Paul Shaw, Private Detective

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The Paul Shaw Series
“Tension-packed … entertaining.” — Kirkus Reviews
Originally published under the pseudonym Mark Sadler

Dennis Lynds’s second New York City series stars Paul Shaw in some of the most exciting and moving mysteries of Lynds’s career. Paul Shaw is married to a Broadway star and enjoys living in luxury with her on Central Park South. But it’s important to him to have work, too, something he does well, and as it turns out, although he’s not a great actor, he’s a great detective. Then there’s the fact that, against his better judgment, he believes in helping those who need it. Before going home to the privileged life he’s not sure he deserves, he wants to make a difference, which is a dangerous goal in the murder and violence business.

The Falling Man#1 — The Falling Man, 1970
“A fast-paced, very entertaining novel.” — PodiumWell-heeled private detective Paul Shaw walks into his darkened Fifth Avenue office one cold night and is viciously attacked by a masked man armed with a .38. In self-defense, almost in reflex, Shaw kills the intruder. He feels lousy about it. It might be bad for business — he should be doing work he’ll be paid for — but Shaw wants to know who the dead man was, and why he was searching his office. As it turns out, the attacker was a recent college grad. Someone sent a boy, still wet behind the ears, to do a man’s job. And now Paul Shaw’s real enemy is still out there.

Here to Die#2 – Here To Die, 1971
“One of the best this year.” — New York TimesA phone call in the darkest hours of a New York night slams past, present, and future together for Paul Shaw, because Judy Tower has vanished in California. She was his first love, and although he’s married to a beautiful Broadway actress, he’ll never forget Judy. An investigation that begins with the question of whether a man can ever completely lose his first love leads Shaw through the glitzy world of Hollywood and the violent tensions of modern universities, to the revolutionaries of the Black Panther Party. Here to Die is a novel of private violence among young and old, drawn inexorably into the public violence of 1970s America.

Mirror Image#3 — Mirror Image, 1972
“Paul Shaw is flesh and blood. [Lynds] has that gift.” — Book WorldIt started out as a simple case in Derry City, New Jersey. A pretty young woman asks Paul Shaw to clear her father of five-year-old felonies. Once the city treasurer, the father was convicted of conflict of interest and theft of $50,000, and is in prison. Shaw finds out quickly there’s nothing more complex or ugly than New Jersey politics. Unsolved murders shadow Shaw as he pursues the ghosts of the father’s crimes — probing a mayor, a racket boss, a special prosecutor, and a dozen VIP witnesses — all in a city that belongs to them. It’s not only impossible, it’s insane. Still, Paul persists, risking his own life until, in a fiery ending, he finally unmasks the killers.

Circle of Fire#4 — Circle of Fire, 1973
“One of the Year’s Four Best Detective Novels.” — The New York TimesScandal, sex, ruined reputations, and money. Lots of money…. A handsome, charismatic senator leaves a steamy tete-a-tete with a lovely young woman. Maybe they were holding hands. Maybe not. No one will ever know because both die instantly when a bomb explodes. No evidence. No witnesses. But politics is an insider’s game, and the senator’s campaign manager is grieving, furious. He hires Paul Shaw, who finds plenty of people with reason to hate the dead senator, including a jealous girlfriend and two political rivals. Threatened and assaulted, Shaw finds answers that turn quickly into questions, and the biggest one is whether the politician was really the intended victim of the bombing. If not, who was? And who would be next?

Touch of Death#5 — Touch of Death, 1981
“An exceptional mystery.” — Cedar Rapids GazetteOne of Paul Shaw’s clients is murdered in his expensive home on the North Shore, and it’s possible the man’s wife — now his widow — has witnessed it. Uneasy and suspicious, Paul follows clues to a sinister skid row hotel where he discovers the desk clerk dead, finger welts on his throat still red. Somehow in the mazelike corridors, Shaw has missed the killer. From an East Village jazz joint, to a Bowery flophouse, and into the violent heart of 1980s East Harlem, Paul chases the murderer. In the end, the most dangerous place of all is a quiet residential street where the cornered killer turns, and Shaw finds himself a hairbreadth away from the touch of death.

Deadly Innocents#6 — Deadly Innocents, 1986
“Well crafted and absorbing.” — BooklistBeneath the glitz of Hollywood, the glamour of Rodeo Drive, and the billionaire corporations of Century City is sex, sin, and murder, even among the so-called innocents. A young man is found stabbed to death in a closet in Paul Shaw’s West Coast office. It looks like one more drug crime, until Shaw follows a dangerous trail from a hip nightclub to a punk hangout and the guarded estate of a man who’ll pay handsomely to forget the murdered kid and his young friends. As Shaw peels away the lies, he draws together seemingly unconnected forces until they collide with explosive force.