Cocaine and Blue Eyes by Frederick Zackel (excerpt)
An excerpt from the recently reprinted 1978 classic that introduced Archeresque private eye Michael Brennen.

Spring 2007

A Saving Grace by Patricia Abbott
The smell of dung, bacon, cheap fuel… and hurt.

My Client’s Wife by Michael Bracken
“Moe Ron” Boyette, it turns out, is a not-so-private dick.

Where’s the Beef? by Stephen D. Rogers
Another U.S. Grade A story from Rogers

All in the Holster by Barry Ergang
We apologize in advance for this, the first in a series of proposed Ralston Groaners….

Circling the Drain by Fleur Bradley
A haunting tale of a P.I. who’s seen — and sees — too much.

“Mickey Spillane” by Gerald So
The site’s poet laureate pays tribute to the master. In verse.

Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman (excerpt)
An excerpt from the new John March novel.

Fall 2007

The Gospel According to Gordon Black by Richard Helms
Helms keeps getting nominated for Shamus Awards. Mark my words, it’s only a matter of time. Winner, 2008, Derringer Award for Best Short Story.

Sumo by Stephen Blackmoore
What do you do with a 500-pound corpse?

Humpty Dumpty by Gary Alexander
You can almost smell the Brylcreem.

This is Life by Seth Harwood (excerpt)
An excerpt from the upcoming Jack Palms novel. The trip was great, but eventually you have to go home…

Dead Street by Mickey Spillane (excerpt)
An excerpt from the novel. A last blast from the master, courtesy of HardCaseCrime.

Holiday 2007

Won’t You Step Into My Parlor? by Dick Stodghill
Jack Eddy rides to the rescue, with Bram in tow.

El Bohemio by Richie Narvaez (partial)
A taut little jaunt through the mean streets about as dated as today’s newspaper.

Piece by Piece by Paul Sundeson
An early 60s tour of duty through the pre-Civil Rights Big Easy that will stick to your ribs.

Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins (excerpt)
An excerpt from the new new Ms. Tree novel, courtesy of HardCaseCrime.

April 2008 (Tenth Anniversary Issue)

A Friendly Game by Stephen D. Rogers
Friendly? Yeah, right…A low key charmer that’ll have you root-root-rooting for the home team.

The Truth About Lang Tri by Robert Petyo
As timely a story and look into the elusive nature of “truth” as we’ve ever run, with the shadow of yet another unpopular war looming large. (Story withdrawn upon author’s request)

Ace in the Hole by Paul Guyot
Logan used to be a private dick. Now he’s just a dick. But justice of a sort gets him in the end.

Lady Luck by J. Winter
A Nick Kepler adventure. You know what that means!

Starlight by Sandra Seamans
A poignant, deceptively simple story that will linger long after you’ve read it.

One More Shot by Tapani Bagge
Translated from the Finnish by Minna Haapio
Onni Syrjänen, Finland’s answer to Perry Mason, is back. You want Loserville? This is it. No wonder everybody drinks in Tapani’s stories.

Pinkerton’s Secret by Eric Lerner (excerpt)
A short vignette from the novel, a rollicking historical drama that re-imagines the story of Allen J. Pinkerton.

The Devil’s of Bakersfield by John Shannon (excerpt)
An excerpt from the new Jack Liffey novel

January 2009

Discharged by Stephen D. Rogers
A dark little nugget featuring a gambler running the bluff of his life.

Shot Back by Kieran Shea
A reluctant hero has his own bluff to run, but shows shows a rather amazing amount of true grit, all the same.

Pandora by Patrick Shawn Bagley
Former private detective August Hanrahan displays similar reticence iin this sordid little vignette that’ll have you reaching for the soap — and wondering about the neighbours.

The Big Wake-Up by Mark Coggins (excerpt)
An excerpt from the August Riordan novel. Also available as a slide show.

Horns by Mark Troy
Honolulu good time gal and crack P.I. Val Lyon is hired to find out who’s taking the wrong bull by the, uh, horn?

Spring 2009

Love is for Suckers by Robert Petyo
But sex? That’s a different issue.

Terra Bella by Robert Stevens
Anyone who’s seen Chinatown knows orange groves and private eyes don’t mix well…

Love Don’t Mean a Thing by Jim Winter
Just in time for St. Valentine’s Day, a new
 Nick Kepler adventure.

East of A by Russell Atwood (reprint)
Finding a teenage runaway in New York City is easy. The hard part’s finding the one you’re looking for.

September 2019

The Dead Beat Scroll by Mark Coggins (excerpt)
After ten years, we’re on the road again.

Sunset by W. Glenn (Bill) Duncan Jr.
Texas private eye Rafferty and a son say goodbye…

February 2020

The Lonely Shroud (1964) by Scott Mitchell (excerpt)
A private eye looks at forty.

Of course, your comments on the stories are always welcome….

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