The Jack Dwyer Mysteries
By Ed Gorman
Together in one volume, the first three books in the five-book Jack Dwyer Mysteries Series.
NEW, IMPROVED MURDER
Jack Dwyer is a former cop who got the acting bug after he was cast in a local public safety commercial. He started acting lessons, quit his job, and applied for his private investigator’s license (in very nearly that order). He also took a security guard job to keep the wolves away. The novel opens with Dwyer on a riverside park murder site. He was called there by a panicked former girlfriend. A girlfriend who left him for another man, and a girlfriend Dwyer isn’t quite over.
The woman is nearly comatose when Dwyer arrives. She is distraught with grief and fear. The man who replaced Dwyer in her life is dead in the grass, and the gun that killed him is in her hand. The police arrive and everything fits neatly into a little package. No real investigation, other than into Jane Branigan-the girlfriend-and the case seems open and shut, but something about it bothers Dwyer. That something may be nothing more than his feelings for Jane, but Dwyer doesn’t think she did it.
New, Improved Murder is a seriously good private eye novel. Jack Dwyer is a likable, compassionate, sometimes self-doubting reluctant good guy, who tends to stand on the outside. He is working class top to bottom, and the world through his eyes is a harsh, troubled place, with just enough hope and romanticism to keep him from the maudlin.
MURDER STRAIGHT UP
There’s the story and there’s the truth.
Anchorman David Curtis would never have made the big time. He was handsome in that bland, TV newscaster’s way, but nothing special.
Then he was murdered — on camera — and suddenly, no one at Channel 3 could talk of anyone else.
But for Jack Dwyer, the ex-cop turned actor who moonlights as a security guard, it’s a matter of more than talk. On duty at the station on the night of Curtis’s murder, Dwyer failed to catch a mysterious intruder who might be linked to the killing. So now Dwyer’s determined to crack the case.
For starters, he questions the Channel 3 news team, and the secrets he unearths make the stuff you see on TV look pretty tame. Now all he’s got to do is figure out who the killer is. Or lose his own life in the process.
MURDER IN THE WINGS
Jack Dwyer, ex-cop turned amateur actor, is delighted when his agent lands him a role in a local production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The real drama starts, however, when Michael Reeves — the play’s angry, bullying director — is found murdered, and Dwyer’s friend Stephen Wade — a sweet has-been of an actor — is charged with the crime. Dwyer knows that Wade has been set up. But who did it? And why?
Was it David Ashton, an apparent fortune-seeker and heir to the Bridges Theater by marriage; or Richard Keech, the handsome, pushy young actor who shared the woman whom the dead man loved? Or could it have been Anne Stewart — the aging actress who carries a secret as dark as that of the character she plays? And what of Lenora Bridges — the matriarch of the theatrical family, who never comes out of her room in the building high above the stage?
Sure, all the world’s a stage but, for Dwyer, it’s not that simple because a real man’s life is on the line. In order to save him, Dwyer’s going to have to discover what’s really going on behind the scenes at the most bizarre, mysterious, complex theater company west of Times Square.