For PI Eddie Collins, the moment Carla Rizzoli sashays into his office casts him deliciously into a scene from a classic noir. Only this femme fatale is a sweet ghost from his past, a time when he made his living exclusively as an actor. Then she was a full-time actress too, and they’d dated briefly before an old flame came back into her life. Now she’s known as Velvet La Rose and making a steady living as an exotic dancer at the Feline Follies. She needs Eddie’s services to find her missing brother Frankie Rizzoli, who sent her a cryptic message warning her to watch her back.
Eddie falls hard for Carla, who hasn’t given up on acting. In fact, she’s about to start work on a B-movie, Festival of Death. Now motivated by more than a paycheck, Eddie searches for Frankie, last seen hiding out among the homeless. Frankie was once a member of the military police, and an old photo identifies an old army buddy, James Curran, who starts to cross paths with both Eddie and Carla with increasing frequency.
What is Frankie mixed up in and why doesn’t he want to be found? How does James Curran figure in? As Eddie questions the residents of Skid Row and works undercover as an extra in Festival of Death, he searches in vain for the links between Frankie and James and Carla. He needs answers soon, or Carla may slip through his fingers again, this time into oblivion.
The Big Thrill recently caught up with author Clive Rosengren to discuss the third installment of the Eddie Collins Mystery series, VELVET ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I would hope that readers will learn some of the behind-the-scenes drama and intrigue that take place in Hollywood. There are many stories in the celluloid city, and Eddie Collins does his best to get involved in many of them.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
For one thing, I don’t know that there’s a licensed private eye who is also a working actor. Most actors in Hollywood are forced to take “day jobs” to make ends meet: tending bar, driving cab, selling real estate, etc. etc. Not Eddie Collins. He meets the qualifications for a private eye license, and manages to keep one foot in the film and television business while investigating cases in and around the Hollywood film industry.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I was pleased to find the voice for Carla Rizzoli, an actress Eddie had dated several years ago. She’s a tough, sassy character, and yet has a vulnerability that Eddie responds to immediately.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Eddie and his pal Tired Reggie prowl through the homeless encampments in downtown Los Angeles, and the plight of these people leave an impression on the private eye.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Michael Connelly, because of his unflagging expertise with police procedures, and also the character Harry Bosch. George P. Pelecanos for the spot-on ear he has for dialogue. Robert Crais for the nice balance he draws between Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. Lee Child for a truly genuine hero in Jack Reacher.
CLIVE ROSENGREN is a recovering actor. His career spanned more than forty years, eighteen of them pounding many of the same streets as his fictional sleuth Eddie Collins. He appeared on stages at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie Theater, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others. Movie credits include Ed Wood, Soapdish, Cobb, and Bugsy. Among numerous television credits are Seinfeld, Home Improvement, and Cheers, where he played the only person to throw Sam Malone out of his own bar. He lives in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, safe and secure from the hurly-burly of Hollywood. Rosengren has written three books in the Eddie Collins Mystery series: Murder Unscripted, Red Desert, and VELVET ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON. Books one and two were both finalists for the Shamus Awards, sponsored by the Private Eye Writers of America.
To learn more about Clive, please visit his website.