Monday, July 23, 2012



La Crescenta Library

Join Paul, Sue Ann Jaffarian (author of the Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series and the Madison Rose Vampire Mystery series, and Michael Mallory (author of The Mural and the Amelia Watson Mystery series) for a panel/discussion on "Things That Go Bump in the Night".

La Crescenta Library
2809 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Monday, July 9, 2012

G.B. Pool’s Johnny Casino Enters with a Bang!

The Johnny Casino Casebook 1: Past Imperfect, Gayle Bartos-Pool, G.B. Pool Today I have a guest blogger, Gayle Bartos-Pool. Her new novel The Johnny Casino Casebook 1: Past Imperfect has just been released. A hot and hard mystery about a P.I. with a past.

A former private detective and once a reporter for a small weekly newspaper, Gayle Bartos-Pool has other published books, including Media Justice, and several short stories in anthologies, LAndmarked for Murder and Little Sisters Volume 1. The former Speakers Bureau Director for Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles, she is also a member of Mystery Writers of America. Her short story appears in the anthology, Dying in a Winter Wonderland, which was voted one of the Top Ten of Softcover Books as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA) of 2008.

Welcome Gayle:

Thanks so much for inviting me to join you on your blog, Paul.

I look forward to your Facebook notices of Noir movies coming on the movie channel. I’m addicted to them, too. Maybe that’s why the main character in my Johnny Casino series is a fan of the genre.

Johnny grew up in a Mob family in New Jersey, so to escape his life he watched old movies on a 13 inch black and white television. Even after he started working for his father, the consigliere for the D’Abruzzo crime family, he still watched those old Noir classics. He took his look from Tyrone Power in the movie Johnny Apollo. That actually isn’t all that odd. Real life gangster “Crazy Joe” Gallo was said to have dressed like George Raft in dark suits, black shirts and white ties because he thought the movie gangster looked cool. And they say movies don’t influence people.

I got that tidbit from the book, Five Families, a terrific read about “the rise and decline and resurgence of America’s most powerful Mafia Empires” by Selwyn Raab. It was a great primer in all things Mafioso. What I didn’t get from that book, I got from a guy whose father was in the Greek Mafia. This guy was a cop. I could see the conflict the former cop had because of his family ties. That was what I tried to put into Johnny Casino’s character.

As I delved into Johnny’s past, I wrote what turned out to be the second story in the first Johnny Casino Casebook. It’s called “The Family Business.” I learned a lot about Johnny from writing that story. It showed me where Johnny came from and why he wanted to get away from that early life.

Another problem came up while writing the first book. My agent wanted Johnny to have a girlfriend. That was another reason I wrote that second story. Johnny likes women, he just can’t trust them. This attitude is very much like the characters in those old Noir movies we love. I prefer either the femme fatal or the lady in distress in most of my stories with Johnny, but he did begin his private detective days working for a woman. And he admires this lady, she just loves somebody else. He did have an affair with a Mafia boss’s wife. Obviously, Johnny likes to live dangerously.

At the beginning of this first book, Johnny Casino states that he is a retired private detective with a past, he just hopes it doesn’t catch up with him. This opens the door for ghosts from his former lives to pop up, both his Mafia past and the time he was a P.I. the first time. I can do stories in flashback when I want to explain how Johnny got to be who he is and I can also have some of those earlier characters appear in the present after Johnny gets back in the detective business. Gayle Bartos-Pool, G.B. Pool

I basically write The Johnny Casino Casebook stories like a TV series. If you remember the old Magnum, P.I. TV show, they did flashbacks and brought in characters from his past every so often to give the viewer a full spectrum of his life. I do that with Johnny.

The first book in the series is subtitled Past Imperfect. Every story concerns someone with a skeleton or two in his or her closet. One story features a famous Hollywood star and a retired Broadway actress. This particular actress has a deadly secret in her closet and she is being blackmailed. The Hollywood actor wants Johnny to help out, but the actor has a few skeletons in his closet, too.

There is a story about politician with a playmate who has disappeared, and another case where Johnny is asked to return a dead body to the man responsible for the deed. Johnny even helps out the local sheriff whose wife has disappeared. This story takes him across the boarder into Mexico with a redhead you won’t soon forget.

Johnny explains how he met the woman who trained him as a detective in another story. You will see why he likes her so much. And the last story takes Johnny to Miami when his “wife” asks for money to keep her mouth shut. Only thing, Johnny doesn’t have a wife. This tale leaves Johnny with a question: Who the hell am I?

Books two and three are already written, so I know a lot about Johnny Casino. I drop in movie references frequently and Johnny works for various movie stars from time to time. I do change their names, but you might guess who they are. I like these actors too much to associate dead bodies and shenanigans with a real person. It was fun taking their actual time frame and creating a different character around it. I use places where they really lived in some cases and even some of the movies they made, I just changed the titles slightly to keep this fiction. A few come back for guest appearances in other stories later in the series.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I hope you enjoy The Johnny Casino Casebook – Past Imperfect. You can find the book on Amazon or link to it through my website:

Thank you, Gayle.   Good luck with the first Johnny Casino and I look forward to the next one!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Free e-Book and a Guest Blog

Born Under a Bad Sign short story FREE today, tomorrow and Sunday (July 6-8) on Amazon for Kindle.

Sometimes life is a like a David Goodis novel, Kit thought. And sometimes it's like a down and dirty blues rag. He used to listen to the blues. Now he knew what it was to live them.

I'm also guest blogging on Lois Winston's Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers today. The subject is: Did Ya Hear The One About The Two Navy Seals? – A Different Take On Dialogue.