Saturday, March 16, 2013

Available Now: BLADE OF THE TIGER (a Joe Hannibal novel)

The new full-length Joe Hannibal mystery is available now on Kindle, and the print version will be out in the next week or so. 
In BLADE OF THE TIGER, Hannibal gets caught up in the search for a legendary knife—the very one Jim Bowie died with at the Battle of the Alamo. The Bowie knife, sometimes called "the American Excalibur," is perhaps the most famous, most copied and duplicated weapon of all time. But this one is not a copy, it allegedly is the real deal. And enough people are convinced of this to be willing to kill to possess it. Evidence of this is made shockingly clear when a lovely, rather mysterious young woman checks into one of the guest cabins at No Name Bay, Hannibal's home base, and is brutally murdered. The authorities are quickly on the case so there's really no reason—not the murder, not the knife, none of it—for Hannibal to concern himself. Except for one nagging little fact. And that is, as he himself puts it: "I take it kinda personal when some sonofabitch murders somebody right in my back yard."
Filled with twists, action, local color, humor, and a sprinkling of historical fact mixed with conjecture, BLADE OF THE TIGER is an exciting new addition to the Hannibal series that I think readers will enjoy.

The personal back-story on writing this book doesn't reach back quite as far as the battle of the Alamo, but does go back a ways. Back to the mid-1980s, after I got to know kick-ass poet Todd Moore and he'd helped me start Hardboiled Magazine. (Remember, I wrote about Todd in these pages back in January and I refer you once against to that post and also to the terrific biography of Todd—Gangsters, Harlots, & Thieves – Down And Out At The Hotel Clifton—by his son Theron.) Before he concentrated more exclusively on his outlaw poetry, Todd also did some prose work. A couple of his stories appeared in Hardboiled. And the idea of a contemporary crime novel based around trying to uncover the Alamo Bowie was originally his. He even wrote a few chapters and I remember he called it Shadow Blade. He grew unhappy with it, though, and put it aside. This was all back in Illinois.
Flash forward to a few years ago, after Todd had moved to New Mexico and I to Nebraska, and we did some corresponding via e-mail. At some point I asked him if he ever gone back to Shadow Blade and finished it. When he said no, I asked him if he'd mind if I took a crack at the concept (which I always found intriguing) and used it for a Hannibal story. He said sure, go ahead. So—after a couple false starts, and a number of other projects in between, and the unfortunate passing of Todd—BLADE OF THE TIGER resulted.
I dedicated it (and rightfully so) to Todd. Wherever he's reading it from, I hope he likes the way it turned out.

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