Spotlight, guest-post, and giveaway: Pigeon-Blood Red

Pigeon-Blood Red


Pigeon-Blood Red
is a new crime thriller novel
by Ed Duncan.
It is available for sale
on Amazon,
published by Zharmae.

Crime / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense


For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?


Praise for Pigeon-Blood Red

“Fast-paced and full of surprises. Will keep you on the edge of your seat!”Amazon Customer

“Pigeon Blood Red has a dramatic and satisfying conclusion, leaving the reader nodding his head with approval.” – Readers’ Favorite

“In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.”Red City Review


Someone once said, “Inside every lawyer is a writer trying to get out.” That is an exaggeration, of course, but maybe only a slight one. A few hugely successful writers who started out as lawyers and who readily come to mind are: John Grisham, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Steve Berry, and Scott Turow (who, last I heard, still practices). And believe me, that list only scratches the surface.

At any given moment there are numerous current and former lawyers who are trying their hand at becoming published writers. I know because until February 25 of this year I was one of them. On that date my first novel, Pigeon-Blood Red, was published by a small West Coast company, The Zharmae Publishing Press.

For 37 years I was a practicing trial lawyer with a national law firm based in Cleveland. In addition to an occasional trial, I wrote reams of briefs and opinion letters. I specialized in something called “insurance coverage,” which in general meant it was my job to evaluate whether or not a particular accident or loss was or was not covered by an insurance policy. In 2008 I wrote a legal text called “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” but I didn’t count that text as fulfilling my quest to become a published author, since it isn’t fiction, and what I really wanted to do was to write fiction, especially crime fiction.

So on July 1, 2012 I retired to do just that. I had wanted to write since high school, but I was seriously bitten by the writing bug sometime in the late 1970’s. Around that time I joined a book club and bought a number of classics in various genres. One was called, “The Novels of Dashiell Hammett.” I hadn’t heard of Hammett and I’m not sure what attracted me to him, but I started reading The Maltese Falcon, his best known novel, and became fascinated by it, especially the riveting, realistic dialogue. If you haven’t seen the movie version, try to catch it. Much of the dialogue is taken verbatim from the novel, which is one of the reasons it has become a classic. (There were actually three movie versions of the novel: the 1931 version, a 1936 version in which the title was changed to Satan Met a Lady, and the 1941 classic starring Humphrey Bogart as the iconic private eye Sam Spade).

I resisted the urge to write something myself until the late 1990’s when the novelist inside me finally broke out. I was attending a legal seminar in Honolulu when one evening the germ of an idea came to me. I had a vision of a woman traveling in Honolulu and carrying something valuable that bad people — dangerous people — were trying to get their hands on and I saw a lawyer coming to her rescue. Making the hero a lawyer was easy because, after all, that’s what I was. But I had to flesh out the rest of the plot, which took a while.

I worked on the novel sporadically after work during the week and on weekends over the next several months. After setting it aside for months on end when I was too busy at work to concentrate on it, I finally finished it. Over the years came character and plot changes, drafts and re-drafts, attendance at writers’ conferences, many submissions to agents, and many rejections. Then the title, originally Murder in Paradise, became the much more evocative Pigeon-Blood Red.

I didn’t realize until after the novel was written, except perhaps subconsciously, that the bejeweled Maltese falcon in Hammett’s novel became in mine an exquisite pigeon-blood red Ruby necklace. Nor did I recognize that Sam Spade, the private eye in The Maltese Falcon, who comes to the aid of the duplicitous Brigid O’Shaughnessy, in my novel became Paul Elliott, a young African American partner in a large Chicago law firm, who, while vacationing in Honolulu, comes to the aid of the guileless Evelyn Rogers, into whose hands the priceless Ruby necklace has fallen.

There, however, the similarities between the two novels end. In my novel another character, Rico, shares the stage with Paul and Evelyn. A killer with a conscience, Rico is dispatched to Honolulu to retrieve the necklace. As I developed his character, he constantly fought to upstage Paul and Evelyn to become the center of attention. You’ll have to read the novel to find out how successful he was.

About the Author



Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” for which he provided annual editions from 2008 through 2012.

Ed currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Ed Duncan, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at or 805.807.9027.



One US resident will win a kindle/mobi copy

Click here to enter the giveaway

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1 thought on “Spotlight, guest-post, and giveaway: Pigeon-Blood Red

  1. Pingback: 2016: March-April wrap-up | Words And Peace

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