The Lou Malloy Crime Series by J. Frank James
The Run Begins is the prequel to the Lou Malloy Crime Series:
Lou Malloy is 18 years old and ready for the world... but is the world ready for him? His brother Sam has left and his sister wants to move to Florida with the family. Malloy is having none of it and on a wild moment decides to hop on a rail car, unsure of where he is going. The important thing is that he will no longer be in Kansas, but the problem is that he doesn't have any money. Henry Lowe, who is in the same rail car, offers Malloy the deal of a lifetime... All he has to do is help Lowe rob a casino in Georgia. With the promise of a big payday, Malloy throws in with the scheme and seals his fate forever.
What starts off as a quick way for Malloy to get a share of $15 million turns into a run for his life. Malloy learns the hard way that nothing comes easy when you’re alone and your life is about change forever…
Dead Money Run is the first book in the Lou Malloy Crime Series:
Lou Malloy learns of his sister's death right before he is released from prison, having served 15 years for the theft of $15 million from an Indian casino. He wants two things: to keep the $15 million, which no one has been able to find, and to track down and punish whoever killed his sister.
Lou Malloy teams up with Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. In no time, Lou has found the hidden $15 million, recovered guns and ammunition hidden with the money, and murdered two low-level mobsters and fed them to the crocodiles.
As the body count rises, the story grows more complex and his sister's death becomes more mysterious.
"Dead Money Run is a hard-boiled thriller. It is a book of short chapters and almost unrelenting excitement as Lou and Hillary Kelly avoid cops, kill mobsters, and try to unravel the mystery of who killed Lou's sister and why.” - Reviewed by Wally Wood at BookPleasures.com
“Fans of James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard are going to love James’ ingenious capers, devious characters and wry humor. The entire book goes down like a strong yet smooth shot of bourbon.” - Reviewed by BestThrillers.com
The warden was a small man, but dressed neatly. Everything about him was neat-from his hair to his shoes. He was almost too neat.
“So what are your plans, Lou?”
When I walked into the room, the warden turned over a little hour-glass full of sand. We both watched it for a few seconds and then looked at each other. This was the first time I ever met the man. What did he care about me now? Since he never cared before, I figured the man was just looking for information. Perhaps he wanted to give me a warning. I didn’t say anything.
“Do you ever think about time, Lou?”
“After fifteen years, what do you think?” I said.
He smiled and said, “Most valuable thing we have and no one seems to mourn its passing until it’s too late.”
I had nothing to say to that. Conversations with a prison warden came with a lot of maybes. While in prison I trained myself to watch a man’s hands. If he rubbed his hands in a washing motion, he was lying. If he messed with his fingernails, he wasn’t interested in the conversation. The warden was rubbing his hands as if he had touched something distasteful.
“I haven’t given it a lot of thought, Warden Edwards.”
“Call me John, Lou. We’re friends now,” Edwards said while rubbing his hands in a determined kind of way.
So now we were friends. I wanted to tell him he was a liar, but my better judgment stopped me. Probably a good way to delay my release-things get lost, papers go unsigned. Things happen.
“Okay, John,” I said.
“You know, we never found the fifteen million,” he said.
“I didn’t know you were looking for it.”
I watched his eyes flicker briefly. I seemed to hit a sweet spot.
“No, Lou. You misunderstand,” he said as he caught himself. “There is a reward for the recovery of the money. Did you know that?”
Edwards said it more as a statement than a question. I said nothing and waited. Edwards shifted in his chair and started to rub his hands again.
“It would be in your best interest to tell them what you know.”
“Who’s the ‘them’ John?” I asked.
“They’re the people looking for the money.”
I thought about that for a few moments. The statement covered a lot of ground.
“Since I didn’t take the money in the first place, I don’t have anything to tell them. They need to ask the people that took it,” I said.
Edwards was smiling now and he stopped rubbing his hands.
“There are some people that think you do.”
“I can’t help what people think.”
“Ten percent,” he said.
“Ten percent of what,” I said.
“The money, Lou. Ten percent of fifteen million is a lot of money.”
“I hadn’t heard about that,” I said.
“Yeah, it seems the Indian casino had insurance. The insurance company that paid off on the claim put up a ten percent reward for the return of the money. A million five is a lot of money.”
“I hope they find it,” I said.
Edwards blinked his eyes signaling he was moving on to something else.
“Sorry to hear about your sister,” he said. “I understand they are doing all they can to find her killer.”
Edwards was a real card and running out of things to say. On any other day, in any other place, he would be dead or wishing he was.
“Thanks, John. Your words are real comforting,” I said and returned my gaze to the little hourglass and the sand as it accumulated on the bottom.
I had nothing else to say except make him happy. Make them all happy. Just one big happy group sitting around smiling at each other; happy, happy, now let’s just get the money and spread it all around and we can go on being happy. In the meantime my sister lies in a hole feeding worms. I had money on the worms being real happy. No word on how my sister felt.
Edwards looked disappointed when I didn’t add to our conversation.
“Lou, it might be a good idea for you to help them find the money. It could be a big windfall.”
Now we were getting somewhere. Just like all the rest of the treasure hunters, the miserable bastard was just in it for the money.
“Windfall for who, John? Me or you?”
As if tasting a lemon, Edwards twisted his face and, at the same time, waived his hands at an imaginary fly.
“I’m not sure what you mean, Lou. I’m just trying to give you a head start. If it was my decision, you would still be with us. Fifteen million dollars is a lot of money to lose.”
“It still is,” I said.
I sat and watched Edwards shift in his chair some more. We had nothing left to talk about. I could feel him working out in his mind how he was going to present his failure to get a lead out of me on the money.
“So, what are you going to do now?” Edwards said.
Finally, I had enough.
“Leave. Isn’t that what we all do?”
His smile vanished. He knew he was wasting his time on someone who had maxed out. He also knew he couldn’t hold me. There would be no parole violation with the threat to re-incarcerate me. No work release effort to rehabilitate me. Just a new suit made in the prison cut and sew area and a hundred bucks was the sum total of it. That probably hadn’t changed since the 30s. I wondered if Al Capone wore the suit they gave him when he got out.
We were both looking at the little hourglass of sand now. The sand had drained from the top of the glass to the bottom. Suddenly, as if being shot out of a cannon, we both stood up. Edwards stuck out his hand. I turned and left the room. I didn’t shake his hand. I didn’t want to touch him.
About the Author:
J. Frank James is the author of crime thriller novels. His crime fiction books are gripping and suspenseful with readers being unable to put them down once they get into them. Jim has a passion for writing, and he certainly has the knowledge and experience to write realistic crime thriller novels, thanks to his extensive background in law. Jim attended law school, where he was a member of the law review. He even went on to pass the state bar and started his own law practice that specialized in complex litigation.
Jim’s experience in law helps lend credibility to his crime fiction books. Not only that, Jim has traveled extensively and gains inspiration for his crime thriller novels from his travels. Some of the countries that Jim has visited include Peru, Brazil, Italy, Greece and countless others. From observing other cultures and gaining new experiences, Jim is able to infuse new life into his books and develop believable characters that readers can identify with.
Jim's novels have the elements necessary of good crime novels that keep readers glued to the pages from start to finish. Although Jim’s crime novels are fiction works, they are exciting to read because of their authentic nature. They are written with the backing of Jim’s experience in law, so they are believable situations that have the readers wanting to find out what happens next just like they would in any crime situation.
They offer the readers just enough information to keep them guessing and trying to solve the crimes until the end of the books when they are actually revealed. Jim’s books are also fresh and unique takes on crime as well, though. They are not the same whodunit type books that have been done over and over again. By infusing his personal travels into his books, Jim creates characters and atmospheres based on just enough truth to be relatable.
Plus, Jim’s books have everything in them from robbery to prison to family. They have hard and soft elements simultaneously to really capture the life of a hardened criminal who is still very human and struggles with the same human emotions as the rest of society. At the same time, Jim gives the reader perspectives from private investigators to balance out the story.
Jim’s books even have a hit of romance when his characters come to care for each other as more than just friends. Then, crime and love mixes to create a dynamic atmosphere that is even more complicated than ever before since characters care not only for each other but for their other family members as well. Jim has an amazing way of incorporating various elements into his latest crime novels to create thrillers that readers cannot get enough of, which is perhaps why all four of his books so far carry on one from the other to continue the same story concerning the hardened criminal who did 15 years in prison, Lou Malloy and who comes to be his partner, private investigator, Hilary Kelly. The two of them go it together to create gripping stories that keep readers coming back for more.
Guest Post by Jim
My feet were on the ground, but I didn’t know where I was. I could feel them coming. The big question was what to do. Looking down the page there didn’t seem to be anywhere to turn. They were at every corner of the book. They come at the least opportune time. Just when I had a good idea of what my next word was going to be to get things moving, they show up. Writer’s block appeared. Now what?
I suppose you could say the paragraph was a little dramatic, but there is nothing funny about writer’s block. It happens to everyone and it can happen when you least expect it. When it happens to me I just work through it. I have learned in the past is that, one; there is no such thing as writer’s block. It is not an isolated phenomenon. All writers experience it at one time or another. Often I just get up from the manuscript and, like a bad dog, leave it alone for a while. Next, writing should be treated as something fun to do and end up taking the author on an enjoyable trip. When I write I like to put what I refer to as movement in my books. That is why I write about things that if I were doing them I would enjoy myself. If a writer is driven by a sense of excitement, it is pretty hard to get writer’s block. You are too busy enjoying yourself to allow your mind to go blank. Finally, write about something you want to communicate to someone else. If your subject matter is boring for you as the writer, then it will be boring for a reader. In matters like these often the author gets to a part where the book just runs out of gas. Hence, writer’s block will often raise its ugly head.
Fear of what someone is going to say about your book is a common occurrence. For me I would rather have someone say something bad rather than nothing at all. Remember, whenever a writer gets a no, he or she is just that much closer to getting a yes. So write, write and when all else fails, write. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript. If a writer spends all their time trying to be perfect, then that often becomes the story and the book suffers. If you have an idea, write it down and project yourself into the story.
When my protagonist is driving down the road, I am in the car with him. When another person asks your protagonist a question, I answer it. Get in the story. Remember one thing; you want your characters to help you. There is not a writer alive who doesn’t talk to his characters. It is common for a writer’s characters to take over the book and write it. Many times I have been pulled along by the characters in one of my books as the plot develops. When that happens you are in the zone. It is like hold onto the edge of a dock and then letting go because you have been told a boat is coming for you. Trust in what you are doing and everything will come out right.
Some writers like to use an outline. I don’t. I think an outline will defeat the creativity of the characters. I think outlines are good for writing historical novels. I those types of books there has to be a certain amount of rigidity in them that past events need to be adhered to. I write fiction and I want my characters to be free to interact with me while the book develops. If I hit a road block, I simply make a turn and keep on writing. Concentrate on where you are and not where you are going. You will know when you get there.
Finally, don’t worry about what things could be. Writer’s block is nothing more than two words that when standing alone could mean anything. It could be a place or an event, but whatever you do don’t let it become an affliction.
Jim is an artist and creates all of his own book covers.
To learn more, go to http://www.jfrankjamesbooks.com/