Val Lyon

Created by Mark Troy

VAL LYON is a Honolulu private eye who gets around. She’s an ex-cop, an ex-con and an ex-pro basketball player, and she isn’t afraid of a little fun. She participates in ocean canoeing competitions, takes skydiving lessons, and she’s still a hotshot on the court. She’s also headstrong and competitive, and has a little problem with authority figures. An appealing, younger addition to the ranks of female eyes with, as Jude Peters puts it, with “killer legs, killer blues, and killer smarts.”

The first few Val Lyon stories popped up in small magazines and online zines, but it’s Pilikia Is My Business (2001), the first novel featuring Val, that’s really noteworthy–it was first released, way back in the day, as an ebook by LTDBooks of Oakville, Ontario, and was delivered on – get this! – floppy disk. It was also released in paperback and eventually, on Kindle.

Surprisingly, the floppy disk version is no longer available!


Mark Troy looks to be about as restless at his P.I. hero. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he’s also lived in Pitsanuloke, Thailand, Honolulu, Hawaii, and College Station, Texas. He began writing in earnest as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English in Thailand, but put fiction writing on hold while completing a doctorate at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. A move to Texas proved to be a turning point. There he met Joe R. Lansdale in a writing workshop and, with Lansdale’s encouragement he began concentrating on hardboiled private eye fiction with a female protagonist. Troy share’s Ken Kesey’s view that writers should not write what they know, because what they know is boring. They should write what they don’t know. They should trust their imagination and take risks. Mark currently lives in Texas with his wife and son where he conducts educational research at Texas A&M University. Lately he’s started another series, featuring personal security agent Ava Rome.


  • Pilikia is My Business is simply a gas to read. After learning what the title meant, I expected something more tongue-in-cheek, but this is a straightforward hard-boiled mystery that deals with serious issues like child abuse, sexual politics, and the role of the Catholic Church in Hawaiian society. The plot jumps right along, with few slow spots but plenty of twists and turns, and I enjoyed watching Val use actual detective skills and proceed in a logical manner during her investigation; most of the “mysteries” I read these days don’t offer much in the way of detecting or logic (no names here, but if you’ve read any catering mystery published in the last ten years, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about)… I didn’t want to put down (if one “puts down” ebooks), and I’d recommend it to anybody who enjoys the hard-boiled subgenre. I don’t know what Mark Troy has planned for Val Lyon, but I hope there are more adventures on the horizon.
    Now I’m off to check Hotwire for cheap fares to Honolulu.”
    — Jude Peters, author of Guilty Employers


  • “Drop Dead Zone” (April 1998, Mystery Buff Magazine)
  • “Wahine O’ Ka Hoe” (Spring 1998, Murderous Intent)
  • “Homewreckers” (December 1999, Nefarious)
  • “Kill Leader” (Fall1999/Winter 2000, Plots With Guns)
  • “The Big Dance With Death” (June/July 2001, Futures)
  • “Teed Off” (2001, Fedora: Private Eyes and Tough Guys)
  • “Horns” (January 2009, The Thrilling Detective Web Site)
  • “Ripper” (2011, Game Face)





Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks, Mark.

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