Today I will be featuring an excerpt of Dead Money Run: A Lou Malloy Crime Series by J. Frank James
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.
Dead Money Run is the first book in The Lou Malloy Crime Series by J. Frank James.
Genres: Crime / Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
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.
Praise for Dead Money Run:
“Dead Money Run is a hard-boiled thriller. It is a book of short chapters and almost unrelenting excitement as Lou and illary 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 “Dead Money Run by J. Frank James is a pure adrenalin rush from the very beginning. Yes, it is very violent with some strong language, but filled with excitement that keeps the reader wanting to know what comes next.” – Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers’ Favorite
About the Author:
J. Frank James is the author of crime thriller novels. His books are gripping and suspenseful. 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. Jim is an artist and creates all of his own book covers.
To learn more, go to http://www.jfrankjamesbooks.com/
Words from the Author:
Writing a book, one word at a time
I have heard would be writers declare that writing a novel is a lot like giving birth except you reserve the right to make corrections. Not having had the birth experience, I am willing to take that one faith. What I do think is a good way to describe it is simply say it is the ability to describe an event where you, the writer, can control the outcome. The problem occurs for me that often enough, however, as I have no idea how the book is going to end. As perplexing as that may sound, it is often quite true. To understand how it works you have to first write the book.
Like a lot difficult tasks, being an author is a lonely job. No one can do it for you. The good news is that there are a sufficient enough people out there who are more than willing to tell you how to do it. Now I don’t want you to get too excited. I am not here to give you a pitch on novel writing. Besides, I’m not sure I would be much help if I tried. What I am going to do ask that you think before you leap. If you are not prepared to finish your book, don’t start writing it. There has to be better hobbies out there that are a whole lot less frustrating.
But, I tend to digress. It’s back to the subject.
A couple of months ago I received a call from my publicist telling me that she set up a book signing event for me and did I know any other aspiring authors I would like to help. I told her I did and gave her several names and contact information. However, there was one who I reached out to who did not call me back. I knew I was going to see him at a party and I planned on asking him what was up. When I finally caught up with him and asked my sixty-four dollar question, he said that he had decided to treat it as a hobby and limit his market to within a hundred miles of his home. In addition to being sad to learn of his decision, because I want people to be successful in my game since their success is my success, I thought his idea was simply nuts. If I pressed him on it he probably would agree with me. This also takes me to that next issue.
Now that you have heard those words of wisdom, let’s move on.
Next, do not be afraid of criticism. Criticism is the grease that leads the writer to success. If you don’t believe me, think about it. Criticism makes for change. Without it we as writers would be walking around fat dumb and happy thinking everyone felt that same way we did. When we finally realized our error it would be too late to do anything about it.
In addition to writing the book, you have to be able to sell it. Finding readers is a lot like prospecting. Today you have so many avenues to sell and promote your books that it is almost mind boggling, but start with a good publicist. If you can find a good one, they will earn their keep.
In summary I would simply like to leave you with this thought. Do not fear the written word. It will not bite you. In fact many times with will serve as a release, an escape, if you will. It will take you and the people you seek to communicate with to places you never thought existed. So get out your pen and paper and start writing today. Forget about cutting the grass. After all you do not have time to mess with that. You are too busy writing that next book, one word at a time. Last, but not least, I am reminded of the saying that writing easy, it is putting the words on paper that is the hard part.