The Death Business is a short novella by Jochem Vandersteen features Noah Milano, security specialist. Back in the day he did some bad things thanks to being raised in a family that was a major player in organized crime, but these days he is trying to do better. His best friend, the stunningly beautiful Minnie, works at the Medical Examiner’s office and she wants and needs Noah’s help.


Back in college Minnie had a roommate by the name of Carol Dickinson. They were very close back in the day. As often happens, they had pretty much lost touch in recent years. Carol recently died of a heroin overdose in the bathroom stall of a local Hollywood club. While a fellow colleague in the office thinks the death is nothing more than the typical junkie death, Minnie is sure Carol never used drugs and would not have risked her soaring career as an entertainment journalist. When Noah points out as gently as he can that maybe she changed, Minnie explains that even if that were true, she was left handed and would not have shot herself up in the left arm.


While Minnie is absolutely sure it was murder and wants his help, investigation isn’t what Noah usually does. He considers himself as a security specialist move along the line of threat assessment and bodyguard type stuff. But, he has been solving murderers as Minnie reminds him and he owes her for more than he can say. Noah would do just about anything for her and pretty sure he is getting the details and considering how to proceed.


Noah undertakes an odyssey through the club scene with occasional forays into his criminal contacts to find out what story Carol was working on and who wanted her dead. She had a reputation for getting the story. As Noah digs into the story she may have been working on it becomes clear that Noah is going to need help and his own fast reflexes to stay alive if he hopes to catch those responsible.


The editor of the very good The Shamus Sampler author Jochem Vandersteen hits all the right notes with his primary character Noah Milano. Reminiscent of classic pulp fiction as numerous others note in the blurbs in the front of the book, the storyline features plenty of babes, broads, guns, violence, and the occasional flash of sarcastic humor. Along the way the truth slowly comes out as Noah works from person to person getting answers often with a great degree of difficulty. A fun read that roars at a fast clip, The Death Business: A Noah Milano Novella is full of rich characters, action, and plenty of clues that lead the reader through a very enjoyable and very complicated case.



The Death Business: A Noah Milano Novella

Jochem Vandersteen

Sons of Spade


February 2014


74 Pages (estimated)





Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.




Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

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