Books by H. Michael Frase

THE LAST GOODBYE by H. Michael Frase
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 1998

Frase's second suspense novel (Fatal Gift, 1996) moves from his former venue of Nashville to Carmel, California, where well-to-do Josh Mitchell finds his past slipping away when a beautiful woman's body rolls up on the beach. Flying from New York to San Francisco, Mitchell, a top salesman, finds a gorgeous, intelligent, and blond art historian seated beside him in first class. Their six hours together blow him instantly and deeply into love, and the feeling seems mutual. They dine in Carmel, then she comes to his hotel room for a talk. Next morning her drowned body lies on the beach, and the suicide note she's left indicates that her name is not Pamela Morrow, as she'd told Mitchell, but Dianne Lane. As it happens, art historian Dianne Lane had headed a museum funded by a reclusive billionaire and may have been his longtime mistress. He has recently died, under mysterious circumstances. And now, Mitchell becomes the chief suspect in what turns out to be Pamela/Dianne's murder. Soon the FBI is after him, as well as a gaggle of hit men. Meanwhile, in an attempt to penetrate the mystery surrounding Pamela/Dianne's death, Mitchell flies to Jackson, Mississippi, looks into Pamela's history and questions her old friends, including mulatto Marie Edwards. Marie tells him that Pamela died in a freak car accident eight years ago, and newspaper articles confirm this. How can he free himself from police harassment if he can't figure out whether Pamela and Dianne were the same person? And who, in fact, was Dianne Lane? Readers will have intuited some answers fairly early, and the explanations that come seem skimpy even, shall we say, pathetic. And for a work turning on art historians, there's precious little talk of art. Still, the legitimate suspense of the chase keeps one intrigued—until a rather too obvious fairy-tale ending billows up both true love and gazillions of dollars. (First printing of 50,000; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour) Read full book review >
FATAL GIFT by H. Michael Frase
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

Urbane mobsters, nasty biker trash, nosy reporters, and corpses aplenty dot the Nashville hills in a first thriller about the people behind the people behind Music City. Kasey Riteman, a failed country singer, quits her waitress job and aimlessly wanders the backroads beyond Davidson County until a flat tire forces her to seek assistance. While walking, she spies the rape, murder, and crude burial of a beautiful blond woman by a pond-scum biker stupid enough to put his nickname, JOEYBOY, on his license plate. Should Kasey, a gorgeously athletic divorcÇe without children, tell the cops, the media, or avenge the killing in her own way? Adapting the Elmore Leonard formula of inspired amateur going up against sleazy types, Frase has his plucky heroine do a little of all three. Pretending to be a psychic, she leads an ambitious television reporter to the scene of the crime, gaining immediate fame and fortune and the wary interest of skeptical, handsome Police Chief Jordan Taylor. What Kasey doesn't know is that the murder was a mob hit, that the victim had evidence linking sex-crazed mob boss Mario Giacano to smarmy Tennessee Governor Wayne ``Buddy'' Williams, and that one or more of the cops under Chief Taylor's command are in Giacano's pocket. Complications lead to corpses as Joey ``Joeyboy'' Griffin murders Kasey's best friend, as well as her ex-husband and other ne'er-do-wells standing between him and the witness to his crime. Author Frase is strong on research and procedures—his catalogue of cops, crooks, and music industry also-rans are far more interesting than his somewhat ditzy heroine. Stuck in a plot that turns so much on coincidence and dumb luck, Kasey actually wonders if she just might be a little bit psychic after all. A tabloid-fantasy thrill-ride imbedded in a Nashville crime story that doesn't hang on a Music City hook. A competent debut, despite the psychic silliness. ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour) Read full book review >