The Private Eye Murders by Wayne Greenough


The Private Eye Murders by Wayne Greenough
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (107 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Water Lily

Guys like Marlowe and Spade like murder cases. I don’t. I make it a point to hide from them. Too often, they find me.

Some people are convinced that Private Eye Thanet Blake is a social pariah. Others believe having contact with him insures them of having a short life. A few are convinced he works for the city’s mortuaries and drives a hearse.

When Captain Holt of the Police Department informs Blake that PI’s are being offed by an unknown person, he asks Blake for help. “We don’t have a single clue as to who is doing the offing. We need your help to do some nosing around for us, come up with clues that will lead us to the perp. I’ll even put you on the payroll.”

That starts another murder mystery for Thanet Blake, the shamus who hates murder cases because too many of his friends end up dead, or forever hurt. Who will he lose this time?

The Private Eye Murders reads like a detective comic book without pictures, but I’m pretty sure if there were pictures they’d be in shades of black and gray. Thanet Blake is a hard drinking, unpolished private eye who speaks like you’d expect a clichéd stereotypic detective from the 1930’s would, but the story takes place in present day. I found the unrealistic dialogue and internal thoughts quite disconcerting and prevented me from connecting with the character. I think I’d have liked the story more if it actually had taken place in the past. Most of the time I pretended it did, and that helped, until someone used a computer and threw me back into the present.

The amount of alcohol Thanet consumes is extraordinary as is the fact that he carries around an unloaded gun and everyone knows it, but apparently it still works as defense. Thanet is an anachronism. He drives a 1956 Ford Fairlane, everyone he speaks to has a nick name like Charlotte the Cat, Benny The Rabbit Jones, Godfather, or Spike Mason, and Thanet repeatedly talks about “private peepers getting offed by and offer.” I kept feeling as if I were in an alternative reality in which the past is the present. Perhaps that was the author’s intent. I must warn readers, too, that there is a gritty, depersonalized level of sexual innuendo pervading the piece.

At any rate, Thanet is not very good at his job. Everyone knows it. People follow him with ease, and he interviews all his subjects with the same formula, using mostly the same words, and never learns anything. If you are a comic book fan who reads the descriptions and dialogue without looking at the illustrations, this book may be perfect for you. For me it was a bit two dimensional and cliché, but, again, that may have been the author’s intent since this is not the first book in the series. Author Wayne Greenough is consistent in his writing style, descriptions, characterizations and the way he has Thanet occasionally address the reader. Mr. Greenough’s biography says that the radio shaped him and that he loves Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe and The Fat Man. If you are a fan of those characters as well, you might enjoy The Private Eye Murders.

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