Dante O’Donnell & Jazz Friendly

Created by Michael Craft

DANTE O’DONNELL isn’t a private eye.

Nope, he’s just a former actor who’s finally given up on stardom and is now just an aging white gay guy working as a concierge for Sunny Junket, a vacation-rental outfit in Palm Springs, living with his memories and regrets. Seems Dante was quite the rover in his youth.

But when a dead body surfaces in the pool at one of the rental units in the series debut novel Desert Getaway (2022), he hooks up with JAZZ FRIENDLY, a straight Black ex-cop turned local private eye who once upon a time suspected him of murdering his husband, to solve the crime.

But these aren’t plug-in characters. Dante’s lead a colourful life, full of bad choices and bad luck (his husband’s murder has never been solved), while Jazz is a single mom struggling financially, while trying to regain custody of her kid after her drinking cost her her marriage.

And yet this isn’t some mopefest–the author injects a lot of humour, campy wit and nuance into the proceedings, and keeps the plot stirring at a brisk pace. And how often does a P.I. team up with a “cheeky little cabbage”?

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship…


Desert Getaway was based on Michael Craft’s short story “VIP Check-In,” which appeared in Akashic’s 2021 anthology Palm Springs Noir. According to Craft, “I fell in love with its premise, its tone, and especially its two main characters, Dante O’Donnell and Jazz Friendly–seeming antagonists whose initial encounters are rancid, leaving potential for growth, discovery, and ultimately mutual respect. Humor, too. While drafting the novel, I found the characters pulling me toward a narrative that became far more rollicking than dark.” Craft, who’s already written several gay mysteries, promises we haven’t seen the last of Dante and Jazz.


  • Desert Getaway is a sexy, charming romp set in Palm Springs, where two unlikely partners—a priapic gay ex-actor and a Black streetwise ex-cop—team up to solve the murder of the director of a suspiciously well-funded and understocked art museum. Dante and Jazz show great chemistry in what I hope is the first of many adventures.
    — Michael Nava 



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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