Bill Gutman

Biography

Bill Gutman has been writing for more than four decades. His writing life has seen him publish some 200 books for both children and adults, fiction and non-fiction alike. He has written many biographies and sports histories, as well as ghosting a family memoir. His biographies include such diverse personalities as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, football coach Bill Parcells, Venus and Serena Williams, jazz great Duke Ellington and former president Andrew Jackson. He has worked with sports figures Kevin Kennedy, Pepper Johnson and Bobby Thomson on as-told-to books, and co-authored a series of sports books for young girls with current Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts. And he has interviewed countless athletes, musicians and others.

Mr. Gutman's current passion is a series of novels and novellas featuring a tough detective working in 1920's New York City. The Mike Fargo Mysteries bring to life a wild period sparked by Prohibition, which banned the trafficking and sale of alcoholic beverages. But it was also a time when sports flourished, as did Broadway shows, jazz music and the movies. The popular culture dictated that women no longer had to stay at home and the flapper was born, a new age woman who smoked and drank, partied, and danced the Charleston, Black Bottom and the Shimmy. It was the era of hip flasks and speakeasies, and also organized crime. Mike Fargo navigates the City not only chasing murderers and crime bosses, but interacting with real characters such as Babe Ruth, Texas Guinan, Mae West, Mayor Jimmy Walker and others.

There are six books in the Mike Fargo series thus far – the novel Murder on Murderer's Row and novellas Death of a Flapper, Murder on Broadway and Seven Days to Murder, A Mike Fargo Trilogy that includes the three novellas, and Roaring Twenties Cop, Mike Fargo's Own Story.

Smashwords Interview

How did you get your start as a writer?
Becoming a writer didn't happen overnight. I went to college with a vague idea of becoming a dentist. Hard to believe now. But when push came to shove I realized it wasn't something I wanted to do. I switched my major to English and a whole new world opened up for me. I then went to graduate school with the idea of possibly becoming a teacher. I finished the course work for a masters in just two semesters. I only had to complete the thesis. My subject was Ring Lardner, a newspaperman and writer in the early 20th century. In the meantime, I got a job as a reporter at a daily newspaper in Connecticut, the Greenwich Time. I covered the police beat, wrote obits and feature stories. I found I was good at it and within a year I became the paper's Sports Editor. It was a totally enjoyable experience. You worked seven days a week, many nights, but back in the late 1960s you made very little money. I did that for about two years and by that time was engaged to be married. I simply wasn't making enough money and took a corporate job in the advertising department of a copier company. It took me about ten minutes to realize that wasn't for me. But I stayed a year and began writing on the side. My best friend, who was already a freelance writer, asked me to help him write a book that he didn't really want to do for a number of reasons. He said my name would go on it as the author. It was a biography of basketball star Pistol Pete Maravich, who was just coming into the NBA from Louisiana State University. I completed the book while still working for the copier company. By that time I knew what I wanted to do, left the copier company and became a freelance writer.
Did you struggle to making a living at the beginning?
I had read all the stories about new writers piling up the rejection slips faster than a hurricane, but I was lucky. The editor of the Maravich book I mentioned suggested I see a juvenile book editor at the same publishing house. They were looking for a writer to do a series of sports biographies for a junior-high school level audience. Bingo. I began doing the series and it turned into a multi-book endeavor. At the same time I was also told about an editor at another publishing house that was looking for an author to replace one who just passed away. I wrote a book for them that was part of a series the other author had been working on. Then they asked me to write a series of high-interest, low-vocabulary books for children. At the same time, I began selling short sports stories to Boys' Life Magazine, which was very popular back then. The advances were modest, but my first year as a freelance writer saw me double my income from my year at the copier company. So I was lucky that some things fell into my lap and I went from there. No turning back. Not everyone gets that kind of start as a writer, but I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.
Read more of this interview.

Series

The Mike Fargo Mysteries
There are already six books in The Mike Fargo Mysteries series, a novel, three novellas, a trilogy combining the three novellas, and a short autobiography written by the protagonist, Mike Fargo. He is a tough detective working in 1920s New York City during the days of Prohibition, speakeasies, flappers, Broadway musicals and, of course, organized crime.

Murder on Murderer's Row

Price: $2.99 USD.

Death of a Flapper

Price: $0.99 USD.

Murder on Broadway

Price: $0.99 USD.

Seven Days To Murder

Price: $0.99 USD.

A Mike Fargo Trilogy

Price: $2.99 USD.

Books

The Grab-A-Cab Murder
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 37,040. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
The GRAB-A-CAB MURDER is the 7th entry in the Mike Fargo Mysteries series. It takes place in 1921 and is Fargo's first case after his promotion to detective. When Arthur Worthington, the owner of the Grab-a-Cab Company is murdered in one of his own cabs, Fargo finds himself with a mystery that grows more complex with each passing day. He must also decide just what kind of detective he wants to be.
A Mike Fargo Trilogy
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 106,860. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
A Mike Fargo Trilogy contains three novellas -- DEATH OF A FLAPPER, MURDER ON BROADWAY AND SEVEN DAYS TO MURDER. Follow Mike Fargo as he tries to solve the murders of socialite Marjorie Reems, Broadway director Buddy Barrett, and discover the kidnapper of Brandi Collier, who works for the one and only Texas Guinan at a posh New York City speakeasy. Twists, turns and much danger abounds in each
Roaring Twenties Cop, Mike Fargo's Own Story
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 18,350. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Roaring Twenties Cop is Mike Fargo's story told in his words. It's an introduction to the protagonist of The Mike Fargo Mysteries series. He describes in detail his Staten Island childhood in the 1890s, the incident that made him become a cop and the first time he had to kill. He also talks about Prohibition, the New York City of the Roaring Twenties, flappers, crime and some of his tougher cases.
Seven Days To Murder
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 38,510. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
A call from the famous Texas Guinan sends Mike Fargo to the 300 Club, a swank speakeasy, where the club's hostess tells him one of her girls, Brandi Collier, is missing. Fargo isn't sure if there's even a crime until he gets a stunning phone call. The caller says Brandi will die in seven days if Fargo can't find her. It turns out that Brandi is just bait to lure Fargo in a sick game of revenge.
Murder on Broadway
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 37,780. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
When director Buddy Barrett, the Boy Wonder of Broadway, is shot on stage while rehearsing his next musical in 1925, Mike Fargo is on the scene. He soon finds more suspects than he can count since Buddy has another nickname -- Buddy the Bastard. He also learns that the victim is a man with no past. This strange case takes Fargo from Broadway to Atlantic City, where his own life is put in danger.
Death of a Flapper
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,750. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
The murder of society girl Marjorie Reems in October of 1922 shakes New York City's elite. When detective Mike Fargo learns the girl's identity he can't figure why she is dressed as a common flapper. He soon learns that Marjorie has left her wealthy family for a wild lifestyle involving a succession of bad men, some linked to organized crime.It's a story with a conclusion that shocks everyone.
Murder on Murderer's Row
Series: The Mike Fargo Mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 97,660. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Murder on Murderer's Row opens with the killing of a groundskeeper at Yankee Stadium in 1927 with the prime suspect none other than Babe Ruth. Detective Mike Fargo is called into action as an increasingly complex story begins to unravel. The cast includes a major crime boss, a special prosecutor, corrupt cops, the Babe himself and the bustling New York City of 1927, with Fargo smack in the middle

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