How’s this for a plot hors d’ouvres? “When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop. His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?”
That’s the set-up for Nobody, the newest release from my good friend, Creston Mapes, who says this about his newest novel: “The story behind Nobody is pretty cool. I was with my late father, Bernie, at a park in St. Augustine, FL, when we saw a homeless man sitting on a park bench, clutching a loaf of bread, tearing off pieces, eating some and throwing chunks to the dozens of black birds all around him. My dad noted that [this guy] would be a good subject for a book. Then, when my publisher suggested Las Vegas as a backdrop and a research visit to that city, I set up a day with Brian Brooks of the Nevada Health Centers, who took me all over the Vegas homeless community. We visited free clinics, talked to doctors and nurses, went to the soup kitchens and encampments where they ‘live.’
“I also met with Jud Wilhite, pastor of Vegas’s booming Central Christian Church. Jud shared a moving poem with me called “I Stand By The Door,” which amazingly aligned with my spiritual walk of getting too steeped in the church, and not [being] concerned enough about the people outside the doors. Since I was a reporter at one time, my main character, Hudson Ambrose, is a reporter for the Las Vegas Review Journal, the city’s real paper, which I visited when in Las Vegas. The book begins when Hud hears a pre-dawn call on the police scanner at the newspaper about an injured person at a bus stop along The Strip. When he arrives, he finds a murdered homeless man. Waiting around for the police, Hud knows the case will get tied up in red tape when they do arrive. He wants to get an ID on the guy before the police come. He can hear the sirens bearing down. Quickly, he searches the man’s pockets and is shocked to find a bank book with close to a million dollars in it. A safe deposit box key drops into the puddle of blood at the man’s feet. Hud’s got a decision to make. And off we go into Nobody, and Hudson Ambrose’s breakneck investigation into the life of the homeless man, Chester Holte. Why was a former rich Atlanta business mogul living homeless on the streets of Las Vegas? What happened after his wife died in their private plane crash? Who was the beautiful Holly Queens and what was her relationship with Chester? And why does virtually everyone in the Las Vegas homeless community believe Chester was an angel in disguise?”
I can’t wait to read this new offering from Creston. He’s collected some fabulous reviews, including this endorsement from fellow author Robert Liparulo: “With Nobody, Creston Mapes once again demonstrates what happens when writing talent, an intriguing plot, and won’t-let-you-go characters converge: You get a thoroughly entertaining read that’s tough to set down. Nobody is for everybody who enjoys gritty noir with heart.”
Gritty noir with heart?
Sign me up. . .