Bill Moody: Books
Mood Swings by Bill Moody


Mood Swings (Stark Raving Group, 2014)

Crime fiction writer and jazz drummer Bill Moody travels from one dark destination to another. Mood Swings includes nine stories about the music, murder, and moods. It swings, too.

This ebook is available from Stark Raving Group.

The Man In Red Square


The Man In Red Square (Down and Out Books, 2013)

When America defector Robert Owens passes a note to his former colleague in Moscow's Red Square saying he wants to come home, American intelligence is faced with a major dilemma.
To ensure they are getting the genuine article and not an impostor, they must find someone who can ask questions only the real Owens can answer.
CIA veteran Charles Fox's search turns up Christopher Storm, a teacher who served with Owens in Vietnam. Storm accepts the assignment as plans are made to exchange Owens for a Soviet trade official.
But Storm isn't told the whole story.
When he meets with Owens, he discovers even more deception and the KGB's complicated compartmentalization threatens to unravel the entire affair. Storm is forced into a desperate escape plan which may be the only way out.

"In the grand tradition of unforgettable Cold War spy thrillers, Bill Moody's The Man in Red Square sends you on an exciting journey into history, politics, and deception as Washington and Moscow jockey to pull off a critical spy exchange in 1980. With fascinating characters like Charles Fox, Christopher Storm, and Mikhail Sokolov, you're in for a suspenseful read that will rivet you to your seat."
—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Spies

Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.




Czechmate: The Spy Who Played Jazz (Down and Out Books, 2012)

The year is 1968. The liberal reforms of Czechoslovakia's new leader, Alexander Dubcek, have outraged the Kremlin and now, 250,000 Warsaw Pact forces are amassed on the borders. For American intelligence, the situation is worsened when their prime source, Josef Blaha, threatens to cut them off unless one demand is met: a totally safe contact. For CIA veteran Alan Curtis, jazz musician Gene Williams seems the ideal choice. His invitation to the Prague Jazz festival gives him perfect cover and access to Prague.
But Williams is a musician, not a spy—and has other ideas that force Curtis to resort to blackmail to get the young musician to accept what Curtis calls a simple pickup and delivery. It starts to go wrong when Williams finds Blaha murdered by the KGB and he's left to unravel the puzzle on his own. What he finds is even more than Curtis bargained for. With the help of Blaha's beautiful granddaughter Lena, Williams races against time to warn Dubcek of the impending invasion and uncover a traitor in the U.S. Embassy.

"...a wonderful addendum for the Moody canon... There's an 'important political figure' kidnapping scene that will astound, and the two most impressive descriptions of jazz playing are among the best Moody has ever penned, clearly cementing his place in the pantheon, right beside James Baldwin (in 'Sonny's Blues'). I finished Czechmate in one enjoyable rush."
—12-String Dean,

Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.




Fade to Blue (Poisoned Pen Press, 2011)

Jazz pianist Evan Horne, settled into the San Francisco jazz scene, takes a gig in Los Angeles, where he's offered his most unusual job yet. Mega movie star Ryan Stiles hires Evan to teach him to look like he's playing piano for an upcoming film role. Evan stays at Stiles' lush Malibu home for the tutoring, but suddenly things go wrong with the arrogant, spoiled star. Stiles' adversarial relationship with the paparazzi explodes when a photographers is killed. Was it an accident or is Stiles himself a suspect? Evan wants out, but Stiles' manager dangles the opportunity for Evan to score the film if he stays. When the film begins, another mysterious death occurs. With help from his FBI girlfriend, Andie Lawrence, and Lt. Danny Cooper, Evan launches his own investigation.
"A mystery marked by tight plotting, a brisk pace, and a satisfying solution." —Kirkus Reviews




Shades of Blue (Poisoned Pen Press, 2008)

Musician Evan Horne returns from Europe to San Francisco and quickly ensconces himself in the jazz scene. Just when Evan has settled in, he learns that his friend and former mentor Calvin Hughes, has died and named Evan his sole beneficiary. Now Evan must sort through Calvin's belongings, including some old manuscripts credited to Miles Davis. Was Calvin Hughes really the composer of these famous tunes? And just what was his relationship to Evan's mother?



Looking for Chet Baker (Walker, 2002; Dark City Books audio edition, 2003)

Evan Horne, recovering from both the injury to his hand and to his psyche, is on tour in England, hoping to concentrate on music and not on crime. But his old friend, Ace Buffington, who's led him into trouble before, shows up with a contract to write a biography of legendary trumpeter Chet Baker. Baker died of a fall from the window of his hotel in Amsterdam in 1988. Whether he accidentally fell, or was pushed is one of the mysteries of the jazz world. Evan resists this adventure until Ace turns up missing and leaves him no choice. To find Ace, he will have to dig into the mysterious death of Chet Baker.
Read an excerpt
Download a track from the audio book (MP3)



Bird Lives! (Walker, 1999)

Things couldn't be better for jazz pianist Evan Horne. Back on stage after an accident left him unable to play the piano for over a year, Evan's first gig results in a record offer from Quarter Tone Records, a small, but respectable label known for quality work. Not bad for one night back! But news of the murder of Ty Rodman, a sax player whose fusion of blues riffs and a rock beat created the "smooth" jazz sounds popularized by Kenny G, threatens Evan's music career, life, and relationship with his girlfriend. Scrawled on the wall above Rodman's body is "Bird Lives!" — a certain reference to Charlie "Bird" Parker... and the words soon appear again, next to a second corpse.



Sound of the Trumpet (Walker, 1997)

On a dark night in Pennsylvania, a jazz legend met his death. But now, in the heat and light of Las Vegas, the sound of Clifford Brown's soaring trumpet is coming back to life. Because Evan Horne, who knows all about jazz and pain, is unraveling a puzzle that reaches back forty years to Brown's last hours. Horne was called to Las Vegas to authenticate some recordings purported to be the lost tapes of Clifford Brown. But when a murder interrupts his listening session, Horne becomes the key player in a dangerous duet. Horne is pursuing the truth behind an audiotape that may be worth a fortune, may be a hoax, and may be just one haunting melody in a killer's murderous obsession...



Death of a Tenor Man (Walker, 1995; Dark City Books reprint, 2003)

Tenor sax player Wardell Gray died in Vegas back in the fifties — the apparent victim of a heroin overdose — but his legend lives on. Moonlighting from his job playing piano at the Fashion Show Mall, Evan Horne is doing a favor for a scholar by asking questions about Gray's death. As Evan circles in on a little-known history of a 1950s black jazz club, the heat, glitz, and pay-back of Vegas come down hard — with the power to swing, smoke, and kill.



Solo Hand (Walker, 1994; Dark City Books reprint, 2003)

Evan Horne, once a world class pianist, is now a man with a broken right hand — a.k.a. his "solo hand" — and a broken career. When his former boss, singer Lonnie Cole, asks him to be intermediary in the payment of blackmail, Horne is unable to resist. But trading money for embarrassing photos turns out to be complicated. Pretty soon the money is gone, but the photos haven't turned up. Instead, there's a fresh body on the beach. And Horne is looking more and more like a suspect.

Short Stories


A Merry Band of Murderers (Poisoned Pen Press, 2006)

Bill's story "File Under Jazz" appears in this unique short story collection, edited by Claudia Bishop and Don Bruns. All the stories were written by authors who also play music. Bill's song "Moody's Mystery Blues" is featured on the CD that accompanies the book.



The Cocaine Chronicles (Akashic Books, 2005)

Bill's story "Camaro Blue" is featured in this collection of original short stories, edited by Gary Phillips and Jervey Tervalon.



Murder and All That Jazz (Signet, 2004)

Bill's story "Child's Play," featuring musician Wilson Childs, appears in this anthology, edited by Robert J. Randisi.

Buying Bill's Books

You can find copies of Bill's novels, even the ones that are currently out of print, at independent mystery booksellers,, and through book search services like Dark City Books sells Solo Hand, Death of a Tenor Man and the audio version of Looking for Chet Baker. Dark City can also be reached by phone: (509) 747-7416; and fax: (509) 747-7459.

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