*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Carnegie Fitch can be called a lot of things. Ambitious is not one of them.
Months after escaping death in the circus ring at the hands of the Dead Clowns and the feet of a stampeding elephant, he is no longer a half-assed private eye with an office and no license, but instead a half-assed tow truck driver without either. Still, he manages to find ample time to drink lots of diner coffee, hang with fellow down-and-out diner denizens and have all those shiny daydreams about landing that BIG CASE.
Well, careful what you wish for, Fitch.
Because when a wealthy widow hires him to sniff along the trail of a soapbox svengali with a hobo history and several mysterious deaths in his wake, not only will it put Fitch, aka Gastown’s Favourite Punching Bag, in harm’s way as he navigates a twisted road of stolen coins, defrocked dentists, wacky hallucinogens, crooked cops, and cult crazies, but his past, present and future will also come a-calling, each with their own knockout blow to land.
Basically, Fitch will be forced to question damn near everything, sanity included.
Who knew 40 nickels could get a guy in so much hot water?
This is the second Carnegie Fitch book and you don’t have to have read the first book (Dead Clown Blues) to pick up the plot, but I suggest that you do because there are some references to characters and events that just won’t mean as much if you don’t know that backstory.
Fitch is back and has sunk so low that he is pinching pennies… almost literally! Things aren’t looking good for the hard-boiled, smart-arsed detective, except maybe for his association with at least one ‘dame’ with a taste for broke, unwashed detective wannabes.
The plot of his latest case is humorously far-fetched, with a rogue dentist, a strangely smiley cult, and mind-bending amounts of hallucinatory drugs. I wondered at one point whether it was Fitch who had been drugged, or me! Oh, and there’s the titular roll of coins which seems greatly in demand despite its low face value.
Lester does a great job of conjuring up Fitch’s seedy 1950s noir life, while adding in a riotously chaotic element like criminal clowns or demented dentists. Fans of Malcolm Pryce’s Louie Knight and Robert Rankin’s Lazlo Woodbine will enjoy this darkly humorous crime series.
When the door to the tavern shut behind me, I didn’t exactly run but I didn’t dilly-dally either. I fast walked down Bathurst to the end of the block, crossed the street, hopped a fence and cut across a deserted lot where only the crabgrass and broken bottles lay, seeking the safety of a network of alleys and back routes leading to the collection of tar paper shacks and hobo tents I called home sweet home. I climbed out the other side of the lot, stopped and put my back against the nearest wall, peering around the corner of the brick building. Nothing to see. So I seemed to be in the clear: no sign of an irate Wendell looking for the asshole that ripped him off for two bucks worth of nickels. Fat city.
– R Daniel Lester, 40 Nickels
Find more from R. Daniel Lester at his website here, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
40 Nickels is available on Amazon right now!
Pop here to check out my review of Carnegie Fitch Book 1, Dead Clown Blues.