top of page
Plain white time of death etch.png

"Vivid . . . Exceptional . . . suspenseful."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A must-read for the author’s fans and a good introduction to the series for newbies."


“Required Reading.”

New York Post

The Furies

Two short novels find Parker investigating cases that involve women who may not need his protection.

The Furies


The Furies: mythological snake-haired goddesses of vengeance, pursuers of those who have committed unpunished crimes. Two short novels find private investigator Charlie Parker drawn into a world of modern furies: in The Sisters Strange, the return of the criminal Raum Buker to Portland, Maine brings with it chaos and murder, as an act of theft threatens to tear apart not only his own existence but also that of Raum’s former lovers, the enigmatic sisters Dolors and Ambar Strange. In the title tale, Parker fights to protect two more women as the city of Portland shuts down in the face of a global pandemic, but it may be that his clients are more capable of taking care of themselves than anyone could have imagined . . .



    The Braycott Arms was a stain on the character of the city of Portland, a blight on its inhabitants, and a repository for criminality, both aggressively active and relatively passive, the latter frequently due only to the temporary requirements of a parole board. It had always been thus, even beyond recall. The Braycott was one of a number of railroad hotels that had sprung up in the vicinity of Union Station, now departed these sixty years, of which only the Inn at St. John and the Braycott survived. But while the former was comfortable, hospitable, and carefully maintained, the Braycott catered to those who were less than particular about their surroundings, and valued the company of rough men and rougher women over clean sheets and a peaceful night’s sleep.

    There was something almost admirable in the Braycott’s commitment to anarchy and disrepute, a commitment that seemed to have been passed down from owner to owner along with the deeds and keys. The hotel first opened its doors on July 25, 1888, just one month after Union Station itself. By then Maine’s embrace of Prohibition, which had commenced nearly seventy years before the passage of the Volstead Act, was tightening. The sale of alcohol was illegal in the state, which drove the business underground—literally, in the case of the Braycott Arms, whose principal developer, Normand Braycott, had the foresight to devise a bar in the basement, albeit one omitted from the official plans. Bribes rendered it largely immune from raids, except for cosmetic purposes, although a two-hundred-foot tunnel behind the keg storage bay was kept clear in case of real emergencies, with a point of egress in a Braycott-owned property on the other side of Park. Decades later, when the rest of the United States followed Maine’s lead in attempting to dry out its population by force, the Braycott’s tunnel and bar became a staging point for the rum runners bringing liquor into Portland Harbor, where the bottles would be concealed in boxes of Moxie soda, later to become the state’s official soft drink, possibly in part for services rendered to its populace during Prohibition.

    The Braycott’s decline commenced after the repeal of the Volstead Act. In common with many such downturns, it was gradual at first, but accelerated rapidly. So regular were the fights, the beatings, and the knifings in its bar that it was proposed, not entirely in jest, the police should consider opening a substation there just to save money on gas. Eventually, after a commercial salesman was gutted in 1972 in an argument over a hat, and a woman was subsequently shot dead in a disagreement concerning the same commercial salesman—and, by extension, the same hat—the Braycott lost its bar license, and the basement den closed its doors to drinkers, never to reopen.

    By then Bobby Wadlin was a year old, the youngest of three boys whose father, Eldon, was the most recent owner of the Braycott. Bobby, like his brothers, was born in the hotel, and knew every dusty corner of it, each crack in the walls and hole in the floor, each nightingale board and treacherous, squealing door hinge. When his brothers finally moved out, Bobby stayed on to assist his father and mother with running the place. He became the official face of the Braycott, a permanent presence behind the front desk, and consequently was with both of his parents when they died in situ: his father first, followed by Bobby’s

    mother six months after, each of them passing away in the bedroom of their private apartment on the top floor of the hotel. The Braycott did not close its doors following the demise of either party, and Bobby Wadlin was absent from his desk only for the duration of the funeral services and burials.

    But following the death of Wadlin mère, rumors spread that the hotel, much to the relief of the city fathers, was to be sold and demolished. The former was true while the latter was not. The Braycott was disposed of, but this was, in effect, a piece of legal chicanery that transferred its assets to a private company controlled, in all but name, by the

    Wadlin brothers and a sole sister-in-law. Bobby became an employee of said company, and the profits were split equally four ways, although thanks to a good accountant and a succession of crooked contractors, the Braycott appeared barely to operate in the black.

    Yet Bobby had little interest in the finances of the Braycott beyond its day-to-day operation. Oh, he was no fool about money, and could have cited income and expenditure on demand, to the nearest dollar, but liquidity had value for him only as a means of keeping the Braycott secure. He would have worked at the Braycott for next to nothing, just so long as he was permitted to remain within its precincts and had sufficient funds both to feed himself and support his addiction to old westerns in every medium. He had turned the rooms behind the front desk into his private living quarters, the walls lined with shelves containing westerns on videocassette, DVD, Blu-ray, and even LaserDisc, although he no longer owned a player that worked. He possessed full collections of Louis L’Amour, Luke Short, John H. Reese, and Nelson Nye, as well as partial sets of almost a hundred other writers, some of which he kept in room 13, which he used as a library and storage facility,

    many guests, no matter how hardened by life, being reluctant to check into a room with 13 on its door.

    Bobby, though, had no truck with superstitions of that stripe, or any other. He’d lost count of the number of people who’d asked him if the Braycott Arms was haunted, given its long and ignominious history. Certainly no small number of occupants had died in the place, including his parents, the victims of the hat feud, and assorted drunks who had variously broken their neck on the stairs, choked on vomit, or, in one case, mistaken a window for a door and dropped four stories to the ground. (Bobby had heard tales of drunks who’d fallen from great heights and survived thanks to alcohol-induced relaxation of the limbs, but relaxed limbs didn’t count for much if one landed on one’s head.) None of them, as far as Bobby was aware, had chosen to spend their afterlife in the environs of the Braycott, which was, he felt, their loss. When he died, Bobby hoped to be permitted to spend eternity in his beloved hotel or some celestial version of it, there to watch The Virginian and The Rifleman on endless loops.

    After all, it was the little things that kept a man sane.

  • O'Mahony's The Furies
    Alan Hanna's Bookshop The Furies
    Indiebound The Furies The Furies
    Amazon The Furies
    Goldsboro Books The Furies
bottom of page