New Jersey Noir (Jack Colt Murder Mystery #1)

New Jersey Noir (Jack Colt Murder Mystery #1)

by William Baer


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, December 9


On the bridge over Paterson's Great Falls, a retired state trooper is murdered by a girl in a grammar school uniform. The victim was the beloved uncle of Jack Colt, a private investigator descended from the inventor of the revolver. While investigating his uncle’s murder, Colt realizes that it is intertwined with two other cases of his. These involve the family secrets of extremely powerful New Jersey figures, including the governor, a judge, and a mob boss.

  In New Jersey Noir, William Baer reinvigorates the detective genre while exploring the Garden State's rich cultural history, glamor, and gore. Baer's novel is fast-paced and utterly gripping, brimming with intrigue and suspense.


An accomplished poet, playwright, and short-story writer, William Baer has turned to crime, creating a brilliant debut novel, the hard-boiled whodunit New Jersey Noir. If you’re looking for classic noir elements, you’ll find them here, in spades. And you’ll find fine literary elements here, as well: precise prose, perfect pacing, stunning imagery, complex characterization, grand historical and cultural contexts, and a superb sense of place. More than anything else, New Jersey Noir is a loving tribute to the Garden State by a writer who appreciates its grime as much as its glory.

  - Hollis Seamon (Jersey girl, born and raised), author of Somebody Up There Hates You

Not since Donna Tartt’s The Secret History have I read a novel as mesmerizing, engrossing, and delectable as William Baer’s New Jersey Noir-a book so compelling that I was forced to drop everything and commit myself for several hours to experiencing, vicariously, the strange and haunted darkness that is the shadow world of this novel. In prose as fast-moving as a bullet, Baer compels the reader to keep flipping pages more and more rapidly. Baer’s writing is taut and gut-wrenching. New Jersey Noir and Baer’s talent presage a brilliant career for this wonderfully gifted writer.

  - Terri Brown-Davidson, author of Marie, Marie, Hold On Tight

Jack Colt, the private investigator in William Baer’s New Jersey Noir, romances the genre to the suspenseful effect that JJ “Jake” Gittes achieves in Roman Polanski’s acclaimed Chinatown. In place of technicolor LA, however, Baer evokes a cinematic chiaroscuro New Jersey, specifically Paterson, its history and politics limned over a baseline of Springsteen, doo-wop, and Whitney Houston. In the early pages of this compelling mystery when Colt muses that his fellow detective, Luca Salerno, “was tough all right, but not tough enough to look into the heart of darkness,” the allusion to Joseph Conrad alerts us that we are in for a more trenchant narrative than a gumshoe and dames thriller. Baer fulfills by deftly executing the universal themes of incest, adultery, madness, and undisguised evil rising out of the swamps of the Meadowlands and beyond.

  - Dennis Must, author of Hush Now, Don’t Explain


William Baer, a recent Guggenheim fellow, is the author of twenty-two books including Times Square and Other Stories, Classic American Films, Luís de Camões: Selected Sonnets, and The Unfortunates (recipient of the T. S. Eliot Award). A former Fulbright in Portugal, he’s also received the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award and a Creative Writing Fellowship in fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit him at

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781927409824
Publisher: Able Muse Press
Publication date: 02/26/2018
Series: Jack Colt Series , #1
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 1,074,227
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

William Baer, a recent Guggenheim fellow, is the author of several books including NEW JERSEY NOIR: THE JACK COLT MURDER MYSTERY NOVELS, BOOK ONE (Able Muse Press, 2018), TIMES SQUARE AND OTHER STORIES (Able Muse Press, 2015), The Ballad Rode into Town; Luís de Camões: Selected Sonnets; and Classic American Films: Conversations with the Screenwriters. His short stories have been published in The Iowa Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Chariton Review, The Dalhousie Review, and many other literary journals. He's also a former Fulbright in Portugal and the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship in fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Table of Contents


1. Paterson, New Jersey 5

2. The Paterson Falls 7

3. Packanack Lake 13

4. Bedroom 19

5. 18 Marshall Street 21

6. Lou Duva’s Gym 31

7. Passaic County Morgue 39

8. The Stone Tower 45

9. St. John the Baptist Cathedral 51

10. Cedar Lawn Cemetery 59


11. Ravello’s Limousine Service 75

12. Aquinas Prep 83

13. Hinchliffe Stadium 91

14. Bedroom 97

15. White Castle 99

16. Meadowlands 105

17. The Wanaque Reservoir 115

18. Donello’s Funeral Home 125

19. Doo-Wop 135

20. The Stone Tower 147


21. Princeton 153

22. Beach Haven 169

23. Exit 154, Garden State Parkway 175

24. The Passaic County Courthouse 177

25. The Edna Mahan Correctional

Facility for Women 187

26. The Tender Care Rehab Facility 193

27. The Paterson Falls 197

28. St. Joseph’s Hospital 201

29. Lambert Castle 205

30. The Stone Tower 215

31. Scrappy’s Diner 223

32. Bedroom 235

33. Bedroom 245

34. Paterson, New Jersey 253

Customer Reviews