Robert Roy Britt

author • editor • science writer

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“A brisk detective novel sequel that packs a punch.”
— Kirkus Reviews (Drone: An Eli Quinn mystery)

Robert Roy BrittWelcome. I’m an author working on book #4 in the Eli Quinn mystery series.

See Closure (# 1) and Drone (#2) and Murder Mountain (#3, the prequel).

Before making stuff up, I spent a quarter-century in journalism, as a science writer and editor. Learn more about me or sign up for my newsletter.

Murder Mountain: An Eli Quinn Mystery

Published Aug. 13, 2016: The long-awaited prequel to the Eli Quinn series!

murder mountain cover

Cover design by John Trent.

Murder MountainThe story of Eli Quinn, private investigator, really starts here, before he becomes a detective. On the heels of the first two books in the series—Closure and Drone—it was time to circle back and, in this very short prequel, reveal the events that shaped the man.

The book jacket blurb:

A silent shooter kills Eli Quinn’s wife at a public rally, in a scene captured on video in broad daylight, then vanishes. The case goes cold until Quinn’s colleague, investigative reporter Samantha Marcos, suggests they team up to solve the seemingly random murder.

Quinn and Sam embark on a months-long investigation that leads to a harrowing chase through a fog-shrouded forest as Quinn and his K-9 companion, Solo, hunt down the elusive killer.

In this brief, fast-paced prequel to the Eli Quinn detective mystery series, Quinn tests the physical and mental skills that later define him as a private eye.

This fast-paced tale—shorter than the other Quinn books—is a lickety-split read.

Murder Mountain is available as an ebook only, via Amazon.

See also Closure (book 1) and Drone (book 2).

Book 4 in the series, First Kill, is due out this fall.

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Screaming at the Storm: And Other Very Short Stories

screaming at the storm coverThe water rises, pushes harder. Fingernails dig into a tiny crevice. Inching forward.
—From Screaming at the Storm

For me, writer’s block is a time to write something else. So while working on my Eli Quinn mystery series, I pen a short story now and then. Sometimes really short. My publisher suggested putting out a teensy little ebook with these very short stories, which are packed with pithy descriptions, terse dialogue and edgy little plots.

Screaming at the Storm will have you clinging by your fingernails. But not for long. The story is a superquick, rollicking read, like the others in this tiny collection.

If novels are dinner, wine and desert, consider this 99-cent gem a scrumptious little truffle.

Available as an ebook from Amazon.

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Drone: An Eli Quinn Detective Mystery

Get Drone in paperback or ebook on Amazon.

“A brisk detective novel sequel that packs a punch.”
— Kirkus Reviews

drone cover“A delightful read, a page turner.”
“You will not be able to put it down.”
“Britt has a keen feel for dialogue.”
“The settings and characters are vivid to the reader and the dialogue exchanges are crisp and real. …an entertaining read.”
— Amazon readers

No. 2 in the series:  A brazen assassination attempt on an Arizona politician looks unsolvable. The weapon was a drone, and the pilot has carefully covered his tracks. Private investigator Eli Quinn takes the case when his friend, lawman Jack Beachum, suspects the sheriff isn’t investigating rigorously.

With three suspects on his list, Quinn pieces the case together with the help of reporter Samantha Marcos, a good friend who is quickly becoming more than that. Quinn also needs back-up from his dog, Solo, the world’s greatest K-9 private eye.

As Quinn and his team close in on the suspects, he must use all his fighting skills to stop a threat more sinister than he imagined.

Get Drone in paperback or ebook on Amazon.

Book 1 in this series: CLOSURE.

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Eli Quinn Book 3 Written, Being Edited

storm clouds

Writing sometimes goes in spurts, and boy has it. I’ve finished the first draft of Book 3 in the Eli Quinn detective mystery series (plus a short prequel I’ll tell you about soon). Now I wait for editing, cover design and production. Expected release for Book 3: September, in paperback and ebook.

This photo, taken the other day as monsoon moisture built up here in Arizona, holds a hint of some of the action you can expect. I’ll reveal more about the plot as we get closer to publication.

What Quinn and I learned during this one: When you get stuck, just keep slogging.

(The first two books in the series, Closure and Drone, are available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.)

Ocotillo at Sunset

ocotillo at sunset

An ocotillo just north of Phoenix as a minor monsoon storm passes through on July 22, 2016.

Ocotillos remind me of Keith Richards’ hair. This time of year, they’re scraggly and thirsty. You’d think they were dead. But they’ll bloom again, striking red flowers amid lush, leathery green leaves.

The dead tree in the foreground was maybe a mesquite at one time.

In the background, rain falls without touching the ground. You can’t see the monsoon wind in this photo, but it’s there, whooshing and whistling through the life and death of the desert.

Monsoon Lightning

lightning on gavilan peak

Lightning appears to strike the top of Gavilan Peak north of Phoenix during a monsoon thunderstorm on July 18, 2016, at sunset.

Storms during the Southwest monsoon are unpredictable, spotty, sometimes destructive, always gorgeous. Yesterday a thunderstorm passed to the west of our home near the edge of the desert, heading northward, at sunset. I ran out and used my iPhone to capture photos of the colorful sky, plus a video of lightning that appears to strike Gavilan Peak, the second most prominent mountain in the area.

Meanwhile, holes in the clouds dropped columns of rain on either side of a sunset that painted the sky purple.

monsoon sunset

The sun sets during a monsoon thunderstorm at the northern edge of Phoenix on July 18, 2016.

Closure: An Eli Quinn Detective Mystery

Get Closure in paperback or ebook on Amazon.

closure cover“Short but pleasantly enthusiastic … Quinn’s narrative often sports the hardened cynicism of a seasoned veteran … Solo nearly steals the story; he can intimidate with a single bark and a follow-up growl.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating plot.”
“Great characters.”
“A great read.”
“I really enjoyed this book. Quinn is not the usual detective.”
— Amazon readers

No. 1 in the series: A shocking, unsolved murder in the normally quiet town of Pleasant provides Eli Quinn with a mysterious case, his first as a private investigator.

Tinker Bernstein was shot in his garage, three days after his computer had been stolen in a break-in. The dual crimes must be more than a coincidence, but there are few clues and no obvious motive. Quinn’s good friends, reporter Samantha Marcos and lawman Jack Beachum, help him piece together a puzzle that surprises them all.

Quinn has to break a few rules, and a few bones, along the way, and his dog Solo, the world’s greatest K-9 private eye, helps keep him safe.

Get Closure in paperback or ebook on Amazon.

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See a Sonic Boom

sound barrier broken

An F/A-18C Hornet breaks the sound barrier on June 6, 2011. Credit: US Navy, Travis K. Mendoza

You’ve probably heard a sonic boom before, caused by a jet breaking the sound barrier. But have you ever seen one? Yes, it’s actually visible. Sometimes. I wrote about this phenomenon several years ago when I first learned of it, having seen a photo and not believing it to be real. Here’s what happens:

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Thoughts on Writing


These glimpses inside my head are random thoughts on writing that I tweet as they come to mind (and occasionally I find one from a writing great and pass it along). I don’t claim these to be useful for anyone else, but if you find them to be, that’s wonderful.


Formal outline or no? Even for a short news story I jot down subheads first. For a book, absolutely!

Biggest mistakes on 1st self-pub book: Not joining a writing group & not hiring a copy editor. Both fixed.

And from one of the greats: “I don’t waste much in the way of language…It is probably what I do best. Say a lot in a little.” —Robert B. Parker


I put 3 characters into an easy scene. They went mute! Leaving ’em there while I write a different chapter.

Writing Ch. 1 in my 3rd book was easy. Rewriting it after a critiquer noted serious flaws is hard!

Private eye Eli Quinn can be so damn frustrating. He won’t take certain cases I’d like to write about!

And a tip from one of the greats: “Start as close to the end as possible.” —Kurt Vonnegut

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