ABOUT John Brinling

John Brinling
I have been writing all of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen.  “Black Dawn.”  It dealt with segregation and the KKK. Whatever happened to it I don’t know. Since then, earning a living has preempted long periods of my life when I wrote very little.  My wife and I a More...


     "The Ghost of a Flea" is a romantic crime novel set in New York City, in January, 1976. 

     The two main protagonists are Roger Davis, a

programmer/analysis for P.A.C.E., and Peggy Cross, a magazine model.  They meet through their common friend, Gideon Whiting.

     The chief villian in the story is Gideon Whiting, a drug czar masquerading as a Village musician, who is intent upon discovering who is trying to depose him. Gideon is the East Coast chieftain of a nationwide drug organization, who keeps his criminal identity concealed by hiding in a gigantic Clown costume.  He is only "defrocked" in the final pages of the book

in the climactic warehouse scene.

     Gideon devises an elaborate plan to unmask his enemies, a plan that includes setting up his friends, Roger and Peggy, as decoys, the faking of his own death, and the scattering of a slew of red herrings.

     Gideon's plan, following his contrived death, is to watch the power struggle unfold.  To keep the pot boiling, he has planted any number of false clues to keep both his enemies and Roger and Peggy going around in circles.  One such lure is a missing address book that supposedly identifies his drug sources,

shipment dates, secret bank accounts, etc.  The "bad guys" think Roger and Peggy have it, and Roger and Peggy think the "bad guys" have it.  Gideon has also managed to make it look like Rodger was his murderer.

     Gideon's tenacles extend into the police department and Roger's discovery that Lieutenant Tarrington, who has been investigating Gideon's murder, is a fraud, forces him to pursue his own sleuthing more actively.

    Peggy Cross is Roger's love interest and is caught between Gideon's dark intrigues and Roger's naive sleuthing.  She is an incurable romantic and views the goings on as more of an adventurous interlude, rather than a life or death struggle. 

     Most of the people in Roger's life are in one way or another involved in the use of or the sale of drugs, and it is the steady unmasking of these people, like the peeling away of the layers of an onion, that forms one of the major thrusts of the book. As

each layer of deception is exposed, another takes its place. 

     The people included in the circle of drug involvement are the following: Natalie, Roger's wife; Ted, his best friend and co-worker; Jill, Ted's girlfriend; and Charlie Holt, Roger's boss

and mentor, who has his sights set on a U.S. Senate seat.

     Cathy Morgan, Ted's stepsister, becomes an innocent pawn in the power struggle, and Roger, who has befriended her, is forced to put his life on the line to save her.

    Several people get killed along the way, including several of Peggy's friends who try to help her.  Roger and Peggy are in constant jeopardy, narrowly escaping death on several occasions. Each encounter, however, brings them closer to the truth.

     Several of the ring's most vicious killers stalk Roger and Peggy throughout the book.  They are each disposed of in turn.

     The final showdown pits a reincarnated Gideon, his brother who has helped mastermind Gideon's probe, and several of their henchmen against Roger and Peggy in a large warehouse.  All is revealed before the chase begins, but Peggy, in a desperate attempt to save Roger's life, is herself seriously wounded.


Other Book(s) By John Brinling