Six books and counting. You don’t need to read them in order, although it doesn’t hurt.
If you like crime fiction, you’ll probably like the series. I don’t delve too deep into actual police procedure – if you really need that attention to detail then Michael Connelly is your man. No way I’ll ever approach his level of storytelling or authentic police detail.
My main characters, Detectives Mitchell and Sandovan, are golfers. But I try not to bore the non-golfers out there with excruciating detail about the game. The book titles, as golfers will know, are all double-entendres between crime and golf. “Grass” is actually a triple-entendre, since grass can mean the stuff you walk on, the stuff you smoke, and the act of informing on someone.
I’ve prided myself on getting decent reviews from Kirkus and Foreword Clarion, but I ain’t doing literature here. If you’re taking a flight somewhere and have seen all the on-board movies, my books are a good alternative. I’ll never take your attention span for granted. That’s a result of working in advertising creative departments for decades. It’s tough to get consumers’ attention. If you’re going to spend three lattes’ worth on one of my books, I promise not to bore you with florid descriptions of the weather, people’s clothing, or other irrelevant stuff.
I love language. Occasionally I’ll insert a word you might not expect in a story. Not doing it to show off (well, not really). Take this passage from Shank:
“The cityscape was a gallimaufry of varying architectural styles and lighting – fluorescents abutting mercury vapor, light-emitting diodes, neon, and sodium lamps. Here and there bright white metal-halides sparkled like diamonds.”
For a week, “gallimaufry” was my favorite word: “a confused jumble or medley of things.” Perfect for what I was trying to say. But you won’t catch me saying “her pulchritude was prodigious” when “she was pretty” will do.
Here are my books in order. Thanks for being a reader.
“In Williams’ gritty debut thriller, the lives of drug dealers, organized criminals, political revolutionaries and marketing executives intertwine in spectacular fashion.” – Kirkus Reviews
I probably tried to jam too many moving parts into one book, but “Grass” is never boring.
Pot is America’s largest cash crop, and Otis M. Gaverill has taken its cultivation to the next level. Otis owns Verdant Greenhouses and Florists. He also owns 318 grow houses. Verdant does millions in business annually. The grow ops are even more profitable.
The company provides his grow houses with soil, hydroponics, fertilizers, chemicals, hybrid and cloning expertise, and a front to launder the dope money. There’s just one problem. A mysterious seven-man crew is knocking off his houses with military precision.
Leading the investigation into the grow-op rip-offs are detectives Sal Mitchell and Eddie Sandovan. Mitchell and Sandovan have their own affinity with grass – they are golfers. They petitioned the city to provide their 8th Precinct with a green roof as an “environmental pilot project”. As a result Mitchell and Sandovan have a rooftop driving range, allowing them to hit golf balls into a park across the street.
Mitchell’s girlfriend, Mya Laing, is an advertising executive. As Mitchell tries to coordinate his investigation, Mya’s team is orchestrating an alternate reality game (ARG) for a client. Pioneered by the band Nine Inch Nails, the video game HALO, and the film The Dark Knight, ARGs are at the bleeding edge of the ad business, incorporating online clues, real life scavenger hunts, and creative improvisation from the players.
“Grass” brings together the game, the thieves, the police and the dope dealers in dramatic fashion.
“This clever, modern thriller is a study in contrasts. Gruesome images such as a human head impaled on a public park fence may threaten to turn your stomach, but before you get truly traumatized, experienced author Steve Williams will get you laughing at—and with—the folks faced with solving this hideous crime.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews.
“Williams, a marketing and advertising veteran, skillfully and realistically depicts the fast-paced atmospheres at the ad agency and the police department. He supports his convincing character relationships with quick, naturalistic dialogue, and uses humor with a light touch to help offset the story’s more grisly elements.” – Kirkus Reviews.
When a human head is impaled on the wrought-iron fence of the Doyle Public Gardens, Detectives Sal Mitchell and Eddie Sandovan catch the case. The victim’s identity sheds no light on why he was murdered. Donald Kess was the president of a city college. His colleagues can’t fathom who would have wanted him dead.
A second head appears, stuck brazenly on the fence surrounding city hall. Councilman Vic Danelli was a corrupt public official, with a predilection for strippers, bribes, and influence peddling. As Mitchell and Sandovan struggle to find a connection between the two murders, Mitchell’s life is further complicated by his relationship with advertising executive Mya Laing.
Mya and the ad agency she works for are in the middle of the industry’s biggest pitch of the year, for a client from hell. The pressure of the pitch intensifies when Mya’s agency is shortlisted for the $100 million account. The pressure of Mitchell’s case is ratcheted up when a third head is found, on the fence of the city’s cemetery.
High-powered lawyer Thurstrum Carter is a partner in a firm whose DNA is a combination of pit bull and pit viper. There are plenty of people who may have wanted him dead. But there is still no common thread between the three murders.
The media is having a feeding frenzy, excoriating the police for failing to make an arrest, while secretly hoping more heads will roll. As the detectives race to find out who the next target might be, Mya is snatched from her condo in the dead of night. Mitchell assumes the worst, that Mya was kidnapped as leverage against him in his case.
The line between revenge and justice blurs as Mitchell pursues the killers, leaving a loose end with the power to end his career.
“With well-drawn and complex characters, Williams weaves together multiple story lines in this taut, smart thriller.”
“Mystery and thriller fans who enjoy smart, drily witty stories will love Ace and will likely chase down the prequels while awaiting Williams’s next book in the series.”
– Foreword Clarion Reviews
“A satisfying buddy-cop thriller with swift pacing and creative character development.”
– Kirkus Reviews
A vacation in Arizona goes sideways when Detectives Mitchell and Sandovan are forced to shoot two local gangbangers who are shaking down the owner of a pawn shop.
What appears to be a clean shooting sets a vendetta in motion, because the older brother of one of the dead gangsters is a vicious crime lord, Falco Pelzon. Pelzon is connected, motivated, and resourceful. With a trusted soldier, he sets off on a covert road trip to kill the two detectives responsible for his brother’s death.
Mitchell and Sandovan, oblivious to the impending danger, are knee-deep in a case that has captured the headlines in their city. A wealthy car dealer was gunned down in his office by a pretty young woman with no criminal past.
But the more Mitchell and Sandovan look, the more inconsistencies they find. Casborne’s trophy wife Alayna, thirty years his junior, has a mourning period that lasts about as long as the warranty on her husband’s used cars. Lascivious and now very wealthy, she has motive but no means.
The detectives are so deep in the murder investigation they have no idea that they are in the sights of Pelzon and his murderous associate, Riker Gazzaro, a devoutly Catholic hit man known as The Bishop. As the gangbangers’ ruthless trap starts to tighten, the murder case unravels. Mitchell and Sandovan follow the clues and their intuition into an ingenious deception, where victims and perpetrators are indistinguishable.
The vengeful gangsters strike when the detectives are most vulnerable. Sandovan’s family and Mitchell’s girlfriend, ad executive Mya Laing, are in harm’s way. But to Falco Pelzon, collateral damage is an acceptable cost of doing business. He’s determined to avenge his brother and will do whatever it takes to even the score.
“A suspenseful police thriller, Shank mixes humor and drama for a fast-paced and fun read.” “From witty banter to deep conversations, the novel’s dialogue is a particular delight.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews.
“A fine procedural augmented by beefy subplots and a pitiable villain.” – Kirkus Reviews.
In Shank. Mitchell is stunned by the sudden death of his mother, Cora, during her annual trip abroad. According to her lawyer, Cora perished in a helicopter crash in Costa Rica, while scouting paint dyes for her art studio.
The lawyer, Viliander McNamara, has another revelation that rocks Mitchell: his mother’s estate is worth millions, but he will only inherit the wealth if he gives up his job as a homicide detective.
While Mitchell’s mind reels with these life-changing events, an old foe has set wheels in motion for a savage act of vengeance. Preoccupied on two fronts, Mitchell’s life takes one unpredictable turn after another. The only stability comes from his partner, Eddie Sandovan, and his girlfriend, ad executive Mya Laing.
Trusts are repeatedly betrayed as Mitchell struggles to find his bearings amid the violence and the temptation of sudden wealth.
“An action-packed murder mystery, buoyantly written and suspenseful.”
– Kirkus Reviews.
“Mitchell and Sandovan are fantastic leads who have rich lives outside of their careers and a unique bond at work. Their dynamic plays a role in how they solve their case, and their banter helps to highlight clues as they provide insight to one another. Their rapport and chemistry with others is also engaging.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews.
Detectives Mitchell and Sandovan face the most intriguing homicide case of their careers.
It begins innocently, with the arrest of a low-level larcenist. Georgie Jacobs is facing a lengthy stretch behind bars as a repeat offender. But Georgie has something to trade. He tells the detectives that he has knowledge of a crime scene so macabre that it gives him nightmares.
The trail takes Mitchell and Sandovan to a ghastly dinner party gone wrong, where four corpses sit at unfinished plates of food with no signs of violence. A fifth person who had been at the table is mysteriously absent.
All this takes place in a wealthy gated community, where the residents have secrets and the means to protect them. Mitchell’s girlfriend, advertising executive Mya Laing, is also drawn into the case in a provocative and enigmatic way. Together, Mitchell, Sandovan and Mya must use all the intelligence and resources they can muster to thwart the ruthless killer.
“Williams intelligently constructs a gripping crime drama, and it’s no less suspenseful for the fact that the identity of the killer is never concealed from readers.” – Kirkus Reviews.
“In the compelling mystery novel Hook, the social roles of killer and victim are reversed.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews
Detectives Mitchell and Sandovan are drawn into a homicide investigation unlike any in their experience: the violent hit-and-run of a man despised by almost everyone who knew him.
Devin McDonald was an abrasive co-worker, neighbor, and online commenter. After leaving work one night he is cut down by a car. There are no witnesses.
As they interview his personal and professional acquaintances, Mitchell and Sandovan discover that their victim was more often an antagonist. They sift through his personal life, but are stymied by dead ends.
Only when the killer begins to taunt the police are they able to find some promising leads. Complicating matters, Mitchell is shocked in his personal life by revelations about two people he thought he knew. It takes every resource he can muster to bring a killer to justice, and in doing so he is forced to make a decision that changes his life forever.