An Absentie Investigator and An Empty Booth

An Absentie Investigator and An Empty Booth

In chapter 9 of his newest crime thriller, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, Special Agent Edwards is set to convene with Patrick Atwater for their first ever intel meeting. However, when it appears that Patrick is running late without the slightest phone call the whole crew at Barney’s By The Sea knows something’s up. In this excerpt, Special Agent Edwards has a gun to his face once again but this time the person whose safety is in question is Private Investigator, Patrick Atwater. A FREE Kindle version is available on Please add a review after reading this excerpt, and enjoy the community of the Forte Fan Club.

Excerpt Chapter Nine – The Woman in the Yellow Dress

Copyright 2016

“Would you mind placing both of your hands on the table please?”

“On the table? Can I ask why?”

“Just do it mate,” said Jake as he poked Agent Edwards from behind on his left

shoulder with the point of a double barreled shotgun.


“All right,” said Agent Edwards.


Agent Edwards slowly placed his two hands flat onto the table.


“I’ll take that piece you’re carrying” said Barney as he reached into Agent

Edwards’s holster and removed his handgun.


“What’s this all about?” asked Agent Edwards.


“We’re not used to strangers entering my establishment carrying weapons,” said



“My weapon is a government issued M1911 and I am Special Agent Clovis

Edwards with the FBI. Sir.”


“I know an M1911 when I see one, shorty but the FBI? That’s bullshit,” said



“It’s not bullshit. I can assure you.”


“You can’t be with the FBI. You’re three feet tall, for Christ’s sakes. No one your

size would ever be hired by the FBI.”


“As I said, I can assure you, sir, I am the correct height and I have identification to

that fact in my inside right hand pocket.”


“Do you now?” said Barney.

“Yes. I do. I can show it to you.”

“Betty here will fetch it.”


Barney nodded to Betty and she reached in and took out Agent Edwards’ ID and

badge and opened it.


“Holy crap. This guy is the real McCoy, Barney. He is Special Agent Clovis

Edwards,” said Betty and held the ID up for Barney and Jake to see. “Just like he says.”

Jake and Barney stretched their necks and looked at the ID.


“Looks real to me, Barney,” said Jake.


“It is,” said Barney.


“Nice likeness,” said Jake. “Makes him look taller.”


“Sorry mate,” apologized Barney as Jake moved the shotgun and Barney placed the

M1911 on the table.


“We didn’t know you from Adam and Patrick Atwater is never late for any of his

new client meetings.”


“Never?” asked Agent Edwards as he put his gun back into its holster and Betty

handed back the badge and ID.

“Never,” repeated Betty. “I saw your gun when you sat down and didn’t know what

to make of it.”


“Better safe than sorry,” said Agent Edwards. “I’m not a client. Mr. Atwater and I

are sharing information on a case. Has Patrick called here? Saying he’d be late?”…


“May I sit down?” asked Betty.


“Please,” said Agent Edwards.


Betty slid in across from Agent Edwards and straightened the napkin holder.

“Something is clearly wrong,” she said. “If Patrick told you nine o’clock and

couldn’t make it here on time he would have called us.”


“You’re sure about that?” he asked.


“Dead sure,” said Betty. “Patrick Atwater is a stand-up guy. He’s also a man who

keeps his word and his integrity. Always. I know him. If Patrick tells you he will meet you

at nine and he doesn’t show? Then I know something is not right.”


“Maybe he’s having car problems?”


“No matter, he would still call. Something’s happened. Something bad. I know it.

Something has happened to him and it’s not good.”


“All right, let’s give him another twenty minutes or so and if he doesn’t show I’ll

make a few calls and we’ll try to locate him. How does that sound?”


“That sounds good.”


Agent Edwards took another sip of his coffee and smiled at Betty.


“Sounds to me like you and Patrick have known each other for some time,” he said.


“We have some history,” she replied. “Ancient history.”


“Before the war?” he asked.


Betty smiled broadly.

“Yes,” she said.


“Good friends?” he asked.


“Very good friends,” said Betty. “How do you know Patrick?”


“We just met each other today. By accident.”


Betty stared at Agent Edwards.

“It wasn’t by accident. You’re both working the same cases.”


“Something like that.”


“Can I get you more coffee?” she asked.


“Please,” he said.


Betty got up and walked to the bar.


Agent Edwards glanced down at his watch and noticed it was almost nine-thirty. If

Patrick was in trouble Agent Edwards wondered where he might be and just how much

trouble he might be in. Agent Edwards pondered what his next move should be and how he

might assist his new-found friend.


Betty poured more coffee and stared anxiously at the clock on the wall.



Death of an Accountant

Death of an Accountant

In chapter 5 of, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, author Robert Forte introduces the reader to a death of an accountant. On the surface, it’s an open and shut case, however, it would not be that by a long shot. In this excerpt, LAPD partners, Detective Blaine and Detective Munoz determine three details that signify a murder. A FREE Kindle version is available on Please add a review after reading this excerpt, and enjoy the community of the Forte Fan Club.

Excerpt, Chapter 5 – The Woman in the Yellow Dress

Copyright 2016


“What are you thinking, partner? Open and shut?” Detective Munoz asked,

although already knowing the answer.


This one wasn’t going to be open and shut, not by a long shot.

Detective Blaine looked up at his partner. Detective Munoz had seen that look and

heard that familiar sigh many times before on numerous past cases. They had been partners

with LAPD for over ten years and were a good team. An honest team. And both men had

the uncanny ability to sniff out the truth when a suspicious death like this masquerades as

something it’s not.


“Come on. Give. What do you see?” he asked again.


“I see three things. What we have here, partner, on the surface is an open and shut

case,” replied Detective Blaine. “Our number cruncher was sitting here, hard at work,

having himself a quick belt when he suddenly has some type of seizure or maybe his heart

gave out. And? Then? He and his drink wind up there on the floor.”


“I can see that and I agree. Now give me the explanation for why you are about to

say the word but.”


Detective Blaine nods yes and both men smile.


“But. I have to ask myself? Why did this guy, a working stiff accountant, suddenly

rate a penthouse suite here at the Beverly just to go over some ledgers? It’s not tax time.

That’s my number one.”


“Good point, partner. He must have been looking for something very special?



“I would say so. It had to be something very specific because he was being treated

much too well for the process. We should check with the desk and see how long he had

this room rented.”


“Definitely,” said Detective Munoz and jotted a note down on his pad. “What’s

your number two?”


“Number two. I looked through every one of these files. These are all numbered

files. And? They are all numbered in order. But right here?”


Using his pen, Detective Blaine holds up a corner of one of the ledgers.


“File number 318 is missing. Two uniforms are searching for it, but I think

whoever killed Hollowell? Also took the file.”


“Killed Hollowell?” questioned Detective Munoz. “Definitely killed is your

number three?”


“Most certainly,” answered Detective Blaine. “It wasn’t any heart attack.

Somebody killed this guy.”


“And we know this how?”


“There is a smell of almonds coming from his opened mouth. Bend your ass down

there and take a whiff. I did.”


“Seriously? You’re asking me to smell a dead man’s mouth?”


“Just do it.”


Detective Munoz knelt down and sniffed at Hollowell’s dead opened mouth.

“You’re right. It smells like almonds to me too,” Detective Munoz said, standing

back up. “Cyanide? Right?”



“But not suicide?”


“No. If this was a suicide he would have finished his drink. He would have also left

a note somewhere. And when he bought it, his glass would have some residue of the

poison in it.”


“The glass is clean?” asked Detective Munoz.


“Yes. Pure cyanide burns. People ingest it by mixing it with something. Makes it

go down easier. Hence there should be some trace of it on his glass. But there is not even a

slight hint of it there. My gut tells me cyanide is what killed him. I’m sure of it.”


Gumshoe Points Gun, Questions at  FBI Special Agent Edwards

Gumshoe Points Gun, Questions at FBI Special Agent Edwards

In chapter 6 of, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, author Robert Forte introduces the reader to the diminutive, quirky, yet resourceful Special Agent Clovis Edwards of the FBI. In this excerpt, private investigator Patrick Miles Atwater greets Agent Edwards with a gun and questions pointed at Edwards. A FREE Kindle version is available on Please add a review after reading this excerpt, and enjoy the community of the Forte Fan Club.


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Excerpt, Chapter 6 – The Woman in the Yellow Dress

Copyright 2016
By Robert Forte

As I left the building I had this deep nagging feeling that something very bad was going to go down.

And soon.

I just hoped I would be ready when that something happened.

I opened the front entrance door and two men in suits, one tall white guy and the other a medium built fellow of Spanish descent, walked past me without speaking. I pegged them for detectives right away by the bulges in both of their suit jackets and the abundant lack of brown polish on their scuffed up shoes.

A young boy was on the comer selling newspapers.

“Extra! Extra!” he shouted. “The great Bambino dies of heart failure.”

The kid eyed me straight away and ran up waving one of his papers in my face.

“Paper, mister?” he asked.

I felt bad for the kid and tossed him the nickel for the news. As I pretended to read all about the death of baseball’s greatest, I saw my little friend sitting in the Dodge across the street.

I walked to my car, headed out on Wilshire again, and noticed the big Dodge following close behind.

I saw a Walgreens up ahead, quickly pulled into the small lot and dashed inside. I thought my little guy in the Dodge would figure I had stopped for a quick bite at the food counter, and would park himself somewhere in the rear of the lot where he could hide in plain sight and still keep his eyes on the coupe.

I walked straight through the place and went directly to the rear door.

I looked out and saw the Dodge parked at the perfect angle for me to do what I knew I had to do.

The little guy behind the wheel wore a decent suit and tie and looked like he had just gotten himself a haircut a day or two before. His eyes were clearly focused on my parked vehicle next to the store when I quietly walked up and hard pressed the cold steel of my .38 into the bare side of his neck.

“You have until I count three to tell me who the hell you are and why the hell you are following me!” I demanded and instantly began counting.

“One. Two.”

The little man quickly raised both hands up and started chattering away like a small scared monkey who just discovered he could speak.

“Don’t  shoot!! My name is Clovis Edwards. I’m a Special Agent with the FBI!”

I pressed the gun in harder.

“Okay.  I got who. Now what do you want with me? Same drill pal. One. Two.”

“Please?  Do not shoot me! Don’t. Shoot. Me,” he pleaded.

He waved as if he was about to do a sleight of hand magic trick, and slowly and extremely carefully reached into his suit pocket and with only two fingers, took out his federal identification and held it up for me to see.

I read the I.D. and pressed my gun in harder.

“Okay. You’re a Special Agent with the FBI. So. Why the hell are you following me?” I repeated.

“The Bureau is looking into Stone Realty. One of the late Jonas Stone’s companies. When his daughter Rachel came to see you last night I was ordered to follow you and report all your comings and goings. Do you have a proper license to carry the weapon you’re holding against my throat?”

“Yes I do,” I replied. “And I can also fire it if I have to.”

“I can assure you, Mr. Atwater, that won’t be necessary.”

“You know my name?”

“I do, sir. Yes.”

“How tall are you, sonny?”

“My name isn’t sonny. It’s Edwards, Special Agent Edwards and I am sufficiently tall enough. And? I graduated third in my class at the academy.”

“Third?  Impressive for a special agent man of your stature.”

I reached in and took out my license and put it in front of Agent Edwards’ face.

“I’m only doing this as a courtesy because I suddenly like you, Special Agent Edwards. And? Shooting you today, I think, would be a grave mistake on my part.”

“Thank you,” he said.

Agent Edwards let out a huge sigh of relief, put his hands down on the steering wheel and I put the .38 back in my shoulder holster.

“Tell me this? Why is the FBI looking into Stone Realty?” Agent Edwards adjusted his tie and looked at me.

“I’m not allowed to divulge that information,” he said. “It is privileged.”

I looked him straight in the eye and smiled.

“You won’t divulge that information because you don’t know why. Do you?”

Agent Edwards smiled slightly back at me and I could tell he was finally calming down.

“No,” he said. “I don’t know why.”

“You’re all right, Special Agent Edwards. Let’s you and me step inside this Walgreens here and have us a cup of Joe.”

“You mean coffee? Correct?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “Coffee. Correct. Come on. I’m buying.”

“I could use a cup of coffee,” he said and got out from behind the wheel. “And maybe a donut or two?”

I brushed a small piece of lint off his right shoulder and gave him the once over.      “You’re not much taller standing up. Are you?” I asked.

“As I said? I’m tall enough.”

Buy a copy of The Woman In The Yellow Dress today
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Author Robert Forte Writes “Racy,” “Intriguing”, “Whodunit” in First Novel The Woman in the Yellow Dress

Author Robert Forte Writes “Racy,” “Intriguing”, “Whodunit” in First Novel The Woman in the Yellow Dress

When screenwriter, now author Robert Forte wields a pen, audiences laugh, cry and certainly, hold their breath as his first novel, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, gives readers heart-pounding excitement from the lens of gumshoe private investigator Patrick Miles Atwater during the post-World War II revival of Hollywood glitz and crime. Kindle version FREE.

Published by Fifth Wind Books last month, initial reviews call The Woman in the Yellow Dress an “edgy,” “racy” and an “intriguing” “whodunit” mystery that’s a “great weekend read.”

Forte’s knack for painting word pictures comes from more than 20 years entertaining audiences with his screen and stage plays, television sitcoms, thrillers and even a musical.

Forte said the wonderful response from his new book encouraged him to start the Forte Fan Club, to help his fans know about his upcoming work and appearances. According to Forte, fans can expect to have the next book Magenta Dairy in March, and War of Ghosts in time for this Summer. Robert has also started a blog, going between-the-lines for fans, offering VIP perks and insider information such as “The ‘Other’ Woman in the Yellow Dress.”

Meet Robert Forte at an upcoming book signings and events:

  • #FineThings Online Video Interview with Robert Forte
    February 9, Pre-recorded LIVE online video here.
  • Church Mouse Emporium — Book signing, question and answer with Robert Forte
    February 16, 7-9 p.m. EST, 828 Diamond Blvd., Johnstown, PA 15905
  • Classic Lines Bookstore — Book signing, question and answer with Robert Forte
    February 24, 2-4 p.m. EST, 5825 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217

“Forte’s filmmaking background certainly benefits his narrative style. By describing and moving through each scene as though it were a single frame on a roll of celluloid film, he paints a picture so real it’s easy to imagine his characters and settings right in front of your eyes. If you dare to lose yourself in the dark underbelly the 1940s Los Angeles, The Woman in the Yellow Dress is available for purchase on Amazon.”
— Johnstown Magazine, Book Review by Erika Fleegle

Robert Forte is a multi-talented American writer and producer based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Forte has written numerous stage and screen plays, television sitcoms, and now his first crime novel, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, based on his original screenplay and the first in The Patrick Miles Atwater Trilogy. Robert has also invented a board game, writes original music and has six screenplays in development. Learn more at

Read the live press release here.


Buy your copy of The Woman In The Yellow Dress today
and receive a free Kindle!

Meet The Woman in the Yellow Dress

Meet The Woman in the Yellow Dress

The Woman in the Yellow DressIn chapter 2 of his new crime thriller, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, author Robert Forte introduces the reader to the stunning heiress of a fortune with a problem. A FREE Kindle version is available on Please add a review after reading this excerpt, and enjoy the community of the Forte Fan Club.




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Meet Robert Forte at an upcoming book signings and events:

Church Mouse Emporium — Book signing, question and answer with Robert Forte
February 16, 7-9 p.m. EST, 828 Diamond Blvd., Johnstown, PA 15905

Classic Lines Bookstore — Book signing, question and answer with Robert Forte
February 24, 2-4 p.m. EST, 5825 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217

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Excerpt, Chapter 2 – The Woman in the Yellow Dress

Copyright 2016
 By Robert Forte

As I sat in my back booth at Barney’s I had no clue about what my next case might be. Turned out to be a case like no other I had ever encountered. A case I called The Woman in the Yellow Dress.

I sipped my Scotch and watched as she stepped through Barney’s front door. I didn’t know it then, but her name was Rachel Stone Barbieri. She was tall, beautiful, and rich. When I say tall and beautiful she was clearly that, but saying the word rich was a wealth I could never have imagined. I learned that Rachel was heir apparent to a family fortune that had been around since the early 1800 with an estimated worth around seven hundred million. Her great-grandfather made a fortune manufacturing and selling steel parts for just about every piece of machinery ever invented over the last hundred years, and now the Stone family was highly invested in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition, hotel construction, and real estate world-wide.

World War II alone almost doubled their entire worth.

Like some bomb in the night sky bursting through my ice and glass, her image instantly ignited the entire room.

Slowly, I lowered my drink and focused on her.

Everyone in the entire bar also saw her. Even Betty took notice. It was almost as if time stood still when she stepped into the place with her questioning look, cream colored skin, and those long shapely legs.

Barney suddenly dropped his blue towel and stopped cleaning glasses.

He blinked his one good eye several times and then stood there like some statue, as if struck by lightning, suddenly growing a long limp tongue that fell slowly out of his gaping mouth and rolled down onto his chin.

She carried a small black purse with tiny yellow sparkles and wore a very short, tight, bright, matching yellow dress with matching shoes. Her shining auburn hair flowed down onto her shoulders like soft manicured clouds. Everything about this woman was perfectly put into place from her head right down to her toes.

Even from my booth in the back I could see a humongous diamond ring resting on her finger, three carats easily, and I sensed in that instant, that this lovely little creature, this belladonna from God knows where, was going to become bad news for me.

Very bad news.

Rachel Stone Barbieri was all too perfect, as if playing a role. Not really looking for help like the rest of my clients.

That was my forte, spotting the real from the not-so-real.  This woman had the unreal written all over her.

My suspicious mind and all of my thoughts of this vision in yellow clanged like the opening bell of some prize fight when she looked around the room a bit too quickly but walked directly to my table without skipping a beat or asking anyone for directions.

She approached and boldly held out one of my business cards.

“Are you Patrick Atwater?”

I pretended not to be interested. She looked at the card.

“Patrick Miles Atwater?”

Her voice is a bit too strained as if practiced, and although she carried the persona of someone clearly in trouble and in need of help, I could tell there was something very different about the entire delivery.

Something odd. Something off. Something askew.

She obviously needed someone to listen to her story, whatever it was, and then possibly provide a strong shoulder for her to cry on.

She didn’t strike me as the crying type. Not in that outfit.

She wanted someone to make this trouble, whatever it was, disappear. Make it all go away. And she came running to me.

She knew the drill and the game. And she played it out perfectly.

She smelled like fresh-cut flowers with just the slightest hint of vanilla. It was the scent of vanilla that told me immediately; I was going to be in big trouble with this one.

Deep trouble.

I felt her coming at me like the wind of some deadly hurricane. And what made it all the worse was although I knew it, I didn’t really care.

I welcomed her with a slight smile.

Something just wasn’t quite right about this one, and I could smell it on her plain as day, in spite of the freshly-cut flower scent, and that slight hint of vanilla.

This was the job. What I did for a living. My chosen profession. Helping poor lost souls who don’t know where to turn or who to talk to when everything around them starts looking like some deep dark endless hole that they just can’t get out of by themselves. Even though nine out of ten were always completely responsible for their own misfortunes.

She pretended to be clearly in need of someone, that was for sure, and that someone was going to be me, the guy with the sore knuckles, the cold Scotch, and the answers to all her troubles.

A con was written all over her and I have to admit I was feeling eager to get this case started. If she was going to try and put something over on someone, if that was her game, and given all the private dicks running around this town, I was glad she picked me.

Damn that hint of vanilla. I was ready for her. All I needed was that small first tell.

Damn the torpedoes. Full steam ahead.

“X” marks the spot at Barney’s By The Sea and whatever was going on with this sexy firecracker all wrapped up in yellow, had somehow, some way, allowed one of my business cards to drop into her hands and she found me, here at my back booth. I could see she was already thinking from the moment she entered that she had me.

She clearly thought I was going to be caught up in her sad little story.

Hook. Line. And sinker.

I quickly decided to play this one out. Go all the way.

“I’m Atwater. Take a seat,” I said, and gave her the quick once over.

She didn’t mind my stare at all. She enjoyed it, and slid in across from me.

Buy a copy of The Woman In The Yellow Dress today
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