Big Flies by Keith Hirshland
Publisher: CreateSpace (August 9, 2016)
Category: Mystery/Thriller, Hard-Boiled Detective
Tour Dates: October/November, 2016
Available in: Print & ebook, 238 Pages
After Chester Daniel David, highly celebrated travel writer and hospitality critic, dies in an automobile accident, his son, Leland, is the heir to his prosperous estate. Among the late writer’s possessions are stacks of magazines hidden in an attic that suggest that his stories about his world travels were less than authentic.
As Leland grew up, it seemed as if his father was never home. If he wasn’t at the exotic locations depicted in the various publications, then where was he? And what was he doing?
In a witty mystery that simultaneously follows the lives of the father and son, clues that Chester leaves behind point to notorious unsolved crimes committed within a fifteen-year span:
- The D. B. Cooper plane skyjacking and ransom demand in the Pacific Northwest
- The theft from a Caribbean museum of a twenty-four-carat-gold cross recovered from a sixteenth-century shipwreck
- The inexplicable vanishing of $1 million from the Chicago First National Bank
- The theft of a collection of priceless artifacts from a Mexican anthropological museum
As Leland unlocks the mysteries surrounding his father’s true life, he finds himself with even more unfathomable questions that he never anticipated asking about his family—and himself.
Reminiscent of Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Nick Hornby, and Terry Pratchett.
Praise for Big Flies by Keith Hirshland
“This is an engaging story well told. The plot hinges on the power of secrets and secrets revealed but Keith fully understands the heart of the story is the unfolding of relationships fulfilled or not. Can we ever really know who we know? While this novel works beautifully as a nostalgic and fun caper tale it’s all wrapped up in fathers and sons, true and lasting friends and of course intriguing women. Keith is aiming high here. Really, really well done.”- David R. Hill, Amazon Reviewer
Praise for Cover Me Boys, Were Going In by Keith Hirshland
“I really wanted to read this book because I have become a real fan of The Golf Channel as well as ESPN. I have also found that biographies can be very interesting, and the broadcasting industry is of special interest.
I was very pleased with my reading of this book. It was everything I hoped it would be. Keith grew up the son of a local TV broadcasting executive, and was steeped in the inner workings of the industry his entire life. This up-bringing permeates every day of his life. I highly recommend this.”-William Smith, Dr. Bill’s Book Bazaar
“Mr. Hirshland does an excellent job grabbing the reader’s attention and not letting go. The writing is crisp and the book flows seamlessly from beginning to end.”- Financially independent wannabe, Amazon Reviewer
“This book is a great read. Quick chapters take you through the author’s life (The good times and bad). Along the way the reader gets an insider’s view of the local and national sports television world. It is a crazy ride through the trials and tribulations of being a part of two networks starting up (ESPN2 and Golf Channel) as well as hanging out with some of the best golfers and television executives in the country. If you are remotely interested in television sports, how local television works or just a golf fan this is the read for you.”- TraceySue, Amazon Reviewer
Keith Hirshland is a sports television producer with more than three decades of experience and an Emmy award under his belt. He produced shows that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Hirshland later was among the first forty people hired by The Golf Channel in 1994. He was in the middle of the action when it premiered in 1995 and provided his talents for the all golf network for close to two decades.
Big Flies is Hirshland’s second book and first novel. He is the author of Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat), a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. Hirshland lives in New Jersey with his wife and Bernese Mountain Dog.
Leland David is trying to write his first book. Since his father, Chester Daniel David. Chester was a famous travel and food critic. But when Leland finds a stack of magazines in the attic he learns that he father faked the articles. But this opens up more questions, if he father was not out traveling and writing, where was he?
This story bounces back and forth between Leland and Chester’s stories. Each chapter starts with a header so you know whose story you will be reading. I really enjoyed following along with each person as you discovery more about each one along with how four unsolved mysteries may be linked to everything.
I admit that the beginning was a touch slow as you start learning about Chester and Leland, but then the story takes off like a flash. I couldn’t figure out how the robberies fit into the story for the life of me. But everything wraps up well in the end.
This is a great adventure and one that I recommend you check out. You will not be disappointed.
I received Big Flies from Teddy at Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
Leland stared at the contents inside the open case. He didn’t blink as his eyes went from one item to the next and back again. He couldn’t speak; he could barely breathe. Denny whistled one long, lingering note.
“For fuck’s sake.” Leland had finally found his breath and his voice.
“This is unbelievable!” Denny added, post whistle. Leland hated that particular superlative, felt it was almost always overused, but he found himself agreeing that this was one of those rare times that the five-syllable word was apropos. They were looking at what appeared to be a march through the history of his father’s life, one special piece of memorabilia at a time. The first thing that captured both Leland’s and Denny’s attention was a brightly colored LP jacket, mostly yellow, featuring the four familiar faces of Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and, with hatchet in hand, the Tin Man. Above the pigtail-coiffed girl’s head were the words in yellow, blue, green, and red: The Wizard of Oz. Denny reached into the case with her right hand and pulled the keepsake out for a closer look.
“I think it’s an original,” she said, looking up from Frances Gumm, aka Judy Garland’s face, to Leland’s. In the upper right-hand corner, Leland noticed the MGM logo above the words, “Long Playing 33⅓ rpm Recorded.” Denny added, “The actual record is inside.” Her voice bristled with anticipation.
The recording was still in its original packaging, apparently never subject to the prick and sting of a record player’s needle. The song list on the label indicated this particular recording featured a combination of music and dramatic selections from the 1939 motion picture. The year 1956 was stamped on the A-side label.
“Put it back,” Leland said softly. Denny obliged and grabbed a small, browning manila envelope in its stead.
“I wonder what this is?” she asked as she pinched what was inside the envelope with her thumb and forefinger and gently pulled it clear. Leland recognized it immediately and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so he did neither. B. D. Beck Elementary School—read the bold, black letters at the top of the thick, once-white and now yellowing transcript. “Grade: 1st. Teacher: Mr. Conley” was also printed above a list of subjects with a letter grade assigned to each. They both noticed a slightly faded handwritten capital A in each box except the two marked Citizenship and Attendance. Each of those earned an S.
“Kudos, genius,” Denny said sarcastically.
“My first straight-A report card,” Leland said, the words with a mix of embarrassment and pride, “and maybe my last,” he added with a smile. “Why would you hang on to that?” he asked his father’s memory, already guessing the answer.
“What else do we have in here?” Denny asked, refusing to engage in Leland’s reverie. What else they had was a two-inch cotton-and-polyester black belt—the kind owned and worn by people who had mastered various martial-arts disciplines, and three, obviously old, certainly original, more than likely very valuable, baseball cards. One was a 1909–1911 Christy Mathewson T206 Piedmont Portrait, another was a Cy Young 1911 D304 General Baking Company Bruners Butter Crust SGC 84 7, and the third was a seemingly brand-new, mint-condition 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie Card that pictured the New York Yankee great holding a yellow bat and resting it on his right shoulder. His eyes appeared to gaze up and off to the right, perhaps looking at a pretty girl in the stands, or maybe seeing the hall of fame career ahead that would make him one of baseball’s most famous players.
“Those are worth a lot of money.” Denny stated the obvious.
“Six figures as a starting point,” Leland agreed.
“For the Mantle card alone,” Denny added; Leland was well aware the girl knew her stuff.
The last keepsake was the hardest to identify and explain. It was a clean, crisp twenty-dollar bill, serial number C 13871653 A, encased in clear Plexiglas.
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