What: His first novel featuring detective Nick Forte, A SMALL SACRIFICE, received a Shamus Award nomination in 2013. Woody Haut named GRIND JOINT, Volume Two of a series set in the fictional, economically depressed town of Penns River PA, as one of the fifteen best noir reads of 2013. A short story, “Green Gables,” appeared in the anthology Blood, Guts, and Whiskey, edited by Todd Robinson. Other short fiction has appeared in The Shamus Sampler: Volume 2, Spinetingler, New Mystery Reader, A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, and Powder Burn Flash.
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
I just read the third Nick Forte book, THE MAN IN THE WINDOW. How would you introduce your protagonist to somebody who is new to the series?
Forte is the first protagonist I created, in a series of short stories I wrote for friends at work. The stories featured thinly disguised versions of co-workers. Wait. That’s not right. They featured depictions of co-workers that were as accurate as I could make them with my tongue planted firmly in cheek. All I changed were the names. So Forte is me. Musical background that didn’t work out, but still influences him. Divorced father who has a lot of guilt about it.
Forte is an everyman with skills. He’s not a drunk or addict or suffering from PTSD or other demons. He’s a divorced father trying to make a living at a career he never would have chosen, but has found he has some chops for. Loyal friend, devoted father, good sense of humor, and genuinely tries to do what’s right. That comes to haunt him as time goes on.