White was born, raised, and continues to live in Ashtabula, Ohio. Blurb: Weaker sex? Not hardly! The female is definitely deadlier than the mail. Short stories about ladies who can hold their own.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Robb: I would have to say crime fiction, but I have a stronger impulse toward noir (I beg you not to ask me to define that term). I started with a hardboiled private-eye series, which I still intend to continue, but I’m much less inclined toward plots with raw violence as in my reckless youth (mid-forties, that).
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Robb: I’m still reluctant to call myself a writer and writing fiction something other than a passionate hobby. I think years of reading literature, not the kind I write, but serious books must have laid the groundwork somewhere back there. I’m content with carving out my own little niche in pulp fiction without pretensions to being a “real” writer.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Robb: I would love to know the answer to that because those long, irritating interludes of wanting to write, having the time to write, but being unable to write because the mind won’t cooperate is the most frustrating thing about it.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Robb: I could never replace Daffy Duck in my heart. He tries so hard and wants to win, and yet he fails every time because of his character flaws. Yet he comes back for more and somehow manages to find another excuse to get back into the fray as if the ending won’t be the same.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet in person and why?
Robb: Of real, living people no one. People always disappoint. Of the fictional dead, a tossup between Dostoevsky’s Svidrigaelov and Camus’ narrator in The Stranger. The former because he’s a charming sociopath, and I’ve never met one up close; the latter because his evolution in the second half of the novel into an existentialist calm, a joy, although he’s facing his own execution, is one of the great feats of modern literature and breath-taking to experience (vicariously, of course).
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Robb: Being retired, I treat every day as “free,” barring the quotidian tasks of living, and I still savor each day’s gift despite the fact my retirement is now three years old. It took a long time and many jobs, some lousy, a couple good, to get to this point. I’m too much of a recluse to do anything special. Besides the forays into writing, gardening, tackling fix-it jobs around the house, reading in my backyard hammock, I have all I need to keep me content.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Robb: I’m working on the outline to a sequel to my latest hardboiled novel, Northtown Eclipse, just published yesterday. Unlike Thomas Haftmann, my first series detective and a throwback to Chandler’s wisecracking Marlowe, Ray Jarvi is half-intimidated by the world and its capacity to betray dreams; he’s out of his depth all too soon and very much aware of it, but like Daffy, I suppose, he won’t quit or back down until he knows the truth.
Excerpt from Dangerous Women:
Be careful what you wish for, Regina.
Her mother’s words. Sometimes she could hear her mother’s voice in the house.
The Vindicator piece on Bodycomb’s death was two paragraphs.
He was found floating in Lake Milton, a popular summer resort area for fisherman seventeen miles east of Austintown just off the Interstate 80 overpass. Shot by a small-caliber weapon in the back of the head. The important information was in the second paragraph: Bodycomb, it noted, was running a dog-fighting network among three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for a loose-knit West Virginia crime family connected to the Pittsburgh LaRizzo family.
Damn you, Leo.
She was blowing through caution lights, ignoring the honking of cars, as she beelined for the office on Market.
Like a script from a cheap thriller, he was there, wearing the same clothes and unshaven, big jowls dark with stubble, pong of body odor in the overheated single room.
“You promised me full disclosure, total honesty,” she said.
She threw the paper across his desk.
“Here it is in case you missed it.”
Be calm, Regina, she told herself. She wasn’t going to lose her temper and a new job in that order.
“I did and I meant it, Baby,” Leo said.
He glanced at the paper sideways and pushed it back to her. He’d obviously read it.
“You asked me—no, you demanded I call somebody. I did,” he said.
He disgusted her with those wagging jowls and big stomach. She noticed his belt was undone and a patch of curly belly hair exposed.
Probably jerking off in here, the freak.
“I suppose you’ll tell me when the mood strikes.”
“I meant the second case—your next case,” Leo said. “Full disclosure, just like you want.”
Her indignation petered out at the prospect. “So tell me about it,” she said.
Bodycomb was moving in on Donnie Bracca’s territory with his dog-fighting, Leo said.
“He can kill all the dogs he wants in West Virginia,” Leo said. “But Donnie B. controls gambling around here.”
“Donnie Bracca was your real client all the time,” Baby said.
“It’s like this, kid. They don’t blow each other up in cars no more. Gentlemen’s agreements, all nice and polite. But rules have to be followed. Bodycomb went rogue.”
She bit back a retort: You mean, like your own father?
Leo went on, waxing large, a hopeless Mafioso lover, although a real mafia man, a made man, could see Leo couldn’t be trusted. But even the Aryan Brotherhood used outside associates to get things done. Leo could be useful if you couldn’t buy a cop or scare off an investigative reporter snooping in shady politics or business deals.
She didn’t feel bad about Bodycomb’s death. After all, she'd wanted to kill the guy herself.
“Damn it, Leo,” she said. “You should have told me this in the beginning.”Baby moved in the direction Bodycomb’s vehicle had taken. After A couple of hundred yards through meadow grass up to her knees, she stopped and listened. Moving on, she dodged stunted bushes that popped up out of nowhere to snag her clothing. The foliage grew less dense. She found the parallel ruts of the Road Runner’s tracks and kept moving, straining her eyes to see light ahead. If Bodycomb was hiding assets from his soon-to-be ex-wife, he was taking a lot of trouble over it.
After five minutes of faster walking in the grooves, she heard barking coming from the right. She saw the first glimmer of light in the distance. The terrain was sparse but small slopes refracted the light source so it appeared and disappeared with every rise of the ground. A single dog barking became two, then three and finally a pack. Beneath their howls, men’s voices.
When she got close enough to make out words, she lay flat on her belly and put the binoculars on a cluster of men beside a ramshackle barn surrounded by cages of dogs in the beds of trucks beside a squared string of light bulbs a dozen feet from the ground. It looked like a crude boxing ring for backyard brawlers.
Its purpose became clear in the next few minutes. It was a dog-fighting pit.
Buy Link for Dangerous Women:
Publisher’s website (for paperback): http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/cat-murder-mystery-suspense/dangerous-women-8472017-10-14-23-36-05-detail?Itemid=0Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076GCNMQ5/