The Devil’s Redhead

      David Corbett

The Devil’s Redhead

Freelance photographer and wildcat smuggler Dan Abatangelo blows into Vegas to hit the tables and taste the nightlife. In his path waits Shel Beaudry, a knockout redhead with a smile that says Gentlemen, start your engines. The attraction is instant – and soon the two are living the gypsy life on the West Coast, where Dan captains a distribution ring for premium Thai marijuana. His credo: "No guns, no gangsters, it's only money." But the trade is changing. Eager to get out, Dan plans one last run, judges poorly, and is betrayed by an underling and caught by the DEA. To secure light time for Shel and his crew, Dan takes the fall and pleads to ten years. Now, having served the full term, he emerges from prison a man with a hardened will but an unchanged heart. Though probation guidelines forbid any contact with Shel, a convicted felon, he sets his focus on one thing: finding her. Shel's life has taken a different turn since her release from prison. She has met Frank Maas, a recovering addict whose son died a merciless death. Driven by pity, Shel dedicates herself to nursing Frank back from grief and saving him from madness. But his weaknesses push him into the grip of a homegrown crime syndicate in command of the local methamphetamine trade. Mexicans are stealing the syndicate's territory, setting in motion a brutal chain of events that engulf Frank, Shel, and Dan in a race-fueled drug war from which none will escape unscathed.
Read online
  • 63

    Devil's Redhead

      David Corbett

Devil's Redhead

Dan Abatangelo and Shel Beaudry are two 'for life' lovers, whose adventures as the last of the independent 'gentleman' marijuana smugglers ('no violence - it's all about the money') come to an abrupt end with their arrest in Las Vegas. Dan pleads guilty and receives a ten-year sentence in exchange for a more lenient term for Shel. Released from prison, Shel struggles to keep her life on track without Dan's emotional support. Succumbing to a weakness for 'strays' she becomes the sole caregiver of Frank Maas, a psychologically scarred and unstable loner on the fringes of a crime ring operating in the delta. With Dan's release from prison imminent, Frank plans a quick, ill- conceived score, hoping with money in hand to persuade Shel to disappear with him. The plan backfires miserably, and Frank, Shel and Dan are caught up in an inferno they cannot hope to survive.

From Publishers Weekly

Corbett thunders out of the gate with this gritty, moving debut about an ex-con's readjustment to freedom and his efforts to reunite with a former lover. Ten years after being sentenced for drug dealing, Dan Abatangelo emerges from prison with one thought in mind: finding Shel Beaudry and rekindling their relationship. Abatangelo is a changed man harder, less patient, prone to bursts of violence. Despite the advice of friends, who warn him that no good can come from reuniting with Shel, he pushes forward. He eventually finds her living north of San Francisco, beholden to a drug-addled, mentally unstable man named Frank Maas and the crime ring that employs him. When Shel and Abatangelo finally meet, she waffles on returning to him, but before he can convince her, a local drug war breaks out and Shel is taken hostage. Abatangelo responds with a daring rescue mission that takes him deep into his former world and ignites a gruesome chain of violence and death. Corbett, a San Francisco private investigator for more than a decade, brings a wealth of real-world detail to his swift, highly atmospheric narrative. His plotting could sometimes use a little more glue, and a few characters particularly newspaperman Bert Waxman border on caricature. But Corbett's prose dazzles, cutting across the page with passionate force, articulating themes of devotion, lost hope and spiritual renewal in an unforgiving world.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Will leave you weak and shaken, exhilarated.”
—JOE GORES
Author of *Hammett

“CORBETT WRITES WITH AN INTENSITY OF FEELING. . . . Without compromising the stark realism of his bruising style, [he] has written an astonishingly tender love story.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“A TENSE, TERRIFIC STORY, BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN . . . When I finished it I thought of Ross Macdonald; David Corbett is that good.”
—MAX BYRD
Author of
Jefferson, Jackson, and Grant

“ENGROSSING . . . RICHLY DEVELOPED . . . [A] STAR IS BORN WITH
THE DEVIL’S REDHEAD.”
—Deadly Pleasures

“ADDICTIVE, BRUTALLY REALISTIC, AND ULTIMATELY VERY MOVING . . . Corbett writes crime with a deft touch, a professional investigator’s knowledge, and a rare talent for telling details.”
—MARK COGGINS
Author of
The Immortal Game

The Devil’s Redhead isn’t a walk on the wild side, it’s a flat-out run for your life with the hounds chasing after you. David Corbett writes with flair and passion, creating characters who live and breathe and do very bad things. I believed every word of it. Hit me again.”
—ROBERT FERRIGNO
Author of
Flinch*

“Corbett handles both selfless love and unspeakable brutality with a poet’s hand. The Devil’s Redhead is the best debut novel I’ve read in years.”
—MARTIN J. SMITH
Author of Straw Men

“Often dark, often hopeful, The Devil’s Redhead takes you deep into the world of crime and drugs and the lives they inevitably consume. This is a compelling novel about loyalty, love lost and renewed, and the price we all must pay when we live too close to the edge.”
—JAMES BROWN
Author of *Lucky Town

*&#...

Read online
  • 57

    Do They Know I'm Running?

      David Corbett

Do They Know I'm Running?

SUMMARY: From acclaimed author David Corbett, a stunning and suspenseful novel of a life without loyalties and the borders inside ourselves.Roque Montalvo is wise beyond his eighteen years. Orphaned at birth, a gifted musician, he’s stuck in a California backwater, helping his Salvadoran aunt care for his damaged brother, an ex-marine badly wounded in Iraq. When immigration agents arrest his uncle, the family has nowhere else to turn. Roque, badgered by his street-hardened cousin, agrees to bring the old man back, relying on the criminal gangs that control the dangerous smuggling routes from El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, to the U.S. border. But his cousin has told Roque only so much. In reality, he will have to transport not just his uncle but two others: an Arab whose intentions are disturbingly vague and a young beauty promised to a Mexican crime lord. Roque discovers that his journey involves crossing more than one kind of border, and he will be asked time and again to choose between survival and betrayal—of his country, his family, his heart.
Read online
  • 41

    Do They Know I'm Running

      David Corbett

Do They Know I'm Running

From acclaimed author David Corbett, a stunning and suspenseful novel of a life without loyalties and the borders inside ourselves. Roque Montalvo is wise beyond his eighteen years. Orphaned at birth, a gifted musician, he's stuck in a California backwater, helping his Salvadoran aunt care for his damaged brother, an ex-marine badly wounded in Iraq. When immigration agents arrest his uncle, the family has nowhere else to turn. Roque, badgered by his street-hardened cousin, agrees to bring the old man back, relying on the criminal gangs that control the dangerous smuggling routes from El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, to the U.S. border. But his cousin has told Roque only so much. In reality, he will have to transport not just his uncle but two others: an Arab whose intentions are disturbingly vague and a young beauty promised to a Mexican crime lord. Roque discovers that his journey involves crossing more than one kind of border, and he will be asked time and again to choose between survival and betrayal – of his country, his family, his heart.
Read online
  • 33

    Done for a Dime

      David Corbett

Done for a Dime

Raymond “Strong” Carlisle made his mark as an ace sideman to the biggest names in R&B. Now he lies in the mud outside his home, shot dead from behind. He’s the first official casualty in a dirty war for control of Rio Mirada: a low-rent “city in transition” at the northernmost point of the San Francisco Bay, beset by drug dealers, arsonists, squatters, and restless developers. And now a murderer.

In Rio Mirada, the truth is in short supply. What’s plentiful are people with all the reasons in the world to make sure the murder of Strong Carlisle remains unsolved. And the harder Detective Dennis Murchison pushes for answers, the clearer it becomes that this single, brutal homicide is just the tip of an iceberg in a town where small-time crime and big-time corruption are about to collide with explosive consequences.

Amazon.com Review

Satisfaction is a commodity in short supply for the myriad characters populating Done for a Dime, private eye-turned-author David Corbett's affecting follow-up to his debut novel, The Devil's Redhead. Among the significantly short-changed is Raymond "Strong" Carlisle, an irascible black saxophonist who used to play with the giants of blues music, but now does only about four gigs a year, "if he’s lucky, with a bunch of sorry old men the business forgot long ago." When Carlisle is shot dead at his home in Rio Mirada, an increasingly crime-plagued burg north of San Francisco, the cops, including lead detective Dennis Murchison and his racist partner, Jerry Stluka, figure it's the tragic result of a nightclub fight he'd provoked the evening before. Their two prime suspects: Arlie Thigpen, a gang tough employed by a local drug dealer; and Toby Marchand, Carlisle's musician son, who'd chafed under his elder's incessant tauntings, and whose white teenage lover, Nadya Lazarenko, witnessed the homicide--but is too traumatized to remember anything about it. However, Carlisle's death is merely a harbinger of worse troubles to come, among them a neighborhood-destroying fire engineered by greedy developers.

Regrettably, that cinematic hillside conflagration diverts attention from Corbett's more interesting study of people trying to cope with the inequitable vicissitudes of life. Murchison, for instance, comes off as a conflicted mix of determination and desperation, a man terminally unable to fulfill the expectations of his wife and parents. For Marchand, the challenge is to reject his late father's cynicism and find hope in Nadya's embrace, even as she refuses to trust in something so ephemeral as happiness. Other well-formed players here--from a suspect's strong-willed mother, to a smart and fetching lawyer who confuses Murchison's heart, to a cop-turned-hired killer who isn't so transparently evil as he initially appears--struggle to achieve their own forms of justice in an unjust world. Corbett has a sharp ear for street dialogue and an even sharper understanding of human emotion and pain. For a book that's all about dissatisfaction, Done for a Dime is decidedly satisfying. --J. Kingston Pierce

From Publishers Weekly

Corbett (The Devil's Redhead) again uses some of the traditional tools of genre fiction in bold new ways in his sharp and exceptionally poignant second suspense novel. The feeling of a community under siege-in this case, a shabby but lively multiracial town called Rio Mirada, just north of San Francisco-comes straight from Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest, as concerned citizens and families trying to live decently come under attack from the forces of organized greed. There's a touch of Jim Thompson in the main villain, a hired thug calling himself Richard Ferry, who turns out not to be quite as detestable as he first appears. And Ross Macdonald might have created the head cop, a local detective named Murchison, who isn't as smart or as liberal as Macdonald's PI Lew Archer but nevertheless has aspirations to similar levels of achievement and humanity. The story begins with the murder of cantankerous black jazz musician Raymond "Strong" Carlisle, shot down in his front yard. Murchison and his racist partner, Stluka, have two suspects: Carlisle's son, also a talented jazzman, and a local gang member who is lucky enough to have a tough and resourceful mother to defend him. Corbett introduces such a large cast of characters in this sweeping narrative (including the cameo return of ex-con Dan Abatangelo from The Devil's Redhead) that some of them don't get enough time on stage. But the ones that do will linger in readers' thoughts for a long time.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Read online
  • 26

    Blood of Paradise

      David Corbett

Blood of Paradise

In El Salvador, a young American faces his troubled past—and a dangerous present

Jude McManus has landed on his feet. Following time in the army, he scored work as an "executive protection specialist" in El Salvador, where he safeguards a hydrologist for good money and gets to surf during his downtime. But this slice of paradise comes with post-civil-war dangers, and distance won't erase his cruel memories of Chicago. Ten years earlier, his cop father was outed as part of the Laugh Masters, a group of police officers investigated for robbing and brutally beating drug dealers. In the wake of the scandal, the family fell apart, and his father died under suspicious circumstances.

When McManus gets a call from Bill Malvasio—one of his dad's closest friends and an escaped member of the Laugh Masters, now living in El Salvador—the past comes knocking in a big way. Malvasio opens up about what really happened, and seeks help for another member of McManus's...

Read online
  • 17

    Thirteen Confessions

      David Corbett

Thirteen Confessions

Thirteen beautifully wrought tales of crime, passion, and people on the brink of disaster
Marybeth met Jamie at the Horn & Whistle, a neighborhood pub warm enough to keep out the chill on a bleak January day. Over a pint of stout, he won her heart with bad jokes and cynical Irish charm. Two years later, she loves him more than ever, but she can see that he's bracing for a fall. When everything collapses, when Jamie's job disappears and the house is foreclosed on and Marybeth feels death creeping into her bones, it's up to her to save them both—even if it means doing something that will tear them apart forever.
"The Stray," along with the twelve additional short stories in this exquisite collection, showcases author David Corbett's unparalleled ability to build a life in just a few pages, and then shatter it in a single sentence. From the first confession to the thirteenth, these stories cut deep—and show no mercy.

Read online
  • 5