Mystery & Crime

New Jersey Noir: Cape May - A Jack Colt Series Novel


This book will launch on Feb 17, 2021. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

After solving the assassination case of his beloved uncle, Colt finds himself truly alone, ditched by his girlfriend. But there's not much respite or time for introspection: he's called on again to solve a new murder case, with a suspiciously related cold case. Then follows another gripping tale in the backdrop of the Garden State's sights and scenes: its picturesque beaches, casinos, and the rural Pine Barrens. In New Jersey Noir: Cape May-Book Two of his Jack Colt Murder Mystery Novels series-William Baer continues to enchant and spellbind.

“Baer proves himself . . . a rightful heir to Hammett and Chandler. ”—Jacob M. Appel

“With a thorough resolution that makes its connections well, New Jersey Noir: Cape May is a clever, curving mystery.”—Delia Stanley, Foreword Reviews

“Baer’s outstanding sequel to 2018’s New Jersey Noir . . . [is filled] with local Jersey color, sardonic humor, and plenty of Colt lore (about both the gun Colt carries and the company that makes it), this is a can’t-put-it-down thrill ride.”—Publishers Weekly (Five-star review)

“The writing is crisp, sarcastic, wryly funny, steeped in New Jersey lore and anecdotes that add great historical and cultural dimensions to its mystery.”—R.F. Edmunds, Foreword Reviews (Five-star review)

New Jersey Noir: Cape May


New Jersey has more laws than any other state, but a paucity of law-abiding citizens.

— Thomas C. Colt




Paterson, New Jersey

Tuesday, March 24th


Wanna see some dead bodies?”

“How many?”

Yeah, yeah, I know. It sounds kind of callous, but when you’ve seen a billion stiffs, who cares about a few more?

Especially, if it’s not your case.


I was intrigued, ever so slightly, and Luca sensed it. He’d been my best friend since we were brats in grammar school, and he’d been kidding himself ever since that he could “read” me, that he could somehow “know” what I was thinking.

Well, maybe sometimes he could.

“You’ll want to see this, Jack. I guarantee it.”

Luca Salerno, former Paterson beat cop, was now the best detective working out of the Passaic County Courthouse in Paterson, New Jersey, and I knew what he was doing, and he knew that I knew what he was doing.

Trying to get me out of the house.

I was sitting in Stone House, my house, exactly a month after “the one whose name I dare not dwell on” jumped into her bright-red Neon and drove three thousand miles to California. It was also almost six weeks since my uncle was assassinated at the Paterson Falls, which was why the house was empty.

Except for me.

I stood up and looked out the back window of the house, which sits on top of Garrett Mountain, high above the nightlights of the city I loved, the city of Paterson. The city which, even though nobody knows it, made America the greatest country on earth. Yeah, the founders get some cred, and all the immigrants, and the much-praised “work ethic,” etc., but Paterson blasted off the great American industrial juggernaut, being the home of our “second” revolution: industry/business.

It was one of the founders, of course, who kicked everything off. Who had the vision. Who looked at the awesome power of the falls and saw the nascent “engine” of the revolution. A guy named Hamilton. Soon the place was “Silk City,” then it was “firearms” city, then it was “locomotive engines” city, then it was “aeronautics” city, with an awful lot of ups and downs along the way. Yeah, there’s way too much crime in Paterson, too much corruption, too many fatherless households, too many botched educational schemes, but I still love the place.

I love the mountain, I love the river, I love the falls, I love the food, and I love the people.

I especially love the parades:

The African-American Day Parade, the Dominican Day Parade, the Turkish-American Day Parade, the Bangladeshi Day Parade, the Peruvian Day Parade, and all the other countless “ethnic day” parades. There’s pretty much a new parade every week, which makes sense since Paterson is the most densely-populated city in the US, excepting the big-boy across the Hudson, and the most ethnically diverse city in the US, excepting the same exception.

“You still there?” Luca wiseassed. “Or did the line go dead?”

I ignored his sarcasm, still staring at the glittering nightlights of the city which spread out before me. It was approaching midnight, and I’d been watching Godfather II, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to interrupt myself.

“Where?” I wondered.

“The riverbank. Off Totowa Ave.”

I was still thinking.

“You’ll enjoy it, Jack. I promise.”

Hell, maybe I should get out of the house. I wasn’t really sulking, and I certainly wasn’t depressed, as a matter of fact, I’ve never been depressed in my life. It’s not part of the family makeup. The genetic code. But after losing both my uncle and the pretty girl whom it’s probably best not to think about, I was much enjoying the elemental pleasures: The Godfathers I & II, Faulkner, and Ross Macdonald.

Do private dicks really read books about private dicks?

Sure, they do.

Do mob guys really read books about the mob?

Sure, they do.

Do politician really read books about politicians?


Which, of course, assumes that they can read in the first place. Maybe they just watch the movies.

I do both.

Besides, nothing interesting had crossed my desk recently. These days I’m able to pick and choose my cases, but after the recent bloody mess, nothing interesting had walked into my office.

“You coming or not?”

Somebody was impatient.

“Sure,” I said. “Why not?”

About the author

William Baer: Guggenheim fellow, author of 22 books including New Jersey Noir; Times Square and Other Stories; & The Unfortunates (recipient of T.S. Eliot Award). A Fulbright, winner of Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award & a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. view profile

Published on January 15, 2021

Published by Able Muse Press

40000 words

Genre: Mystery & Crime