Smokin' Hot Mess - a book by Bill Williams

Arthur Quinn spends his free time helping his friends and loose associates out of dire straits to soothe a guilty conscience. When he's not managing his inheritance or tending bar, Quinn wanders the side streets of his beloved hometown of Austin Texas and parts beyond looking for trouble.

The amateur detective is in the middle of a work out when the phone rings. An old friend is just stepping out of the police station after a long interrogation. Earlier that morning, someone had murdered her estranged husband and left the body cooling in the driveway. Now the police have her in their sights and she needs someone who knows how to avoid the perjury traps of the police.

Quinn steps in and interferes in the police investigation, leaving a trail of business cards in his wake. An angry detective wants him for tampering with the case as Quinn searches for the killer, afraid that the clues will lead back to his old friend.

This volume also includes the rough draft of the first chapter of the next Quinn novel, The Milk Run.

Author's Note:  Originally, Smokin' Hot Mess and The Milk Run were part of the same volume with The Milk Run getting the odd chapters and SHM getting the even ones. In the original narrative, the events of SHM were told by Quinn to his girlfriend Amanda over a trip to see her college friend. The goal was to demonstrate the positive changes that Quinn's relationship with Amanda had made on him. While ambitious in structure, the original arrangement undercut the flow of each mystery and doubled the number of suspects to watch. After an agent passed on the project for just that reason, I reconsidered the project and realized that the character bits gained were less important than the mystery elements lost. The two stories were split and rewritten in favor of clarity and simplicity.