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Recommended by Millie Naylor Hast

Silas “Si” Reardon lunges off the page in this follow-up to Fool’s Run in the skillful hands of multi-published horror, mystery, and thriller author Sidney Williams. Si, an ex-cop and ex-con who has paid his debt to society, is now a private eye, but what he wants more than anything is to reconnect with his estranged daughter and co-exist peacefully with his ex-wife.

As an investigator, he is becoming known as someone who can “work around obstacles where powerful men are involved,” which attracts the attention of a lawyer representing a woman whose sister is missing.

The missing sister was a budding actress in a big-budget movie filming on the Florida beach where Si now lives when she disappeared years ago. The somewhat fading cast of the original movie has returned to film a much lower-budget sequel.

Si soon takes us behind the scenes of the movie, with its Hollywood stars, sleazy producers, bizarre practical jokers, and a ghostly vision that may or may not resemble the missing actress. Jockeying for position, manipulation, and trickery ensue as the actors vie for power. Can Si sort out truth from fiction and escape alive, even as a hurricane bears down on the entire entourage? And will his daughter ever speak to him again?

Come along with Si as he confronts all the challenges this story throws at him. He’s game and resourceful, with a quirky sense of humor and one senses that underneath the tough exterior, he’s a rather sweet guy. You’ll want more than anything for him to succeed.

The Big Thrill sat down with Sidney Williams to discuss LONG WALTZ, book two in his Si Reardon Thrillers:

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see a space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

I’d always wanted to do something with the detective story. I worked as a crime reporter as part of my early work in journalism, and gradually, that and other life experience plus tons and tons of reading primed me to create Si. He’s not a guy who goes from one interview to another, though he does talk to people. He’s sort of the butterfly’s wing. He shows up, sets some things into motion, and improvises to get where he needs to go.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

Si Reardon traveled to Florida to catch up with his daughter at the end of the first book in this series, Fool’s Run. I knew he’d have a Florida adventure, and several things just flowed together to make that happen. “Things” included Florida hurricanes, being around friends working on a Florida-lensed film, and many other events.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald are always in the back of my mind. I guess MacDonald’s The Drowning Pool was in the mix, maybe more symbolically than anything else. Robert Ludlum’s fun, too, and I suppose the random events that spice up Si’s adventure here were influenced by the Ludlum style, even though Si’s world is a little different.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

I hope they see a man who’s changing. Si was a police officer but probably didn’t belong in that profession. Going along with a partner got him into trouble. He’s done time, come to know criminals and others better, and while he’s toughened by everything, he’s growing, broadening his view and understanding of humanity, and becoming a better person than ever before.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

There will be another Si thriller. That’s on the drawing board. I’m working on a possibly short horror thriller and a host of short stories.

Millie Naylor Hast