BY: ROBERT DOWNS
Private detective Casey Holden has just gotten back from a vacation of fun in the sun when he gets an unexpected visitor, Felicity Farren. Her husband was killed two years ago, and the local cops have let the case run cold. She wants answers, as well as justice, and Casey appears to be the right man for the job. Since he’s intrigued by Felicity, and since he doesn’t have anyone else knocking on his door, Casey takes her case. But when he starts digging for the truth, he soon realizes this isn’t a simple crime, and he probably doesn’t have a big enough shovel…
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Falling Immortality by Robert Downs, Casey Holden is a private detective. He is just back from vacation when a woman comes to his office. She tells Casey that her husband was killed two years ago, the cops have let the case go cold, and she wants Casey to find the killer. But as Casey begins to investigate, he soon discovers that things are not as they seem. To make matters worse, he thinks someone is setting him up, but who? Could it be the beautiful women he meets during the investigation; the owner of the bar where the man was killed; or maybe the cops, who aren’t too happy about Casey’s interference?
Fast paced with plenty of surprises, the story will keep you guessing until the very end.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Falling Immortality by Robert Downs is the story of Casey Holden, a down-at-the-heels private investigator. When a women comes to his office with a story of a murdered husband and no action by the police, Casey suspects something is not quite right. But as he has no other clients at the moment and bills to pay, he takes the case. Things go downhill almost immediately, and he soon discovers the case is a lot more complicated than it seems. In fact, he’ll be lucky to get out with his life.
With excellent character development, fast-paced action, sharp dialogue, and plenty of suspense, Falling Immortality is one mystery fans should love.
“My husband died,” she said.
She wiped her eyes, but she didn’t shed a tear.
I was accustomed to serious–I’m a former cop–and I couldn’t give it up. “I’m sorry for your loss,” I told her. It seemed like the appropriate thing to say. There’s something to be said for effort.
“I’d like to hire you.”
I needed more to go on. “What’s your husband’s name?”
She paused as if she might be trying to remember. “Artis, Artis Farren. I’m Felicity, his wife. I hear you’re the best, Mr. Holden.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I have an inquisitive mind.”
“It goes with the territory, doesn’t it?” Felicity whipped out a cigarette, and before she even asked if it was okay with me–it wasn’t–she lit it up.
“Indeed it does go with the territory.” I wanted to tell her she could put her cigarette out on her butt. I thought better of it, opened a desk drawer where I kept an ashtray for idiots who hadn’t kicked the habit, and placed the ashtray before her on my desk. I’d learned how to handle compromise in my relationships with women–I kept my mouth shut and looked cute. I could even do both at the same time. But that’s beside the point.
Felicity had blown into my office in a blue skirt two inches too short. Her blonde hair and makeup appeared to be sculpted.
With hardly a glance from her crystal blue eyes, she sat down in one of my two guest chairs, while I remained behind my mahogany desk ready for action. I’d even leaned back in my desk chair to send a message of confidence and competence.
“I can’t pay you very much,” she now said.
Money wasn’t an issue for me. I had my parents’ trust fund to keep me afloat–the one thing they had done when their fancy yacht went down in a storm off the Mexican coast. The PI business didn’t pay all that well, and neither did the cop business, but I loved the work. I cleared my throat and told her, “If I solve it, we’ll talk about my fee. I have reasonable rates.”
“Like Motel Six?”
“Exactly, only I’m better looking.” I flashed her one of my killer smiles–it didn’t work, so I quickly looked peeved instead.
“Indeed you are–better looking.”
I waited for her to continue. The only thing she did was continue to spew sooty fumes in my face. Finally I gave in and asked, “Why me?”
Felicity took a long drag on her cigarette. “The cops haven’t been much help. It’s been two years now, but they’ve done nothing to solve it.”
“I’m sure they have,” I said. Even though I’m an ex-cop, I still believe cops have good methods. I just wasn’t sure I could deal with them on a regular basis. So I don’t. Now I just harass them from time to time–it’s more fun that way. Everyone needs their perks, and that’s one of mine. Trouble could come my way almost any day. That’s how life had been with my parents.
First, it had been a near miss in their private jet when the gear wouldn’t lower, but in that case the pilot had saved the day with an ace high, full stall belly landing. Then it had been a car off a narrow road in the Swiss Alps, which carried them into a fifty foot deep ravine. Just one thing after another–they’d walked away laughing. I tried not to think about it. It was hard to do…
But back to Felicity and her cigarette.
I had a cup of cold coffee on my side of the desk and, despite the ashtray, a pile of messy ashes. I didn’t like the thought of my mahogany desk–the one piece of really nice furniture I had in my office–turning to charcoal. Nevertheless, I decided to move ahead. “Why don’t you tell me what happened?”
“I don’t know much to tell you…”
The shaking of her head gave her away. She knew more than what she was telling me which, so far, hadn’t been much. “Why don’t you let me decide that? Tell me what you do know.” I know how to listen or at least make it appear that way.
“I’m not really sure where to begin.”
“The beginning’s always a good place,” I said.
Her crystal blue eyes snapped shut then opened, as if this was about to be the end of a beautiful friendship. “Are you a smart-ass for a living?”
“No, it’s just a side business,” I said. “I gotta keep up the good humor. You know?” Well, I hoped she did.
She opened her mouth, and then she closed it again.
I liked it when I wrapped a woman’s tongue around her head three times. It was the perfect payback for all the guys out there who have been given the shaft by a smart woman.
Women are smarter than men, especially when it comes to relationships, and ever since I learned this, I’d tried to level the playing field. I’m just one man, and I’ve been known to fall flat on my face a time or two, but I keep trying to even the score. One day maybe I will.
Finally, she ended the suspense. “It was a random shooting. My husband was at the bar, his regular nightspot. A man just walked in, pulled out a gun like it was an extension of his arm, shot my husband, turned around, and left. That was it.”
“So you don’t know the man’s name?”
Felicity shook her head. “He wasn’t a regular. In fact, no one had seen him there before, and no one has seen him since.”
I leaned forward, eager to hear more. “So you don’t know anything about the man?”
“He was a ghost, detective.”
“I’m not a detective, ma’am. I’m a PI.”
“It’s okay,” I lied. “It happens all the time.” Lies were okay on occasion, especially to women who were all shook up. And Felicity still appeared to be pretty shaken. The chain smoking was a dead giveaway. She was on her third cigarette–and I wasn’t counting.
I thought about the shooting and was about to utter a few words of encouragement, despite the fact that looks could be deceiving, and normally simple crimes were never simple, when Felicity Farren stood up and darted out the door, cigarettes and all.
I watched her go, and I had watched her come–I couldn’t decide which was more entertaining. If she didn’t smoke like a chimney, lie through her teeth, and have me beaten in the age department by at least fifteen years, I might have been more interested in her horizontal activities.
Heaving a sigh of resignation, I pushed myself from my desk chair and cleaned up the mess on my desk. With a sheet of paper, I scooted the remaining ashes from my desk into the wastepaper basket and poured myself a fresh cup of coffee.
Back at my desk and sipping my coffee, I gave the unlucky Artis Farren some thought. It sounded like a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That had happened to me on several occasions, but I’d never been caught with my pants down. I didn’t sleep with married women.
Two years was a long time to pick up a case, but I’d known cases to play dead longer, only to come roaring back to life. Normally when cases remain unsolved, it was for one of two reasons: the murderer was really good, or it wasn’t supposed to be solved. Since the murderer whacked poor Artis in an open bar with plenty of witnesses, I figured this was one I wasn’t supposed to solve.
Though I didn’t have a client in gone-with-the-wind Felicity, suddenly it made no-never-mind. I wanted to jump right in.
I picked up my cell phone. I had three new messages. I erased them all. I wanted a clean slate ahead. Then I punched in the number of my best friend, Ian Jackard.
“Not you… again,” Ian answered in his usual pessimistic fashion.
Ever the eternal optimist, I said, “How did you know it was me?”
“Caller ID,” he said. “You might want to try it sometime, Casey. Plus, you’re too predictable. What case are you working on now?”
“How do you know I’m working on a case?”
“Because you don’t call me when you’re on vacation.”
It was true. I didn’t. When I took time off, I kept work as far away as possible. I’m good at keeping my problems at bay, and they’re still there when I come back. I liked to deal with problems, and I liked it even better when I could solve them. Some problems were easier than others, but not all complications were created equal. I had called Ian to find out just how tough my new problem was. None of my complications ever turned out to be small. “I need a favor,” I said.
“You always need a favor.”
“You’re not going to turn into a woman on me, are you?” I said.
“I can hang up the phone.”
“You can, but then you’re going to miss out on the goods,” I said. It was a bluff, but I had nothing to lose.
Ian took the bait. “Nothing you ever have for me is good. It requires work.”
“Work is good for you. It helps soothe the soul.” I, on the other hand, avoided work as much as possible.
“I’m in therapy because of you.”
“No, you’re in therapy because of your ex-wife.” Ian’s ex-wife was ruthless. She beat her hubby three times that I’m aware of. The relationship lasted a whopping ten months, and now ten years later he is still in therapy. Go figure.
“You don’t look anything like my ex-wife,” he said.
“I know. I look better.”
Ian laughed. It was the first time I’d heard him laugh in days, but I’d been on vacation, so I might have missed one or two of them.
“So what can I do for you?” he asked.
“Do you know anything about Artis Farren?”
“I don’t know,” Ian said. “Can I get back to you?”
“Sure. You know the number?”
“Your number hasn’t changed in four years.”
That’s true. It hadn’t. I like to keep things simple.
© 2011 by Robert Downs
Think of Mike Hammer. Then think of James Bond (as portrayed in the films, not the one in the books). Merge them into a single character and you have Casey Holden, PI. Add a plot that could have come from the pen of Mickey Spillane. A cold case, sexy women, and dialog that races along like Holden’s Viper fast, flashy, and eye-popping. Falling Immortality is, for fans of macho, slick talking, wise cracking sleuths, a must read. ~ Frederick Ramsay, author of the Ike Schwartz mysteries (Poisoned Pen Press)
Meet Casey Holden, former cop, now a PI facing the most dangerous combination that can confront a shamus: a beautiful woman with secrets and hard men who don’t want him to find them. Like a post-modern Mike Hammer, Holden doesn’t lack self-confidence or the quick comeback or the tendency to find trouble. Robert Downs’s debut novel, Falling Immortality, skillfully tips its fedora at the hard-boiled mystery genre. It’s fast-paced, tightly structured and keeps you guessing until the end. This will be a writer and series to watch. ~ Jon Talton, author of the David Mapstone Mysteries and the Cincinnati Casebooks
Rob Downs has created the classic, basically ‘good man’, in a sometimes very wicked world. An original, very vivid journey through society’s weakness and perversity. Casey Holden is an excellent Virgil to this modern underworld. The characters are fully fleshed, the dialogue sharp and racy. Falling Immortality is a superb read. A real enjoyment. ~ Paul Doherty, author of the Hugh Corbett Medieval Mystery series and The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan series
PI Casey Holden should have known something wasn’t right when she first entered his office. No sooner did she explain her problem—the unsolved death of her husband Artis two years prior, then she simply gets up and leaves his office. Holden decides to find out more about the case and calls his former partner Ian Jackard. One of the original officers turns out to be none other than Greg Gilman, Holden s nemesis and the main reason he left the Virginia Beach PD. Gilman makes it very clear that Holden should leave the matter alone, which only makes Holden more determined than ever to solve the case. What he doesn’t know is that he is merely a pawn in a bigger game and that he has to win if he wants to live. Falling Immortality by Robert Downs is a wild ride from the first page to the last. Casey Holden is the quintessential gumshoe, both fearless and foolish. In this debut novel, Downs has created a character with tremendous potential to grow and evolve. Equally compelling is Det. Ian Jackard, Holden’s former partner and reluctant inside man at the Virginia Beach PD. Bottom line: this series is sure to be a worthy addition to the genre. This novel has truly earned a 5/5 rating. ~ Jud Hanson, BestSellersWorld.com