The Red Storm by Grant Bywaters is the debut novel from the former licensed private investigator about WIlliam Fletcher, a black ex-boxer working as a P.I. in New Orleans in the 1930's (Available December 1, 2015).
Newly-minted private investigator William Fletcher is having trouble finding clientele. He's not the only man out of work, but his past as a former heavyweight contender with a few shady connections-not to mention the color of his skin in race-obsessed New Orleans-isn't helping lure clients to his door. Stuck without any viable alternative, he takes a case from an old criminal acquaintance, Storm. His only client assures him that the job is simple-locate his missing estranged daughter, Zella, no questions asked.
But when Fletcher starts knocking on doors, he sets off a catastrophic chain of events that turn the city into a bloody battleground between two rival syndicates. Then Storm is murdered and Fletcher finds himself caught between the police and dangerous mobsters. With Zella's safety in the balance, the unlikely private detective finds himself with a lot more than he bargained for.
The first time I met Bill Storm was in New York in the early part of what would become known as the Roaring Twenties. I was broke then, making little money boxing. That night I was in a heavyweight bout against some pugilist Italian named Horace Francisco. The purse had been set at thirty dollars: twenty-five to the winner and five to the loser.
Not satisfied with the money being offered, I told the promoter that I would not even bother suiting up unless he promised to give me a cut of the gate receipts. He refused, and delicately explained to me that if I did not get my “black ass” in the ring, I would not leave the venue alive. I believed him.
Nonetheless, it was a sure shot I’d be making off with most of the purse. I was so confident of the win, if not bored at the competition I was getting, that I did little training or roadwork to prepare for it. With a record of 52 wins, 2 draws, and 50 knockouts—my only three defeats coming from debatable decisions—it was hard to find suitable opponents. It did not matter that most legit rankings had me ranked in the top three of heavyweights; I had the misfortune of having heavy hands. This made promoters and managers of name contenders avoid me because the last thing they wanted to see was their cash cows sprawled out on the canvas.