James H. Barrett

Peggy is shot full of holes. Sammy takes one near the neck and one in the thigh when two of his cases collide.

A waif, Zoë Hummerstein, hires Detective Sammy Shovel to solve a twenty-two-year-old murder that her father was accused of. Zoë made certain her makeup and clothes were chosen with care before she stepped into the private investigator’s office. Sobbing, Zoë tells her story of a hit-and-run took that took place in San Francisco; not only was her father accused of murdering his wholesale liquor business competitor, but also having an affair with a woman from Oakland. Her father’s young business partner, Tony Lucchesi had taken over the business and married a woman named Linda from the east coast; a New Jersey Mafioso’s daughter.

Zoë knew the only way to solve the mystery was for Sammy to find the mistress.

Sammy feels the case seems straightforward and it will be simple enough to prove her father innocent. But Sammy soon learns there are things Zoë didn’t tell him: her mother died six months after her father died in prison. Linda took over the company, L&T Liquors, and her father’s partner, Tony is somehow different. Sammy learns an astonishing truth; Linda had been paying Zoë’s mother secret monthly stipends. When her mother died, Zoë lost her cash cow.

But when the waif’s case slams into another, they explode into a fantastic struggle of such magnitude that it leaves Sammy in shoot up and in totally dismay. The leads will take him on a perilous journey from seemingly unrelated warehouse robberies in San Francisco to a ghastly murder in Oregon.

Like some of Sammy’s other cases, Waif is filled with lies and murderous greed, but when he finds the police corruption aspect, he knows Herman Ziece, Zoë’s father, was railroaded for murder. But Sammy needs proof. It came in sealed vials of DNA samples taken years before by a funeral operator. The DNA proves the extraordinary circumstances of the case. However, it almost gets him killed when he falls into a well- laid trap. Regardless of the risks, Sammy Shovel delves into every case with equal gusto–to find out why pure innocent people turns into public enemy number one. Growing more suspicious with each–now provocative– visit from Zoë, Sammy finds her high school yearbook, and it all becomes clear and the answer was right in front of him from the start.

Bullets, threats, and seduction won’t stop Sammy Shovel from unraveling the truth.

Cold Coffee Review: San Francisco’s Private Investigator Sammy Shovel is determined to unravel the truth at whatever costs. Whether or not you have been following the Sammy Shovel mystery novels or this is your first one; dust off your sleuth skills and join in the hunt. Let’s recap as Author Ronald M. James keeps writing.

Book One: An Adventurous Night: introduces us to a “short, slightly overweight, balding” PI that (who?) “sinks his teeth into (each) case” and never loses his grip. (How about adding he’s despised by the SFPD and will take on repo jobs for a buck or two.)

Book Two: Too Beautiful For Words shows us that Sammy Shovel (wants to change his rotten attitude and the reader is introduces to a world class European courtesan named Zondair. She becomes his on and off again secretary in the next book Waif).

Book Three: Waif is set in 1994. Zoë Hummerstein hires Detective Sammy Shovel to solve a twenty-two-year old murder that convicted her father (Herman Ziece) of murdering his wholesale liquor business competitor. With characters that keep any sleuth on his or her toes, twists and turns that kept me engaged, I invite you to step into Sammy’s office as Zoë retrieves a checkbook from her purse. Sammy notices the word ‘Coach’ burned on the leather checkbook as she hands him a check for his retainer. Mostly it is a waiting game when greed, hate, (police corruption) and seduction trumps sanity.

Questions mount as Sammy examines photos, documents and begin his detective work. Instincts tell him that things may or may not be as they seem. Sometimes you have to dig deeper and drudge up old memories that people have put to rest. I quote:

“Good morning. Is this Carolyn Cross?”

“Yes—but we’re not buying anything at this time.” Carolyn answered, hesitantly.

“Carolyn, I’m Samuel Shovel. I’m a private investigator. I received your name from Gary Betts—” Building on the lie, he started with Gary, he added, “I’m investigating SFPD corruption that occurred in the past.”

“I don’t understand, how past?”

“Over twenty years ago, when your sister died.” “Oh dear, that was so long ago.”

“Unquestionably to you, but to Gary, it seems like yesterday. Do you recall the events that took place around the time your sister fell to her death?”

Like in the golden age with Kojack, Columbo, Jim Rockford (the list goes on and on), PI Sammy Shovel has his own style of digging up archives, dredging up memories and using every tool in his investigative tool chest.

Stay tuned for Author Ronald M. James next mystery titled Flame Man: Sammy meets his match and is almost killed. “What a lovely spring day. Let’s find a corpse.” Other stand-alone books include Harrington Manor and The Two Jacks by Ronald M. James.

I, Theodocia McLean, endorse and encourage you to read Waif (A Sammy Shovel Novel Book Three) by Ronald M. James. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on January 27, 2018.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Waif-Sammy-Shovel-Series/dp/B0793C7HRM/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_txt?ie=UTF8#customerReviews

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Waif-Sammy-Shovel-James-Milward/dp/0998175668/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1516815055&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=Waif%3A+A+Sammy+Shovel+Novel+by+Ronald+M.+James

Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/Waif-Sammy-Shovel-James-Milward-ebook/dp/B0793C7HRM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516815055&sr=8-2-fkmr0

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Private Investigator, Sammy Shovel, finally gets the client of a lifetime and rushes to claim his jackpot, but he soon discovers–wealth and pearl coincide.

Beloved Golden Opportunities, CEO, Joel Ceja, is found murdered one foggy morning. Three months after Joel’s death the police are stumped, they still have no clues to his murder. Golden Opportunities’ employees feel they’re being stonewalled and decide to hire Shovel to assist the police. Sammy accepts, figuring it was nothing more than a local homicide.

However, in no time at all, he’s mired in international quicksand filled with a worldwide assassination ring–and he wants out. But greed overcomes his common sense. He runs from firefight to firefight to get to the truth, but his adversaries dupe him time and again.

You may deceive Sammy–some of time. But when he puts it altogether–run bother, run for we all know Sammy’s a shoot first and ask questions later type a guy.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Private Investigators

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Words-Sammy-Shovel-Novel/dp/0998175641/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516814909&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Words-Sammy-Shovel-Novel-ebook/dp/B074L9M2YM/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1516814909&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Too+Beautiful+For+Words%3A+A+Sammy+Shovel+Novel%2C+Book+Two

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When Sammy Shovel sinks his teeth into a case—he gets to the bottom of it— no matter how many bullets are flying at him.

Private Investigator, Sammy Shovel, is short, slightly overweight, balding, and he dresses like San Francisco’s most squalid street people.

When a supposed heist falls into his lap, Sammy jumps at the chance to make a few bucks, from an unknown victim, by stopping what appears to be a simple robbery. However, the case turns out to be different than anything he’s taken on since the death of his partner.

Sammy finds himself speeding through streets of San Francisco to head off another senseless murder. The events that follow are beyond his comprehension and will change his perception of crime forever.

The victim may not be as evil as it seems, but rather—a casualty of circumstances

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Adventurous-Night-Shovel-Novel-Beginning-ebook/dp/B06XDGRQ62/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516816586&sr=8-4#customerReviews

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Adventurous-Night-Shovel-Novel-Beginning/dp/0998175625/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516816586&sr=8-4

Kindle
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A murderer stalks the orange groves of 1923 Southern California. Detective Sidney Snipes is called to the Harrington Manor when retired Colonel Peter Wescott Harrington is found slumped over his desk by his family. Snipes entrusts the sensational new crime fighting technology—Fingerprint Analysis to find a fierce fiend.

Just when he thought he had the murderer cornered, a neighbor discovers a shallow grave in the orange groves; an unsolved missing person’s cold case files. A case that has haunted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for three years. The evidence in the missing person’s case rumples Snipes proficient sleuthing skills as the leads take him in circles. Then to add to the muddying discord, another Harrington turns up dead, apparently murdered in his sleep.

But when a sinister child’s Jack-in-the-box, seemingly from the grim reaper himself, materializes on the Colonel’s desk, the detective is bedeviled more than he cares to admit. Nevertheless, Snipes had enough moxie to send fingerprints to every city where his suspects had ever lived. The leads take Snipes in a direction he never saw coming. Within days, he’s shocked to his eyebrows by the results; the identity of the murderer befuddles his mind. Alas, the oldest Harrington son, Shep, supposed wife, had a mock wedding to him in Manhattan, New York, and their plan was to kill the whole Harrington clan for their wealth.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths, Historic Novel set in 1923

Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/HARRINGTON-MANOR-Ronald-M-James-ebook/dp/B01M3NIGHN/ref=la_B01AYMJUEK_1_1/144-0265475-1201320?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516814102&sr=1-1#customerReviews

Amazon Print
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Kindle
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The Two Jacks is a love story about Jack and Alice. It’s an easy read and takes us back to a time when life was simple. The story is a madcap romp, sassy and sexy. In the mid-seventies two college graduates, music majors with the same first name, are about to find out the real world is fraught with peril. The Jacks have written a musical together. When two years go by and nobody will even listen to their music, one of the Jacks, a philanderer, decides to take the idea to a producer of adult movies, C. Jay Sniffen. Being devious, he wants to get the musical on film so the two of them will have something to show Broadway and Hollywood. In order to entice the porn producer, Jack suggests Sniffen be the first to make an adult musical but doing that changes the lives of both Jacks and Sniffen completely.

Womanizer Jack wants action and is not ready to trash the musical he and his best friend have written together. His roomy, the more reserved Jack, has found that being a professional student has merit as long as his wealthy mother and father keep him well greased with spending money. Jack the lad comes to realize he’s getting older and his partner is too comfortable playing the lazy game. But C. Jay Sniffen the pornographic film producer, sees talent in the Jacks’ vanilla musical and is savvy enough to turn it into Cherry Garcia.

Born in the depression and having no toys to speak of, I used my imagination to conjure up stories. I would tell them to my playmates, while we constructed space ships and buildings out of cardboard boxes. Yes, we had Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers back then. In my teens I went to a movie about George Sands, the pen name of a women writer. I became enamored with having a pen name and selected “Ronald James.” Unfortunately, my chosen profession, architecture, prevented me from writing. Now retired, I have completed stories that have been buzzing in my brain for years. The Two Jacks takes us back to the mid-seventies, when porn busted into mainstream society. At the time, I always wondered why the fledging porn industry never tried to do musicals since they poked fun at everything else. My mind started to put together what if scenarios. The result, The Two Jacks.

Special Note: The book The Two Jacks was published by Dog Ear long before I had signed a contract with Big Sky Press where I was one of their authors and was introduced to my current editor. I may have The Two Jacks reedited for it’s a love story about when pornographic films hit mainstream movie theaters, set in 1962. It has a story (the musical) within the story and borders on being erotic.

Genre: Romance, Adult

Customer Reviews:
https://www.amazon.com/Two-Jacks-Ronald-James-ebook/dp/B007PT1PGW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8#customerReviews

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https://www.amazon.com/Two-Jacks-Ronald-James/dp/1608444619/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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https://www.amazon.com/Two-Jacks-Ronald-James-ebook/dp/B003U4WAB0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Ronald M. James

Ronald James was born during the great depression, and as a toddler watched WPA men build a new street, from his home’s big front window. His playmates were a red rider wagon, a small black satchel and rocks.

By using his imagination, he had conversations with mythical street workers that soon bloomed into fashioned fantasies by age four. He used cardboard boxes to create fun spaces for his neighborhood playmates to enjoy and he kept telling stories all through high school.

In college he abandoned writing and studied architecture. James had a successful architectural career and retired, however he wanted to keep his creative juices fluent, so he returned to his childhood story telling days and joined a writers group.

Like architecture, each day he couldn’t wait to create, finish, and start new stories—like this book, Harrington Manor.

Interview:

What makes you proud to be a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area? I was trained to be an architect. I practiced architecture from 1955 to 2012. I worked mostly on hospitals and other heavy construction. In the 1990 I took creative writing courses for when I retired. Both writing and architecture are creative venues. I am proud that I found a vehicle to continue doing so. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area my whole life. I also build Halloween and Dickens’ Christmas Carol sets like they do with model train sets. See attached.

What or who inspired you to become a writer and did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I went to the movies with my parents in the 30’s and 40’s. I loved the mystery films the best, especially The Maltese Falcon—hence my Sammy Shovel series.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? It is best to explain from my Bio. I was born during the great depression, and as a toddler watched WPA men build a new street, from my home’s big front window. My playmates were a red rider wagon, a small black satchel and rocks. By using my imagination, I had conversations with mythical street workers that soon bloomed into fashioned fantasies by age four. I used cardboard boxes to create fun spaces for my neighborhood playmates to enjoy and I kept telling stories all through high school. In college I abandoned writing and studied architecture. I had a successful architectural career and retired, however I wanted to keep my creative juices fluent, so I returned to my childhood story telling days and joined a writers group. Like architecture, each day I couldn’t wait to create, finish, and start new stories.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 2002

I found an agent, which turned into a disaster. It wasn’t money; they weren’t liked by the publishing industry.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your writing and publishing journey? Actually, it was my publisher Big Sky Press (who closed their doors). They introduced me to a real editor. It was like sitting across from that person and going line by line. It took months of back and forth until I got it right. The strange thing was the price was the same as those who did it quickly and only blue marked Words’ edit system. My new editor made me make all the changes—what a difference.

How many published books do you have? I now have 5.

What do you write that’s unusual in your style? In my detective series I start every novel with dialog and I scatter around a few opposite words like feasibly impossible and pristine mess. What else? I use a lot of dialog, because I can see them talking and interacting with others in my mind, even what they’re wearing. I add humor when the situation calls for it. Read Harrington Manor. I create venues that are funny, some in heated discussions when one or the other gets their facts wrong.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Don’t look for bottom pricing when editing your book—pay more get more.

Who is your favorite author and why? I don’t have a favorite. I will read anything when I have the time even some crap published by major houses because the subject matter was interesting.

The book The Two Jacks was published by Dog Ear long before I had signed a contract with Big Sky Press where I was one of their authors and was introduced to my current editor. I may have The Two Jacks reedited for it’s a love story about when pornographic films hit mainstream movie theaters, set in 1962. It has a story (the musical) within the story and borders on being erotic.

Amazon Author’s Page
https://www.amazon.com/Ronald-M.-James/e/B01AYMJUEK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1516728860&sr=8-1

Professional Website
http://www.ronaldjamesbooks.com

Twitter
https://twitter.com/authronaldjames

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Author-Ronald-James-115455551834617/

Cold Coffee Press
http://www.coldcoffeepress.com/ronald-m-james/

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