My head is a little splodey right now, thanks to this book and the totally incongruous book I read just before it. Mark Genevich and Flavia de Luce couldn’t be any more different and it’s all got my head spinning a bit. But in a good way. Really.
Mark Genevich is a PI in Southie, but he’s not your father’s smartass fast talking hustler. Due to a devastating accident that killed his best friend, Mark survived with a restructured face and traumatic brain injury and suffers from narcolepsy and it’s host of horrifying side effects. Not only will he just drop off to sleepy land while with a client (or smoking a cigarette or walking down the stairs or driving) he can fall victim to bouts of catalepsy, where he is totally immobile but still aware or strange and frightening hallucinations. This makes living challenging enough, not to mention conducting business as a private investigator. He has carved out a not terribly lucrative niche doing investigations by phone or computer, but one day an explosive case is dropped in his lap (while essentially napping, of course) and he struggles against his own limitations as well as that of a well-heeled Boston DA.
I found this book to be wholly original while hewing to many of the delicious noir elements that I have enjoyed from the likes of Chandler and Goodis. Genevich is a complex character and I’m not even sure that I like him, but damned if I wasn’t held spellbound by this twisty, almost Memento-ish tale. Highly recommended.