B.J. Smith writes crime fiction, essays and poetry in addition to technical prose for supercomputer users. A cyclist, hiker, University of Iowa journalism grad and U.S. Navy veteran, he has worked as a daily newspaper reporter, a PR guy, a soda jerk, a busboy and a dishwasher.
He covered education, police and courthouse beats at various times for Iowa newspapers, and also edited nationally syndicated opinion, health and home-repair columns. In fact, proofreading syndicated crossword puzzles inspired his first crime novel. Bicycling, craft breweries, social media and commuting by bus inspired the second.
B.J. and his wife, Susan, live in Longmont, Colorado. They enjoy reading, cycling, hiking with and without their dog, and snowshoeing in the mountains.
Available for: Book clubs
Blood Solutions: Detective Red Shaw Novel #1
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
A brutal crime in the Midwestern woods leads to a string of grisly murders that test the sleuthing skills of Detective Edward “Red” Shaw. The first is one of the most gruesome killings Shaw has ever seen. The killer horribly mutilated his victim, carving a crude crossword puzzle grid into his skin along with an ominous, bloody clue.
Shaw knows instantly the case will be like nothing he’s worked on before. It doesn’t help that his longtime, trusted partner is on medical leave with a bum leg, that his ex-wife Sally has finally moved on, and that he arrives at the crime scene with a raging hangover. Known as “Red” to a select few, Shaw does his best to get along with the brash, ambitious prosecutor assigned to the case, and he relies on the counsel and expertise of Dr. Paul “Penny” Penawalt despite the medical examiner’s smartass attitude.
Manipulating the media and co-opting a conflicted psychologist to get what he needs, Shaw follows a deadly path through the puzzling twists and turns of this “compelling, gut-wrenching thriller” to the ultimate confrontation with a murderous sociopath.
North of Grand: Detective Red Shaw Novel #2
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
August in the Midwest. A muggy morning in Des Moines. Young Zach Costa turns up dead outside the central transit station, and the real heat is on. Detective Red Shaw and his partner, Phil Vega, are on the scene early but hardly at their best. Shaw had recently outsmarted a murderous sociopath who almost killed him, and he’s still hobbled by a knee injury from their final confrontation. It’s Vega’s first day back after breaking his leg in a car wreck.
Costa died wearing cleated cycling shoes. Dried blood from a head wound and a trace of white powder near his feet tell the cops part of the story, and there’s no sign of his vintage Schwinn racing bike. A simple robbery gone wrong? With the victim’s body hidden in a storage locker? Shaw and Vega soon find themselves probing the sometimes toxic, hyper-competitive world of amateur bicycle racing. What they find is a tangled web of cryptic social media messaging, stolen property, drug trafficking, and murder.