NORTH OF GRAND: New Detective Red Shaw novel now on Amazon

A man turns up dead in a bicycle storage locker on a muggy August morning and Detective Red Shaw takes the heat.

bicycle-2462199-enhancedShaw has just outsmarted a murderous sociopath who almost killed him. Now he has another homicide to investigate—while he’s hobbled by a sore knee, distracted by a steamy new romance, and dodging accusations of coercing a confession in an old case.

Shaw and his partner probe the sometimes toxic, competitive world of amateur bicycle racing, where they find a web of cryptic social media messaging, stolen property, drug trafficking, and murder.

Get it now on Amazon!

If you somehow missed the first Red Shaw novel, called a “compelling, gut-wrenching thriller” by one reviewer, you can get that on Amazon, too: BLOOD SOLUTIONS.

Des Moines is cool now? Art, food, politics and crime fiction

So Des Moines started getting cool a few short years after the Smiths moved to the starkly less cool Cedar Rapids? Sheer coincidence.

For what it’s worth, I thought my home town was always pretty cool, if not as slick as those snooty Twin Cities we supposedly looked up to back in the day.

Politico’s new story of how Des Moines went from “totally dysfunctional” to cool is an interesting read anyway. I haven’t thought about scooping the loop in years and had no idea that it was considered “a menace to society,” as columnist Rekha Basu says in the story.

I thought the menace was Roosevelt H.S. guys wanting to beat me up at the bus stop, or the guy on an inner-city street corner who wanted to kill me and a friend on our way to Dowling one morning. (We talked him out of it and walked away.)

Des Moines (4)Des Moines was also cool enough that it inspired me to write what has been called “a compelling, gut-wrenching thriller,” which takes place on those formerly mean, now-cool streets.

In one of my favorite parts of the story, Detective Red Shaw meets another key character in a sculpture park that wasn’t even there when we last lived in Des Moines.

Another takes place where caucus-covering reporters used to stay, and I suppose some still do:

“The Savery Hotel had been the Harrises’ favorite hangout since the days when its bar was crowded with reporters from across the country who were covering the Iowa caucuses. The newer Coda and BOS were OK, but Maura missed the old atmosphere.”

Sometimes I miss it a little, too, and it’s fun to visit family and friends in Iowa when we get the chance. Even Cedar Rapids is getting pretty cool, a trend that actually started before the Smiths went west.


Bad guy(s?) from Des Moines Roosevelt

Of course the bad guy(s?) in my crime novel would be Roosevelt alum(ni?). #DesMoines #Dowling #promocave

A fictional cop’s take on Des Moines’ sculpture park

Ebook and paperback

Shaw told his partner the one time they walked through the sculpture park that he found it a little disturbing, beginning with the fantastical, scrawny, rabbit-like creature that openly mocked Rodin’s The Thinker. There was a dark gray blob that looked like a rotting Mr. Potato Head, a stick figure titled Untitled that was frozen in mid-stretch, and then the scandalous Gymnast III that was clearly an enormous black erection.

“Red,” he remembered Phil saying, “you don’t know shit about art.”

“I’ve got eyes,” he’d said, “and a brain. I know a big dick when I see one sticking right up there between Grand and Locust where it shouldn’t be sticking.”


An excerpt from “Blood Solutions,” a Detective Red Shaw novel
Copyright 2015 B.J. Smith

Available through AmazonBarnes&Noble, iTunesScribd, Smashwords and other online book sellers.

“Holy crap, @AngellaRicot,” he said.

“Now I gotta have a cool video to sell a frickin’ book?”