“ Most people don’t know the value of a real treasure. They only know how to use something until there’s nothing of it left, nothing salvageable anyway” -Love You To a Pulp by C.S. DeWildt
This novel has all the ingredients of a solid noir novel:
Glue sniffing PI? Check.
Unsavory characters? Check.
Low-lives at every turn? Check.
Quick paced plot that flies by at a blistering pace? Check.
The plot of this beauty centers on Neil Chambers, a glue sniffing PI who is hired to bring the local pill-peddling pharmacist’s daughter back to hm. What makes this different from your typical plot? The daughter is a grown woman and not too eager for any type of reunion. When Chamber’s questions into this matter lead him to what looks like an obvious murder that is mysteriously labeled a suicide by the local medical examiner, he goes all-in during his quest to find answers to what type of seedy connections are being used to hide the truth.
But rest assured, as in any noir novel, our main character is far from valiant in the eyes of others. As he meets a woman who may have some answers for him, he reports “She turned and eyed (me), as if sizing (me) up or undressing (me). Either way she looked vaguely disappointed”. You have to love when a book when its protagonist elicits emotions like that.
As Chambers floats in and out of his glue induced stupors, he offers us flashbacks into his days as a youngster. We witness his mother have a parade of men visiting her bedroom while his father sits by quietly watching television. We witness his father using him as a bare-knuckle fighter to bring extra money into the household. We see his father take his own life for reasons beyond Chamber’s comprehension. We see Chambers meet the future love of his life…which only brings new trouble to him.
Both plot lines are extremely enjoyable to read and the flashbacks offer great foreshadowing into the Chamber’s present day mindset. As the plot continues, we start to see him lose control of is mind and his ability to control himself. The end of the book reaches a satisfying climax and leaves the reader looking forward to more novels by DeWildt. The great news for me is this is my first exposure to him, so I can jump right into some of his previous works.
Another butt-kicking winner from All Due Respect Books. I am starting to notice a pattern, are you?