Today we have a sneak peek from Return of the Falcon, the hard-boiled mystery novel by author Don Satalic.
The year is 1946. Chicago private eye Joe Ganzer, a haunted former WWII espionage agent, is about to take a case he doesn’t want from a mysterious Russian beauty he doesn’t trust to locate an uncle whose story he doesn’t believe. And a two-time loser from the past will ask Joe to get him out of a treacherous jam. If he helps him, they may both end up dead. Joe Ganzer becomes tangled in a web of espionage and Nazi collaborators and stolen art and murder– and at the center of it all is the infamous Maltese Falcon.
Here is an excerpt from Return of the Falcon…
Late Summer, 1946
The war was finally over. It ended in an orgy of destruction and death unleashed by Fat Man and Little Boy, horrific creations of the new “Atomic Age.”
But it brought our boys home.
And with them came a secret. If you looked real hard, you might be able to see it, just behind their eyes. Joe Ganzer knew what to look for. He saw it every morning in the mirror.
Today, Joe Ganzer only takes the easy cases, the cases with no danger, no challenges, no chance to trigger his memories or his fears. Fortunately for Jos. Ganzer Investigations a lot of returning GIs were curious about how their lovely ladies had occupied their time while they were away saving the world. Not that they doubted their fidelity, it was just insurance. Joe’s policy cost $50, more than enough to guarantee her virtue.
He settled into the complacency of these domestic cases, where his GI clients needed assurance that life was what they thought it was, that the world was essentially good if only a little screwed up.
But Joe knew better.
A couple of bullet holes kept him out of the war, at least that was the story on the street. Rumors surfaced about counter-espionage, about the “Bomb,” about hunting down Nazi spies for the FBI. That last one played well with the ladies.
And it was a lady client he would see today. She had called the office to arrange a consultation. He wasn’t sure he even wanted her kind of case, too many unknowns. But Joe agreed to meet her at Vookie’s Tavern, his “other” office. Besides, no sense meeting at his Commercial Avenue command center– it was hot and dusty and a mess. Vookie’s was good enough, the kind of place where everyone minds his own business, especially in the quiet of late afternoon.
Her entrance shattered the cathedral’s silence and spilled some afternoon heat into the place. Her eyes caught Joe’s in the last booth. She immediately walked over and slipped into the opposing side. “How’d you know?” asked Joe with a broad smile, admiring her angular features, blonde hair, and winter eyes, slate-gray with flecks of blue.
“I didn’t think you could be that drunk over at the bar or the bartender or that peculiar man with the hat leering at me. So, that left you,” she said with only the hint of arrogance in her soft, rich voice. She was bright and knew how to handle herself. She had depth. This case would be different.