He Needed Killing

Rated 4.67/5 based on 12 reviews
I was standing in a dead man’s apartment staring at the severed end of a rope hanging from one of the exposed beams overhead. What was I doing here? Last week I was just a university employee who had taken early retirement. Now a man was dead and I was in the thick of it. People were counting on me to figure out what had happened—and why. What kind of retirement was this? More

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About Bill Fitts

I used to say that I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when, in truth, I only started growing older there. After nineteen years I left to go to college and, for the most part, spent the next twenty years aging somewhere else—New Jersey, Florida, Panama Canal Zone, Massachusetts, and Georgia. Then I returned to Tuscaloosa and continued the maturation process for another twenty-six years. In 2015 my wife and I moved to Vero Beach, Florida, where I hope to continue growing older for a good long time.

The locations I’ve lived in have had more influence on my mystery novels (the Needed Killing Series) than on the fantasies (Song of Narne). The town of Shelbyville in the NKS is based in large part on Tuscaloosa with some wrinkles from other locations thrown in to keep things interesting—and keep the inhabitants guessing. That’s not to say that the places I’ve been aren’t reflected in the fantasies—but most of the geography of Narne is imaginary

While growing older, I’ve tried my hand at a number of jobs—newspaper collator, darkroom technician, farmhand, factory worker, sailor, salesman, underwriter, account executive, accountant, systems administrator, information specialist--and professional writer. As an author I find that those earlier experiences contribute to what happens in my novels—again more in the not-as-fictional mysteries than in the fantasies. There’s just not enough magic in the real world

Interestingly, the event that crystallized my decision to start writing full-time is one that I haven’t used in any of my novels. The tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, destroying an eighth of the town—including the back half of my house—hasn’t made it into any of my novels. Shelbyville and Narne have both been spared.

On the other hand, the support, encouragement, and editorial assistance my wife provides have been part of every novel since the beginning.

I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

For more information about my writing, visit my website billfittsauthor.com.

About the Series: Needed Killing
When James F. Crawford retired from the university he didn’t expect to become a private investigator. But Provost Rufus George wanted Crawford to investigate a suspicious death--and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Turns out, Crawford has a knack for solving crimes. With his dog and cat as the perfect sounding board, he talks through the specifics of each case--posing questions to Tan and The Black and answering them himself. If you like your mysteries with a side of humor, give the Needed Killing Series a try.

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Review by: MSmithMarston on April 24, 2014 :
I have just finished Book 1, He Needed Killing. A delightful read! So much to love! The characters are people we've known and loved - Rufus, Crawford, Bobby - and those loved not so much - Sean, Veronica. And poor, poor Albert. I love the weaving of technology through the story and its role in the solution and in the reveal as they say on home improvement shows. Fitts clearly has an insider's perspective on the lovelier parts of the historical South as he deftly refreshes the reality with updated experiences across all categories - gender, age, race, social station, and more. Great read!
(review of free book)
Review by: janice morris on Aug. 26, 2013 :
Good read easy to get into characters real.
(review of free book)
Review by: Miss Mary on Aug. 2, 2013 :
Love the writers' easy style and wit. This free book did the trick, I am hooked and buying the other two in the series. If there are any slow spots, as one reviewer writes, it is to give our brains time to digest what is coming at us so fast!
(review of free book)
Review by: Angela Arroliga on March 3, 2013 : (no rating)
Very well crafted...looking forward to more from this author
(review of free book)
Review by: Strayer on Dec. 21, 2012 :
I started reading this and got tired. I had to stop reading it and didn't want to. Ford is great and will carry the series well. I will look for the second book and buy it. Thank you so much for writing this. I love all the homey stuff and you do tech explanations so well. I have nothing negative to say about this book.
I flunked review 101. Or, I was sick the day they taught it.
(review of free book)
Review by: Beverly schneider on Dec. 20, 2012 :
Thoroughly enjoyable book, good plot and great characters (including the cat and dog).
(review of free book)
Review by: Audrey Driscoll on Nov. 25, 2012 :
He Needed Killing is billed as a "cozy mystery," and it's all of that. Retired university tech guy James Crawford has a delightfully relaxed, friendly narrative voice. Having spent some years on university campuses (in Canada)I could relate to the personality types and situations he describes. (In fact I've sometimes wondered why there aren't more murders in academia, given the intense animosities created by the "collegial system").
My main problem with this book is that it's very slow in spots. I don't object to slow books, but there were extensive sections here that seemed to have little relevance to the story -- detailed descriptions of Crawford cooking meals, for example, and a charming essay on barbecues. The denouement, when it comes, is perfectly satisfying. It turns our that our sleuth's grey cells were working out the mystery while he was cooking, socializing with his cat and dog and doing other everyday activities. Looking back I can see a number of details from these scenes that turn out to be clues later on, but all I could think of in these ruminative sections was "When is something going to happen here?"
The prose style is clean and straightforward, the voice and setting engaging, but the story bogs down too often. If I could give 3.5 stars I would, but since that's not possible I have to settle on 3.
(review of free book)
Review by: Anne G on Nov. 17, 2012 :
The first book in the Needed Killing Series is a delight. The narrator and amateur sleuth, one Crawford by name, along with his pets, Tan (a dog) and The Black (a cat), are a wonderful addition to the cozy mystery tradition. Set in the Deep South (which is lovingly, though objectively, portrayed), the novel should be well received by fans of Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis.
(review of free book)
Review by: Dianne Gowanlock on Nov. 11, 2012 :
A good read. I, being female, could of done without some of the 'guy' stuff, but I enjoyed how Crawford the main character reasoned his way to solving the crimes. His 'little grey cells' were being used even when the reader might think he was just floundering around.
(review of free book)
Review by: Ann Z on Nov. 9, 2012 :
Thoroughly enjoyed meeting James Crawford and his pals - looking forward to reading more of his adventures!
(review of free book)
Review by: Marilyn Staffo on Oct. 25, 2012 :
Loved this book!! Detective James F. Crawford reminds me of great detectives found in Anne George or Robert Parker mysteries!
(review of free book)
Review by: Mike Evans on Oct. 20, 2012 :
Great book, thanks. I just bought the next one. Now I know two people with a dog called Tan, even though one of them is fictional.
(review of free book)
Review by: A. Smith on Oct. 18, 2012 :
really good book you are a fantastic writer! hoping to read more! keep up the amazing work!
(review of free book)

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