The Frank Nagler Mysteries is an anthology of all of the Detective Frank Nagler mysteries printed to date. In this anthology are the first three award-winning stories of this series: The Swamps of Jersey, A Game Called Dead, and The Weight of Living. Each appearing in the order they are meant to be read, although each story can be read independently as well.

The Frank Nagler Mysteries – Anthology is available today in hardback, paperback, and ebook!


For more information about these individual books read the excerpts below or click on the book cover to go directly to their page.

The Swamps of Jersey


About a dozen police, rescue and fire vehicles lined Mount Pleasant with one set of wheels in the road and the other in the muddy ditch. Cops in hip waders crashed in and out of the brush and weeds, and a fire boat was being backed into the swamp. They had not yet found any clothes, or her head and hands, and the body had no jewelry. It was just the body. Naked. Butchered. Forgotten. That’s why it’s not Charlie Adams. Nagler slowly felt his way through the slippery paths of the dark bog, heading back to Mount Pleasant. Adams brought bodies here, sure, but made finding them easy. He liked the fame, the publicity, liked knowing we knew it was him and thinking that he was one step ahead of us. This is not the same. But for the life of me, at three a.m. and on one cup of coffee, I don’t know what the hell this is. “Damn it,” Nagler muttered as his foot slipped off the path into a watery hole.

A Game Called Dead



Dawson put down the sandwich, wiped his fingers on a thin paper napkin and cradled his chin in both palms with his fingers spread over his open mouth. He closed his eyes. Holy shit.

He pressed a key or two on the computer that sent the story to the webmaster who would post it at six the next morning. His gut was rumbling. For maybe the first time since he had started the online venture out of desperation he felt like a real journalist again.

Then he laughed. Damn!

A box popped up on his screen: Another comment on the Charlie Adams court story.

“You think you are off the hook because Charlie Adams gave up? Let him go. He is old news. Let him live in his little cell where he can fantasize about his life and his failed quest to poison your soul. Good bye, Charlie. But I must say thanks. I studied his methods and found his flaws. I shall not make those mistakes. And now it will be only you and I on the playing field, because after all this is all just one more game. What is the current phrase? A Game Called Dead? Yes, that’s it. One more Game Called Dead. Shall I be the jester? The tyrant? The gloomy hand of death striking in the dark? The city will weep because of what you have done. The city will burn because of what I will do. The crowd will rend their breasts. Watch for it. #notagame. #ARMAGEDDON.”

HASHTAG ARMAGEDDON must be tired, Dawson thought. This is pretty weak.

A second box appeared.

“Yo, Armageddon, you crashin’ my space? Your limp, little threat don’t mean nothin’. You’re up there in that Ivory Tower pretending to be a badass, while I’m here on these streets makin’ the real terror, son. Causin’ the real panic. Dream on, schoolboy. #theREALarmageddon.”

Dawson closed the laptop, took one last bite of his sandwich and stood up to leave. It’s just the Internet, he told himself. But then he remembered Nagler’s question from the meeting in the park. I wonder….

The Weight of Living



She seemed hollow, the girl did. Breathing, hearing, touching, but absent. Small, dark dots sunk into an ashen blank face, eyes impossibly dull for someone so young, eyes that stared straight ahead at the faded green wall; hard, eyes so hard that did not seem to register the color of the wall, the brown of the tabletop, the lightbulb above her head or the presence of anyone else; eyes lightless, passages not to a dark soul, but to one seemingly hidden or removed; spaces missing life. Eyes not filled with pain, but absence.

Robotic. From the police car to the police station and into the back office she walked with slow, short steps, and once in the room without being told, she slipped sideways into the green vinyl chair with the tear in the seat that exposed the white cotton batting inside; the chair that engulfed her, hips too small to fill the worn indentation in the center of the seat as she faced the wall, folded her hands on the table and sat upright.

Her hair was raggedly cut and filthy, as was her thin, damaged body. Grime lived in her skin folds, under her fingernails, on and in her skin so deeply its color changed from white to brown-gray; dirt so thick her skin shed water like plastic.

She had been sitting in the back office at the Ironton, New Jersey police station for an hour after patrol removed her about ten o’clock that night from a grocery store garbage bin. She had neither offered words, nor responded to questions, not even a nod or a shake of her head. A bottle of water sat on the table untouched.

She had not resisted the efforts of the patrol officer, but stood obediently at the rear car door as the light snow fell while he completed his quick interview with the grocery store manager, forgetting the car doors were locked.

“What do we do with her?” the patrolman asked the night shift officer, Sergeant Bob Hanrahan.

And also including the bonus short-story Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard?

The Frank Nagler Mysteries – Anthology is available today in hardback, paperback, and ebook!


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