Public Relations Blog

Canary in the Coal Mine by Charles Salzberg

Canary in a Coal Mine: An allusion to caged canaries (birds) that mining workers would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately (source:

“I’m a P.I. I have a license that says so. I take it out and look at it every so often, just to remind myself I actually have a profession. Profession. I say the word aloud. It’s a strange word. It makes me think of the “world’s oldest.” I’ve done pretty much everything in my life except for that, though some might not make much of a distinction between what I do and what they do. They do it on their back. I do it on my feet. That’s pretty much what sets us apart. It’s like that Sinatra song. You know the one. Puppet, pauper, pirate, poet, pawn and king.”

–Pete Fortunato

New York City—nine million people with a 24-hour nightlife, and an underbelly everyone knows is humming along, but most choose not to venture into it. Not so for Private Investigator Pete Fortunato, who makes his living searching for the bad behavior that is inevitable in such a giant metropolis. Today he is about to come into some cash and what seems to be an easy assignment when wealthy, sexy Lila Ashton appears at the door. In reality, Pete has no idea of what trials he will face. In Canary in the Coal Mine (Down and Out Books; ISBN 978-1-64396-251-1; April 2022) award-winning author Charles Salzberg introduces mystery readers to a new hard-boiled P.I. and a brand-new mystery series.

Lila Ashton’s request is simple: find my estranged husband. Easy money Pete thinks, until he finds the husband dead in Lila’s ex-lover’s run-down apartment. While Pete tends to follow his own rules and his own code, which is telling him to take the paycheck and walk away, he quickly finds that Lila Ashton is hiding something. If he doesn’t get to the bottom of it, he may join Mr. Ashton six-feet under.

Not able to wait for the Homicide Department to plod through their procedures, and with death threats at his door, Pete is going to have to step up and use all of his P.I. muscle to solve the case. Armed with Lila’s useless actor, ex-boyfriend, who is hilariously dense, Pete will literally travel miles before he gets a chance to sleep.

Fans of the Henry Swann Series, Devil in the Hole, Second Story Man, and other mysterious works from Charles Salzberg will enjoy getting to know this new gumshoe. Pete Fortunato as a P.I. committed to his case, with a strong distaste for personal physical danger, will join the ranks of other great characters in the genre, like Sam Spade and Mike Hammer. Canary in the Coal Mine is a gritty whodunnit that takes reader for a bumpy ride with an unexpected destination.


Canary in the Coal Mine
By Charles Salzberg
Down and Out Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64396-251-1
Publication Date: April 2022
Price: 18.95 (Paperback) | 7.99 (eBook)