Monday, May 20, 2024

Available for Pre-Order: "Casinos, Motels, Gators" by Ben Boulden


Available For Pre-Order

Casinos, Motels, Gators

by Ben Boulden

3 Play, 2024


Big news at Maison Boulden. Casinos, Motels, Gators, which is a collection of four of my crime stories—three Jimmy Ford tales and a standalone—is available for pre-order now and scheduled for release in a week and a day: May 28, 2024.

The Author’s Note tells it better than I could, so…

The four short stories in Casinos, Motels, Gators were written between 2017 and 2020 in a broom closet-sized office in my former home in Salt Lake City, Utah. I worked fulltime and wrote in the early mornings and late at night. I conjured the character Jimmy Ford, appearing in the first three stories, during a long ago visit to the casinos of the Utah-Nevada border town of Wendover.
     Wendover is a desert town nestled in a desolate valley about 120 miles west of Salt Lake City on I-80. It started life as a railroad town in the early-20th Century and boomed during World War Two when an Army Air Corps training base was built. The Enola Gay and the rest of the 509th Composite Group, which were responsible for dropping Fat Man and Little Boy on Japan, trained there. After the war, the old Air Corps base was largely left to rot and Las Vegas-style casinos came in, luring both the respectable and seamier residents of the City of Saints into their gambling pits.
     These three Jimmy Ford stories—“121,” “No Chips, No Bonus,” and “Junkyard”—were all published in 2019. I think they work well as modern updates on the hardboiled detective genre, something like the old pulp Manhunt would publish if it was still around. Jimmy Ford as a character isn’t exactly likable—he is too violent, a bit smug, too easily manipulated by his unsavory boss, Jenkins—but he usually ends up doing the right thing even if it’s done the wrong way. These three stories are all of the Jimmy Ford’s misadventures, but who knows, Jimmy may rise from the page again. I should also tell you, the Wendover of my imagination and the real thing are different places. The Desert Diamond casino, where Jimmy is a security consultant, doesn’t exist, and as far as I know, no one like Jimmy Ford or his unscrupulous boss, Jenkins, exist, either.
     The fourth and final story in the collection, “Asia Divine,” was written for a tribute anthology honoring the late-writer and all-around good guy, Bill Crider. It was published in 2021 with a table of contents filled with writers outside my weight class. There were stories by Joe R. Lansdale, William Kent Krueger, Charlaine Harris, Bill Pronzini, and Sara Paretsky. But—and I say this with all humility—I think “Asia Divine” held its own. “Asia Divine,” like the Jimmy Ford stories, is set in Utah’s West Desert but none of the action is as far west as Jimmy Ford’s Wendover.
     Now, let’s get to the stories…

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Oh, I should add. The New York Times bestselling author, James Reasoner, called “121” a “Manhunt story for the 21st Century.” A high accolade indeed!

Casinos, Motels, Gators is available here for pre-order as an ebook at Amazon. A paperback edition will drop either May 27 or 28 everywhere and the Kindle edition will be available on Kindle Unlimited with a subscription.


Robert Deis (aka "SubtropicBob") said...

Congrats! I'm looking forward to it.

Ben Boulden said...

Thanks, Bob! I hope you like it.