Clark Lohr

Clark Lohr, one of my favorite Southwest action adventure mystery writers

Clark Lohr, one of my favorite Southwest action mystery writers, introduces us to his protagonist, Manny Aguilar. I tagged Clark Lohr as part of a blog hop tour.

Manuel “Manny” Aguilar makes a second appearance in The Devil on Eighty-five, having debuted as the detective hero of Devil’s Kitchen, a border noir first published in 2011. Author Priscilla Barton describes Manny better than I can: “P.I. Manny Aguilar is someone to root for: genuine, manly, feminist, and flawed in all the right ways.”

Manny’s been a private investigator ever since he got fired from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for being in too many gun fights. He never swears in the presence of the dead, even if he’s killed them himself. Manny’s a Mexican-American, a Latino, a Tucson High graduate who played football and then joined the sheriff’s department.

Manny lives in the Sonoran Desert, the place where they have those Saguaro cacti that look like people—the place where the roadrunner and the coyote come from—but the Sonoran Desert is no cartoon; it is one of the harshest natural environments on earth, and there are people on this desert who are decent and ordinary, and there are others who are not, and the flaming black engine that drives the pervasive evil present here is a phenomenon called The Drug Wars, a multibillion dollar a year industry perpetuated by the failure of the United States government, and many of its citizens, to take the money out of drugs.

One day, Manny Aguilar’s boss, Jeff Goldman, a smartass criminal defense attorney, sends him out to the Tohono O’Odham Nation, an Indian reservation the size of Connecticut, to help defend an Indian cowboy accused of murdering his own wife. Manny picks up a trail leading out the west end of the reservation to a two-lane blacktop called State Route 85. Manny will risk his freedom, his life, and his relationship with the woman he loves chasing the devil on highway 85.

Here’s my review of Devil’s Kitchen: It’s titled First-rate literary quality crime fiction

This book came out at the wrong time and has been overlooked by reviewers and fans. Make sure you change that.


Introducing Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department

Sheila Lowe, my fellow mystery writer and friend, tagged me in this blog hop tour to craft a 500-word blog about the main character in my Dave Mason police procedural series. Check out Sheila Lowe and her series of mysteries featuring forensic handwriting specialist Claudia Rose.


Dave Mason is a homicide detective with the Santa Monica Police Department.  Santa Monica’s beaches are a tourist destination for millions of international travelers and they are the target of crime.  The city is also called “The Home of the Homeless.” Homeless people like sunshine and beaches as much as anyone else. Felons on the run can’t flee from cops any further west. It’s also the home of about 90,000 residents, most of them ordinary dog-petting citizens.

But Santa Monica is more known for celebrity sightings and drunken starlet wrecks in Lamborghinis on the Pacific Ocean Highway.  It’s also not the murder capital of the world, so Dave Mason works major violent crimes as well as the occasional high-profile homicide.

No Dice is my debut mystery, featuring Dave Mason, and community organizer Ginger McNair, leader of the campaign to prevent a high-rise casino being built in downtown upscale Santa Monica. Billions of dollars in potential casino profits can turn the nicest people ugly.

The second, Rip-Off, sets Detective Mason on a chase through Santa Monica’s mean streets to connect up high-tech burglary and Chechen organized crime. Few car chases, just intricate human relationships and Machiavellian crime.

The third, On Behalf of the Family, is a dark story of the honor killing of a rich Muslim girl in one of the highest price zip codes west of the Mississippi.

I’m working on the fourth and fifth Dave Mason whodunits now, both yet untitled.  Dave is 37, tall, becoming silver-haired, and bears the scars of a veteran hockey player. Occasionally a woman’s head turns to give him a second, and then a third glance. But Ginger McNair, a liberal activist in a left-leaning city, won his heart long ago. When they met she summed him up as a conservative, Republican cop; he figured her for a mushy-headed radical. Neither of them is quite right. Who would have predicted that Mason learns the tango to please her?

Mason loves the chase, the capture, the bullshit, the puzzle—the whodunits that eat up the budget and twist him up in knots. He has a sense of humor but it’s dry and he has to watch himself for sarcasm. Each of the four mysteries features Mason and his team, which includes Delgado who teeters on the brink of retirement, and Laura Fredericks, the martial arts expert who blushes and says stupid things when Mason stands too close.

On August 28th, look for character posts by these terrific authors:
Clark Lohr, best selling author of the Arizona Manny Aguilar mysteries,
Jennifer Moss, author of dark suspense novels,