The Purple Heart Detective Agency
by Rock Neelly
The Purple Heart Detective Agency is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for some short excerpts about the characters. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
The sudden disappearance of a magician isn’t usually cause for alarm, but it’s a different story when the disappearance isn’t part of the act.
Clay and Roddy are two war veterans – both amputees - trying to rebuild their shattered lives through their struggling Purple Heart Detective Agency. Then the beautiful Angela Thayer enters the picture, asking for their help in finding her missing friend and employer, Trevor Baker – stage name, Merlyn the Magician. The high profile case promises to jumpstart their careers … until the search leads to betrayal, intrigue and mind control. And then the murders begin ...
A hard-boiled detective story of murder and mayhem, a war story of pathos and survival, an action story of intrigue and violence, a love story of abandon and betrayal, a stick in the eye of the entertainment industry, wry social commentary on how America treats its veterans of war, but mostly a rousing tale of brotherhood in war and beyond.
And of course, a foul-mouthed monkey named Jerry.
Quotes from the Book about the Characters
"Roddy was all iron and kinetic energy. His lean, sculpted cheek-boned face is notched below his slightly longer than GI flattop of black hair. His eyes are black with nearly no irises. They are dilated and I know he is high. He sports a black pearl earring in one ear. He has a sole patch, the slightest goatee, really just a wisp, no sideburns and glasses with black upper frames that wrap his face like a baseball player’s shades. The glasses cross over his Italian nose, flattened a bit from a fight in boot camp. He has on a Black Keys tee shirt cuffed above his 'guns', and his ever-present cargo shorts are strapped tight to his narrow waist, hemmed closed efficiently at the base of his stumps which begin above his knees, or where they would have been. Sometimes it is hard for me to comprehend that he is still only 27 years old. Fallujah was 2004, only two centuries ago."
"Yes, Angie was beautiful, but she had me with her voice and particularly her laugh. It was melodious, inviting, and immediate. It might as well have been a siren’s song - maybe a siren crooning some Joni Mitchell, because she did have just a little of that West L.A. lilt in her words and in the way she tossed her hair and held her head. I realized it had been too long between words. I had been taking inventory of her. I had been staring for way too long. She stood and light from the window illuminated her face. Angie Thayer was our new client. I reflected on that a moment and decided I liked the idea of it."
"I turned to see Baker aiming the .38 at my head. His eyes were twisting inside their sockets, like a toxic cockroach was chewing on his optic nerves. He twitched, but the gun was steady enough in his hand. I dropped my assault rifle. Baker motioned and I took the handgun from my side holster and dropped it too, kicking it toward the Tahoe. Roddy heard the weapon clank and then slide across the concrete. He turned around with the noise and saw Baker aiming the gun at my ear. He looked helplessly at me. 'I hate to say I told you so…'"
"If anything, Penny looked younger than he had in Iraq. His physique was shocking. His arms seems on the verge of bursting through his shirt. And despite his bulked up chest, his waist was narrow and cinched with a western belt buckle. In Iraq, Penny’s face had always been a bit round, but now all of his baby fat was gone. Now in its place, all I saw was a hard man. Penny, I could tell, was now a professional warrior - by attitude, by lifestyle, and by training. Penny was now a mercenary. Anyone who didn’t think twice about screwing with him was making a huge mistake."
"Robo had led men into battle. He had lived to tell the tale, but he had been forever changed. Some men face life-altering injuries needing pity. Robo took it as an affront. He only became tougher after Fallujah. I could see a steel edge in his eyes and the set of his jaw now. Still I thought I could detect a slight weariness about him, maybe one that comes from chronic pain."
"To be honest, I wasn’t really used to being around women like her– or women of any type these days. Since I had returned to California from Walter Reed, it seemed like the women I met fell into three categories: one, those who couldn’t wait to get out of the room when they found out I had been in Iraq and had lost a leg; two, those who volunteered to sleep with me for a chance to see it (making me like a geek at a freak show); and three, those who displayed the rare ability to figure out I had a missing leg and then pretended to ignore it, allowing the 600 lb. gorilla in the room to control conversation by its very pseudo-invisibility."
Praise for the Book
"What do wounded warriors do when they return from war missing a leg or two? These tough guys start The Purple Heart Detective Agency. Using battle-tested skills, laughing all the way, when others have turned their backs, these sleuths solve mysteries. Rock Neelly’s novel is easy to pick-up, hard to put down." ~ Robert Beattie, author of Nightmare in Wichita: Hunt for the BTK Strangler
"Rock Neelly hands the reader well-defined, believable characters, caught up in a deft blend of old-school detective noir and modern technology." ~ Brian Dobbins, author of The Witch’s Cartel and Corryville
"The Purple Heart Detective Agency has a little bit of everything for the mystery/detective fiction reader. A unique mystery - a missing magician; unique detectives - disabled veterans; funny characters - Jerry the foul mouthed monkey. But more than anything, this book has heart. " ~ Night Reader
"It’s a hard-boiled crime novel, but it also has its lighter moments. Both Clay and Roddy bring interesting personalities to the table, and each of them has a lot to offer. The writing is fluent and easily transports the reader into the setting and story. If you like detective stories, you should definitely give this book a chance. And even if hard-boiled isn’t usually your cup of tea, the book has enough merits to give it a shot either way." ~ Majanka
"I knew I was going to enjoy book, but i never imagined how much the story would draw me in. Can't wait for more in the series." ~ Nick Mayer
"I loved how the author describes the people. This book is fun, serious, and a well told story. I really recommend it!" ~ D. Wall
About the Author
Rock Neelly is a Professor of Communications and English in the Cincinnati area. He has written numerous articles in magazines, journals, and books over his career. In his storied career, Rock has been a newspaper man, a sales manager, a contributing editor, and a bad guitarist in a garage band.
The grandson of cattle ranchers, Rock grew up on the high plains of Kansas shooting baskets and pheasant. He currently teaches film, literature, and writing at a community college in Northern Kentucky. He lives with his wife and family in Liberty Township, Ohio.
The Purple Heart Detective Agency is his first novel.