Crime Fiction

Crime fiction is one of my first loves, both as a reader and a writer. To learn more about a book, click the link. All books are available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and most online retailers. Since I make the most royalties when you order e-books from my publishers, where possible I've included those links for your convenience. But my books are available almost everywhere on line, thanks to my great publishers and also to Untreed Reads, who help me out by distributing to libraries (through Overdrive and Freading), the iBookstore, Kobo, OmniLit and many other fine online retailers.

Golden Retriever Mysteries The Mahu Investigations Other Mysteries

In Dog We Trust Mahu Genie for Hire
The Kingdom of Dog Mahu Surfer The Next One Will Kill You
Dog Helps Those Mahu Fire
Dog Bless You Mahu Vice
Whom Dog Hath Joined Mahu Men: Mysterious and Erotic Stories
Dog Have Mercy Mahu Blood
Honest to Dog Zero Break
Natural Predators
Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations
Children of Noah
Ghost Ship

In Dog We Trust

42-year-old Steve Levitan has lost everything that matters to him - his marriage, his home and his career. After finishing a brief prison term for computer hacking, he returns to his home town of Stewart's Crossing, PA with his tail between his legs.

With his parole officer peering over his shoulder, Steve begins a technical writing business and takes a part-time job as an adjunct professor of English at his alma mater, Eastern College. He reconnects with an old friend, the local police detective, hangs out at a coffee shop, and enjoys the natural beauty of Bucks County and the stimulating college environment. Starting over helps him numb the pain of all he's lost, including the two unborn children his ex-wife miscarried before their divorce.
The last thing he needs in his life is a shaggy, bossy golden retriever. But when his next-door neighbor, Caroline Kelly, is murdered, Steve becomes her dog's temporary guardian. Rochester seems determined to solve the mystery of Caroline's death, digging up clues and pushing Steve to investigate. As they nose through Caroline's past, her friends and her career searching for motives, the bond between man and dog grows.

But it's only when Steve uncovers a connection between Caroline's death and some uncomfortable situations between his students and his colleagues that Steve realizes that in order to save his own life, and the life of the dog he's come to love, he's going to have to come face to face with a killer with nothing left to lose.

Available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com, as a Nook book from B&N, in print from Amazon's Create Space, in other e-formats from Smashwords, and at almost any online e-book retailer.

The audio version is available from Audible.com, and you can click here to listen to a sample. And by the way, the golden on the cover is my beloved Samwise, whose antics first inspired Rochester. To see more great golden retriever pictures, visit my Golden Retrievers board on Pinterest.


The Kingdom of Dog

The Kingdom of Dog picks up a few months after the end of In Dog We Trust. Eastern College is about to launch a $500 million fund-raising campaign, and Steve has been hired to handle the campaign's public relations. It's a full-time job, though only for a short term. He gets permission from his new boss to bring Rochester to work every day.

The launch party for the campaign is a great success - until Rochester discovers a dead body in the snow outside the building.

To prevent a public relations fiasco, Steve is plunged into finding out who killed the cantankerous director of admissions, with the help of his shaggy Sherlock.
Joe Dagorian had a long history with the College, and Steve and Rochester begin to dig up secrets that might be better kept buried. But is one of them worth killing for?

Could the killer be Joe's ex-wife, whose retirement plans were thwarted? The student assistant who could lose everything because of an indiscretion? Or the wealthy alumnus who's desperate to get his son admitted to Eastern?

Why are those two football players - Juan Tanamera and Jose Canusi - always hanging around? And what connection does a homeless man in town have to the College - and the case?

Rochester begins to present clues to Steve-- a bloody knife, an incriminating letter, some curious photographs. Dad and dog follow leads around the Bucks County countryside, digging into the past and disturbing old ghosts.

Will Steve's curiosity and Rochester's savvy save them when the killer comes calling? Order it in Kindle version here, as a Nook book from B&N in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer, and as a paperback here. The audio is now available from Audible; click here to listen to a sample.

Dog Helps Those

It's almost time for graduation, and Eastern College is in trouble. A prominent alumna is dead, and a faulty computer program is jeopardizing student records and financial aid. It's up to Steve and Rochester to dig into the situation and retrieve the culprits!

Rita Gaines wasn't a nice person-but she did love her dogs, and most of her clients respected her financial acumen and her talent in training dogs for agility trials. When she's found dead, there's a long line of potential suspects from Wall Street whiz kids to doting doggie daddies-- including one of Steve's former students.
Felae is an art prodigy now studying with Steve's girlfriend, Lili, chair of Eastern's Fine Arts department, and Rita hated his controversial senior project. When she tried to have his scholarship cancelled, he threatened to kill her. But is he the villain behind her death?

In between helping Steve's high school friend Rick track the killer, Rochester practices darting around weave poles and jumping over limbo poles while Steve helps shepherd the college toward the completion of another academic year. It's spring in Stewart's Crossing, and old friends - and their dogs-gather together to investigate and eventually, to celebrate. Order it in Kindle version here, as a Nook book from Barnes & Noble, in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer-- or as a paperback.

Dog Bless You

Autumn has come to Bucks County, and Steve Levitan has a new job: develop a conference center for Eastern College at Friar Lake, a few miles from campus. But on his first visit to the property, his golden retriever Rochester makes a disturbing discovery, a human hand rising from the dirt at the lake's shore.

Whose hand is it? Why was the body buried there? The answers will take Steve, his photographer girlfriend Lili, and the ever-faithful Rochester to a drop-in center for recovering drug addicts on the Lower East Side, a decaying church in Philadelphia's Germantown, and finally to a confrontation with a desperate killer.

Order it in Kindle version here, as a Nook book from Barnes & Noble, in other e-formats from Smashwords and at almost any online e-book retailer. And if you prefer the paperback you can order it from Amazon.

Whom Dog Hath Joined

Reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan still gets a thrill from snooping into places online where he shouldn't be. When his golden retriever Rochester discovers a human bone at the Friends Meeting during the Harvest Days festival, these two unlikely sleuths are plunged into another investigation.

They will uncover uncomfortable secrets about their small town's past as they dig deep into the Vietnam War era, when local Quakers helped draft resisters move through Stewart's Crossing on their way to Canada. Does that bone Rochester found belong to one of those young men fleeing conscription? Or to someone who knew the secrets that lurked behind those whitewashed walls?
Steve's got other problems, too. His girlfriend Lili wants to move in with him, and his matchmaking efforts among his friends all seem to be going haywire.

Whether the death was due to natural causes, or murder, someone in the present wants to keep those secrets hidden. And Steve and Rochester may end up in the crosshairs of a very antique rifle if they can't dig up the clues quickly enough. Amazon has the ebook and print versions, while Barnes & Noble and Smashwords sell the ebook.

Dog Have Mercy

In the sixth golden retriever mystery, Dog Have Mercy, Christmas approaches and reformed hacker Steve Levitan tries to help a fellow ex-con now working at the vet's office in Stewart's Crossing. His curiosity, and the crime-solving instincts of his golden retriever, Rochester, kick in when liquid potassium ampoules are stolen from the vet and Steve's new friend is a suspect.

Is this theft connected to a drug-running operation in North Philly? Or to a recent spate of deaths at the local nursing home? And can Steve continue to resist his computer-hacking impulses or will his desire to help others continue to lead him into trouble? Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and the iBookstore.

Honest to Dog

When his college friend Doug moves to Stewart's Crossing after an ugly divorce, reformed computer hacker Steve Levitan sees a way to pay forward the help he received under similar circumstances. But when Doug dies under mysterious circumstances, Steve and his crime-solving golden retriever Rochester have a new goal: Find the truth behind Doug's death, even if Steve has to risk the freedom he has fought so hard for to do it.

Contains Ponzi schemers, a Quaker funeral and cute jump drives shaped like llamas.

Click here to order from Amazon.com, in ebook or print; here for Barnes & Noble; and here for Kobo.

The Next One Will Kill You

The world's a tough place for an FBI agent, especially a young one fresh out of Quantico, accustomed to viewing the world through the lens of an accounting spreadsheet.

Assigned to South Florida for his first posting, Angus Green is worlds away from his hardscrabble upbringing in Scranton, PA. He has to cope with ethnic distinctions he's never considered, a multitude of foreign languages spoken around him, and a range of crimes and criminals that boggles his mind.

While investigating a jewelry heist with its roots in Fort Lauderdale's gay neighborhoods, Angus must learn how to use his education, his intelligence and his good looks without losing track of who he is and what he stands for.
The street quickly teaches him that the only way to face a challenge is to assume that he'll survive this one--that it'll be the next one that will kill him.

The Next One Will Kill You is available in print and e-book from Diversion Books. Click here to order it from Amazon.com, or here for links to other major retailers. I've also already seen the paperback on the shelves at Barnes & Noble.

Ghost Ship

After seven novels about Kimo and two collections of short stories, I decided to move Kimo and Ray to the FBI and let them investigate bigger cases than local homicides in Honolulu. I'd graduated from the FBI's Citizens Academy by then, so I had a good idea of the kind of cases that the Bureau investigates.

Starting with the previous book, the 8th in the series, Children of Noah, Kimo and Ray went on assignment to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, where local law enforcement agents from groups as varied as the Coast Guard, TSA, and military police work together.

Now, as their time at the FBI is drawing to a close, they're drawn into a case that will challenge Kimo in every way possible -- the death of a young family, with twins like Kimo and Mike's, who die when their sailboat containing nuclear materials crashes on the Leeward Coast of O'ahu.
The book will take Kimo away from Mike and their kids, away from the local knowledge he relies on, to cold climates and dangerous villains. Now available in ebook and print. Click here to order from MLR (where I get the most royalties), from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Children of Noah

Police detective Kimo Kanapa'aka has investigated homicides and other crimes that take place in Honolulu's District 1, which covers the downtown area from Liliha Street to Punahou Street and from Round Top Drive to Ala Moana Beach, including the Aloha Tower. His cases have taken him around the island, from the Windward to the Leeward Coast and up through the center of the island to the North Shore.

Now, Kimo and his detective partner Ray Donne have accepted an assignment to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, where personnel from a variety of Federal and local agencies are loaned to the Bureau to work on complex cases.

Kimo and Ray must negotiate a new bureaucracy and a tricky case, which begins with threatening letters sent to a U.S. Senator and his family. Things heat up as they discover connections to other harassment of mixed-race couples and families, even children. Since his new-born twins are a mix of many cultures, from Hawaiian to haole to Japanese to Korean, Kimo feels especially motivated to solve this case.
You can order the e-book from MLR in any e-format or from Amazon.

Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations

From murderers to missing babies to a shaggy dog with an unusual appetite, Kimo has his hands full in this selection of ten short investigations in the Aloha State. Sun-drenched streets hide bodies in their shadows and clues lurk in the most unusual places, from a hearse to flowering hedge to a psychic who provides Kimo with an unexpected revelation. These sexy, smart and satisfying stories will please new readers and fans of the Mahu series as well.

The stories here are:
  • "Accidental Contact"
  • "Kelly Green"
  • "Refuge"
  • "A Shaggy Dog Story"
  • "Macadamia Nuts to You"
  • "Body Removal"
  • "The Burning Woman"
  • "Other People's Children"
  • "Alpha and Omega"
  • "Transmission"
  • Click here to order the e-book from MLR in any e-format, here for Nook format from B&N, or here for the paperback from Amazon.

    Natural Predators: A Mahu Investigation


    The beautiful tropical island of O'ahu is filled with predators, from high-flying owls to bottom-dwelling criminals. When the body of an island patrician is found in a warehouse fire, tracking his killers will bring openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa'aka into contact with many of those predators, natural and otherwise. Kimo and his detective partner Ray Donne dig deep into the history of Hawai'i as the islands were teetering on the brink of statehood in order to understand the victim, his killer, and their motives.

    Kimo and his partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, decide to become foster parents for a homeless teen who witnessed the crime, while preparing to become dads themselves.

    Click here to buy the paperback at Amazon, here for Barnes & Noble, or here to buy the e-book from MLR in any e-format, (with bonus short story, available only in the paperback and the publisher's e-editions).



    Zero Break: A Mahu Investigation

    Zero break refers to the deep-water location where waves first begin, often far offshore. For Honolulu homicide detective and surfer Kimo Kanapa'aka, it means his most dangerous case yet.

    A young mother is murdered in what appears to be a home invasion robbery, leaving behind a complex skein of family and business relationships, and Kimo and his detective partner Ray Donne must navigate deadly waters to uncover the true motive behind her death.

    Kimo is also in trouble at home, as he and fire investigator Mike Riccardi plumb the limits of their love for one another and consider the future of their relationship.
    Click here to buy the paperback at Amazon, here for Barnes & Noble, or here to buy the e-book from MLR in any e-format.

    Mahu Blood

    Mahu Blood begins on Hawai’i Statehood Day in August, about ten months after the action of Mahu Vice. Statehood is a controversial issue in Hawai’i, because many native Hawaiians perceive the United States as an occupying force that overthrew a sovereign monarchy in 1892.

    Kimo and his partner, Ray Donne, are on duty at a rally in downtown Honolulu organized by Kingdom of Hawai’i, one of many competing groups which seek reparations from the US for the loss of land and independence. An elderly woman is shot dead there, only a few feet from where Kimo’s mother and nephews are taking part in the demonstration, and Kimo and Ray take the case.
    At the same time, Kimo’s dealing with domestic difficulties, having just moved in with Mike Riccardi. Since both are alpha males, the transition to shared living space isn’t easy, especially because Mike’s parents live next door.

    As Kimo and Mike struggle to adapt to living together, they begin to forge their own ohana—a Hawaiian term which means family, as well as community. The theme of ohana resonates through both Kimo’s personal life and his investigation of the murder as Kimo and Ray follow clues through a labyrinth of competing groups, uncovering a trail of gambling, money laundering, and mental illness.

    The title refers both to the blood spilled in three murders, as well as the blood ties that link native Hawaiians to each other. People come together in many ways here—through native heritage and family ties as well as love and fellowship. Click here to order the e-book from MLR in any e-format, here for Nook format from B&N, or here for the paperback from Amazon.

    Mahu Men

    Mixing mystery and erotica, the stories in Mahu Men take readers into the world of openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka. Moving from pickups to murders, Kimo surfs the waves of his professional and personal lives in a sexy, sensual tropical paradise, where danger and desire lurk behind every palm tree.

    The stories fill the gaps between the Mahu novels, showing Kimo dating as well as solving cases and establishing a relationship with his new detective partner. Mixing the sensuality of erotica with the sharp-edged attitude of mysteries, Mahu Men is a chance for new readers to meet Kimo, and for fans to delve more deeply into his world. There is a timeline here of how the stories fit between the novels-- but beware, it may contain spoilers!
    Click here to buy the paperback from Amazon.com, here for B&N, or here to buy the e-book in any format from MLR.

    Mahu Vice

    About a year and a half has passed since the flames engulfed Waahila Ridge State Park at the end of Mahu Fire. During that time, Kimo and Mike dated for about six months, but the pressures on them increased to the point where their relationship ended. But when a fire breaks out at a shopping center Kimo's father used to own, and a young boy is killed, they are forced to work together-- and to acknowledge that the embers of their relationship are still hot.

    But a lot stands in the way of their getting together once more, including a mysterious man who knows how to exploit Kimo's sexual fantasies, Mike's identity issues, and a deadly little thing called murder.
    Click here to buy Mahu Vice in paperback from Amazon.com or here for the e-book from MLR.

    Mahu Fire

    Winner of the Hawaii Five-O award for best police procedural mystery
    A finalist for the 2008 Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Mystery
    Six months have passed since Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapaka'a's return to Honolulu from his undercover assignment on the North Shore. He's becoming more comfortable with his visibility as Honolulu's only openly gay homicide detective, including mentoring a group of gay teens.

    Kimo, his family and friends are attending a local charity event in support of gay marriage when a bomb disrupts the gala. Kimo is determined to find out who feels strongly enough against the issue to kill-- but it's possible that his high profile will stand in his way.

    Click here to buy Mahu Fire at Amazon.com or here to buy the e-book from MLR in any format.


    Mahu Surfer

    A finalist for the 2007 Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Mystery
    Mahu Surfer, my second mystery novel, sends openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa'aka back to his surfing past. Rather than announce Kimo's public return to the HPD after the events of Mahu, his new boss asks the former competitive surfer to go undercover on Oahu's North Shore to find the killer of three young surfers.

    In his return to the North Shore, Kimo discovers trouble in paradise, from an epidemic rise in the use of crystal meth to increasing pressure on real estate prices. As well, he rekindles an uneasy friendship with an old friend whose sexual assault drove Kimo into the police academy, and further into the closet, six years earlier.
    Mahu Surfer showcases a handsome, sexy hero who struggles to overcome personal troubles and makes private sacrifices for the public good. Throw in an exotic tropical locale, plenty of aloha spirit and a dash of surf culture, as well as a slam-bang ending that puts Kimo and the people he cares about in danger, and you've got the makings of a page-turning mystery.

    Click here to buy Mahu Surfer at Amazon.com or here to buy the e-book from MLR in any format.


    Mahu

    Mahu, A Waikiki Mystery by Neil Plakcy Mahu
    Mahu has had a great life, beginning with a Haworth Press edition in 2005, an Alyson edition in 2009, and the newest edition, from MLR Books, out in 2011.
    Kimo Kanapa'aka's world turns upside down in Mahu. At 32, the hero of Māhū has reached the pinnacle of his profession, detective on the Honolulu Police Department's homicide squad, based at the Waikīkī station. But a difficult murder case, as well as turmoil in his personal life, is about to threaten everything he has worked for.

    A life-threatening drug bust in chapter 1 makes Kimo realize that it's time to stop lying to himself. He's drawn to the Rod and Reel Club, a gay bar in Waikīkī, where he has a couple of beers and begins the long process of accepting his attraction to other men. Leaving the club, though, he stumbles onto two men dropping a dead body in an alley, and he launches himself into a nightmare where his private life becomes public news.

    Kimo's pursuit of this case takes him from the seamy underside of Chinatown to the elegance of million-dollar homes in Maunalani Heights, from gay bars where young men stride naked down runways to bloody crime scenes.

    Order Mahu in print from Amazon or as an e-book from MLR in any format.

    Genie for Hire

    An ancient genie in a modern, buff body, Biff Andromeda can't use his magical powers for his own benefit, so he opens a detective agency in a Miami suburb. A damsel in distress, photographer Sveta Pshkov, hires him to retrieve a stolen set of boudoir photos she took of a Russian mobster's wife-snapped for her boyfriend's pleasure, not her husband's.

    Biff's investigation into the spreading tentacles of the Russian mafia turns personal when he realizes that the dangerous female genie he has loved and lost over centuries has a desperate stake in the outcome. Now available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and in print from CreateSpace.