Black Shadows

Mystery & Thrillers

By Simon Swift

Publisher : Wild Wolf Publishing

ABOUT Simon Swift

Simon Swift
A little nonsense is cherished by the wisest men.


Historical mystery set in post-war New York. Murder, double-cross, betrayal and the quest for a mythical diamond blight the life of Private Eye, Errol Black.

“Think big, Son, think big. And steer clear of the wise guys, they’ll kill you!” When dying mobster Dutch Schultz offers this advice to rookie private detective Errol Black it prompts him to make a life-changing decision.

Ten years later, life has moved on from the roller coaster of mobsters and hoodlums and now revolves more around divorce cases and missing persons. But Errol Black’s life is about to change. It begins when a young lady hires Black for a seemingly routine surveillance job.

When fellow detective and one-time partner Dyke Spanner is shot to death, Black is drawn deeper into a violent and bloody quest. The search for the priceless Blue Tavernier Diamond brings gangsters, New York’s ruthless Tongs and beautiful women into Black’s life.

To solve the crime, he finds himself journeying into his own past where both the secret to Dyke’s killer and the clues to the hidden diamond lay.

Black Shadows is a crime novel blending fact and fiction. It is set in one of America’s most violent and unsettled eras. Gangsters, beautiful dames, colourful villains and red herrings galore - this is the world of reluctant hero Errol Christopher Black.

Black Shadows is an Authonomy Gold Star Winner. During its time on the author's website, Black Shadows held the record for number of comments, backings and was ranked the all time number one crime book. It is the first novel in the Errol Black trilogy.

Publishing Powerhouse HarperCollins loved it! Here is their review of Black Shadows...

HarperCollins said...
BLACK SHADOWS is a tightly written piece of noir fiction, inviting obvious comparisons to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The story follows a private detective whose routine surveillance work soon spirals into a much larger case, involving the theft of a valuable jewel and the truth behind the death of his partner ten years before. When done right, this historical crime subgenre can transcend its traditional audience and appeal to all kinds of mystery readers.

In general, this is a very swift and compelling read. The pacing is taut, the dialogue snappy, and the action—especially in the explosive beginning—comes in short, quick bursts. The characters play nicely to type: the possibly morally suspect private investigator, the smoldering femme fatale, even the secretary with a heart of gold. The voice feels pitch perfect and draws the character smoothly back in time. It almost feels like the reader has stepped into a black and white movie from the 1940s.

Black Shadows is not a book I would normally choose to read, but I’m so glad the opportunity was given to me.

We are introduced to the main character Errol Christopher Black, a rookie private detective as he tucks into a large bloody porterhouse steak. Detectives Terry Shadow and Dyke Spanner of the Shadow Man Detective Agency are helping him work his way through a now half empty bottle of claret.

The story unfolds in NewarkNew Jersey in 1935 where mobs rule, and we are witness to a typical shoot out of the time. As the table is upended to afford some form of protection from the flying bullets, they realise that they are not the intended targets but Terry Shadow meets his untimely end with two clean bullets to the head.

Ten years down the line we find Errol Christopher Black with a new partner, Hermeez Wentz and now based in Manhattan at the Black and Wentz Detective Agency along with his very obliging secretary Ava Jameson.

Errol seems happy to take on run of the mill cases and his new client Claudia seems to fit into that category. She tells of a straying fiancé George, along with the discovery of a lipstick and pair of lacy panties which don’t belong to her.

As he takes on what he considers to be a routine surveillance case, Errol is unexpectedly drawn back once more to the mobsters and gangs of that time.

His one time partner Dyke Spanner is shot to death and Errol finds himself on the trail of a blue diamond coveted by hoodlums and beautiful women alike.

The story unfolds with many twists and turns, whilst the reader is witness to the beautiful women that Errol chooses to bed, in his quest for the diamond and the elusive George. Murder is not a rare occurrence either. To state more would give away too much of the plot.

The strength of the writing led me to imagine that I was entering into a 1940’s movie with Humphrey Bogart in the wings.

I also firmly believe that with the right exposure, there is potential here for a film.

Many times during reading BLACK SHADOWS I was convinced that I had all the answers, only to be completely wrong footed by the superb, imaginative writing of Simon Swift.

T K Geering