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The third installment in my Big Island of Hawaii series is The Honorary Jersey Girl. It's just out from Shotgun Honey:

Criminal defense attorney Agnes Rodrigues got her client Hank Alves acquitted of a murder in the rainforest of the Big Island, but the victim was a cop’s wife, and a case like this doesn’t end with “not guilty.” When someone takes a shot at her client, and that someone looks like a cop, Agnes knows no one in Hawaii will take on the job of protecting Hank.

Agnes travels to New Jersey to hire ex-prostitute Diana Andrews and her crew of bodyguards, who have a reputation as the toughest in the business. But Diana refuses the job. The Jersey girl has been to the Big Island before, and it almost killed her. Diana’s own people persuade her, but her decision puts her in the cross hairs with Agnes.

The bodyguards are soon earning their payday, but nobody can be protected forever. Keeping Hank alive means finding the real killer, and Diana might know the answer from first career. And what Agnes has to do outside the courtroom will make her an honorary Jersey girl, if it doesn’t kill her first.

From the publisher or Amazon


Still available: The Hollow Vessel, the new Errol Coutinho novel.

The Hawaii County Police are used to Rotten Roger sleeping rough, but now the veteran tramp has a new tent. The bloodstains in it don’t bother Roger, but they are the last thing Detective Errol Coutinho needs to see.

Coutinho is already looking for Rhonda Cunningham, a young woman from New Jersey who was last seen in Hilo buying a high tech tent like Roger’s. Rhonda planned to live off the grid in the rainforest of the Big Island, but her wealth stands in the way. Too many people want a piece of her to let her disappear. Some wish her well, some want her dead, most want her money, and one wants the thing she will never give.

So whose blood is it in the tent? Coutinho’s investigation will send him up against a hit man from New Jersey, a bunch of wannabe local gangsters, and his own nephew. An old girlfriend wants the best for her son, but she complicates the case even more, and a legendary marijuana trafficker proves both real and deadly. It’s getting crowded in the rainforest, and the shakeout will be murder.

Get it at Amazon


Also still available, The Place Of Refuge, the first novel featuring Detective Errol Coutinho of the Hawaii County Police:

etective Errol Coutinho of the Hawaii County Police has a serial killer of prostitutes to catch and a shortage of leads to pursue. Office Jessie Hokoana of the Honolulu P.D. has an undercover assignment that tests her loyalties and takes her to the brink of death.

When their cases collide in the rainforest of the Big Island, family ties turn deadly, and there may be no pu’uhonua—no place of refuge—for anyone.

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Coutinho is part of the world of prostitute Diana Andrews, and they will meet again.


ALSO STILL AVAILABLE

The first Diana novel, The Same Mistake Twice is now available from the e-book publisher Untreed Reads. All e-book formats are available.

For ten years the dead man lurked in an unmarked grave with a bullet in his head and no one to miss him. Now he has resurfaced, and the only clue to his identity is Diana's phone number freakishly preserved in his pocket. The police are demanding a list of her clients, and they threaten to stop looking the other way about her business. Diana must stall the cops and solve the case, and she’s running short of time. Her investigation will take her back to her earliest days as a prostitute. She will confront old mistakes and old enemies, and that's the best-case scenario. The worst could be another secret grave—for her.


Welcome to home of the Diana Andrews stories. I hope you'll feel free to see what's here. Just don't tell Diana she has a heart of gold.

It might even be true, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She needs to believe that she is the toughest, smartest woman in a hard, cold business. She’s a prostitute who works behind closed doors, where the dangers can match those on the street. Two hundred dollars an hour may sound like a good payday, but sometimes it doesn’t cover the damage.

Diana lives and works in Sussex County in the northern tip of New Jersey. She moves easily between her hardscrabble hometown and the upper middle class suburbs surrounding it. But wherever her business takes her, trouble rides along, because greed, lust and revenge breach all barriers of class and wealth.

The Diana story started as a mental picture of a man and a woman standing by a car on the shoulder of a deserted highway. I was tackling my first assignment in a writing class at the Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey. Somehow I knew the man wanted to kill the woman. I decided that he was a police officer and she a prostitute, and that I wanted her to be the sympathetic character. In finding a plausible motive for the cop, I decided to make that character a woman also, and a victim of sexual jealousy. The story turned out well, but I realized that it read more like the first chapter of a larger work.

That insight set my course for the next ten years. The results include six Diana novels. Only the first in the series has been published, by the ebook publisher Untreed Reads. Their titles are:

The Same Mistake Twice

Do Overs

Tentacles

The Homicide Sisters

The Senatrix

The Good Place

Almost one hundred short stories from the Diana universe have appeared in print and online publications. One story, called Bismarck Rules, is included in the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2010, edited by Lee Child and Otto Penzler. More recently, supporting characters from the novel Tentacles, in which Diana travels to the Big Island of Hawaii with a dangerous client, have been carrying some stories of their own.

Why a prostitute? It took me a while answer the question, even as my word count approached the half million mark. I finally decided to stop thinking so much, because it all goes back to my love of dark crime fiction. I concluded that prostitution, with the deception and self-deception that it requires on both sides of the transaction, leads to mayhem of the most fascinating kind.

So, please visit the rest of this website, read a sample story, follow the links to other short stories, and I hope you’ll agree that Diana Andrews lives at the heart of noir.