I liked the other Jonathan Ames books I’ve read, and learned ten seconds ago that he’s the creator of Bored to Death, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a show on HBO Max (which I haven’t seen, but which multiple people have told me I’d like). Anyway.
A guy named Happy Doll – for real, his parents named him that…seriously? a little much right off the bat – is an ex-cop who’s now a fairly unsuccessful, i.e., not busy, private detective. A friend comes to him, injured, and makes a mysterious request. Happy (“Hank”) sets out to fulfill it and hilarity ensues. Well, danger. You know what I mean. No spoilers from me y’all!
He’s already in a bad way due to an altercation at his pays-the-bills job as security at a mostly respectable massage establishment. So he goes through what follows injured and on pain medication, and this adds to his anachronistic beleaguered noir-y air. He’s not really old enough to be so jaded and crotchety.
Stereotypical zippy noir pacing, some snappy dialog in that style, some one-dimensional characters from Central Casting. Somehow it worked for me, so much so that the sequel (or second in planned series?) is on hold at the library as we speak. It’s all fast-paced and action-packed and outlandish. A little much on some mundane details and I GET IT you love your dog. Dogs are great. The anthropomorphizing/devotion is a little extra.
Unfortunately, we learn little about what’s going on in Hank/Hap/Happy’s head. Perhaps that’s to come. Also, he has a problematic relationship with weed, and likely prescription narcotics after what he goes through in this book, but dang it, I like him anyway.