Steel Guitar

Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries (Volume 4)

Linda Barnes

St. Martin's Paperbacks

They say you meet all kinds when you're driving a hack. That's certainly the case for Boston PI Carlotta Carlyle, who gets an unexpected fare while moonlighting behind the wheel. It's singer Dee Willis, Carlotta's ex-friend and former band mate, who stole Carlotta's man before clawing her way up the charts.

Dee's made the leap from Southie's barrooms to the cover of People magazine, but now she's back in Carlotta's life, bringing with her a load of trouble. She hires Carlotta to track down a mutual friend who's fallen on hard times, but Carlotta soon finds that there's a far more menacing tune being played. Someone is blackmailing Dee, claiming she stole songwriting credits-and the money and fame that came with them. As the spotlight's glare turns as cold as the corpse that turns up in Dee's hotel room, Carlotta's past is about to catch up to her...with a vengeance.


Read an Excerpt

Men darf lebn un lozn lebn,” my mother always used to tell me when I was a child. Now that I’m grown I know the words translate roughly to “Live and let live,” but for Mom it meant “Don’t mix in.”
Her warning didn’t take. That’s how I make my living, mixing in.
Amend that. It’s how I’d make my living if I could. But the investigations business is dicey: sometimes I turn away three clients in a single day; sometimes I go for weeks without hearing a knock at my door. Because I like to eat—and I prefer to say no to


Praise for Steel Guitar

"Her first person prose is well-honed, and her touch is sure enough to float her fast-paced narrative while still allowing for sharp development of an intriguing cast of characters...best of all, Barnes can turn a phrase well enough to make even Paretsky and Grafton jealous."
-Houston Chronicle

"Linda Barnes is once again brilliant. Coyote is damned good."-Robert B. Parker

"Carlotta Carlyle is better than ever and Coyote is the perfect vehicle."-Sue Grafton

"Linda Barnes has another winner in Coyote...a great, only-in-Boston climax."-Jeremiah Healy

"[There's] plenty to keep a reader chasing after the delightful Carlyle while she chases after the bad guys."-Entertainment Weekly

"Barnes weaves an intricate web with a pleasingly poisonous spider at its center...Barnes makes superb use of the town-grown tensions...the twists and turns in this nail-biter are at once startling without ever becoming absurd."-Publishers Weekly

"With Deep Pockets, Barnes locks in her position as one of the foremost practitioners of middle-of-the-road, character-based mystery...I suppose I could have put it down. But I didn't want to."-Orson Scott Card

"Pure pleasure."-Kirkus Reviews

"A true page-turner...nobody knows Boston like Linda Barnes's red-haired private investigator Carlotta Carlyle...Barnes's knack for crisp, snappy dialogue, and devising a mystery that has both timeless and contemporary appeal is a winner."-Boston Herald

"Like the best of the new detectives, V.I. and Kinsey, [Carlotta Carlyle] is a woman of wit and gravity, compassion and toughness, a heroine worth spending time with.... [Those of us] who yearn for whodunits with character as well wrought as plot, can only thank Linda Barnes." -20The New York Times Book Review

"Barnes grabs the detective genre by the throat but rarely lets style overtake substance. The plot is thick and original and sure to surprise."-Washington Times

"Carlotta Carlyle combines the sensitivity of Robert Parker's Spenser with the stubbornness of Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski and she's rapidly carving out a place of her own."-Chicago Tribune

"A shrewd piece of writing, well researched and smartly told."-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

"Carlotta is an engaging narrator with a brisk, easygoing style...a worthy competitor in the private eye business."-The Washington Post

"A rivetingly well-told story."-Publishers Weekly

"Barnes' crisp writing and winsome cab-driving detective make this a smooth ride from start to stop...Carlyle earns rave reviews and a plea for encores."-Cincinnati Post

"Move over Spenser, make permanent room on the streets of Boston for another sleuth who's big (six feet one), strong and tough as nails but soft at the core."-Entertainment Weekly

"It's always a pleasure to spend time with this zesty detective...Carlotta has class and spirit to spare." -Baltimore Sun

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Linda Barnes

  • LINDA BARNES is the author of eleven previous Carlotta Carlyle mysteries and winner of the Anthony and American Mystery Awards. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and son.
  • Linda Barnes
    Linda Barnes





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Steel Guitar

    Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries

    Linda Barnes

    • e-Book



    St. Martin's Paperbacks