Books

Find much more information on my four novels available as eBooks here. Mermaid in Vegas, Valentine’s Cafe, Thereafter, and Darkest Desire: The Wolf’s Own Tale, are available at Amazon for Kindle. For Kindle and most other file formats known to man, go to Smashwords. Brief descriptions are below.

Mermaid in Vegas coverMermaid in Vegas: Brutal casino boss Roberto Stiglioni already has Frank, Dean and the rest of the Rat Pack wowing the rubes in his Vegas casino. When he happens to entrap a mermaid while drowning a casino cheat, he knows just what to do: build a tank in an exclusive club and serve her up as entertainment.

Left to the guidance of his own moral compass, casino detective Tom Blinder could overlook the mermaid’s plight. If set free, she’ll go right back to leading sailors to their doom. He can convince himself that it’s better to leave the mermaid where she is.

That’s not a sentiment shared by his wife, Betty, nor by the casino cheat’s sister, who is eager to settle her score with Stiglioni. Together they convince Blinder to help liberate the mermaid.

The three concoct an ill-fated scheme to kidnap the mermaid and return her to the sea. Their plan ends in a bloody beach showdown with Stiglioni, Frank and Dean.

Valentine's Cafe coverValentine’s Cafe: The higher powers send the God of Love, Victor Valentine, to a frozen northern wasteland. His mission: spread the love.

Valentine’s strategy is to open a restaurant. The food and wine, the potions at Valentine’s disposal, the music, the waiters — all of it is directed at inspiring libidinous feeling among the clientele. Valentine’s partner in scheming is his chef, the towering and volcanic beauty, Elevana Natasha Demidova. Nats. Together they succeed too well in turning the cafe into a wildly popular destination.

Inevitably, Valentine and the former Russian Mafia moll launch a tempestuous relationship of their own. Betrayal isn’t far behind. By then, love trouble is just one of Valentine’s problems. The minister across the street is eyeing Valentine’s Cafe as a site for his mega-church. Picketers are on the sidewalk, the city councilman is aligned against him, and even the Governor has reason to help bring Valentine down.

The conclusion is a showdown between Valentine, Nats and her mobster pals, the councilman, the governor and half the neighborhood, all within the richly appointed confines of Valentine’s Cafe. In this novel, if not in life itself, everyone gets approximately what they deserve.

Thereafter coverThereafter: Clarissa Brimsley, the narrator of Thereafter, is long dead, but she still has work to do. The object of her attention is her mother, Audrey. Sixty years after the fact, Audrey is stuck trying to make peace with the idea that she killed Clarissa in what was not entirely an accident in the home. She has never moved from the once-splendid house, now fallen into ruin, where Clarissa died. She has never truly stopped thinking of the girl.

After Audrey’s sons ship her off to a nursing home, they sell the house to a young couple, Mag and Wald. They intend to rehab the old wreck, sell it, buy another and build a fortune. Those plans get derailed when Mag senses that the house is speaking to her. She finds a trunk of abandoned photo albums, filled with pictures of Audrey and Clarissa. In those photos Mag imagines a path to the future. She will make herself as happy as Audrey seems to be. She will have a child of her own.

Mag learns more of the truth about Audrey and Clarissa, but only after she is pregnant. Her efforts to ensure the safety of her child lead her into a complex relationship with Audrey. The old woman’s reluctant attempt to help Mag is complicated by unintended consequences and an unexpected choice.

Darkest Desire coverDarkest Desire: The Wolf’s Own Tale: Wolf’s life in the wood might be happy, except for one problem. He can’t control his urge to devour children who stumble across his path. His runaway desires have made him an outcast among his peers. He lives an unhappy, solitary life — until he encounters the Brothers Grimm.

Wolf is thrilled to realize that in the presence of these scholars, he can speak. The Grimms take Wolf into their camp, fill him with brandy, and poke at the source of his unhappiness. When they learn the truth about Wolf’s cravings, they propose a cure.

Now Wolf must make a decision. Can the satisfaction of a “normal” life outweigh the joys of his perversion? Are his desires truly deranged, or is he simply giving full expression to his nature? Does he have an obligation — as his occasional companion Devil argues — to live as a unique individual in the manner to which he was born?

Originally published by Ecco/HarperCollins, Darkest Desire was called “brisk and sly” by Publishers Weekly; “a mordantly witty, slyly intelligent take on the Brothers Grimm and their folktales” by Kirkus Reviews; and “a tour-de-force of first-person narration” by the Minneapolis StarTribune. “People who believe that ‘ethical journalist’ is an oxymoron will love Anthony Schmitz’s prickly novella,” said the New York Times Book Review.

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