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Pay or Play
by Howard Michael Gould
January 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Blackmail, sexual harassment, murder . . .
and a missing dog: eccentric, eco-obsessed LA private eye Charlie Waldo is on the case in this quirky, fast-paced mystery.
Paying a harsh self-imposed penance for a terrible misstep on a case, former LAPD superstar detective Charlie Waldo lives a life of punishing minimalism deep within the woods, making a near religion of his commitment to owning no more than One Hundred Things.
At least, he’s trying to. His PI girlfriend Lorena keeps drawing him back to civilization – even though every time he compromises on his principles, something goes wrong.
And unfortunately for Waldo, all roads lead straight back to LA. When old adversary Don Q strongarms him into investigating the seemingly mundane death of a vagrant, Lorena agrees he can work under her PI license on one condition: he help with a high-maintenance celebrity client, wildly popular courtroom TV star Judge Ida Mudge, whose new mega-deal makes her a perfect target for blackmail.
Reopening the coldest of cases, a decades-old fraternity death, Waldo begins to wonder if the judge is, in fact, a murderer – and if he’ll stay alive long enough to find out.
Pay or Play is the third in the Charlie Waldo series, following Last Looks and Below the Line. Last Looks was turned into a major motion picture, starring Charlie Hunnam as the offbeat private investigator.
Genre: Thriller, Private Detective
Published by: Severn House Publishers Limited
Publication Date: December 7th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727850857 (ISBN13: 9780727850850)
Series: Charlie Waldo, #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Pay or Play is the third book in the Charlie Waldo series. This is part PI, part humor, part mystery/crime story all wrapped up in one. The mysteries in this book are complicated with lots of moving parts. I haven’t read the previous two books in the series but was able to follow this one well enough.
Charlie has issues – and as the main character, he is not that likeable. He’s a bit whiny, trying to take a moral high ground while also compromising quite often or doing things that contradict that. He was selfish about some things, though that seems more a result of his self-punishment and not being able to interact appropriately in social situations. It’s odd, but while he isn’t particularly likeable, he does grow on you. As strange as it was, I think I liked the Don Q character the most. While he certainly wasn’t a good guy, he seemed to be one of the most level-headed characters.
The story was fast-paced and I did want to keep reading to find out what happened. I think this book (and probably the previous ones) would adapt well for a TV series. It was one of those stories where I think the action may play out better on the screen vs the page.
Overall, I give this one 4 stars. I would consider reading another book in the series – or watching a screen adaptation.
One minor pet peeve – I did get distracted every time the book mentioned the main character as Waldo (you know, Where’s Waldo?). I think I could have enjoyed the story even more if he went by his first name more often.
Howard Michael Gould graduated from Amherst College and spent five years working on Madison Avenue, winning three Clios and numerous other awards.
In television, he was executive producer and head writer of CYBILL when it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, and held the same positions on THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW and INSTANT MOM. Other TV credits include FM and HOME IMPROVEMENT.
He wrote and directed the feature film THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, Andie MacDowell and Jenna Elfman. Other feature credits include MR. 3000 and SHREK THE THIRD.
His play DIVA premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and La Jolla Playhouse, and was subsequently published by Samuel French and performed around the country.
He is the author of three mystery novels featuring the minimalist detective Charlie Waldo: LAST LOOKS (2018) and BELOW THE LINE (2019), both nominated for Shamus Awards by the Private Eye Writers of America, and PAY OR PLAY (2021). The feature film version of LAST LOOKS, starring Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson and directed by Tim Kirkby, will premiere February, 2022; Gould also wrote the screenplay.
Catch Up With Howard Michael Gould:
Instagram – @howardmichaelgould
Twitter – @HowardMGould
Facebook – @HowardMGould
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