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Tony Flaner Mysteries.

Diamond Quill AwardRecommended Read AwardSilver Quill AwardRecommended Read Award

Follow the cover links below to check out Tony's cannon. I mean his titles. Uhm... books. Books where he appears. Stars actually. The protagonist in books. The sleuth. You know... his adventures, written out by me, Johnny. Check them out. See essay below for more info.



The Finger Trap Thicker than Water
In The Wake of Captain Lord? The Counterfeit Connection
The Hermit of Big Horn County The Real Deal


The Knickknack Case?



A history of writing Tony Flaner.

What can I say about Tony that he hasn’t said about himself already?

Probably a lot.

He’s a complicated character, a mirror of who I am when I’m at my strongest and at my weakest. He’s larger than life while often being beneath contempt. The novels are not plot driven, or even story driven, as the modern critics like to say, but VOICE driven. You either get on board with the first person style of Tony’s snark and sarcasm, confidence, vulnerability and self-deprecation, or you should stick with Chandler. Tony Flaner is a flavor.

THE FINGER TRAP, was my breakthrough book. Not for sales but for purpose. It was the book that showed me I could be a writer. It was the book that made me want to be writer. It was the book that made me be a writer.

The series began as a lark, as an idea for a mystery with a funny lead. An earlier book of mine, THE BRAND DEMAND, hinted at the beginnings of Tony in a few accidental quips by the main character Galen. These quips were seized upon by my children who were still reading my books back then.

I’d long had the idea for a murder mystery involving a “nobody” who the authorities would ignore. This death would strangely affect a neighbor or stranger – someone whose only connection to the victim was a shared humanity and would then solve the mystery in a journey of self discovery.

That was Tony.

Modeled after myself in my quippiest, Tony Flaner began the charge in THE FINGER TRAP and then recognizes, through late self awareness, his own flailing faults. He commits himself to committing himself. It’s a powerful theme. In parallels, to commit to the book, on the author level, the book had to materially exist. The book couldn’t just be written. That was a lot, but not finished. It had to be printed. Thus I committed myself to bringing the book to print to fulfill the mirrored commitment of Tony Flaner.

I shopped Tony for years and then decided that to get noticed I needed to write something more mainstream. I wrote ELEANOR and the UNSEEN SERIES in an effort to get noticed to bring Tony to print. (Ironic that ELEANOR went on to be my bestseller for many years. Such is art.)

When a publisher, Jolly Fish Press, looked at both books, they said they’d love to print one. Which one could they have? I, being bold or dumb, told them both or neither. They agreed, cementing my position as a multi-genre author for all time.

ELEANOR and THE UNSEEN came out first to awards and acclaim. Very cool. Then when it came time to free Tony, the publisher was in trouble. The book was launched, won THE DIAMOND QUILL for best book of the year and the promptly press collapsed within months. The book never had a chance to sell.

When the press was saved, ie sold, to another press, North Star Editions, they agreed to take THE FINGER TRAP into their catalog as part of the deal, grandfather it in, but they were clear that they were only interested in YA and Middle Grade titles. Therefore the chances of me selling them another Flaner were nil. There’d also be no marketing budget for what to them was now a “back list” title. I’d already written the sequel, THICKER THAN WATER, and IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD was underway.

I kept back my rights and shopped Tony to other publishers, but alas, THE FINGER TRAP had existed and was thereby tainted goods.

Because Tony is my spirit animal, I started my own press, Dandelion Ink, to save him and moved my authorial career into the double-pond world of “hybrid.” Under this new effort, THE FINGER TRAP, my Diamond Quill winner, found itself back in print, thereby freeing Tony to actively, and very publicly, help me through my problems.

I then released THICKER THAN WATER, which received a League of Utah Writers Recommended Read award.

I released a novella, THE KNICKKNACK CASE and it too was recognized with a Recommended Read award.

IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD did even better, pulling in a Silver Quill for best novel.

THE COUNTERFEIT CONNECTION has just arrived. I’ll probably enter it contests too.

THE HERMIT OF BIG HORN COUNTY did not win anything, which is a huge travesty.

THE REAL DEAL is brand new.

And there are more to come.

When I first envisioned my career as an author, in the early stages of “fake it til you make it,” I saw myself as writing one Tony Flaner a year and then one or two other books around it.

So far so good.



Copyright 2024, Johnny Worthen.