Found out about this one in a social media reading group I’m in. A fan of the series referred to it as “slacker-noir”, in the vein of The Big Lebowski and Inherent Vice. While it has no tonal similarities to those, I appreciated the reference.
Because I really like and relate to the lead character, a Denver taxi driver who thumbed his nose at “real world” corporate and academic jobs in order to do as little work as possible. Nowadays, I’ve got a job and people to support so I don’t have this freedom but back in the day, as a grad student, all I wanted to do was slack off, read, watch TV, not be bothered. My last year was the life.
Gary Reilly has a cult following with these books and I can see why. They’re fun. Not a noir at all, there may not even be a real mystery (you have to read to find out!), this is probably more akin to a humanist cozy with a different setting. Can’t stress enough: you’re not reading this one for the whodunnit. You’re reading it because you like the writer’s voice.
I really enjoyed Reilly’s voice. He can be a little too cute with some of the verbal tics but otherwise, the easygoing manner of his protagonist was both relatable and entertaining. I wanted to spend time with Murph. Probably not in his cab but maybe getting a beer with him and letting him regale me with stories.
When researching for this review, I learned that Gary Reilly died before his books could be published. What a shame. It would’ve been nice for him to have seen the fruits of his labor.