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Stephen J. Koenig

Private Investigator


Stephen J. Koenig has worked as a private investigator for thirty plus years, and that work has informed his writing. Growing up on a farm on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, being married for 35 years, and a little dyslexic informed his writing as well. He has written the following books which are available at AMAZON.COM. Articles he has written on the private investigative profession are also noted below. If you have any questions, please send him an email.

Amazon Links – Attached to each book cover below.

Amazon Reviews are Appreciated.


Steve’s favorite writers/books, include: Cormac McCarthy – Border Trilogy & Blood Meridian; Annie Proulx – The Shipping News; Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea; Phillip Kerr – Bernie Gunther Series, James Lee Burke – Dave Robicheaux Series; Loren Estelman – Amos Walker Series; Norman Maclean – A River Runs Through It & Michael Lewis – Moneyball. Then there is Steinbeck, Dickens, Cather & Dr. Seuss.

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is himself not mean.” ― Raymond Chandler, Author

“I don’t want to try to look smart. I just want to tell a story.” ― Elmore Leonard, Author



Late – 2023


Private Eye Story

(Paperback, Kindle, KDP Select)

Joe Bauer finally graduated college and started his career as a private investigator. But he is not the only investigator in the sleepy college town of Fort Kearney, Nebraska. It is the late 1980’s, and Joe is working for Herb Compton, a Nebraska sheriff turned insurance investigator. A Lakota private eye and a future exorcist are also working cases. And a Russian agent is tracking down stolen Fabergé Eggs. By the end of his first year, Joe begins to learn how to conduct covert surveillance. A skill he discovers that is part art and part luck. Joe learns that in the gray world of the private eye business the trick is not to be tricky. The trick is not to be invisible. The trick is to be unremarkable.


(Paperback, Large Print, Kindle, Audible)

It was 1976, and Joe Bauer was a dyslexic, twelve-year-old boy, and he was having a bad year. Joe became involved in an investigation, led by his range detective father, on a case involving satanic cattle mutilations. He escaped death twice, watched a tornado ravage his family’s ranch, saw a plane crash-land near his one-room country school, and he met a Nazi. His parents sold their cattle ranch due to the injuries his father had sustained, and Joe’s teacher abandoned her job, leaving him to teach himself, as the last student at his country school in Holt County, Nebraska. Joe bared witness to the struggles of family and friends and the conflicts that were affected by these events.


Five Story Books and a Coloring Book

J. J. Valentine

The Detective Kids solve mysteries with the help of their teacher, Miss Funkledundkel.



These short stories tell of personal challenges faced by four fishermen.

-Nebraska Society of Fly Fishermen

-Ishmael (Flash Fiction Magazine – May 2017)

-The One That Got Away

-The Confession (Chapter 19 – Barbed Wire Runs Through It)


Colorado Private Eye Story

Luther Mahoney

(Mitchell & Koenig)


Johnny Loretto has had his heart broken about a hundred times – by the same woman. And for years he has plodded forward, trying to make a living as a private investigator in Horsetooth, Colorado. When two promising clients come his way, he thinks his luck has changed. Rex King, president of Horsetooth University, hires Johnny to handle an extortion case. The blackmailer is threatening to send some incriminating photos to King’s wife and, worse yet, the board of regents. A few days later Professor Throgmorton director of research at the veterinary school, seeks Johnny’s help in tracking down a missing sheep. The two cases collide, and Johnny uncovers an illegal cloning project involving several big players in town. When a cross-dressing sheep thief is murdered, Johnny becomes a prime suspect. With some help from his lifelong friend, Father Hank Redwine, Johnny embarks on a bruising tour de horse as he searches for evidence to expose the conspirators and prove his innocence. As he traverses the weird boulevards of Horsetooth, he must dodge his pursuers: Copeland, his freaky, stalking nemesis; Detective Shepherd, the cop convinced there is blood on Johnny’s hands’ Luther, the vengeful leader of the Bros. of Bedlam biker gang; and, at the center of the storm, Jane Crowe, Johnny’s treacherous old flame. Along the strange journey Johnny finds himself in the struggle of his life, one that brings him to the edge of his existence as he fights for his very soul. They Call Her Ed twists through a landscape of glaring wit, arresting satire, and brutal authenticity. Check your wiper blades and top off your tank, for this clearly is a trip into new territory,


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I wrote to the CAR TALK brothers – Tom & Ray Magliozzi. Their famous talk show on NPR was a hoot. The story ran in various papers around the country.

Dear Car Talk | Oct 03, 2013

Dear Tom and Ray:

I write this letter as the rain pecks away on the windshield of my surveillance van. I’m a private eye. I live in Nebraska. I do a fair amount of surveillance, for which I use a gunmetal-gray, 1999 Chrysler Town & Country van. I use the van to surveil insurance fraudsters with bad backs, to track down cattle rustlers, to serve court papers, to conduct interviews with witnesses to malfeasance, mayhem and murders, and to shadow desperate housewives slinking over to the cheating side of town.

The Case: I’ve got a problem. Not a big problem, as problems go. It’s more like a nuisance, like when your girlfriend keeps asking if you are married and your wife keeps asking if you have a girlfriend. But I digress. Here’s the deal. As I’m driving my surveillance van down the road, on occasion my gauges will flatline. It happens every so often. Usually the next day they (the gauges) will perk back to life, or they may jump to life while I’m barreling down the road after some knothead running from a repo.

However, it should be noted that the warning lights continue to work during that time. What is odd, and perhaps it is the clue to the whole caper — or perhaps just a red herring — the ABS warning light will come ON when the gauges flatline, and the ABS warning light will then turn OFF when the gauges return to life. It is a mystery. So, I came to the best car dicks I know to solve this caper. Better than my local shade-tree shyster, who not only has a boat, but he also has a Harley. If you need a retainer, I warn you, work has been slow. Slower than a turtle wearing a tourniquet. Slower than a gazelle with gout. Slower than my brother-in-law on Monday morning. Slower than a — well, you get the picture.

— Steve

TOM: We were working the late shift at the garage, Steve. And this doll walks in. She’s got a ’99 Town and Country.

RAY: And guess what? She’s in a jam. Her dashboard takes a powder every so often. Just like yours.

TOM: And the goose she’s married to doesn’t know what to do, so he sends her to us. She’s lucky we’re gumshoes and not hatchet men.

RAY: Anyway, we listen to her sob story, and give her car the up and down.

TOM: My brother gets in, and sure enough, the instrument cluster has taken it on the heel and toe. Looks fried.

RAY: So I give it some serious chin music. I whack it with both fists on top of the dashboard, and, whadda ya know? It does a Lazarus — comes back to life. All lit up.

TOM: So he tells the dame, “You got a busted cluster, Buster.”

RAY: And she says: “Why’d you smack my dashboard? And don’t call me Buster.”

TOM: So I tell her that sometimes a bad connection on the instrument cluster’s printed circuit board can cause intermittent failure like that. Sometimes by whacking it, you can get it to come back to life temporarily, confirming that the problem is right there, in the cluster.

RAY: And besides, I tell her, even if you don’t get it to come back to life, giving it a hard shot in the beezer will make you feel a whole lot better.

TOM: Yeah, I tell her, if you really want to teach this bus a lesson, drive it into a guard rail, haha.

RAY: She don’t think that’s funny. So I tell her, look, if it’s not the instrument cluster, it could be a bad body control module, which is a little computer that controls things like lights and interior functions. But in her case, I was pretty sure it was the instrument cluster.

TOM: So she asks how much cabbage we’re talking about.

RAY: Depends, I say. If you can find a cat willing to take out the cluster and look for cracked solder joints on the circuit board and solder ’em back together, it could be an hour’s work. But you might not find someone willing or able to do that.

TOM: Another option is to grab up a used one from a junk yard. But, of course, that one could be halfway to the big sleep itself. You never know.

RAY: If you want to replace it with a new cluster, that’ll definitely fix it, but you’re looking at big money. A bunch of C’s. South of a grand, but maybe not by much.

TOM: “That’s a lotta spinach,” she says. “I may have to put this thing in the wooden kimono, along with my deadbeat husband.”

RAY: We nodded. “Good luck, ma’am,” I said. We never saw the broad again. So we’ll say the same to you. Good luck, Steve. And be careful out there.


Licensed Private Investigator