Tommy Cuda

Created by Joe Klingler

Now here’s a weird one…

TOMMY CUDA isn’t a private eye — he’s a grease monkey slacker pushing thirty, a perennial college student still living at home with a vinyl record collection, an electric guitar, a bookcase full of mystery paperbacks and a headful of dreams, with absolutely nothing going on in his life, save for a nowhere part-time job at the local Wal-Mart in Gates Mills, Ohio — and a vintage ’60’s chocolate-brown metallic Plymouth Barracuda with a 426 Hemi left to him by his grandfather.

He can hear the clock ticking.

And then, one day, he decides to chuck it all. He tosses all his worldly possessions in the car and busts out in a last-chance power drive.

Or something…

Tommy Cuda isn’t even his real name — it’s Thomas Benjamin Kelsey, but Tommy Cuda’s the one he gives Mona, a sexy hitchhiker he picks up. He also tells her he’s a private eye. Apparently smitten, they hit the road and end up in a Chicago hotel room.

But when he wakes up the next morning, Mona’s gone, and all she’s left him is a backpack loaded with cash and a wallet-sized photo of Mona with “Find me Tommy” on the back.

I know, I know — it sounds like a Springsteen B-side, a coming-of-age story filtered through A Catcher in the Rye and about a hundred Gold Medal paperbacks from the fifties, but somehow it works. It almost makes you wish Tommy would return in a sequel, this time as a real fide P.I.

Joe Klingler is a computer scientist, musician, and entrepreneur dedicated to writing “action-packed novels centered on real-world issues.” His other novels include Tune Up, Burn Up, RATS and Mash Up. Joe divides his time between California and his native Ohio, riding his adventure motorcycle whenever he can.


  • “Klingler presents his craftiest yarn to date, summoning the pulpy spirits of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The setting of Chicago rattles from the page in lines such as, ‘The buildings held noise and exhaust fumes around me like a torture chamber.'”
    –Kirkus Reviews


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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