Doublemint Gumshoe. New Release

This is the Award Winning novella from Phillip T Stephens.

The first novel, written for Twitter, is finally available in print (expanded and revised).

When a galactically inept inspector tackles the world’s most elusive AI, prepare for apocalypse. Determined to find missing programmer Alyson Sweetcheeks, Detective Bob unleashes a war between a tech conglomerate, a covert cyber gang, the mob, and a malevolent time-travelling intelligence bent on world domination. Will Bob beat astronomical odds to save the girl, the world, and his chances for promotion?

What inspired Doublemint Gumshoe?

When I published my book Raising Hell, author Rayne Hall advised me to tweet regularly with original tweets. So I started tweeting 140 character original stories, four to five daily, which I did for a couple of years. I kept returning to one character, Detective Bob, who had never solved a case. For instance, he would investigate a body with twelve bullet holes in its back, and conclude it was suicide.

I wondered if I could create a Twitter novel from the character, and after researching to find any examples of other Twitter novels, I realized this would be the first attempt. So, I wrote 12-20 episodes a week for six months. The plot evolved over time, as I threw in more and more wrinkles—cyber crips, aliens, Roku’s Basilisk, grey goo, not to mention send-ups of The Crying of Lot 49 and the movie Chinatown. Being a fan of Hong Kong and Hollywood movies, I took a kitchen sink approach, and to my surprise, it came together.


All that remained in Alyson Sweetcheek’s hotel suite:

  • One cornflower dress,
  • one navy dress suit with skirt,
  • one flash drive, and
  • six Doublemint gum wrappers.

Six wrappers. Crumpled on the bedspread next to her suit. Silver foil twisting in and out of the iconic paper strip: green arrows over mint green mint leaves on a whirlpool printed in green. 

Sunlight drifted past the jacket which was draped over the desk chair—its shoulders straightened and lapels flat. Dust motes danced in the sunlight path like fairies in a daydream. 

The hotel notified Alyson’s sister Sally. Sally called Alyson’s boss William Zuckerchange. Zuckerchange called the cops. Any sense of urgency collided with the writing on the police department wall: “We see this shit a dozen times a day.”

Another blonde missing from her room? Low on the list of police priorities. In San Noema a missing blonde was as common as a day without rain, as common as open convertibles on Interstate 5 with occupants risking the sulfur-oxide ambiance to tone their rock star tans, as common as a baby in bluebonnet photos in Texas and even though San Noema is a California city, in Texas missing blondes would be just as common.

Alyson isn’t blonde. Nor dumb, as Bob would discover, but that fact mattered little. As far as the cops were concerned, if a girl wasn’t attached to the wallets of prominent men willing to write five-figure checks to city council campaigns (or the daughters of those prominent men) she couldn’t shake a cop from the schedule.

Instead, they sent Detective Bob.  

He skittered across her room. A six-three praying mantis with matchstick limbs and bony fingers probing for clues. He paraded his sleuthing skills in vain. Sally and the hotel manager ignored him to argue over Alyson’s outstanding bill. 

Bob’s partner Duffy leaned against the door frame, ankles crossed, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. Wrinkles rode his polyester suit, a suit he bought from the clearance rack of the factory-seconds section at Walmart. He struggled to keep his lids open after a night closing down three different cop bars, which might be why his suit looked slept in. Slept in every night since 1966. 

Duffy was destined to make captain. The guy who disappeared when the first bullet flew and reappeared in time to claim the credit. And the commendation. Veins crept from his eyes and down his nose. Five o’clock shadow from the Sunday before last. His hands? Not a tremble or shimmer, petrified by the cheapest booze on the shelf. 

Bob probed every inch and surface, flipping the pillows, pulling out drawers. He crawled under the bed, hooked the knee of his powder-blue polyester suit on a nail. Tore a hole. 

He swore under his breath. “Oh, feathers.” 

Nothing there.

He stood, brushed the bunny dust and dandruff from his shoulder and continued to probe with his best BIC Pen. He poked through the events guide on the desk, pulled a cloth from his side pocket, wiped the dust from his piano wire glasses, and poked through once more. 

Sun from the window glanced off the oily spot at the center of his bald pate, fractured like light hitting a disco ball, and blinded everyone in the room. He swore to solve this case. His first solve (far from his first case). A glance at the cornflower dress and the opened curtains revealed the solution like a prize display. “Alien abduction.” 

Sally stepped with the precision of a model, legs firm, bronze, a chain tattoo on her ankle. She alliterated perky and petite, from her five-one frame to the gentle slope under her pink crepe blouse to her trim tempting hips. 

“Aliens?” She turned to his partner. “Tell me he’s joking.” She smelled of cinnamon and sugar. Bob wanted to sprinkle her on toast. 

Officer Duffy pursed his lips tighter than a nip/tuck with Botox. He pulled his iPhone from his jacket and ran his fingers across the screen. “No alien activity reported.”  He pleaded in silence, “Don’t say murder. Please don’t say murder.” 

Bob ran his hands through the few strands of hair left to comb. “Murder then. It must be murder.”

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Phillip T. Stephens attended the Michigan State writers’ workshop. He taught writing and design at Austin Community College for 20 years. His writing and art appear in anthologies, literary and peer-reviewed academic journals. His novella Doublemint Gumshoe won silver in the 2021 Electric Eclectic fiction awards, and his novel Seeing Jesus (soon to be re-released) won three indie publishing awards. He writes five days a week at Wind Eggs.

He and Carol live in Oak Hill, Texas where they built a habitat in the shade of their oaks to house foster cats for austinsiameserescue.org. They found new homes for more than three hundred abandoned pets.

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OMG… Have you read Mechanical Mike, yet?

Paul says,

“Way back in 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for a forthcoming comic book format sci-fi website. Alas, the website never came to fruition, and I was left with an orphaned story, a story with no home, a story no one would get to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mechanical Mike and could not allow it to languish, unloved and unread, in the dusty archives of my computer. So, I took Mechanical Mike from the files, dusted him down, and carefully re-wrote the story.

The result is this Novelette, available as an eBook, or a Paperback Pocketbook.

This is a fun story, a modern pulp fictional tale of a ‘gum-shoe’ style detective, a beautiful blond ‘bombshell’ of a girl, a mad scientist, robots, and evil Nazis, all in occupied France during WW2.


What some readers say…

I can imagine Paul White had a load of fun writing Mechanical Mike. It’s a bit like sci-fi in drag… well a mix between that and a thriller.

Add in loads of World War 2 action, the Nazis with a devious plan to win the war – that’s enough from me – you need to read it.

I loved it.

I.G.

Author Paul White has blended the history of war films, Nazis, World War 2, and Pulp fiction. It is an extremely fast-paced story that skillfully mixes a wide range of genres, including Romance, War, and Thrillers.

The title, the book cover, the colours and design, along with the language used, is very well balanced, making it a great all-rounder.

Pardon me for not sharing the story here, I believe it would diminish the effort of the writer to entertainingly mesmerize his audience… that’s gotta be you too.

I would love to see this book made into a movie.

T.A.M.

What a great fun read. It is exactly what you glean from the cover… and more.

Pure pulp-fiction/comic book meets sci-fi adventure, war-time romance.

I mean, what other read has robots, a mad scientist, Nazi soldiers, a beautiful girl, and lots of action in Paris, France, during WWII?

This is a true must-read for those who want to be excitedly entertained.

P.B.A

UK links

Kindle/eBook, https://amzn.to/3s5N4Ny

Paperback Pocketbook, https://amzn.to/33Dt3Ew

Universal link, http://mybook.to/MMPocketbook

VJ Day/Singapore surrender. A family witness.

“Lord Louis Mountbatten delivering a speech from steps of Municipal Building at the conclusion of Japanese surrender ceremonies. L to R, front row: Admiral Sir Arthur J. Power, General Sir William Slim, Mountbatten, Lt. General Raymond A.Wheeler, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park. Singapore.” Sep. 12, 1945

This year, 2020, marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2. Probably the most momentous historical occasion in living memory.

Many military and veterans’ associations and charities planned special events, shows, exhibitions and displays in remembrance of VE-day, D-Day and VJ-Day, which, due to the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated cancellation.

Every day, memories of World War 2, its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs, disappear. Yielding to the inalterable process of ageing, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. The oldest reported, 110 and 105 respectively.

It is doubtful how many may still be with us to observe future milestone in our history of remembrance. One of the main reasons 2020 was to be a major worldwide commemorative event.

At the time I write this post, both the VE-Day and D-Day dates have passed which is one reason I write of VJ-Day.

Another reason is, my grandfather, Percy Doswell, a Royal Airforce doctor, witnessed the surrender ceremony at the Municipal Building of Singapore, headed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, who came to Singapore to receive the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in the region from General Seishirō Itagaki on behalf of General Hisaichi Terauchi.

A photograph montage, near the end of this blog post were taken by my grandfather and have never been published or publicly displayed before.

However, let me start with a simple historical explanation for those who may not know too much regarding the ending of World War 2.

D-Day; the popular name given to the Normandy Landings, on 6 June 1944. (D-Day and H-Hour being common military terms of the period.)

This event marked the allied fightback against the Axis Powers, notably Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. It was the beginning of the end.

VE Day marks the end of World War II in Europe, (Victory in Europe, hence ‘VE’.) May 8th, 1945 the date the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Reich, formally recognising the end of the Second World War in Europe.

VJ Day signals the end of World War II in its entirety. It is when Japan finally surrendered. (Victory over Japan Day, VJ-Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or VP-Day.)

In Japan, August 15th is known as the ‘Memorial Day for the end of the war‘. 終戦記念日, Shūsen-kinenbi); the official name for the day, however, is ‘the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace.’ (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日, Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi. (This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.)

In the UK and the US, VJ Day is celebrated on different dates.

The initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made on 15 August 1945, the date the UK marks as VJ-Day each year.

However, the surrender documents were officially signed on the USS Missouri battleship on 2 September 1945, which is why America celebrates on 2 September.

Foreign minister Shigemitsu, signing Japanese surrender instrument on the battleship USS Missouri

This blog, however, concentrates on the 12 September 1945, the date the surrender instrument was signed at the Singapore Municipal Building, (now known as City Hall), simply because, (as stated above), this was the part of the war’s official ending my grandfather witnessed and of which my family have personal records.

On 12 September 1945, Supreme Allied Commander (Southeast Asia), Lord Louis Mountbatten, accompanied by the Deputy Supreme Commander Raymond Wheeler, was driven to the ceremony by a released prisoner-of-war. As the car drove by the streets, sailors and marines from the East Indies Fleet who lined the streets greeted them.

At the Municipal Building, Mountbatten was received by his Commanders-in-Chief and high-ranking Allied Officers based in Singapore. Also gathered in front of the Municipal Building were four Guards-of-Honour, from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Indian army, and Australian paratroopers. Mountbatten led an inspection of the officers before proceeding to the chamber where the ceremony was to be held. During the inspection, a fleet band played “Rule Britannia” accompanied by the firing of a seventeen-gun salute by the Royal Artillery.

The Instrument of Surrender was signed by General Itagaki, who signed on behalf of Hisaichi Terauchi, Field Marshall Count, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Japanese Forces, Southern Region.

Terauchi was not able to attend the surrender ceremony as he fell ill due to a stroke. However, he personally surrendered to Mountbatten on 30 November 1945 in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city).

He also surrendered his two swords: a short sword forged in the 16th century and a long sword forged in the 13th century. Mountbatten later presented the short sword to King George VI.

The Japanese signed a total of 11 copies of the Instrument of Surrender; one each for the British, American, Chinese, French, Dutch, Australian, Indian and the Japanese governments; and one each for King George VI, the Supreme Commander, Mountbatten and the South East Asia Command’ records.

The ceremony was also witnessed by 400 spectators (one being my grandfather, Percy Doswell), made up of commanders and officers from the navy, army and air force, as well as senior officers from the Supreme Headquarters of the South East Asia Command, 14 leaders of the Malayan communities, the Sultan of Johore, Sir Ibrahim, and released prisoners-of-war, who were all seated behind the Allied representatives.

In the chamber, flags of Allied forces were hung and at the bases of its pillars as were one officer representing the different fighting forces; the Gurkhas, Sikhs, Australians, British airmen, Dutch, Americans, French (from the battleship Richelieu) and the 5th Indian Division.

The surrender ceremony ended with the hoisting of the Union Jack and the playing of the national anthems of all the Allied nations. The Union Jack used was the same flag which flew over the Government House before the war and which was hidden by a Malayan civil servant, Mervyn Cecil Frank Sheppard in his pillow during his captivity in the Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation.

The official ceremony was followed by a celebration at the Padang, which included a victory parade.

A British military administration, using surrendered Japanese troops as security forces, was formed to govern the island until March 1946.

At home, in England, Prime Minister Clement Atlee‘s announcement: “The last of our enemies is laid low”.

King George VI addressed the nation from a balcony at Buckingham Palace and streets across the nation were filled with people singing, cheering, dancing in scenes which echoed the declaration of peace in Europe three months earlier.

Bonfires were lit, fireworks sent soaring into the sky and historic buildings floodlit as the whole country celebrated the news that their remaining troops would soon be returning home.

Immediately operations began to repatriate some of the 130,000 Allied prisoners held by Japanese troops in POW camps across the region. The RAF parachuted in 136 teams to negotiate the release of prisoners in Operation Mastiff.

My Grandfather, Percy Doswell. (While stationed in India.)

Sadly, the end of World War 2 did not bring the everlasting peace so many wished for, war and conflict still rage around the world to this day.

I note two books you may wish to read, the first, an anthology from the authors of Electric Eclectic, written to celebrate the 75th VE-Day anniversary, is simply called ‘Victory 75. This can be obtained in Paperback from Amazon, here, or as an eBook/Kindle, here

The second is ‘Life in the War Zone, n award winning collection of short stories classed as fiction, yet are based on true accounts given by those living in areas of conflict around the world. Paperback only. Here.