The St. Charles House
by Stephen Banister

A rollicking, irreverent rock & roll murder mystery set in the famous–and infamous–6th Street party district in Austin, Texas. This is the first novel in Banister’s series chronicling the mis-
adventures of poker-playing, wise-cracking slacker sleuth Emerson “Tuck” Tucker, his side-kick, Pig Dog, and their odd assortment of cronies.

List Price: $15.95
Direct to Reader Discount: $14.95
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9819866-3-0
DarkStar Books-Fall 2009
–Click to Order Direct from DarkStar–

– cover painting by Nathan Smith –
– cover design and interior illustrations by Jason Carranza –

Sixth Street in Austin, Texas, is notorious for its party atmosphere and its strange goings-on, but things get just a little too strange when bartender Anthony Court takes a terminal swan dive off the roof of the St. Charles House Hotel. When easygoing Emerson “Tuck” Tucker, who won the old residence hotel/office building in a poker game, starts to clear out his recently deceased tenant’s apartment, he finds a large stash of cocaine hidden in a brass spittoon and an AR-15 rifle cached behind a concealed panel.
The cops maintain that Court’s death was a suicide, but Tuck thinks different. Drugs and guns aren’t that hard to find on Sixth Street, but what he found was more coke than your average bartender would have, and way too much rifle. Tuck can’t leave the question of Court’s death alone. When he starts to nose around, someone breaks into his apartment in the St. Charles House and puts a bullet into Pig Dog, his beloved, if somewhat socially challenged, golden retriever.
As a warning and a threat, shooting a Texan’s dog is just about as effective as drawing to an inside straight. The people responsible are about to find out just how rough a poker-playing slacker of a good-old boy can play their game.

NQex  Click to read an excerpt from The St. Charles House

NQex  Click to listen to an audio excerpt from The St. Charles House read by Stephen Banister



Reviews and Links:

MSM  Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine, Winter Issue #113, February 2010
“In Stephen Banister’s The St. Charles House (DarkStar, $15.95), the protagonist is so busy cracking jokes that he’s unaware of the danger that surrounds him. Emerson “Tuck” Tucker is a slacker gambler who has won a small Austin, Texas, apartment building in a poker game. No longer forced to work, he spends most of his days and night prowling the lively Austin music scene. When one of his tenants takes a dive off the top of his building, Tuck suspects that his death wasn’t suicide. During his rather casual investigation (remember, he’s a slacker), he meets the woman of his dreams. That’s when his life really gets complicated.
“Tuck and his golden retriever, Pig Dog, make fine companions for a cold winter’s night, especially when Tuck’s propensity for humor is given free rein. Let’s hope this merry prankster returns soon.”

Falkeep  A review by Fallkeep
… “Pulp novels also contained primal and archetypal clichés and lines which we all recognize. Stephen Banister’s The Saint Charles House is a worthy successor to that tradition.
“Set in and around an unremarkable three-story building on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas, the action takes place within walking distance of the title building. Much like the French Quarter in New Orleans, while Sixth Street is famous for its raucous parties and out-of-control college students, it is also the home stomping ground of its residents and employees. Emerson “Tuck” Tucker, the resident owner of the St. Charles House and his golden retriever, Pig Dog, are among those who call Sixth Street home.
“The first murder takes place in the first page and a half. Between then and the last page and a half, we are introduced to characters that can only exist in a small world. Bars, private poker games, and the very thin line which separates the criminal world from the world of those walk close to the edge of legality are all grist for the pulp mill, and Banister has his mill running at full speed. The ending, in particular, was really surprising and would have been worthy of the best Bogart film noir movie …”

Eudaly  Rhonda Eudaly
” … The St. Charles House is a fast read, action moves the story along, you do care about the characters and how they get through the mystery of the sudden and unexpected deaths literally on their doorsteps. There are twists and turns that keep you turning the pages to figure out what’s going on ­ and when the main character, “Tuck” Tucker doesn’t know what’s happening ­ neither does the reader …”


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