The Thick Man

One night my friend Mark and I were joking around and he said that I should write a fictional book based on my real life, with me as the main character. I told him that was the most ridiculous idea that I’d ever heard; but we started joking about it and throwing around ideas and by the end of the conversation it became a “thing”. We spent the last couple of months of Mark’s life kicking around ideas and plot points for this silly book that would be a comedic homage to The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett- a favorite of both of ours. Unfortunately Mark passed away before we could get much farther than a list of notes, gags, and funny lines. A couple of years after his death I finally decided to try and write the thing. It was a lot of fun. I had a blast writing it. My test readers enjoyed reading it. The problem was it was shy of being novel length, adding anything to it to hit the word count I needed just felt like padding and didn’t work for the story, and it’s incredibly difficult to sell a novella as a (traditionally) unpublished author. So it’s sat collecting metaphorical dust for a few years now. Well, I’ve taken a break from writing since getting married, and I’ve been trying to work my way back into giving it another go. I thought a good way to do that would be to finally put this out there for people to read. So here you go, free of charge, I present to you The Thick Man. I hope you enjoy it.

When down on his luck private investigator, Nicholas Taft, is asked by his best friend, homicide detective Nora Charleston, to help with a high-profile murder investigation, he figured it was just another badly needed paycheck and a chance to help a friend. He never dreamed that he’d end up stuck in the middle of a turf war between the mob and local gangs with a price on his head so large that it sends every hitman, gangbanger, and opportunistic hood in Saint Louis after him.
Nick Taft isn’t a traditional literary hero. Born with a medical condition where his body fails to produce testosterone, Nick weighs over five hundred pounds and has numerous medical issues, not the least of which is a bum knee that requires the use of a cane. Coming from a long line of cops and lawyers, Nick feels the need to follow in the family tradition, and after a few failed attempts at various criminal justice careers, Nick’s unique perspective and quick wit earn him some notoriety as a private investigator. When several recently released ex-cons are graphically murdered, the media sensation that it creates puts pressure on the police to solve the case quickly. Nick is brought in as a consultant, and through the course of the investigation, Nick and Nora discovers that someone is using ex-cons as ambassadors to unite all of the gangs in Saint Louis. After dodging kidnapping attempts and the interests of the local mob boss, Nick and Nora have to find out who is behind this new drug organization before it gets them both killed… and maybe solve that pesky murder case in the process. The Thick Man is a homage to the noir classic The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, with a blend of comedy and drama similar in style to the hit television show Castle starring Nathan Fillion.

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