Category Archives: Crime

Guest Post: The lowdown on Pasadena, by Tom Gething

Undocumented workers, barrio punks with guns, high-tech strip clubs, grubby city politics, and a backpack full of dirty money—all play a part in the smart new crime novel, Pasadena Payback, by my friend and fellow indie author, M.L. Rudolph.  The action mostly takes place in Pasadena, best known for its Rose Bowl and festive parades, but it starts with a gripping scene on the Arizona border and inevitably leads back there for its life-or-death finale. Serious stuff, but it’s getting there that makes this a fun, fast-paced book.

Crispín, an undocumented landscaper, is at the center of the storm. Everyone is looking for him, or maybe it’s what he knows or what he’s carrying that they want. Poor Crispín has certain obligations he never asked for and family on both sides of the border. He’s just trying to keep a low profile like all those men who stand in front of the Home Depot looking for day jobs. But things go quickly awry.

Rudolph has lots of fun exposing the flaws of the people looking for Crispín, and for me it was this social satire that made the book so enjoyable. Everyone wants power—control really—over others. The ones with power are looking to keep it; the ones with money are looking to buy it; the ones without money are looking to steal it. Power, it turns out, is illusory and quickly vanishes because there’s always a price, or a payback, for getting it.

I enjoyed the West African setting of Rudolph’s first novel, Facing the Son, but this one is even better. It’s gritty, contemporary and right in our own backyard, with characters and issues that are all too real.

Pasadena Payback

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(Day Before) Fathers Day FREEBIE!

   June 16, FREE DAY,  for my new novel Pasadena Payback.

   Get Dad a gripping good read for that new Kindle. Take it to the beach. Take it to the shade. Take it with you on your next plane ride.

Crispín Gomez Diaz runs cash between Pasadena and Nogales to pay off his missing brother’s old debt. He has family in Los Angeles and in Sinaloa, and he does what he’s told to keep his family safe from retribution.

  Dirty debts, raw ambition, and old loyalties collide in this fast-moving tale of honor and payback.


PASADENA PAYBACK published today

PASADENA PAYBACK, a crime novel, is the first in my series of Pasadena Crime Novels.

Crispín Gomez Diaz runs cash between Pasadena and Nogales to pay off his missing brother’s old debt. He has family in Los Angeles and in Sinaloa, and he does what he’s told to keep his family safe from retribution.

While Crispín is leaving on his final run for his Pasadena payer, joyriding barrio boys swipe his backpack not knowing that it carries a small fortune hidden among the contents. Crispín has thirty-six hours until his appointment in Nogales. If he shows without the cash he’s dead; if he doesn’t show, his family is.

Meanwhile, Crispin’s undocumented status becomes a behind-the-scenes issue in a local political contest. The gardener no one noticed suddenly becomes popular when he needs to remain invisible until he tracks down his backpack.

Dirty debts, raw ambition, and old loyalties collide in this fast-moving tale of honor and payback.


The Watchman (Joe Pike #1), by Robert Crais

2007. Robert Crais is a master craftsman who delivers on his promise.

There are alot of variations on the LA private eye story. And lots of good practitioners of the genre. Crais is among the best. His two characters Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, in my book, belong among the best LA literary sleuths.

This is Joe Pike’s novel, but Elvis Cole is his buddy and of course he makes more than a cameo. Pike relies on Cole to provide key backup.

Pike is a damaged soul from childhood, but he’s a tough survivor who has beaten back his demons in a way that makes him stronger than anyone else. He lives by a code that prizes loyalty above all else. He protects and serves whether as a member of LAPD or as an independent. He hates bullies in any shape, and he never walks out on a friend.

You can read elsewhere for plot summary. I’m only going to tell you that Pike and his buddy Cole are worth spending time with. Their relationship lifts this story above the standard gumshoe narrative, as do the relationships these men develop with other key people they meet over the course of their cases. The bonds of family and friendship are tested through secondary characters that provide further depth.

Crais knows his police procedural stuff, his ballistics, his forensics, his terrain, and police groupthink. But he knows his characters even better, and that’s why I’ll keep coming back for more.


FREE Days on Kindle. Friday, March 30 & Saturday, March 31.

Former Number One at Kindle Action and Adventure.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa  Get it here!

FREE Friday and Saturday, March 30 & 31. Load up a great summer read.

The Best Choice in 2012, March 15, 2012 By Cat mom (LI NY) – This book is different from my usual Kindle choices…. It was absolutely outstanding. I found the African setting interesting. The father’s search for his son drove the exciting plot. The novel was worth many stars.*

I loved this book, March 12, 2012 By Jim Brumm – I can’t believe that this wonderful book is as inexpensive as it is. It is a great read of a father’s quest to find his son in Africa to deliver a letter from the boy’s dying mother. But it’s so much more than that. It is a saga of cultures clashing, of regret, redemption, and adventure, all told with great writing. There aren’t enough good books that are set in Africa. This is one of the best. I would have been happy to pay $10 for this book.

Captivating! March 5, 2012 By BookAddict (FL) – I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end. The plot is multi-layered, with mystery, suspense, drama and adventure. The characters are unique and have many dimensions. They made me care and I wanted to crawl inside the story with them. The dialogue is realistic. The ease of the descriptions immersed me in African countries and cultures. I did not simply read this story. I experienced it.


My First Amazon FREE Day! Sunday, February 19

Rush over to Amazon for my first free promo on KDP Select. Load your Kindle with a wild journey through the African countryside.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa

 Go here.  NOW!

And thank you for making the trip.


Follower Love Giveaway Hop

A father’s enduring love for his estranged son propels him on a mission to West Africa.

The trip misery piles up but nothing can deter Matt Reiser from finding his son.  Except his son.

Use this code: RD36Z at this site for a free copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

Or for a 99 cent copy click Kindle.

Back to the hop here.