#BookReview “Canary In the Coal Mine” by Charles Salzberg

April 18 – May 13, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

book cover


5/5 Stars!

Private Investigator Pete Fortunato never met a fight he didn’t take part in. The professed protector of the underdog will always fight for justice and what’s right.

Most of the time.

When wealthy socialite, Lila Alston, hires Fortunato to find her husband—dead or alive—he knows he should walk away… because of the “dead” part, but bills need to be paid so he takes the job, and of course, finds the husband dead… in the apartment of the woman’s boyfriend.

While Fortunato succeeds in recouping his money when Lila’s check bounces, and doing a quick soft shoe to keep the cops off his back for now, he’s caught off-guard when Travis Chapman, Lila’s former boyfriend, wants to hire him for protection. Travis won’t divulge who he needs protection from, but Pete soon finds out when he’s taken for a ride to meet with the Albanian mob. They want Travis, and their money and it’s up to Pete to find him… soon.

Now he has to find the mob’s money just to survive.

And that’s what Pete Fortunato is… a survivor. With ADHD, anger management, and daddy issues, the hapless anti-hero always has the deck stacked against him, but manages to draw a winning card. However, that may not be the case this time around.

The realistic tone of Canary in the Coal Mine raises it to more than a crime fiction mystery. The writing style, and Pete’s quirky, sarcastic first-person narrative, along with its break-neck pace make this read a five star page-turner!




PI Pete Fortunato, half-Italian, half-Jewish, who suffers from anger management issues and insomnia, wakes up one morning with a bad taste in his mouth. This is never a good sign. Working out of a friend’s downtown real estate office, Fortunato, who spent a mysteriously short, forgettable stint as a cop in a small upstate New York town, lives from paycheck to paycheck. So, when a beautiful woman wants to hire him to find her husband, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Within a day, Fortunato finds the husband in the apartment of his client’s young, stud lover. He’s been shot once in the head. Case closed. But when his client’s check bounces, and a couple of Albanian gangsters show up outside his building and kidnap him, hoping he’ll lead them to a large sum of money supposedly stolen by the dead man, he begins to realize there’s a good chance he’s been set up to take the fall for the murder and the theft of the money.

In an attempt to get himself out of a jam, Fortunato winds up on a wild ride that takes him down to Texas where he searches for his client’s lover who he suspects has the money and holds the key to solving the murder.

Praise for Canary In the Coal Mine:

“Salzberg has hit it out of the park. Love the writing style, and the story really draws you in. As with Salzberg’s prior works, he has a knack for making his heroes real, which makes their jeopardy real, too. So, say hello to Pete Fortunato, a modern PI who thinks on his feet and has moves that read like the noir version of Midnight Run.”
—Tom Straw, author of the Richard Castle series (from the ABC show) and Buzz Killer

“Salzberg writes hardboiled prose from a gritty stream of conscious. Peter Fortunato is an old school PI to be reckoned with.”
—Sam Wiebe, award-winning author of Invisible Dead and Never Going Back

“Charles Salzberg’s Canary in the Coal Mine is everything a reader wants in a great crime novel, and then some. The rat-a-tat cadence of the noir masters, seamlessly blended with the contemporary sensibilities of an author thoroughly in control of his craft. I liked this book so much I read it twice. No kidding. It’s that good.”
—Baron R. Birtcher, multi-award winning and Los Angeles Times bestselling author

“Charles Salzberg has created a fantastic literary PI: Pete Fortunato. Rash, blunt and prone to violence, you can’t help but turn the page to see what Fortunato will do next. Canary in the Coal Mine is great!” —James O. Born, New York Times bestselling author

Book Details:

Genre: Crime/Noir

Published by: Down & Out Books

Publication Date: April 18, 2022

Number of Pages: 276

ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-1-64396-251-1

Purchase Links: Amazon | Down & Out Books


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