First Chapter: San Francisco Nights by Greg Messel & Giveaway!

San Francisco Nights

Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 232
Genre: Mystery / Suspense

The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her.  Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world.

Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit.

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


First Chapter:

Helen Cole Latos never forgot the moment when she first saw Sam Slater at a cocktail party for the upper crust of San Francisco society last spring.

The gathering was at the mansion of real estate magnet and California Assemblyman Christopher Michaelis in the swanky Seacliff neighborhood near China Beach on the western rim of the metropolis where the land mass disappears into the sea.  Michaelis conquered the business world and now he was a rising star in California politics hobnobbing with power brokers in Sacramento and Washington D.C.

Helen sat sipping cocktails and gossiping about the guests with her close friend Sybil, a feisty redhead who made it her business to know everything about everybody. Sybil’s main stock and trade were other people’s secrets which she slyly and strategically inserted into her conversations. Sybil knew lots of Helen’s secrets but held them closely.

The two were perched near the French doors leading to the veranda which offered the best vantage point for keeping a sharp eye on the partygoers. She stopped in mid-sentence at the sudden appearance of a tall, muscular looking man wearing a white dinner jacket. The man had thick dark hair and light green eyes.

“Who is that?” Helen asked breathlessly, “and why have I never seen him before?”

“Don’t you read the papers? That’s Sam Slater! He’s the most famous private eye in San Francisco.”

Helen lustily cooed as she watched Sam light a cigarette and take a bourbon from a waiter’s silver tray. “He looks like a movie star. That’s the most delicious man I’ve ever seen. Tell me about him.”

“I can’t believe you haven’t heard of him. He used to play baseball for the Seals. Sam was a pitcher but retired and became a private eye. He seems to have a knack for getting his name in the paper.”

“I’d be happy to play ball with him,” Helen said, continuing to study Sam as she peeked out from under her broad brimmed red hat.

“Christopher and Julie had a daughter, Melissa, they thought was dead,” Sybil continued leaning in to Helen in a conspiratorial posture. “Sam Slater found Melissa and returned her to her parents. A little bird told me she wasn’t kidnapped at all, but that she ran off with a boxer of all things, who got crossways with gangsters. Nevertheless, Sam Slater found her. That heroic deed is why Sam and his wife are here at the party tonight.”

“His wife?” Helen snarled, making a sour face as she put a cigarette into a holder and lit it.

“Yes, he’s married. Sorry darling,” Sybil replied with a smirk. “Not that a little inconvenience like marital status slows you down. Do you remember when this San Francisco cop was shot to death in a parked car in Golden Gate Park earlier this year?”

“I remember something about that. Was that Sam?”

Sybil nodded. “Sam was sitting in the car with the cop and miraculously survived. Sam was a hero in World War II landing on the beaches on D-Day. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. His resume is quite impressive. The cops did a big raid in Chinatown about a month ago. Sam was right in the middle of it. They broke up gambling, prostitution dens and stopped a white slavery ring. Sam barely survived his encounter with Chinatown gangsters. He jumped from a speeding car and went to rescue his kidnapped wife. How’s that for a hero?”

Helen’s reaction was truncated when a stunning young blonde woman entered the room and nuzzled up to Sam. The woman had sparkling, large blue eyes and was wearing a halter-style emerald colored silk dress, which was backless, displaying her creamy, white skin.

“That must be the famous Amelia,” Helen asked with an edge in her voice. “She’s a pretty little thing.”

“I think she looks like Grace Kelly don’t you?”

Helen didn’t answer but she watched the couple very intently.

“Are you asking ‘mirror, mirror on the wall…’” Sybil quipped.

“Very funny.”
“That is Amelia. Some dress huh? She fills it out nicely. Amelia was a stewardess for TWA.”

“That could be good news. Planes crash sometimes. Maybe Sam will need a new girl soon,” Helen grumbled, taking a drag on her cigarette.

“You’re absolutely wicked, Helen. I said she ‘was’ a stewardess. She’s now a private eye and is Sam’s partner in his business. You need to catch up on your reading dear heart. Sam Slater’s a bonafide hero.”

Helen cocked her head, studying Sam and Amelia and then grabbed Sybil’s hand. “Let’s take a walk. It’s time to accidentally bump into Mr. Slater. We need to meet. I need to see if his head can be turned away from his pretty wife.”

Sybil countered. “That may not be easy.”

Helen smiled cunningly. “We’ll see, Syb. He needs to realize that a man like him can have his cake and eat it too.”

About the Author

Greg Messel

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is “San Francisco Nights” which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Shadows In The Fog,” “Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” His other three novels are “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.” For a more detailed summary of Greg’s novels go to

Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel “Dreams That Never Were” which is not part of the mystery series.



San Francisco Nights giveaway

Greg Messel is giving away three of his books!!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway