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Texas has it all, from bustling big cities to sleepy small towns, and law enforcement alone can’t solve every crime. That’s where private eyes come in. They take the cases law enforcement can’t—or won’t. Private eyes may walk the mean streets of Dallas and Houston, but they also stroll through small West Texas towns where the secrets are sometimes more dangerous. Whether driving a Mustang or riding a mustang, a private eye in Texas is unlike any other in the world.

THE EYES OF TEXAS features 17 original tales of Lone Star State private eyes from Trey R. Barker, Chuck Brownman, Michael Chandos, John M. Floyd, Debra H. Goldstein, James A. Hearn, Richard Helms, Robert S. Levinson, Scott Montgomery, Sandra Murphy, Josh Pachter, Michael Pool, Graham Powell, William Dylan Powell, Stephen D. Rogers, Mark Troy, and Bev Vincent.

Editor Michael Bracken met with The Big Thrill to tell us all about this Texas-sized collaboration:

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

Setting came first with THE EYES OF TEXAS, an anthology containing 17 private eye stories all set within the boundaries of the Lone Star State—setting and the play on words evident in the title.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

The biggest challenge was trying to ensure that the selected stories represented the wonderful diversity of my state—geographically, culturally, politically, and in every other way. That was also the biggest opportunity.

What was the most important criteria in your selection process?

The most important criteria was ensuring that Texas played an integral role in each story.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

My connection to the genre stretches back almost to the beginning of my writing career. I’ve written one private eye novel and several private eye short stories, and I’ve edited previous anthologies that contained private eye stories. My love for private eyes began with Chandler and Hammett and continues to be reinvigorated as new writers bring fresh takes to the genre.


Michael Bracken, an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction, and advertising copy, has received multiple awards for copywriting, two Derringer Awards for short fiction, and the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement in short mystery fiction. The author of several books and more than 1,300 short stories, he has edited six crime fiction anthologies and provides editorial services to book and periodical publishers.

Michael regularly speaks about writing, editing, and publishing at conferences, conventions, and corporate seminars, and has taught non-credit courses for writers at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He’s been a guest speaker in classrooms at various universities, including Baylor University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

He received a bachelor of arts in professional writing from Baylor University and currently serves clients and publishers from his office in Hewitt, Texas.

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.

Photo credit: Amber Bracken