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The Greer Agency
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Author: Harris Tobias
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The Greer Agency is a gritty detective fiction presented in 15 separate, but connected stories. The reader follows the development of private detective Mike Greer, the only PI in the Altoona, PA phone book. Itís tough to make a living in a decaying old railroad town, but with the help of an anonymous benefactor, Greer lands some interesting casesócases that he solves with guts and determination. Throughout the stories, his budding romance with Susan grows. Eventually, they realize they are right for each other. Readers will find Mike Greer an accessible everyman with luck, pluck, smarts and a host of interesting friends. He finds his way into and out of problems large and small. Greer narrates the stories in a refreshing and original voice. Each story has its own plot and can stand on its own, but as the book progresses, the mysteries pile up and the plots get more complex until the explosive last story.

   Rating: 5.00 Reviews: 3

Sample Chapter

The nameís Greer, Morgan M. Greer private eye. The Mís for Michael which was my fatherís name and the reason my friends call me Mike. Iím not one of those glamour puss gumshoes working high profile cases for wealthy clients. I work shit cases on the bottom of the barrel. Divorce stuff mostly, some skip trace and a little repo work when I can get it.† Itís a crappy life but what can you do? At least I donít have to punch a clock.
††† I keep a small office in the back of a strip mall church called Church of the Rising Son. My landlord, Pastor Alphonse Brown, owns the whole mall. Pastor Al is a good guy and I respect him. He has his racket and I have mine. His does a lot better.
††† I used to have a girl answer the phones but I had to let her go. I replaced her with an answering machine. Now when you call the Greer Agency you get a recording that tells you how important your call is to us. I always get a kick out of that word ďusĒ.
††† On most mornings, Pastor Al runs AA meetings, weight watchers meetings,, group therapy sessions and other kinds of socially relevant crap. I donít know how he does it but he manages to make money out of the great well of unhappiness that fills most peopleís lives. In the evenings, the church fills up with lost souls from the neighborhood. Poor slobs looking for something Iím sure Pastor Al is totally unable to provideó a religious experience without the hassle of actually believing in anything.
††† One thing I can attest to is that Pastor Al sure knows how to show them a good time. The few times Iíd had to work late or had to meet a client after hours, I had to adjourn to the coffee shop next door because of all the noise. What with the band, the choir and the speaking in tongues, I couldnít hear myself think.
††† The sign on the Coffee Shop says Regal Cafe but itís just the Ďcoffee shopí to everyone else. Itís your quintessential greasy spoon. Iím a regular there, everyone knows meóLeroy, the huge, bald, black grill-man with the broken nose; Susan, the gum popping waitress with the mysterious past and heart of gold; and Benny Goldstein the short round owner who hovers over the cash register like a bird of prey. Hell, Iím in there three or four times a day unless Iím actually working.
††† Iím telling you all this so youíll have a frame of reference for what happened and appreciate how mind blowingly unlikely it was. As you can see, I donít delude myself that Iím some kind of great detective. I took a correspondence course, passed the state exam by the skin of my teeth, and got my license. Like so much in life, you learn the job by doing it and over these last fifteen years Iíve learned enough to stake out a cheating husband or find a parole jumping teenager hiding out at his girlfriendís house. I never thought of myself as anything special. Not like those slick master sleuths Iíve been reading about all my life like Marlowe, Spade, Hammer and Wolfe.
††† The only thing I have going for me is that if you want a private eye in Altoona, Pa, you donít have a whole lot of options. If you look under detective in the local yellow pages, the Greer Agency is the only name youíll find. I attribute this lack of competition to my continued success.
††† So you can imagine my surprise when Glenn, the mailman, delivered a box containing the file and transcripts of the Cranston Sikes murder case complete with gory crime scene photos. The box held several folders marked Property of The District Attorneyís Office/Confidential. A cover letter addressed to me urged me to familiarize myself with the materials and informed me that I would be contacted in the next few days and everything would be explained. The letter was signed by Lloyd Finster LLD of Finster, Dexter & Pride, a white shoe Philly law firm.

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