Release date: December 19, 2016
ABOUT THE INVISIBLE CROWN: The city of Arcadia is a craphole, but it’s my craphole. I’ve walked its streets my entire life, always searching for something: a purpose, a suspect, or a stiff drink. My name’s Eddie Hazzard, and I’m a hard-boiled detective. Yeah, laugh it up. It’s a ridiculous job description, but this is a ridiculous town. It’s full of every cliché you can imagine: corrupt city officials, police officers on the take, greedy businessmen, and crime so organized it has an accounting department, a health plan, and retirement benefits. Which is more than I can say for myself.”
Meet Eddie Hazzard: he’s tenacious, a certain kind of clever, and usually drunk. When a beautiful woman comes into his office and asks him to find her husband, Eddie takes the case because the alternative is having his creditors show up at his door and do terrible things to his limbs. But the case takes a series of bizarre turns, getting Eddie caught up in a tangled web of reluctant cops, sketchy businessmen, and shadowy crime bosses. The deeper he gets, the worse things look. Will Eddie solve the case? Will he save the day? Most importantly, will he get paid?
The Invisible Crown is the first full-length novel of a series featuring Detective Hazzard and the bizarre, bewildering array of tough mobsters, genetically-modified creeps, and ruthless scumbags who inhabit the city of Arcadia.
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Throughout the week, Royal James Publishing is releasing pieces of the short story, Solitaire. The short story, Solitaire takes place immediately before novel, The Invisible Crown. It will serve as the introduction into the amazing world Charlie created. Today is the fifth part of Solitaire. For the beginning, visit days 1-4 of the blog tour by going to http://www.royaljamespublsihing.com/.
Captain Edison O’Mally of the Arcadia Police Department stood near the door while a uniform took my statement outside the Funeral Parlor. Two more uniformed officers were rolling Red Ace into a custody wagon, the bubble from the popgun having not dissolved yet.
“So you just happened to be having a quiet drink when a known criminal entered the bar in a completely unrelated coincidence?” the office repeated back to me, incredulously. I’d had to embellish my story a little bit to protect the not-so-innocent (me).
“That’s correct, Officer Higgins,” I replied, my face attempting to beam honesty and settling for not completely giving everything away.
“So, how come five other patrons report that the suspect was seen at your table, having a rather heated conversation with you?” Higgins was good. He could actually ask a question and could compare facts to each other and see when they contradicted each other. Most of the uniformed officers I’d seen over the years were the type to accidentally ended up asking the wrong person the wrong question, like, “Was it you what done the deed, then? Oh God, why are you pulling my spleen out through my mouth?” Higgins was one of the good ones, which was making him a pain in my ass at that moment.
“I’d asked him to pass me a coaster. He didn’t want to. Wasn’t a very neighborly burglar, I can tell you,” I said innocently.
“Hazzard,” O’Mally called as he came over to us. The captain, the walrus tusks of his gen-mod gleaming, nodded at the officer taking my statement. Higgins nodded back and stepped away. “Care to tell me just what the hell is going on?” His jowls quivered slightly, as a walrus’s jowls are wont to do. O’Mally thought his gen-mod made him look intimidating, but mostly it just game him fish breath.
“Captain, as I was explaining to your man Higgins here, this whole thing is completely innocent, just a big misunderstanding.” I attempted to put an arm around O’Mally’s shoulders, but the look he gave me made me think better of it.
“Drop the act, Eddie,” O’Mally said. “Be straight with me.”
I sighed. “Fine. I’m working a case, alright? Red Ace is my one lead on it, and I managed to trick the guy into meeting with me, but he wouldn’t give up anything.”
O’Mally nodded, sending his jowls quivering again. “We can give you some time in the interrogation chamber with Red Ace, Eddie, but I don’t know what else we can do. Most of the evidence linking this character to those burglaries is circumstantial at best.”
“Right,” I said, turning up my coat collar. “I’ll be down at the precinct in an hour.”
About Charlie Cottrell:
Charlie Cottrell is a history and special education teacher in Northern Virginia by day and a writer of “speculative noir” (near-future, science-fictiony, hard-boiled detective stories) by night. He likes to blend action, mystery, and a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm in his work. He also writes music and draws comics and thinks he vaguely remembers what free time was, but he’s not one hundred percent sure on that. Charlie hates tucking in his shirt because he is a rebel. To read more about Charlie, you can visit him on his website.