Matt SheehanGenre: Urban FantasyPublisher: Carina PressDate of Publication: 3/10/14eISBN: 9781426898020Number of pages: 120.Word Count: 31000Book Description:My name is Helmut Haase and I'm one half of the Fog City Detective Agency--specifically, the half that pays all the bills. My partner, Shamus O'Sheehan, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he's my friend, but also because he's a Druid. I'm just a detective, and there are plenty of those in Wudong, the Confederacy of Hesperia. There's not another Druid for miles.We had it pretty good until the day we met Alek Pallas. He hired us to track down a thieving employee, and even though something was off, his big fat check was too much to pass up. But the man we found wasn't what we were led to believe, and neither was Alek.I'm talking shape-shifters, fallen angels and a conspiracy involving the vicious Cretan Empire. At least we didn't die. Hope that doesn't ruin the story.Why am I telling you all this? Someday I'd like some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not alone, but I still deserve a medal. And perhaps a cash prize.
I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs. Not because my body is a temple or any of that nonsense. It’s because in my line of work I never know when I will have to throw hands, and being inebriated would slow my reflexes; not to the point where I would lose the fight—I’m very good—but it would be very unprofessional to have to go to work with a black eye or split lip. I do have my vices however, primarily the long-legged and shapely variety. I don’t tend to have a type as much as a numerical range starting at 9.5 and ending at 10. I will consider a nine if she has a spectacular personality and can cook.
How rude, I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Helmut Haase, and I am part owner of the locally famous Fog City Detective Agency. I am the half that does all the legwork and pays all the bills. Shamus O’Sheagan, my business partner, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he’s my best friend and he happens to have a far different skill set that isn’t so common on this side of the pond. Shamus spent his early years training to be a Druid, and due to his natural affinity for all that mystical nonsense, was being groomed for a leadership position. I’m sure they weren’t happy when I snuck him out in the dead of night and we hopped a steamship to the States.
Back home on the Emerald Isle, adoptive in my case and Sha’s by birth, everyone and their cousin seems to at least know a guy who works for a Druid. However, here in the Confederated States of Hespera, the idea of a Druid is akin to that of a mermaid or unicorn. Hesperians have little history, the western hemisphere of the “new world” only having been colonized a few hundred years ago, but what they lack in shared culture has been made up for with progress and innovation. This is where the industrial revolution started after all. So in a new land with a booming economy, we fill a niche that no one else can.
Shamus and I work in an old remodeled fire station in Wudong, overlooking the bay. We got it from the city for a song after finding the mayor’s daughter. Turns out she wasn’t exactly kidnapped, and the mayor and city council felt it better that the true details of the case never surfaced. We kept our mouths shut and scored ourselves a sweet pad. The area is mostly industrial and pretty quiet at night. Shamus was happy about the old gnarled oak tree at the back of the property. He actually lives in the upstairs apartment, although he usually sleeps in the tree.
I, on the other hand, after scraping by and living with Shamus in a less-than-stellar abode our first few years in town, have chosen to live a more upscale lifestyle in the Gaoshan district. The view from my balcony in and of itself is worth the king’s ransom I pay each month. On the right I get an incredible view of the bay, at least in the afternoon in between the fog rolling out and back in again. To the left I can see most of Independence Street, or Suicide Hill as it’s known locally, and its iconic tower at the very top.
Skateboarders came up with the street’s nickname and it stuck. The thinking was a person had to be suicidal to ride down a hill that steep. One of the cafes I like there has outside seating, and I’ve spent many a morning sipping cappuccino and watching brave young souls egging each other on at the top—and being carted away by paramedics at the bottom.
When we first started our little venture, we took whatever case we could get and charged on the low side of market rates. Over time our reputation grew and so did our fees. We became known for solving cases that others had taken a shot at and failed. After we broke a few high-profile cases early in our career, the cops began quietly coming to us when they were stuck. We even did some pro bono work for the poor and downtrodden for the good publicity. Now we have a commercial, and the ladies have told me I look quite dashing in it. Shamus even combed his hair before filming, and for that I am thankful. We don’t take the freebie cases anymore unless Shamus is feeling charitable. I never feel charitable.
I’m in charge of doing all of the real work that is required to run a detective business. I meet and greet the clients, do all the classic detective work and knock heads when necessary…and sometimes when not. Truth be told, I would do the head-knocking for free. You wouldn’t begrudge a talented artist painting a masterpiece would you? It’s not my fault that my great talent involves blood and concussions. Shamus has referred to my style as a ballet of violence. I think it’s kind of catchy.
I would say 90 percent of the time I don’t even need the little Eirishman. But, when leads dry up, Shamus can look at tea leaves or talk to birds and all of the sudden we’re back on track. Sounds simple right? Alas, it’s not. Shamus is hard to motivate. We’ve made enough money the last few years that he could live his simple existence up in his room for the rest of his life. He’s perfectly happy drinking beer with Willie the Wonder Dog and reading books all day. Yes, the dog drinks beer too. He also eats my shoes if they are left lying around and pees on my car tires. The dog, not Shamus…unless he’s really drunk.
I have different persuasive tactics that I have used over the years. Guilt works, but it’s not my favorite. Outright begging is a last resort used only in emergencies. Not because it’s ineffective, but because it’s unseemly. There is one sure thing, but she is unfortunately not under my control. More about that later.
Why am I telling you all this? So someday I can receive some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not all by myself, but I still deserve a medal and some official recognition. And perhaps a cash prize.
Moody and sarcastic at the best of times, the author should not be conversed with prior to his morning cup of coffee. He excels at sitting with his feet up and drinking coffee or beer while reading, but has yet to find someone willing to pay for that service. He has always been, and will always be, his mother’s favorite child. Has been known to dangle participles. Dreams of someday moving to a deserted island that supports coffee beans and hop vines.