Blair Howard

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right

New Harry Starke Website

I’ve owned the domain name harrystarke.com since I first began writing the stories back in September of 2015. Didn’t think I’d ever do anything with it but, as Harry would say: What the hell? With book 10, Calaway Jones set to hit Amazon at the end of the month, I thought it was as good a time as any. This time, however, I decided to go a different route. Instead of working with Dreamweaver and a template, I decided to try Website Builder and I’m glad I did. It’s easy to work with and support is really quick and helpful. The result? Goodbye Dreamweaver hello Website Builder. And you can see the result here.

 

The New Harry Starke – Book 10 – Calaway Jones

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Calaway Jones, Assassin

The book, Calaway Jones, the 10th in the Harry Starke series, is finished and has gone to the editor, which means I’m on schedule for a launch sometime during the last week of this month, March 2017.

So what’s it all about? If you’re familiar with the series you know what happened in the first book. Now, one-time congressman Gordon Harper is in Federal prison for 25 years, all thanks to Harry. Harper’s daughter and her husband died at Harry’s hand in Book 7, Retribution. It’s no wonder then that Harper is more than a little pissed at Harry, enter Calaway Jones.

More to come when I have a firm release date.

 

The Harry Starke Novels Now Available in Three Box Sets

Harry Starke - The Box Sets

Harry Starke – The Box Sets

So, just to let you know. All nine Harry Starke novels are now available in three box sets. Each set is drastically discounted and represents an average savings of up to 50% off the individual book prices.

I am stunned at the reception Harry has received from my readers. Since Book 1 was published just over a year ago, thousands of copies have been downloaded – almost 5,000 paid copies this month alone and between them – US and UK – they have garnered more than 600 five and four-star reviews… and a few that are less than flattering:-( but, as Harry would say, ‘Hell, you can’t please everybody, right?’

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Book 10, Calaway Jones? It’s right on schedule for release the last week in March. This one is more thriller than mystery and I’m having more fun writing it than I deserve. They’re all there: Harry, Kate, Amanda. Bob, Lonnie, Tim, Ronnie and, of course, Jacque, plus Shady Tree, Little Billie Harper and a very deadly Calaway Jones.

Books 11, 12 and 13 are scheduled to be released in May, July and September and I hope have Book 14 ready in time for Christmas.

More to come…. soon.

If you’re new to Harry Starke, you can grab a free copy of Book 1 here.

Update – Harry Starke Number 10 – Calaway Jones – Plus

Harry Starke -Amazon Book Number 1 Listing

Harry Starke -Amazon Book Number 1 Listing

First the good news, for me at least. On February 8, following a BookBub feature, my Box Set of the first 3 Harry Starke novels reached number 29 on the Amazon Top 100 Best Seller List, and number 12 on the Top 100 Movers & Shakers. It also took the number 1 spot in the Private Investigator Mysteries category, and number 2 and 4 in two other categories. So, all in all, February 8 was a red letter day for me. Okay, enough bragging. On to more important stuff.

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Update Calaway Jones. I’ve said it before, but I really am having more fun writing this novel than any human being should be allowed to have. Calaway is quite a gal, and she’s giving Harry a run for his money. I just passed the half way mark – 15 chapters done and maybe that many more to go. I’m still planning on launching the book sometime around March 25, but certainly before the end of March.

More to come…. soon.

If you’re new to the Harry Starke series of mysteries, you can grab a copy of Book 1, the one that started it all, right here, and for FREE: Print

Harry Starke, Book 10, Calaway Jones

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Finally, after more than a month wasted dithering around, trying to get my act together, I’ve made a start on book 10 in the Harry Starke series. Calaway Jones is something of a departure from the whodunits of the past. More a thriller than a mystery. All of the characters you’ve come to know, and to love or hate, are there, along with some new ones and, of course, Calaway. After only three full days back at work, I already have the first three chapters completed – almost 7,000 words. As always, I have only a rough idea of how it will finish, and I have no idea of how I’m going to get there – no plot, no outline, but that’s how I do it. As I write, the story unfolds. It’s like I’m watching a movie and have no idea of how it will end. It’s a fun way to write, and it always seems to work out well in the end, as the now more than 450 five and four-star reviews across the series seem to prove – and I thank all of those readers that have taken the time to post them; I love you guys.

So, what’s it all about? Sorry, can’t tell you… well, I could, but that would spoil it for you. Let’s just say that Harry, Amanda, Kate, even Lonnie, get into one hell of a mess: revenge, murder, mayhem, excitement and even a little tenderness – we all know Harry has his soft spots, right?

More than that, I don’t know. What I do know is that Calaway is the best of the best, a sneaky b…., cold, calculating, dedicated and… a stone cold killer on a mission. Who will die? Who will live? Right now, I have no more idea than you do, but I’ll figure it out. As you can tell, I’m excited about this one, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

More to come…. soon.

If you’re new to the Harry Starke series of mysteries, you can grab a copy of Book 1, the one that started it all, right here, and for FREE: Print

Harry Starke – His Story… and Mine

 I also wanted to write about a detective who doesn’t have to play by the rules.

Harry Starke Book 1

It’s now been just a little more than 15 months since the first book in the Harry Starke series of mysteries was published, and that to me is unbelievable. How could I ever have known how well he would be received? The series is doing better than I could ever have hoped. Tens of thousands of copies have been purchased and Harry is already being referred to as a “modern Mike Hammer,” a huge compliment for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge fan of the old masters of the game, especially Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, etc., and I badly wanted to join that club, but I didn’t think I had what it takes. Not only that, I seriously wondered if such a character would work in today’s politically correct world. Finally, after more than 30 years of “writing about what I know,” (non-fiction, travel, etc., and historical fiction – The Civil War), I took the plunge and Harry Starke was born.

That first book was a tribute to my own dark hero, Mike Hammer, and I think it shows. Over the next eight novels, however, Harry has morphed into a totally different character. Yes, the old, tough Harry is still there, but he’s developed a softer side. I was quite unaware that it was happening; the character just took on a life of its own and, judging from the reviews – now more than 300 five and four stars – the change has been good for him. But how did it all come about?

I knew I didn’t want to write the overdone CSI-type story, and I also knew I wanted a lead character, a detective, who doesn’t have to play by the rules, so the police procedural wasn’t an option. Having said that, Harry, being an ex-cop, is all about the science of deduction. He has a gifted team working for him and, through his many contacts, he does have access to all that fancy tech stuff, but in the end he gets the job done the old-fashioned way: pure detective work.

Harry Starke is a larger than life private detective in a small town – Chattanooga. I say small town, we have a population of about 175,000, with a county population of 350,000. The Chattanooga PD has some 500 sworn officers and a great bunch of folks they are. He’s an ex-cop turned PI, a tough individual, wealthy with not too many personal issues. He’s reluctantly famous, notorious, well educated, dresses well most of the time, has a beautiful home on the crest of Lookout Mountain overlooking the city of Chattanooga (the view from his home is the background for this blog page). He drinks moderately (loves that Laphroaig Malt Scotch), thinks too much, loves his women, also too much, was until book 8, Calypso, involved in several on again off again relationships, has a conscience, a sense of justice, and is willing and quick to use violence as a means to an end. All nine books are stand-alone, as will be those that are to come. They can be read in any order, but it makes sense to begin at the beginning, right?

When I wrote the first book in the series, Harry Starke, I stepped way out of the box. Not only is the story written in the 1st person, I had no idea of the plot. I began with a situation: a beautiful girl commits suicide. That’s it. That’s all I had. The story grew from that. I was more than two thirds into the story before I knew how it was going to end, “whodunnit.” I figured that was a good thing: if I didn’t know who done it, there was a good chance the reader wouldn’t either. The second book, Two for the Money, was no different. This time the situation was a late night phone call. I didn’t figure that one out until I was writing the penultimate chapter. Book 3 is more of the same. The opening chapter: two low-life’s stealing floorboards in an abandoned house find a long dead body. Again, I had no plot, just a bunch of characters, and a place to start. And so it continued, one story after another and never a thought as to what the solution will be until those final few chapters. I love it. Each book, for me, is a new adventure, a journey, the outcome of which I have no idea. The writing is easy. The plotting and planning is not. My office looks like one of those police homicide departments you see on TV: papers, notes, everywhere, a large planning board cover with photos, scribbles, thoughts, ideas (the best of which usually arrive when I’m in the shower). Hey it’s great fun.

So now you know all about me and Harry, how about you say hello too? I’d like to know what YOU think about Harry Starke. Just put a note in the comment box below, or send me an email. I will will respond… I promise.

Harry Starke – Number 10 – Calaway Jones

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Calaway Jones, Mossad, Spy, Assassin

Finally, I’ve made a start on the new Harry Starke novel, Calaway Jones, number 10 in the series. Since Without Remorse was published on January 1, I’ve been taking it easy, resting on my laurels, so to speak. I went through the usual postpartum blues, as I always do when a new novel has left the nest, but now it’s time to get back to work.

The title of the new book, Calaway Jones, came to me to me in a dream more than three months ago. I have no idea what the dream was about, but the name stuck with me. I took that as sign I needed to do something with it… now here we are.

So, who is Calaway Jones? Until 2008 she was a member of Kidon, a division of Israel’s Mossad. Kidon is described as “an elite group of expert assassins who operate under the Caesarea branch of the espionage organization.” Very little is known about this mysterious unit, details of which are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the Mossad. Now, supposedly responsible for more than a dozen high profile international assassinations, Calaway Jones has been hired to “take care of Harry Starke,” but there are conditions. A quick kill is not what her employer wants. Harry must be made to suffer, mentally and physically, before she finally puts him away, which means that not only is Harry in her sights, so are his family and friends.

The book should be available sometime toward the end of March. I’ll let you know when.

If you’re new to the Harry Starke series of mysteries, you can grab a copy of Book 1, the one that started it all, right here, and for FREE: Print

On my Writing of Without Remorse

New Release - Harry Starke - Without Remorse by Blair Howard

New Release – Harry Starke – Without Remorse

Without Remorse is the 9th book in the Harry Starke series of mysteries. As always, it’s a stand-alone story – the Harry Stark books can be read in any order, although it would be best to begin at the beginning.

I am often asked: where do you get your ideas? The short answer to the question is that there is no answer that makes any real sense: most of them just come to me. Not so this one, though. The idea for Without Remorse was triggered by a true story. Some six months ago, I read about Dr. Stephen Scher. Back in the 1970s, he was convicted of the murder of his friend Martin Dillon. From the beginning, it was pretty obvious what had happened. Scher was having an affair with Dillon’s wife and rather than give her up he shot him to death while the two were out shooting skeet. The story triggered my imagination and so Without Remorse became a reality. There is little similarity between my story and that of Stephen Scher. It was obvious from the get-go that Scher had murdered his friend. It’s an interesting story but there’s no mystery in it.

Without Remorse is a true whodunit, a tale of twists and turns, of greed, infidelity, corruption and, of course, murder. Four friends go turkey hunting in Prentice Cooper State Forest. Only three return. The fourth? He tripped, fell on his shotgun and shot himself… dead. Or did he? And thereby hangs the tale. The death of Peter Nicholson was deemed by the medical examiner and the local sheriff to have been an accident, but Nicholson’s mother thought otherwise. Fifteen years later, as her last resort, she asks Harry to find the truth. The case is cold, fifteen years cold. The three surviving friends are now wealthy, influential members of Chattanooga’s elite class, but that bothers Harry not even a little.

I had a lot of fun writing this story. It wasn’t an easy story to build. As usual, I had no outline to work from. I simply started writing and built one scene on top of another until sometime around chapter 28 I managed to figure out for myself whodunit. And that’s how they all are built. Rarely do I know how a story will turn out until it’s almost written. It’s a process that works well for me. And I always think: if I don’t know whodunit, how the heck will the reader?

Wanna give it a try? In the U.S., you can grab your copy right here.

In the U.K., here.

If you’re new to the Harry Starke series of mysteries, you can grab a copy of Book 1, the one that started it all, right here, and for FREE: Print

 

New Release – Harry Starke – Book 9 – Without Remorse

New Release - Harry Starke - Without Remorse by Blair Howard

New Release – Harry Starke – Without Remorse

Just a quick post to let you know that the new Harry Starke novel, Without Remorse, is now available on Amazon. This is the 9th book in the series. I’m working on number 10.
On a balmy afternoon in May 2002, wealthy stockbroker Peter Nicholson was turkey hunting with three friends in Prentice Cooper State Forest when he tripped, fell on his shotgun, and accidentally shot himself… dead, but did he? 15 years later, as a last resort, Nicholson’s mother asks Harry Starke to find the truth. As we all know, Harry loves a cold case, but…. As always, there’s a twist in the tale.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQYQLBD

Harry Starke – Free for a Limited Time

Chattanooga downtown at night as seen from Lookout MountainI won’t be doing this for much longer. If you want to grab a copy of the novel that started it all, you’d better do it right now.

If you’re a fan of Harlan Coben, Lee Child, or Tami Hoag it’s time you met Harry Starke. Now, for a limited time, you can get a a free copy of the book that began it all? In less than a year Harry Starke has become one of the fastest rising stars in mystery fiction. Tens of thousands of copies have been downloaded. 100 five and four star reviews on Amazon alone. Now you can find out for yourself what all the hype is about, for FREE.  Just click the button and you’ll get it almost… instantly!

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