So, it’s off the publisher after an editorial scrubbing.
“The Red Hand,” the latest Frank Nagler Mystery, is now in the final steps as my publisher Imzadi Publishing, readies the manuscript for release.
No publication date has been set, but it’s coming.
“The Red Hand” is a prequel to the three other books in the series.
Why write a prequel?
First, to answer questions about the life of Ironton, N.J. Detective Frank Nagler.
What is it like to be a new detective investigating a horrible series of deaths, labeled “an experiment in death,” by the medical examiner? How does Nagler become the soul of his hometown?
What happened to Nagler’s wife, Martha, whose memory haunts him in the series?
Why doesn’t Ironton, a once thriving manufacturing city, ever seem to turn the corner to prosperity?
These are all themes that are evident in the other three books in the series and will carried into the fifth one, now a work-in-progress.
The other reason is to add to the long story arc represented in the series.
Clues and hints to the origin, for example, of the political and financial morass that is Ironton are laid out. Also, deeper clues about how these issues will be resolved in the fifth book are dribbled throughout “The Red Hand.”
A note on style: The story will appear to have a certain herky-jerky quality. That was done to reflect several aspects to the cases: A lack of evidence, tension within the police department, and the one-step-forward, two-steps-back uncertainty of a rookie detective thrust into a murder spree beyond his imagination.
My thanks to the readers who have stuck with this series, and whose support is immeasurable.
I hope “The Red Hand” does not disappoint.
The previous Nagler Mysteries:
“The Swamps of Jersey” (2014) is about political corruption and murder.
Nagler is called out on stormy night to investigate the report of a dead woman in the Old Iron Bog. It is the first event in a chain of events that set the hard-luck city of Ironton, N.J. on edge. Besides the possible murder, the city was flooded when a week-long storm settled in and wrecked homes, businesses, and streets, and Nagler is trying to make sense of a series of letters that claim to expose theft of city funds, except they are so incomplete he wonders if it is really so.
Then there is Lauren Fox, a woman sent to Ironton to jump-start economic development. She and Nagler are attracted to one another and begin to become serious when she leaves town without an explanation. Nagler was an emotional recluse following the death of his wife years before. They had been childhood sweethearts, and her death crushed Nagler.
A GAME CALLED DEAD was named a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest.
Ironton, N.J., is still a city struggling with its economic and rebuilding troubles, but new heroes emerge. Meanwhile a break-in at the local college leaves two women badly beaten, and one later dies. Following a series of criminal acts in the city, including several that damage the book store owned by Leonard, Nagler’s friend, the story takes on a sinister twist. The title comes from the students’ name for a video game that has taken on a real-world life. They call it “A Game Called Dead.”
The story is tense and propulsive.
“The Weight of Living” (2017) brings Frank Nagler face-to-face with a soulless, manipulative killer whose crimes stretch back decades.
2017: First Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards
2018: Named a Notable 100 Book in the Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest
2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Independent Press Awards contest.
2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Big NYC Book Contest.
A young girl is found in a grocery store Dumpster on a cold March night wearing just shorts and a tank top. She does not speak to either Detective Frank Nagler, the social worker called to the scene, or later to a nun, who is an old friend of Nagler’s.
What appears to be a routine search for the girl’s family turns into a generational hell that drags Nagler into an examination of a decades old death of a young girl, and the multi-state crime enterprise of the shadow ringmaster.
The deeper Nagler looks, the more he and his companions are endangered, until the shocking climax that leaves Nagler questioning his actions to both solve the crimes and heal his damaged soul.
The story is entangled, deeply involving and holds an emotional grip.
The Nagler Mysteries are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
The first three books in the series were issued in an anthology edition in 2018. It is available from the sires above in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats. (A handy way to catch up).
An audiobook version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available on audible.com and Amazon.