"KLDI" is my fourth story featuring Texas PI Helmut Erhard. I wrote the first one ("The Yellow Rose of Texas") for Michael Bracken's The Eyes of Texas anthology, the second one ("The Stopwatch of Death") for Michael's all-PI issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and the third one ("The Great Filling Station Holdup") for my own collection of stories inspired by Jimmy Buffett songs.
Meanwhile, Michael also asked me to contribute a story to Mickey Finn: 21st-Century Noir, and, when he posted an open call for Mickey Finn 2, I decided to write a story in which Helmut fails to complete a job for which he gets hired. At the same time, I was working toward reaching the goofy goal of publishing stories whose titles began with every letter of the alphabet, and I was down to only a couple of letters left, including K. (It was with the letter K in mind that I wrote a story originally titled "Killer Kyle," which eventually became the title story in my The Beat of Black Wings anthology. Once I'd renamed that story "The Beat of Black Wings," though, the letter K was once again available.)
So I decided to write a story about a controversial disc jockey at a radio station located just outside the town of Hearne, Texas, which is Helmut's stomping ground, and the description of the station lobby (and some of Katie Genovese's on-air patter) comes out of my memories of the time I spent as a DJ at the University of Michigan station, WCBN, in the early 1970s. With a couple of exceptions, radio and television station call letters west of the Mississippi begin with a K, and there doesn't seem to be a KLDI IRL, so I used that combination and made it an oldies station ... LDI = "oldies," get it?
As with the previous stories in my Erhard series, this one features an Easter-egg-to-end-all-Easter-eggs, but I'm not going to reveal the secret here. If you want to know what it is, you'll have to look for it yourself....
Mickey Finn 2 was published by Down and Out Books in December 2021.
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