The Big Goodbye

The Big Goodbye

4.5 2
by Michael Lister

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Someone is following Lauren Lewis.

She ducks into the office of PI Jimmy "Soldier" Riley, not to hire him, but to find out if he's the one following her. Back when they were lovers he told her if he ever decided to, she'd never know he was there.

It's 1940s Panama City, Florida. The world is at war, and the growing panhandle paradise is doing its part. Tyndall

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Someone is following Lauren Lewis.

She ducks into the office of PI Jimmy "Soldier" Riley, not to hire him, but to find out if he's the one following her. Back when they were lovers he told her if he ever decided to, she'd never know he was there.

It's 1940s Panama City, Florida. The world is at war, and the growing panhandle paradise is doing its part. Tyndall Field is training pilots. Wainwright Shipyard is building battleships. The Naval Section Base is protecting vessels in the Gulf. The Dixie Sherman Hotel is hosting celebrities such as Clark Gable. Harry Lewis, a wealthy banker, is running for mayor, unaware his wife is running for her life.

With a secret to hide and a husband running for mayor in a city exploding and expanding like no other time in history, Lauren doesn't want trouble, but she's about to get a double-barrel full of it. Only one man can help her, and though it might destroy him, he doesn't mind. Better to die than be the walking wounded.

The story of a guy, a girl, and a gun, The Big Goodbye is Florida Noir at its finest.

"A seductive mix of sudden violence and raw emotion, Michael Lister's THE BIG GOODBYE is a much-welcome contribution to the hardboiled, P.I. tradition. Cool stuff."
Victor Gischler, author of GUN MONKEYS and SHOTGUN OPERA

"Stylish, retro, and highly entertaining. Michael Lister's PI Jimmy "Soldier" Riley is a compelling new noir hero." Jason Starr, author of Twisted City and Bust

"What fun to see 1940s Panama City, Florida through the eyes of tough, wise-cracking PI Jimmy Riley. This is my kind of book: tough and violent with snappy dialogue and great atmosphere, beautiful women with hidden agendas, and a long lost world that we mostly know through ancient postcards and faded photographs. Get ready for a suspenseful, romantic and historic ride."
Ace Atkins, author of White Shadow

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
People hail Jimmy "Soldier" Riley as a war hero when they notice his missing right arm, and Jimmy no longer bothers to correct them. Their mistaken assumptions help him now that he's a retired cop-turned-private eye in Panama City, FL. Jimmy has the "jeebies" from a shooting earlier in the day when he's contacted by Lauren Lewis, wife of a wealthy mayoral candidate and his own former lover. Someone is following her, and Jimmy jumps right into this new case. What follows is a gritty ride through the Florida Panhandle in the 1940s, complete with several corpses, corrupt politics, a swanky doll named Margie (also a former flame of Jimmy's), and Jimmy's obsession with gorgeous, secretive Lauren. VERDICT Short on flowery descriptions but peppered with snappy dialog, this hard-boiled mystery by award winner Lister (Double Exposure) is a swell read for tough guys and gals who "just want the facts, ma'am."—Julie Pierce, Lee Cty. P.L., Fort Meyers, FL
Publishers Weekly
Lister (The Body and the Blood) kicks off a promising private detective series set in 1940s Florida with a tantalizing opening line—"I had not yet recovered from shooting Stanley Somerset when I saw her"—and rapidly establishes the intriguing persona of narrator Jimmy Riley. Riley, who lost an arm while on the police force, now works as a PI partnered with a former Pinkerton agent. Obsessed with ex-lover Lauren Lewis, he's taken aback when she re-enters his life. Lewis, whose husband is running for mayor of Panama City, appears at his office to ask whether Riley is the person who's been tailing her. While she believes his denial, she declines his offer to help. Unsurprisingly, Riley decides to look into the matter anyway, and soon finds himself squarely in the crosshairs of the police when bodies start piling up. Lister's hard-edged prose ranks with the best of contemporary noir fiction. (Sept.)

Product Details

Pulpwood Press
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

A native Floridian, award-winning novelist, Michael Lister, grew up in North Florida near the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River, beneath slash pines and Spanish moss draped oak limbs, in a small town world famous for tupelo honey.

Truly a regional writer, his canvas is not a central, major city (there are none in North Florida), but a region—small towns (THUNDER BEACH), river swamps (DOUBLE EXPOSURE), massive prisons in rural areas (THE BODY AND THE BLOOD).

Captivated by story since childhood, Michael has a love for language and narrative inspired by the Southern storytelling tradition that captured his imagination and became such a source of meaning and inspiration, he pursued and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology with an emphasis on myth and narrative within religion.

In the early 90s, Lister became the youngest chaplain within the Florida Department of Corrections. For nearly a decade, he served as a contract, staff, then senior chaplain at three different facilities in the Panhandle of Florida—a unique experience that led to his first novel, 1997’s critically acclaimed, POWER IN THE BLOOD. It was the first in a series of popular and celebrated novels featuring ex-cop turned prison chaplain, John Jordan. Subsequent books in the series include BLOOD OF THE LAMB, FLESH AND BLOOD, and THE BODY AND THE BLOOD, and each takes readers through the electronically locked gates of the chain-link fences, beneath the looping razor wire glinting in the sun, and into the strange world of Potter Correctional Institution, Florida’s toughest maximum security prison.

Michael Lister won a Florida Book Award for his first literary novel, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, a book, according to the Panama City News Herald, that “is lyrical and literary, written in a sparse but evocative prose reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy.” It is a contemplation of life and death, art and meaning, set deep in the swamps of the Apalachicola River, a thriller about a wildlife photographer whose camera traps capture a crime, that shows the beauty and danger of the Panhandle paradise.

A committed environmentalist, Michael works to protect the area he so loves, setting up the Mother Earth Fund (named after a character from DOUBLE EXPOSURE) for environmental conservation and education and serving on the board of directors of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper.

For the past seven years, Lister has

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