John Schlarbaum

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When Angels Fail to Fly

When Angels Fail to Fly cover

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Steve Cassidy Is Back!


Private Investigator Steve Cassidy returns for another adventure involving murder, intrigue, scams, former and current lovers, and his distinctive sarcastic loathing for everyone, including himself.

Six months after solving a celebrated missing persons cold case, the ex-cop’s life appears to be back on track. For the first time, his private investigation  business is booming after a True Crime book portrayed him as a reformed man and one to watch in the future.

Unfortunately, these days many people are watching him.

When mysterious events happen to Steve’s loved ones, the police, the press and even his friends begin to question his every move. To complicate his life further, a cryptic telephone call begins a new investigation into the bizarre death of a woman keeping a secret.

With his  life in shambles and  warrants being issued in his name, a road trip may hold the key to maintaining his sanity. Regrettably, trouble has a way of finding Steve Cassidy.

With its rich blend of humour, cynicism, hope, denial, and hardcore investigative techniques, When Angels Fail To Fly gives a fresh twist on the belief, “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

December 7, 2009 – Windsor, ON

Canadian author John Schlarbaum’s troubled private investigator Steve Cassidy is back for a second mystery involving murder, intrigue, insurance scams, missing persons, former and current loves, and his distinctive sarcastic loathing for everyone, including himself.

In 2008, the first book in The Steve Cassidy Mystery series, Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner was released to positive reviews and solid sales. The new novel, When Angels Fail To Fly finds the main character again at odds with the law, the press, friends, and even other investigators.

After regaining some personal redemption at the conclusion of the last adventure, the disgraced former ex-cop’s life seems back on track. His P.I. business is booming and he’s settled down with his girlfriend. Even a true crime novel about his celebrated cold case file portrays him as a reformed man and one to watch. Unfortunately, several people are watching him these days. When mysterious events happen to Steve’s loved ones, people begin to question his every move. To complicate life further, a cryptic phone call begins a new investigation into the bizarre death of a woman keeping a fatal secret.

“In the first novel Steve Cassidy was a man on a mission, not only to solve a big case, but to make amends for past personal and professional transgressions,” author and former private investigator Schlarbaum states. “Unfortunately, I could only scratch the surface of his many self-inflicted failures. After Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner release, many readers asked if more of Steve’s so-called lost years would be revealed in the sequel. I am happy to say by the end of this book, everyone will know exactly what makes Steve tick, although they might not agree with some of his decisions.”

In contrast to the first book’s leisurely small-town investigative tempo, When Angels Fail To Fly is fast-paced throughout, as Steve attempts to stay ahead of the authorities and the press.

“I envisioned a road trip-type investigation, with Steve travelling from city to city searching for clues. However, the characters would lead me in other directions, usually ending with Steve on the run!”

Another new feature Schlarbaum undertook was writing a separate story-within-the-story, introducing key players of the case before Steve Cassidy’s investigation really begins.

“I have often thought of writing a ‘fictional true crime’ story – outlining the crime in question, and profiling the different players. That is what I’ve done with several chapters in this sequel, writing in a third-person narrative, giving the reader a glimpse into the personalities of those involved in Steve’s investigation. The reader – now knowing the true circumstances – will then be carried along his wild investigative ride thinking, ‘How is Steve going to connect these dots and solve the case?’”

With its rich blend of humour, cynicism, hope, denial, and hardcore investigative techniques, When Angels Fail To Fly gives a fresh twist on the belief “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Schlarbaum masterfully creates a mystery where the only thing more intriguing than the plot is the development of Steve Cassidy’s character.
– Alan Coombs, Astral Media Radio


An entertaining mystery which draws on the elements of humour, romance, and hard-boiled investigation, When Angels Fail to Fly is a mystery that’ll keep readers reading.
– Midwest Book Review


Just finished When Angels Fail to Fly ~ a great sequel John! Set up nicely perhaps for #3? BRAVO! A thoroughly enjoyable read, highly recommend.
– Lori Huver, Amherstburg, ON


Another Great Mystery! I was happy to hear John Schlarbaum had written a sequel to Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner. While the main character Steve Cassidy has many character flaws, you just can’t help liking him and wanting to see how he develops. The mystery was exciting with many twists and turns. I am looking forward to the next Steve Cassidy mystery!
– Marilyn McPhail, Toronto, ON


Excellent! This mystery novel was even better than his first. Steve Cassidy is a character you have to love and root for. His humour and honesty is admirable. The book is an absolute page turner. I highly recommend it – John is a gifted author and I can’t wait to read his next book!
– Christine Foster, Stratford, ON


A Must Have For Mystery Readers! If you’re looking for a hardboiled private eye with a heart of gold who is only ever mean to the bad guys . . . Steve Cassidy might not be your guy- yet. John Schlarbaum has created an interesting, well-layered character in Steve Cassidy. One that you may want to punch in the nose after the first few chapters. But stick with it because by the end of the book you can somewhat understand Steve’s personality and there is a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. Filled with larger than life characters and a twisting plot line When Angels Fail to Fly is an admirable second offering in the Steve Cassidy series. Bring on number three, John!
– Lori Wrightman, Amherstburg, ON


A True Mystery Masterpiece! I have thoroughly enjoyed another adventure with The Great Steve Cassidy! Kept me on my toes till the very end and can’t wait for the next epic Schlarbaum book to be released! Yet another great read by the master of P.I. mysteries!
– Julie Deslippe, Amherstburg, ON


Another Page Turner! Just in time to relieve our aching desire for more, Schlarbaum gifts us with another page turner! With the same self-deprecating honesty and captivating suspense, we jump back into Steve Cassidy’s life and another passionate murder mystery. Filled with the kind of questions that keep us entrenched and sprinkled with the kind of honesty that comforts, When Angels Fail To Fly does not disappoint those who demand more and more from John Schlarbaum!
– Tina Wells, Leamington, ON


A Must Read! When Angels Fail to Fly is a skilfully crafted mystery novel that is surely to entice the reader.  Schlarbaum’s talent of writing mystery novels becomes fully evident in his latest book.  When Angels Fails to Fly takes readers on a fast-flowing escapade that involves the right combination of murder, sexual tension, psychosis and intrigue.  Angels allows the reader to live vicariously through a multitude of character profiles.  Through creative vivid imagery and a plot that is masterfully pieced together, this mystery novel is sure to arouse all of your senses.  It’s a matter how bad you want them “stimulated,” as When Angels Fail to Fly is one hot mystery novel that will surely conquer the task.
– Rachel James, Guelph, ON


Perfect For Mystery Readers! This second book in the Steve Cassidy Mystery series is a fantastic, fast paced story with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers guessing, right up to the very end. Our main character finds his personal life intersecting with his professional life, and we learn more about him in the process. Steve’s dry, sarcastic sense of humour is very amusing, indeed. Very, very good!
– Laura Borland, Amherstburg, ON


Loved It! Steve Cassidy is just as engaging in this book as he was in Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner. Not the typical protagonist, he has many character flaws but fully admits to them. The plot keeps you guessing right till the end and holds lots of surprises, including a big one in chapter one where the reader learns a lot more about Cassidy’s faults! The dry wit had me chuckling out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it impossible to put down.
– Jennifer Macleod, Amherstburg, ON


I loved all the characters – they were all very interesting.  Even though it was a crime novel, there was still a little humor in there, which I found refreshing.  While reading I thought I had figured out who did it, only to learn I was completely wrong at the next turn.  I just couldn’t put it down!  I had to know how all these people fitted in to the demise of Ms. Penney.  Very good reading and love your writing.  Can’t wait for the next one!
– Tracy Desmarais, Winsor, ON


Read When Angels Fail to Fly and couldn’t put it down and read it in a week or less, as did Ted. But why did you leave us hanging again!!!!! I hope you have the next book started. Great book John, your mysteries are getting better with each publication. Keep up the good work.
– Ted & Kathy Johnston, West Lorne, ON


I loved When Angels Fail to Fly. The book was awesome! I can’t wait for the next one to come out.  I love reading, some of my favourite authors include Faye and Jonathan Kellerman, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice, and I must say you are added to this list.  You definitely keep me interested throughout the whole book, and make them so hard to put down.
– Divina De Marco, Windsor, ON


After reading Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner, I couldn’t wait for the sequel to come out, and I was not disappointed. The book kept me guessing until the last page, and I could hardly put it down after I started. Definitely recommended.
–  Felicia De Marco, Windsor, ON