Books by David Daniel

David Daniel won the Private Eye Writers First Novel contest for The Heaven Stone, which was also a Shamus Award nominee. Daniel has published eight novels and a college text on writing. He has been the Jack Kerouac Visiting Writer in Residence at the Uni

THE MARBLE KITE by David Daniel
Released: April 18, 2005

"Daniel (Goofy Foot, 2004, etc.) still writes like a dream but lets his plot ramble. "
A private eye's probe of a carnival murder lands him in the crosshairs of local power-brokers. Read full book review >
GOOFY FOOT by David Daniel
Released: Feb. 9, 2004

"Daniel's easy style makes riding with Alex a pleasure, but the passive-aggressive plot could use more tension."
Smooth shamus Alex Rasmussen hits the beach to search for a missing teenager. Read full book review >
WHITE RABBIT by David Daniel
Released: March 1, 2003

"Subtle and evocative, with a finely spun mystery whose solution doesn't quite live up to its promise."
Daniel leaves New England (Murder at the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1996, etc.) to float back to 1967 San Francisco, where flower children like New York Ned and his old lady Christine flock to share the love, smoke some weed, and listen to groups like New Riders of the Apocalypse, whose members—classically-trained Eric Lindgard, lady-killer Vince Russo, Joe Williams, Toad Madden, and their lead singer, a fiery vamp known only as Circe—share a house in the heart of Haight-Ashbury. While the Riders seek a higher groove, four other Haight housemates—college sweethearts Amy Cole and Seth Green, loopy Jester O'Neill, and artist Tess Ferriera—promote social change in their underground weekly, The Rag. But dark forces conspire to subvert the peace-and-love agenda. SFPD ex-Homicide chief George Moon is eager to use the Summer of Love as an excuse to let his anti-subversive TAC squad bust some heads, and a serial killer is carving up hippies, leaving a flower with each mutilated corpse. Hounded by the straight press (never mind the radical Rag), Moon's politically ambitious successor Frank Austin calls detective John Sparrow back from Vice, where he went as much to lick his wounds after his unsuccessful investigation of a string of North Beach murders as to recover from his wife's death. But even Sparrow's courage and intelligence may not be enough to catch a killer who leaves no clues at all. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 13, 1996

Forget the clunky title—especially since the Hall of Fame is only the first stop on a daisy chain that begins when Boston p.i. Frank Branco wins a Fan's Fantasy radio contest that takes him to Cooperstown just in time to see the car crash that kills washed-up major-leaguer Herb Frawley. The local chief of police tells Frank there hasn't been a murder on his books in 20 years, and he aims to keep it that way, but Frawley's ex-wife, a gallery owner back in Provincetown, shares Frank's curiosity about why Herb's career suddenly collapsed in 1957, and his sense that Herb's fatal accident may not have been accidental. So before girlishly bedding Frank, she agrees to bankroll his trips to New York (an informative sports agent), New Jersey (the born-again niece of Herb's old Polo Grounds buddy Louis Merloni), and finally a Florida nursing home (Merloni himself). Thus far the plot has been nothing but a series of handoffs, as each of Herb's old acquaintances shrugs Frank off and passes him on to the next. But in Florida, a telltale bag of bones will make Herb's trail glow red-hot, linking his cold bat to a vanished Baseball Annie and an unusually vicious pornography racket before building to a fine fury back on a waterlogged Cape Cod. Daniel (The Skelly Man, 1995, etc.) and his new teammate Carpenter, a CNN broadcaster, wait till the late innings before their game-winning barrage. Read full book review >
THE SKELLY MAN by David Daniel
Released: Sept. 14, 1995

You might think failing TV comic Jerry Corbin, tossed back to his hometown of Lowell, Mass., to emcee The New Gong Show, couldn't sink much lower, but you'd be wrong: He's now getting threatening notes from somebody who either wants to gong him or puzzle him to death (``Back in the boneyard you'll hear the Gong of Doom . . .''). Naturally, Jerry has his people call in Alex Rasmussen (The Heaven Stone, 1994), Lowell's answer to Philip Marlowe. Rasmussen, after stumbling on the not-quite-dead body of Jerry's old classmate Florence Ryan Murphy, has the wit to trace Jerry's troubles back to a TV competition that his UMass/Lowell team won against Harvard. For the rest of it...well, you wouldn't believe how vindictive those Crimson alums can be. Rasmussen's cut back on his ham-handed dialogue, but unless you count the hit-or-miss plotting, this still isn't much of a memorial to Chandler. Read full book review >
THE HEAVEN STONE by David Daniel
Released: Oct. 18, 1994

If the victim weren't Cambodian, it might as well be 1940 for Alex Rasmussen, the Lowell (Mass.) private eye hired by Bhuntan Tran's socialite social worker, Ada Stewart, to find out who shot him to death. Since Rasmussen's wary ex-colleagues on the force are ready to write off the killing as another drug murder, it's up to him to dope out the link between hardworking Tran's death and those of half a dozen other Cambodian immigrants around the country, all the while maintaining his position in the Philip Marlowe Redux Society. Rasmussen's credentials are comically impressive: He has a wonderfully overripe line of patter (``Have you got a minute?'' ``Loads of them, one right after another''), keeps a .38 and a bottle of bourbon in his filing cabinet, traces Tran's murder to a Chandleresque cache of jade, watches his estranged wife dance away into the arms of a smooth dry-cleaning mogul (one shady past, two threatening sidekicks) who becomes the next victim, and enjoys the privilege of having everybody but his ex—from the client to a frowsy good-time girl to the comely jade expert at Haskell and MacKay—make a play for him in a vain attempt to distract him from the screamingly obvious solution. The latest winner of St. Martin's Best First Private Eye Novel Contest, and an unabashed wallow in the bad old days. As for the patter (``My control was unraveling like cheap socks''), forget Chandler; think S.J. Perelman. Read full book review >
THE TUESDAY MAN by David Daniel
Released: July 31, 1991

Murders on Martha's Vineyard take a local policeman into the dark heart of a political campaign—in a police thriller by the author of Ark (1985). Similarities to real-life events in Massachusetts vacationland begin with the energetic but adulterous coupling of a pair of enthusiastic political-campaign workers. However, the candidate whose rhetoric excited the about-to-be murdered couple is not the heavyset party animal of tabloid fame. It is Timothy Murphy, the charismatic senator from Indiana, a one-time POW in Vietnam with a fair chance of knocking out America's incumbent vice-president in the upcoming elections. The couple were murdered by someone keen on retrieving the last roll of film shot by one of the victims, and it seems to be the only evidence of Senator Murphy's secret—but apparently innocuous—meeting with an unknown woman. Martha's Vineyard's underfinanced little police force has all it can do to keep up with the influx of tourists and can ill spare the time island native Eric Thorne must spend on the investigation, but Thorne persists, linking himself professionally and pleasurably with Lorraine Patton, Murphy's admiring biographer. The much-sought snapshot comes into Thorne's hands and poses an interesting question: How could it be that the senator's famous POW tattoo comes and goes? The answer lies ultimately in the Bahamas, where rotten CIA agents lurk, Murphy's reclusive billionaire backer hides in his mansion, and a never terribly famous movie beauty ponders Murphy's secrets. Full of action, but the senator's scandalous secret will surprise very few readers. It will irritate many. Read full book review >