Paperback: 168 pages
Decades in the desert have made reporter Michael Callan hard as a sun-bleached skull. But mutilated migrants and his ex-flame keep causing Callan trouble … even if they’re six feet under. Mix an innocent beauty with a savage one, add an assembly of killers, thugs, and a surgeon. Stir vigorously, and you’ve got a bloody cocktail-lethal for an Irishman who doesn’t drink.
This is the first novel by Charles Kelly, an award-winning reporter for the Arizona Republic. His in-depth knowledge of criminals, reporters and the issue of illegal immigration across the Arizona-Mexico border are all perfect fodder for this shocking crime fiction debut.
by Charles Kelly
I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, attended a one-room country school, and read everything I could get my hands on. In 1968, I was awarded a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Creighton University in Omaha, then served in the U.S. Army’s 30th Military Police Battalion in San Francisco. Among my duties was following school buses around base to try to ward off a possible attack by the Zodiac killer.
After the Army, I took a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1971, worked the police beat and copy desk for The Omaha World-Herald for nine months, then landed a reporting job with The Arizona Republic in 1972. Arizona was wide open: lots of land fraud and the odd mob killing. Don Bolles was one of the leading investigative reporters for the Republic, and I consulted with him on crime stories. On June 2, 1976, he was fatally injured when someone set off a dynamite bomb attached to his car. I was one of four reporters assigned full time for several months to investigate the murder. I also covered several of the associated trials.
Over the years, I continued to favor stories involving crime and mystery. I found several missing heirs, including Arthur Jeffrey Kinnan, a second cousin of the novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who wrote The Yearling. A lawyer and a private eye had been looking for Kinnan for a year and he was about to be declared dead when I offered to take up the search. I found him in two days. I also did a story on a Washington lobbyist who disappeared for 20 years, then turned up saying he’d been on the run from the mob all that time. And I wrote about an impostor who left behind a $4 million estate. In the early 1990s, I teamed up my favorite reporting partner, Randy Collier, and in 1992, we shared the Arizona Journalist of the Year award. We covered a police sting operation known as AzScam, which led to the criminal convictions of several judges and legislators. We also helped an American tugboat captain get out of a Mexican prison by publicizing the falsity of his drug-charge conviction. And we wrote about funeral homes mixing up the ashes of the people they cremated, so their relatives didn’t know whether the urns they were getting contained their loved ones, other people, or a mixture.
I’m still at the Republic, covering suburban news. I’ve written several novels, one featuring an impostor priest, another about feral children and a woman bounty hunter, and a third about a true murder case solved in 1917 by a woman lawyer in New York. PAY HERE, my first published novel, tells the story of an Irish-born reporter investigating migrant smuggling and murder in Arizona. I’m also working on a biography of the late hard-boiled writer Dan J. Marlowe. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I hope you’ll join me for the rest of it.