Fast Times, Big City



Fast Times, Big City
by Shelly Frome

About Fast Times, Big City 


Fast Times, Big City
Publisher ‏ : ‎ BQB Publishing (February 27, 2024)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 284 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8886330267
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C92RW97K


Like most people, Bud Palmer felt this was just another day. Though the era was drawing to a close, he assumed his life as a sports columnist in the subtropics, in keeping with the benign fifties itself, would go on as predictable as ever. But that particular autumn morning he was thrust into a caper that was totally beyond him, forced him to leave Miami and take the train to Manhattan, and suddenly found everything in this restless “Big Apple” was up for grabs, on the brink, at a dicey turning point.


Enjoy an Excerpt

The looming billboards were so massive, in contrast the Times Square sign jutting out of the lamppost was totally eclipsed. As if it might have been a relic from a long-ago era before everything had given way. Here, high above the rooftops to Bud’s right, was a massive Pepsi bottle doing its best to block out the sky, not to be outdone by an equally outsized bottle top on its side. Further ahead as the Square verged into a tip of a triangle, other billboards joined the fray, starting with a domineering Admiral Television and Appliances sign, topped by a Canadian Club whiskey sign, topped by a Chevrolet sign.  All but eclipsed, a lesser billboard around the corner advertised the musical West Side Story—the very same black-and-white logo with the girl ecstatically racing by the tenements pulling her boyfriend along. Other logos and marquees took part by marking the street entrances to buildings so that the Statler Hotel sign didn’t stand a chance.

At the same time, fighting off the prospect of becoming overwhelmed, Bud couldn’t help wondering if Amy had been among the rushing pedestrians who had gotten off the buses and trains. Had they too gotten wind of small town dreams—that legendary call of the lady carnival barker promising never-ending opportunities?

About Shelly Frome

 Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at UConn, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He also is a features writer for Gannett Publications. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games, The Secluded Village Murders, Miranda and the D-Day Caper and Shadow of the Gypsy. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History, a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Fast Times, Big City is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Q&A With the Author:

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

A noted novelist once said that something you lost or never had drives the narrative. Back in the day, growing up in Miami everything seemed balmy, lush and easygoing as long as you didn’t question anything and behaved yourself. At the same time there was something missing, a challenge perhaps to test your true potential, to not just go along, to find your true self. I truly miss old Miami that doesn’t exist anymore and old New York which now, in retrospect, gives me the sense that everything was on the verge. And so, imaginatively I went back, not as myself but as a much brighter and mature person, created a gamut, put Bud Palmer in a bind and gave him a  deadline. In this way, I thought I might somehow resolve this pull of the past.   

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Instead of just floundering around as an immature starving actor, I discovered all the things I had missed that were going on at the time with New York as a crossroads—e.g., a touch of organized crime, what Castro was up to in the mountains of Cuba to the south of Miami, the whole creative scene in Greenwich Village, the liveliness of the White Horse Irish pub, the wonder of it all in the eyes of an ingĂ©nue from the Heartland and so much more. In fact, it was this constant joy of discovery that kept me going.  

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

The working title is “Charlie and the Blue Ridge Caper. This time I’m actually working on a cozy. It centers on a handyman who has spent most of his life avoiding involvement with other people until one day a newlywed, who also happens to be a new resident in this little mountain town exactly like my own Black Mountain, comes barging in on Charlie’s woodsy, secluded cabin claiming her husband is missing. 

The inspiration is perhaps all the men I know of a certain age who opt for the routine of fixing and maintenance and never stray, supposedly hanging onto a sense of security. I’m reminded of something a minister once told me:  we can never be whole until we tap the side of ourselves that’s lying dormant—e.g., spiritual, a naturalist, creative artist of some sort, campaigner or protestor championing  some just cause, etc..

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I know you’re not supposed to blow your own horn, but “Fast Times, Big City” has received such glowing reviews I thought it might be in order to list a few snippets:

This story was so funny and an absolute joy to read. The fast-paced dialog of the characters made me feel like I was watching an old Hollywood movie. I recommend this story if you love a good historical setting, a mystery, and witty characters with a fast-moving plot. 

"Fast Times Big City" by Shelly Frome "is a thrill ride of a book, and one that definitely kept me guessing right up till the end. Frome's writing is as excellent as always, and his grasp of what makes a plot work is still as rock solid as ever." #mysterythriller, Bookgirls Reviews  

I adored this fun, thrilling novel and wanted more the moment I was done. Bee Lindy,

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