Coming January 2025

A big city private eye with a boatload of heartbreak,
traversing the universe in pursuit of justice for the little guy.

Nic Knuckles Tips for Private Investigators

Check out the videos highlighting Nic’s unique approach to solving crimes and busting the bad guys. Subscribe and learn more from the master.


William Ade, writing as Nic Knuckles, authored Big Scream in a Small Town. He also wrote and produced the Nic Knuckles promotional videos and co-wrote the lyrics to Nic’s Dance Video.

Ade was born and raised in a large family in small-town Indiana during the fifties and sixties, an experience that strongly influenced his writing. While attending graduate school at the University of Illinois, he met and married his wife, Cindy, and following graduation, they headed to the East Coast. After settling in Northern Virginia, they raised two children into adulthood. Those years of love and life also influenced many of his stories.

Ade’s latest novel, written as Nic Knuckles, is Big Scream in a Small Town and is the first in the Nic Knuckles Collection published by Level Best Books (LBB). LBB also published his crime novel, Do It for Daisy, in 2021. Other novels by the author include The Man Who Fixed Things (2023), Art of Absolution (2019), and the serialized The Inevitable Failure of Jonathan Golding (2022). His short story collection, No Time for His Nonsense, was released in 2019. His short stories have appeared in Mysteries Unimagined, the Rind Literary Magazine, The Broken Plate, Black Fox Literary, Mindscapes Unimagined, and the 2018 and 2019 Best New England Crime Stories. His short story, Punch Drunk, is part of the 2024 Chesapeake Crimes: Three Strikes – You’re Dead anthology.

Ade’s other writing credits are at Eclectic Stories for the Humans,


Jonathan Ade

Jonathan Ade, LA-based film director and editor, directed, co-wrote, and produced the Nic Knuckles promotional videos.

Ade is a freelance Film and Video Writer, Director, and Editor, working on various projects in various multimedia disciplines, including (but not limited to) short and feature-length films, television programs, commercials, trailers, reels, sizzles, promotional material, music videos, electronic press kits, and comedic shorts.


Patrick De Nicola

Patrick De Nicola lives in Chicago and starred as Nic Knuckles in the Nic Knuckles Promotional Videos. De Nicola has made viral videos featured on Good Morning America,, The Wall Street Journal,, and more. (Jurassic Park: High Heels Edition, Brokeback to the Future (co-creator), If Star Wars Were Your Ex-Girlfriend, to name a few!) He’s improvised on veteran teams at iO Chicago and The Second City. Most importantly, he delivered his daughter in an emergency birth on his living room floor. He’s repped by DDO Chicago


Sarah Giroux

Sarah Giroux, a Chicago-based cinematographer, shot the footage for Nic Knuckles’ promotional videos. She has a drive for cinematography, a lust for travel, and a hunger for spontaneity. If not longboarding down lakeshore drive or schooling strangers on a pool table, you can find her dancing to the beat of the world at a concert.


Sam Martin

Sam Martin, served as on-site producer and sound technician for the Nic Knuckles Promotional Videos. Martin is a writer/director/editor living in Chicago, IL. He writes and directs commercials, sketches, web series and sometimes they are actually good. He has performed comedy at The Second City, iO Chicago & the Annoyance Theater. His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Right This Minute on ABC, as well as Entertainment Weekly & He is currently producing videos at 2GuysInAVent on all social media things.


Thu Tran & Rachel Garcia

Thu Tran, Bay Area songwriter, and performer, co-wrote the lyrics to the Nic Dance Video and performed the guitar instrumental version.

Rachel Garcia, Bay Area vocalist and songwriter, sang the lyrics for the Nic Dance Video and provided the stinger.

Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran, as the nationally celebrated The Singer and The Songwriter, create music as vibrant and diverse as their multiracial backgrounds. Rachel’s rich, nuanced vocal delivery and Thu’s dynamic guitar arrangements provide the backbone for the duo’s eclectic and heartfelt songs that tell emotionally honest and compelling stories. 


Free Stuff

Short stories, interviews, and opinion pieces by and about the author of Nic Knuckles

Nic Knuckles Finds Mary Maria

Originally published April 2018 in Literally Stories

It was late afternoon on one of those chilly New York City days when the clouds couldn’t decide whether to spritz or pour rain. I was in my office, trying to ignore the past dues and termination notices. I had no appointments scheduled, so I was surprised when the office door was pushed open with authority. In came an older woman. She popped a question before I could jump from my chair to introduce myself.

“Are you Nic Knuckles?”

“That’s me, sissy, Nic Knuckles, Private Investigator.”

“I understand you find people.”

“I’ve been known to locate a few lost souls, you could say.”

The Waitress

The Last Epicurean was the kind of eatery favored by working stiffs getting off an all-night shift. I’m talking about the cops who’d maintained order as society’s dregs roamed the streets after dark. And there were the firefighters and nurses, those angels of mercy, coming in to decompress over eggs and coffee. And the coffee was a wonder. It wasn’t that hoity-toity artisanal blend drowning in candy flavors that cost six bucks. No, the Joe at the Last Epicurean was more bitter than a disappointed mom on Mother’s Day.

That’s why I was there that afternoon. I needed a cup of gritty reality to wake me up from the stupor of the past night. You know how it is; you invest your heart and soul into a dream, and it turns on you and becomes a nightmare. My dream was named Babe, and she’s now the embodiment of night terrors.

You know what I’m saying?

Heather Weidner, Mystery Author

Blog Interview January 2024
Nic Knuckles answers Heather’s Questions

Favorite thing to do when you have free time: “Not much to say. Nic Knuckles is a big city private eye with a boatload of heartbreak, traversing the universe in pursuit of justice for the little guy.”

The thing you’ll always move to the bottom of your to do list: “Death scene investigations involving cat ladies who cared for more than a dozen felines.” 

Favorite snacks: “Maybe the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel helped humans evolve from hunter-gathers to on-line shoppers, but Nic Knuckles believes we only truly became the apex mammal with the innovation of multiple varieties of cheese.”

Level Best Books Author’s Blog

January 2024

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister walk into a bar. Hearing someone speak that line, you might lean in, anticipating a good laugh. Maybe your stomach muscles tense, fearful you’re about to be offended. Your anxiety could be from wondering why you’re failing to get the joke while everyone else rolls with laughter. Being funny is risky. Writing funny is even more treacherous.

My new book, Big Scream in a Small Town (Level Best Books), introduces Nic Knuckles, a caricature of noirish crime-solving protagonists like Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade. Nic is self-aware of the comparison, describing himself as a big city private eye with a boatload of heartbreak, traversing the universe in pursuit of justice for the little guy.