Vanity Fire by John M Daniel
(Guy Mallon Mysteries)

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When the phone rings in the middle of the night, publisher Guy Mallon learns his book warehouse has burned to the ground. Rushing to the scene, he and arson inspector Rosa Macdonald see a total loss. And a burned body. Guy Mallon Books faces bankruptcy and the probable dissolution of its partnership; Carol Murphy, Guy’s lover and business manager, fed up, has already split. But why is her car spotted parked nearby?

It all began when Guy had lunch with retired businessman Fritz Marburger. Like the devil himself, Marburger tempted Guy with a proposition: publish celebrity jazz singer Sweet Lorraine Evans’ novel, which he will underwrite. It’s the first step in a Faustian bargain that finds Guy sniffing the sweet smell of success, followed by increasingly noxious fumes as the crass Marburger becomes Lorraine’s agent, rents Guy’s warehouse space, and saddles him with an amoral co-tenant: pornographer-turned-vanity publisher Roger Herndon. All Roger needs is ace computerist Gracie Worth to help set up his operation.
Supported by two Santa Barbara poets with strong backs and by the sometimes puzzling actions of Gracie and her friend/lover Kitty Katz—two strippers forming the core of Roger’s stable of porn stars and production assistants—Guy first tries to make a go of the new venture and then, after the murder, to bring Roger down and reclaim his own soul, not to mention Carol.

About John M Daniel

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John M. Daniel lived in Santa Barbara, California for twenty years, where he and his wife, Susan, owned (and were owned by) a small-press publishing company. In 2003 they relocated McKinleyville, California, where they continue to publish books while John also does free-lance editing and teaches writing through adult education. He has taught fiction writing at UCLA Extension and Santa Barbara Adult Education and is on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, and he is the author of several books.
Published December 26, 2009 by ReadHowYouWant. 265 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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In 2005's THE POET'S FUNERAL, John Daniel proved himself a keen observer of present day publishing and bookkselling in the US.

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