Books by Thomas D. Davis

CONSUMING FIRE by Thomas D. Davis
Released: Sept. 17, 1996

Another bout of empathetic misery for the most depressive detective in contemporary fiction. This time Dave Strickland, still convalescing from the savage attack he survived in Murdered Sleep (1994), is hired to track down the person who's been making anonymous threats against John Havens, the Santa Cruz ad agent who turned grief counselor after his son Ricky was killed in an apartment fire. Havens's current support group includes the parents of two children who've been kidnapped and burned to death, and the notes and calls he's been getting imply, hideously, that the group has been sacrificing its own children. None of the parents are eager to talk to Dave—there's a particularly painful scene with a father who's withdrawn from the group and from his own life into the stillness of deep mourning- -and Dave's only hope of opening them up is sharing his own unquenchable grief over the deaths of his daughter (SIDS) and wife (suicide). To leaven the mix, Davis adds an ex-con arsonist Dave had helped put away and a local female cop who'd switched years ago to women after her two-night stand with Dave, but they don't do much to lighten this vale of tears, or to strengthen the twisted, implausible plot. Davis's spiritual bloodbaths, in which murder merely sets the stage for the real suffering, aren't for everybody. But readers who aren't afraid to burrow deep into Dave and the others will find that no genre writer but P.D. James takes death more seriously. Read full book review >
MURDERED SLEEP by Thomas D. Davis
Released: March 1, 1994

Still grieving for his dead wife and daughter, San Jose p.i. Dave Strickland (Suffer Little Children, 1991) slips over the line into waking nightmares when he saves young Becky Schrader from an attacker and is left with a fractured skull. But Dave's nightmares may be just the thing to help him deal with Becky's tormented memories of her drug-addicted mother Ann's murder six years ago. Accepting the invitation of Ann's sister Janet to convalesce with her and Becky, Dave reopens the case and soon finds that Tiny, the drug-dealer Janet is convinced killed Ann, has to take a number in a line of suspects stretching from Ann's former boyfriend, John Triplett, to Dr. Barry Blake, Becky's therapist. Appropriately, it's Dave's analysis of Becky's dreams that cracks the case. Davis gets deeper into the soul of his detective than you may want to follow: the outbursts of male hysteria are almost oppressively powerful, making the bond between Dave and Becky painfully vivid. Read full book review >
SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN by Thomas D. Davis
Released: Nov. 22, 1991

Davis's debut novel is a morality play about despair and faith wrapped around the story of a kidnapping. The victim, young Billy Bauer, is afflicted by Tourette's syndrome, which provokes him to uncontrollable bouts of obscenity and blasphemy; his community, clustered around his father's fundamentalist church in Azalea, California, recoils from Billy despite their love for Rev. Bauer. Enter Dave Strickland, a private eye on the run from religious faith since the deaths of his wife and daughter two years ago. The mystery- -was Billy snatched by a rebellious local rocker, or an unusually sympathetic child molester, or someone closer to home?—takes a back seat to Dave's romance with Charlene Benton and his string of moral debates with Rev. Bauer. Simple, stark, and dramatically effective. Read full book review >