Pay or Play
by Howard Michael Gould
January 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
and a missing dog: eccentric, eco-obsessed LA private eye Charlie Waldo is on the case in this quirky, fast-paced mystery.
Paying a harsh self-imposed penance for a terrible misstep on a case, former LAPD superstar detective Charlie Waldo lives a life of punishing minimalism deep within the woods, making a near religion of his commitment to owning no more than One Hundred Things.
At least, he’s trying to. His PI girlfriend Lorena keeps drawing him back to civilization – even though every time he compromises on his principles, something goes wrong.
And unfortunately for Waldo, all roads lead straight back to LA. When old adversary Don Q strongarms him into investigating the seemingly mundane death of a vagrant, Lorena agrees he can work under her PI license on one condition: he help with a high-maintenance celebrity client, wildly popular courtroom TV star Judge Ida Mudge, whose new mega-deal makes her a perfect target for blackmail.
Reopening the coldest of cases, a decades-old fraternity death, Waldo begins to wonder if the judge is, in fact, a murderer – and if he’ll stay alive long enough to find out.
Pay or Play is the third in the Charlie Waldo series, following Last Looks and Below the Line. Last Looks was turned into a major motion picture, starring Charlie Hunnam as the offbeat private investigator.
The main character of this investigative novel was rather hard to like. Waldo is an ex-policeman. He had sent an innocent man to prison. When he realized his mistake, he tried to get the man out but the man was murdered in prison. Now Waldo lives his life mostly from guilt. One way he punishes himself is by owning only one hundred things. He is also very environmentally conscious. That aspect of the novel was interesting as I learned much about one's carbon footprint and living a life of minimalism.
But Waldo is also just an odd character. He is socially inept. When talking to someone he knows on the phone, perhaps needing a favor, he is abrupt and frequently irritating. Often, after ending the call, he'd realize he never asked his “friend” how he was doing. I was surprised he had any friends left. And he likes to watch reality courtroom drama. Not the kind of person I could identify with at all.
The investigation into the mystery, a death that happened thirty five years ago, is hard to follow because so many people lie. The relationship between Waldo and Lorena is antagonistic but it seems the sex is rewarding enough that they stay together.
This book is the third in a series and it shows. Waldo is hired by a thug to do a job because they have a history. I have not read the previous novels so Waldo doing the job for this guy fell flat for me.
This is a private investigation mystery for readers who like quirky characters trying to find the truth in a world of lies and deceit and don't mind a great deal of offensive language.
Genre: Thriller, Private Detective
Published by: Severn House Publishers Limited
Publication Date: December 7th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727850857 (ISBN13: 9780727850850)
Series: Charlie Waldo, #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
In television, he was executive producer and head writer of CYBILL when it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, and held the same positions on THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW and INSTANT MOM. Other TV credits include FM and HOME IMPROVEMENT.
He wrote and directed the feature film THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, Andie MacDowell and Jenna Elfman. Other feature credits include MR. 3000 and SHREK THE THIRD.
His play DIVA premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and La Jolla Playhouse, and was subsequently published by Samuel French and performed around the country.
He is the author of three mystery novels featuring the minimalist detective Charlie Waldo: LAST LOOKS (2018) and BELOW THE LINE (2019), both nominated for Shamus Awards by the Private Eye Writers of America, and PAY OR PLAY (2021). The feature film version of LAST LOOKS, starring Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson and directed by Tim Kirkby, will premiere February, 2022; Gould also wrote the screenplay.
Catch Up With Howard Michael Gould:
Instagram - @howardmichaelgould
Twitter - @HowardMGould
Facebook - @HowardMGould
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Click here to view Pay or Play by Howard Michael Gould Tour Hosts.