With the February 2016 e-publication of Have Cigar, Will Travel a new Tampa-based detective novel series is born. Pseudonymous author, and Tampa resident, Eric Veil has created a mold-breaking protagonist who is very much a man of our times. Private investigator Mike Shoemaker is young, handsome, brilliant on occasion, but fallible on others. Mike is a vulnerable human being not a super hero. He is, however, tenacious, and enjoys playing the role of the contrarian. Tell him to go one way and he’ll usually, as we find out in Have Cigar, go the other.
Mike is a transplanted Tampa guy and enjoys the local culture. He frequents Cuban restaurants like La Teresita, smokes Ybor City cigars and drinks Cigar City beer. He owns a bungalow in Seminole Heights just off the Hillsborough River. Mike likes fast cars almost as much as he likes sex (or is it the other way around?). He’s a magnet to women (and sometimes men*) and at the time Have Cigar takes place a slender bartending beauty named Helen is living with him and his jealous duo of dogs, Gypsy and Shane.
Mike is ex-Army (Afghanistan, Iraq) and so has a no-nonsense, practical/cynical view of the world. He wears a concealed handgun on his right hip, but abhors unnecessary violence. He considers himself a social liberal and believes in the old ‘60’s maxim: ‘Make love not war.’ Mike is ecumenical in his sexual orientation*, as we find out in a later chapter of Have Cigar, when he has sex with a crossdressing friend before borrowing “her” SUV for a 2,000 mile odyssey in search of his quarry.
*Need we spell it out? Mike Shoemaker, private investigator, is openly bisexual.
In Have Cigar, Will Travel Mike is hired by Tampa’s wealthiest and most prominent citizen to locate his missing daughter. Victor Chatham is the absentee owner of the Texas Executioners, a mythical NFL team located in Austin and the second-most valuable sports franchise in the world. Chatham also heads a billion-dollar redevelopment project centered around Tampa’s Channelside district. The ribbon-cutting is just days away as the action of the novel opens.
Mike immediately grows suspicious when his new client insists that Mike “stay local” in his search for Gale Chatham, an alcohol and drug-addicted woman in her thirties. The action of Have Cigar takes place in Tampa and Colorado and on roads inbetween, before culminating back in Tampa in a dramatic denouement. With a final twist at the end, it should be added.
In what will be hallmarks of the Mike Shoemaker novels, Have Cigar is full of local color and humor and witty, fast-paced dialog. While Tampa area residents should love it for the familiarity, the hope is readers in Seattle or London or Singapore will find it an equally humorous and entertaining read.
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Have Cigar, Will Travel
by Eric Veil
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Have Cigar, Will Travel
by Eric Veil
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by on October 27, 2016
- Eric Veil, February 2016
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