Cricket West

Created by Fred Zackel

Former federal agent and current Las Vegas private eye Cricket West, a “broken nose blonde on the dark side of thirty,” is reeling with “euphoria” after getting her second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, in 2021’s Drunk in Blood.

“Lockdown was a bitch,” is the way she puts it.

But that feeling of joy ends when she puts her beloved Sin City behind her, and journeys halfway across the country to the nowheresville town  of Hope, Ohio (“Everybody who named this town, left,” she decides), dispatched by the Archbishop of Las Vegas (at her top rate) to investigate two grisly murders committed almost a year earlier.

Which is mystifying enough, but she really regrets taking the job when she discovers she’ll be working with a Jesuit monsignor from the Vatican, a man whom she instantly dislikes–she thinks he’s prissy and smug.

Even more irritating? Her marching orders are to “observe and bear witness to some strange and unholy evils that he must confront.” 

Like, what?


Before Fred Zackel earned his masters and his PhD, he spent 20 years driving cabs at night in San Francisco. He was encouraged to write detective fiction by Ross Macdonald himself, and he’s probably best known for Cocaine and Blue Eyes (1978), a classic private eye novel from the seventies which introduced San Francisco gumshoe Michael Brennen. Unfortunately, the book is now known mostly for inspiring an uninspiring TV movie starring O.J. Simpson. But the author has put his name on several other solid P.I. standalones, including Tough Town Cold City (2010), which introduced another San Francisco private eye, Frank Pasnow, and The Girl Under the Bridge (2020), with muckraking journalist Frank Corso. Zackel’s short story collections include The Bicycles Were Gravestones and Creepier Than a Whorehouse Kiss.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply