Peter Strand

Created by Ronald Tierney (1944-2017)

Consider it a parting shot from a great guy and a great writer: in the fall of 2015, Orca released The Blue Dragon, a novella featuring Chinese-American PETER STRAND, a forensic accountant and reluctant private eye, charged with investigating a murder in a small apartment building in San Francisco's Chinatown. It's a classic fish-out-of-water story: not only is Strand not -- to his mind -- much of a detective (he's been sent there to allay the tenants more than to solve any crime), but having been adopted and raised by white parents, he's culturally about as Chinese as John Boy Walton.

The novella was part Orca's Rapid Reads program, which publishes books "intended for a diverse audience, including ESL students, reluctant readers, adults who struggle with literacy and anyone who wants a high-interest quick read," and as such was a fitting final gift from an all-round stand-up guy whom I was fortunate enough to correspond with over the years. The second novel in the series, The Black Tortoise (2017), was published posthumously.

Tierney was the founding editor of NUVO Newsweekly, an Indianapolis alternative weekly, and the editor of a San Francisco monthly. He lived for twenty-five years in the Bay Area, before moving to Palm Springs in his later years., where he was still working on several writing projects, when he passed away in 2017. Tierney is best known for his long-running and acclaimed series about septuagenarian shamus Deets Shanahan. He also wrote another series, featuring odd couple San Francisco gumshoes Carly Paladino & Noah Lang.


I was fortunate to correspond with Ron several times over the last few years, at first just about books, but later about other things, including films, politics and writing, and while I'd never say we were "friend-friends," I always felt better seeing his name pop up in my inbox. It's probably fitting that his last two books, which featured Peter Strand, were part of Orca's Rapid Reads program, which publishes books for "adults who struggle with literacy." Ronald gave so much to folks; this was like a parting gift. The man was just a stand-up guy. I'm sorry he's gone.



A great blog, particularly when Tierney suggests weekly crime film double features, and the drinks to match.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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