Dante and Jazz: him and her … white and Black … gay and straight. They make a dodgy team at best.
But in Palm Springs, anything goes.
DANTE & JAZZ MYSTERY #1
by Michael Craft
Dante O’Donnell is white, gay, and getting older every day. He wasted his better years on starstruck dreams and the wrong men, so now he’s working as a concierge for a vacation-rental outfit in Palm Springs, where the guests do indeed have “baggage.” But when he finds a body in the swimming pool at one of his rentals, his own troubled past comes back to haunt him.
So he turns to Jazz Friendly, a Black woman who, when she was a Palm Springs cop, tried to arrest him for a murder he didn’t commit. Now Jazz is a struggling PI, her career derailed by racism. And with her marriage broken by booze, she’s desperate to get custody of her young daughter.
Dante and Jazz need each other to solve this murder . . . and to save themselves from personal and professional disaster.
Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
2023 MWA Edgar nominee for the Lilian Jackson Braun Memorial Award
“A wild romp through Palm Springs’ glittery underbelly. Fast, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable. An instant classic.”
— Tod Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author
“In this enjoyable series launch from Craft … an intriguing puzzle keeps the pages turning.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Craft has long been an inventive mystery writer, and this new series promises to add a bit of grit to his distinctively colorful brand of storytelling. An immersive first outing for a crime-solving odd couple.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Michael Craft delivers an irresistible high-camp twist to the classic detective mystery. A fast-paced and captivating opening to a promising new series.”
— J.D. Horn, Wall Street Journal bestselling author ofThe Line
“Like the bright pastels of Palm Springs, Desert Getaway glows with humor, moves at an energetic pace, and is wholly entertaining.”
— John Copenhaver, Macavity Award-winning author of Dodging and Burning
“A quick-witted, entertaining mystery loaded with Palm Springs atmosphere. Smart, sophisticated, and ingeniously plotted. I loved it.”
— Ellen Byron, USA Today bestselling author of the “Cajun Country” mysteries
“Desert Getaway is a sexy, charming romp set in Palm Springs, where a priapic gay ex-actor and a Black streetwise ex-cop team up to solve a murder. Dante and Jazz show great chemistry in what I hope is the first of many adventures.”
— Michael Nava, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of the “Henry Rios” mysteries
“Craft, as always, mixes plot and dialogue deftly, stirring humor, humanity, and mayhem to create believable characters that go about the business of solving crime with a twist of wry. You’ll beg to see more of Dante and Jazz.”
— Lavender Magazine, Minneapolis
“Michael Craft is bound to nab accolades for his new novel … that weds the shadowy mystique of noir and the sunny beauty of the desert to winning ends.”
— The Desert Sun, Palm Springs
“A compelling romp through fiascos, fairy-tale lives, and organized crime.”
— Midwest Book Review
The novel Desert Getaway is based on my short story “VIP Check-In,” which appeared in the anthology Palm Springs Noir, published by Akashic Books in 2021. I am highly grateful to Tod Goldberg for initially suggesting my inclusion in the project, as well as publisher Johnny Temple and editor Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, who placed me in the company of more than a dozen truly talented writers.
When I was approached to contribute to that volume, my first reaction was hesitation, as I had never tried writing in the noir genre. But the lure was irresistible, and I eagerly signed on.
Writing the short story, I fell in love with its premise, its tone, and especially its two main characters, Dante O’Donnell and Jazz Friendly — seeming antagonists whose initial encounters are rancid, leaving potential for growth, discovery, and ultimately mutual respect. Humor, too. While drafting the novel, I found the characters pulling me toward a narrative that became far more rollicking than dark.
When the novel manuscript was complete, its search for a publisher ended at Brash Books, where co-founder Lee Goldberg simply “got it.” How lucky for me to have this amazing writer serve as the book’s enthusiastic and collaborative editor. I could not be prouder of the results.
Desert Getaway is my 18th novel, the first in a new series that sets off in a fresh direction, with more to come. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Dante and Jazz.
— Michael Craft
Lee Goldberg (left), co-founder of Brash Books and a #1 New York Times bestselling author, first meeting with Michael Craft in December 2021.
Launch of a new series
Sunday, May 1, 2022
What a night! Nearly 60 friends, readers, and mystery fans gathered on a Sunday evening at the Artists Center in Palm Desert, California, to help launch my latest novel, Desert Getaway, first of the new Dante & Jazz series, published by Brash Books. Festivities included wine, “pink fluff” (a dessert item drawn from the book), a reading, and a discussion with special guests Lee Goldberg and Tod Goldberg, two brothers with local roots who are both New York Times bestselling crime novelists. Photos from the event appear below.
Above left: Carole Hatcher presents the “pink fluff” she concocted for all attending. Left: Lee Goldberg and his brother Tod Goldberg join me at the podium.
Above: Carole Hatcher presents the “pink fluff” she concocted for all attending.
Below: Lee Goldberg and his brother Tod Goldberg join me at the podium.