Story Plant, 2014
I feel so badly right now -- I had read this novel at the beginning of March and meant to post about it, but completely spaced. Normally after I finish a book, it goes into a designated basket next to my desk and then as I have time, I grab a book from the top and write a post about it. Since this one was on my Ipad that I couldn't just throw in the basket, well, out of sight, out of mind, another reason I don't particularly care for e-books. So, to author Earl Javorsky, mea culpa, my many many many huge gigantor apologies.
Down Solo is a crossbreed -- it's hardboiled crime mixed with pulp mixed with the supernatural. At the beginning of this book, PI Charlie Miner thinks he "must have blacked out for a bit" after a bullet had entered his skull, but to his surprise, he wakes up "naked on a gurney" in the morgue. It's not a mistake -- Charlie is quite dead, having been killed, then tagged as an "unidentified male." He discovers that he can not only "disengage" from his body and roam around, but that by returning, he is able to reanimate himself. So he does what any normal naked dead guy would do -- steals the clothes from his dead skinhead morgue companion and walks out. First things first -- he wants to discover why he was killed and who did it. Thinking he'll find the answers by looking through the files of the five current cases he was working on before someone put a bullet in his brain, file number four suddenly "sings a tune" in his head -- and we're off on an incredibly strange but fast-paced adventure that begins with a gorgeous woman and ends with a very big bang.
Never a dull moment in this book -- drugs, pursuits, sex and a lot of bullets -- all of the standard fare of an fast-paced hardboiled thriller find their way into this novel. While it's a story of retribution, which Charlie learns "is allowed," at the same time it's a story of redemption and unlike a lot of authors who play with what I call "woo-woo" elements in a crime novel, the author does a great job with the story and especially with his main character. For a dead man, Charlie turns out to be quite human, especially when it comes to his daughter, who obviously doesn't know he's no longer among the living. There is a lot of "if only" thinking on Charlie's part, and also a lot of pain, but these sad moments are offset by the snarky humor thrown in here. There is a very funny scene, for example, where he tries to convince a priest that he's dead, and messes with the poor man's head to prove it. In general, the story is very well done and while I'm not usually a big fan of action-packed thrillers, adding the character of dead Charlie into the mix kept me reading. This one I'd certainly recommend -- it's just plain fun.