Author Ray Mileur formerly of Murphysboro and now of Thompsonville, IL, captivates readers in what is the first of a series of detective novels starring a St. Louis private investigator Mike Shannon.
From the opening page, Mileur uses the early chapters in his novel, "The Gateway to Hell," to set us up for a great ride, as Shannon ends up having an assortment of bad guys - the mafia, the Escobar cartel, corrupt cops -- all out to kill him.
"The police corruption case was actually inspired by events in New York City, including the theft of the drugs from the famous French Connection case," commented Mileur during a recent interview. "In that case, over a three year period, heroin and cocaine were checked out of the police evidence room five times and then eventually stolen, and replaced with a flour cornstarch substance. A prime suspect, who was a police officer, was eventually murdered," Mileur said. "The case is still open today."
Mileur sets the scene in his book in St. Louis, because in real life his detective agency was in St. Peters, Mo., just west of St. Louis.
"Over the years, I spent a lot of time in the city," he said. "The bars and restaurants in the book are very real, some of them like Elshers (On the Landing), are no longer there, though their old sign is still hanging on the building." His attention to detail regarding the location adds a layer of realism to his work.
"In a small way, I'd like for the Shannon series to continue to promote Laclede's Landing and the City of St. Louis," he said.
"The Gateway To Hell" is now available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble & iUniverse.com.
For more information, visit the author's website at http://www.raymileur.com.
Mileur was born in Murphysboro. His mother and father still live here. He is a former United States Marine, police chief and private investigator.
His writing career began in the late '90s when he founded a website covering the St. Louis Cardinals and its minor league affiliates. After attracting more than 10 million visitors, his website became an affiliate with Scout.com and Fox Sports. The crowning moment of Ray's sports writing career came in 2008, with an invitation from former Cardinals' manager, Billy Southworth's family, to represent them at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York.
He is currently working on a series of novels that are loosely based on a lineup of characters from his own case files.