Tales of Lupa Schwartz

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Book one in the Lupa Schwartz Mystery Series, Extreme Unction, is currently FREE in eBook format at all online channels. All other books in the series are currently available in wide distribution.


 Who is Lupa Schwartz?

Born In the Balkans, Lupa Schwartz is the son of an ex-CIA operative and his freedom-fighter wife. After his parents were killed following the collapse of the Tito regime, Lupa escaped to America and worked for years in car repossession. Upon leaving that career, he purchased a large Victorian house in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, hired a live-in cook/house-keeper and began a new life as a private detective. Over the next few years, he built up a reputation as an eccentric, a car collector, and a ladies’ man.
Cattleya Hoskin was raised along with her sister by their great aunts in Ohio after their mother and father were killed on a clandestine trip to Yugoslavia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Recently divorced and trying to make a name for herself as a reporter in the Cleveland offices of Gamut Magazine, Cattleya has come to Pittsburgh hoping to score an interview with the notorious detective with the tenuous link to her family’s past.
That’s the deep background to the mystery series I have been working on for over a dozen years now. Each story is a standalone mystery chronicled by Cattleya for the magazine which allows her to tag along with Lupa provided she edits her peers' stories on her down time. The first novel in the series, Extreme Unction, is available in both paper and electronic formats.

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Extreme Unction: When an autopsy finds traces of the banned insecticide Chlordane in the anointing oil on the corpse of a local big-wig, Pittsburgh police bring Lupa Schwartz, an outspoken non-believer, into an investigation focused on a well-liked local clergyman.  Worried that the police are planning to use him as a political fall-guy, Schwartz coerces Cattleya Hoskin, a magazine reporter with a connection to his family’s past, to chronicle his process and squelch any misgiving that his world-view influenced the outcome. 
Suspicion in the case is focused on Fr. Coneely, an outspoken euthanasia advocate who had earlier made the mistake of telling the family of the now-dead man that, hypothetically, he could safely apply poison-laden oil to their suffering father during last rites, and nobody need be the wiser. Was Mr. Hanson the willing victim of a mercy killing, or was a lapsing insurance policy the real motive for one of Hanson’s five children to taint the oil?

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Common Sense: I’d finished describing my surprise at how easy it was to identify Dave since – after all — he’d been pulled from a river after drowning. I’d thought he’d be bloated or discolored, but he’d looked like himself. Then out of nowhere, Schwartz had asked me if Dave had often gone night fishing alone, and I’d gone suddenly mute.

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Common sense tells Cattleya Hoskin that her reporter ex-husband wouldn't have gone out night-fishing by himself in the middle of an investigation. The unaccommodating local authorities see it differently. In an effort to prove them wrong, Cattleya enlists the help of her private investigator friend, Schwartz, to follow through with Dave’s investigation—theft from the power grid in a small Ohio town. 

The inquiry is complicated by crooked contractors, a menacing white van, and some long-abandoned coal mines and antebellum tunnels. Aggressively loud church bells and the amorous advances of a bounty hunter Schwartz brought in to help add to an already convoluted situation. Yet Cattleya feels she owes it to Dave to figure out what happened to him, for better or for worse. 

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Fair Playa Lupa Schwartz Trilogy: Fair Play features three full length novellas, Overlord, Counterfeit, and Confessions of the Cuckold, each a stand-alone story in the Lupa Schwartz universe.

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Cattleya Hoskin has settled into the Schwartz residence and her new gig chronicling Schwartz’s exploits for Gamut Magazine. With cases running dry, she takes matters into her own hands and pushes Schwartz to investigate a case that has the entire country buzzing, the on-air poisoning of a reality game show contestant on Cattleya’s favorite TV program, Overlord.

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 Schwartz next takes Cattleya undercover to investigate the death of a smalltime store manager in their old stomping grounds of Paine County, Ohio. With a renewed passion for logic puzzles as fuel, can Cattleya solve the homicide before Schwartz, or are all of her attempts going to prove to be Counterfeit?

Finally, is a bounty hunter ever supposed to share as much information on a former client as the unnamed protagonist in this peripherally related yarn? Was there ever even a murder plot to begin with, or was it all just the fanciful Confessions of the Cuckold?

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Shared Disbelief: A serial killer stalks Pittsburgh, re-enacting the history of human sacrifice and martyrdom, attacking religion by attacking the religious. The baffled police department turns to local PI Lupa Schwartz and his journalist partner Cattleya Hoskin, hoping the former can use his connections in the atheist community to find a killer with a vendetta against faith.

Coerced into action, the pair face their hardest, most draining case yet. Cattleya risks breaking her professional ethics by using her media connections to draw out the psychopath. For Lupa, this case puts both his credibility and his friends' lives on the line. Only together can they hope to catch a monster, but it could mean tearing down their careers to do it – if they survive at all.

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Five Secrets: After surviving a vicious attack, magazine reporter Cattleya Hoskin learns that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing having left only a coded message the police cannot decipher. Digging deeper, she learns that he'd been working with the man who got her injured on the last story she covered, Pittsburgh PI Lupa Schwartz. The two men had been trying to covertly unravel a centuries-old scheme, but the conspirators found him out and drove Ulric underground. To complicate matters, a mystery woman arrives with a tale of peril linking her to the same nefarious plot.

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In order to protect this client and Ulric, Cattleya and Schwartz delve into the mysteries of sacred geometry and a genetic line that traces back to Charlemagne and beyond. Now the pair must work together to expose an ancient secret before being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government which has been secretly operating since Mesopotamia. 

If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order -- or anywhere else.

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Other titles by the author                  

Spheres of Influence: “Paul knew that when they dug the earth away, Hessman would gladly fund their scheme. In fact, now that the rod had penetrated, it was really a foregone conclusion. Paul was elated – at least until something in the earth grabbed the probe and pulled back.” 
Three savants – a physicist, a mathematician, an engineer – and their wealthy benefactor have discovered the secret to time travel. Their first experiment in spherical time was a qualified success when the dog they sent into the future came back – shall we say – changed. Now they are ready for human trials, but one of them has an ulterior motive which threatens the very nature of time itself.
Since vengeance is his motivator, what can possibly dissuade him from his plan: fear, friendship, glory? With time quickly passing, can anybody find the necessary spheres of influence?


Confessions of the Cuckold: “He destroyed everything of mine.” Eric said as tears filled his sunken eyes. “He destroyed my life. He broke my future, so I broke his windshield. I shouldn’t have to pay for that.”

The last person Eric Dadjov would have expected to confide in was the bounty hunter sent to take him to court, but his wife has betrayed him leaving his life in shambles. A careless moment purging his anger has led to formal charges, so when he learns that he might have more in common with the forlorn bounty hunter than he thinks, a frustrated Eric just begins venting.

Gradually, the details of Dadjov’s story begin to suggest that he has a sinister plan for revenge brewing. Is the bounty hunter complicit, a dupe, or is he the next victim of the cuckold?

(This story also appears in Fair Play: A Lupa Schwartz Trilogy.)


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 Wingman: “That’s brilliant,” Mac said. “It takes off all the pressure of dealing with personal rejection and it creates a sort of mystery. You’re not hitting on her directly. You’re doing it by proxy, and if she wants to find out who is hitting on her, she has to accept the drink offer.” 

If you’ve ever wished you could be a fly on the wall to observe as a group of friends play wingman to each other, this story has you covered. A high school dean, a construction worker and an off-duty cop head out for a night on the prowl in this quirky comedy of errors. When each agrees to seek-out and introduce another of the trio to a woman fitting his ideal type, only the annoying fly that keeps buzzing the table is privy to all the behind-the-scenes goings on. 

Wingman looks at the gameplay and pitfalls of clubbing through a multi-faceted sardonic eye – literally.


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Synthetic Blood and Mixed Emotions: Emmanuel Adams has trouble believing he is one of the last six "real" people on earth … then he meets a biker called "Snake" in a bar, his wife tries to kill him, and Manny discovers the world he has always known is only a prop! Set in 1984, this alternative reality novel is the real thing.

From WriteWords, Inc on Amazon

The Return of the Dragon: According to legend, King Arthur of Camelot did not die at the battle of Camlann. He was taken by the faeries of Avalon to await the time when he will again rise to prominence and lead the world in a new Camelot. 

A mysterious influential leader with ties to no countries has emerged on the world stage. Arthur Penn has influenced most of the nations in the UN to adopt a new charter: one without veto powers and a new cooperative form of economic inter-dependence at its core. The US and Russia are dubious and are the last two hold-outs in establishing this new utopia of federated yet autonomous governments. 

Ferapont Vernyy and Karen White are sent by their respective governments to meet with Arthur at a secret compound in the Olympic Mountains in Vancouver. They are both drawn in by his principled charm and magnetic personality, but neither is comfortable with his nocturnal nature … and neither understands his urgency to come to consensus.

A modern take on the Lancelot/Guinevere/Arthur saga with a vampire twist, The Return of the Dragon is a graphic novel blending elements of political intrigue, romantic fantasy, Arthurian legend, and vampire lore.

Kindle version: Paperback version on Amazon.

Now Available - My 1st non-fiction title - Believe It, You Know an Atheist: How can you find common ground when a loved one no longer believes in God?

Without ever insisting that atheism is the correct conclusion, Believe It strives to bridge the disconnect between the devout and the debunkers. Featuring quotes and arguments found throughout the history of skepticism from Epicurus to Sam Harris and beyond, Believe It lays out a line of reasoning and analysis designed to illuminate the thinking that inspires a godless worldview. Broken down into three parts, J. David Core here examines from an atheist's POV the fundamentals of disbelief; likely refutations of some of the more common theistic arguments; and such difficult issues as grace, the historicity of religious texts, and the nature of truth. 

Whether you are the parent of a new atheist, a co-worker of a long-time unbeliever, or simply want to understand the motives and thought processes of your non-religious friends, Believe It: You Know an Atheist

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8 Tales of Noir: 8 tales of Noir is just what the title would lead you to expect, eight stories about the darker side of the human condition.  Six short stories lead in to two novella length tales. 
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•Two desperate men at a standoff on a residential inner-city street...
•A high school prank with unexpected - and deadly - results...
•When you grab the wife of a small-time construction company owner for ransom, make sure he's not from the family...or smarter than you... 
•A man intent on collecting a debt…
•A heist gone wrong…
•A prodigal son whose sins follow him home...
•A moment of reckless anger puts a sad-sack on the wrong side of the law and leads to an unexpected comradeship with the forlorn bounty hunter sent to bring him in.
•Finally, a high school dean, a construction worker, and an off-duty cop head out for a night on the prowl. When each agrees to seek out and introduce another of the trio to his ideal woman, only the annoying fly that keeps buzzing the table is privy to all the behind-the-scenes goings on in this quirky black comedy.

Kindle versionibookstore versionNook versionPaperback version on Amazon, on Barnes&Noble.

On the Side of the Angel: Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear. 

Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.

Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

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