Oh mercy, where do I start? I guess step one is to stop grinning because Buck Baxter punched every trope button in the best way possible. From the first paragraph, I was sucked into the seedy world of Wilde City and an over-the-top gumshoe with a penchant for snark, understatement and patented cynicism.
Buck, as narrator, looks down on his city and himself, telling it like it is. The story starts, as they do in this genre, with the dame and the job: find out if the hubs is cheating. Money exchanges hands, but there’s something off, not that it’s off so much it keeps Buck from ruminating on what his per diem might buy in the way of rent boys. The man has his priorities and those don’t include love, or getting noticed.
What does capture his undivided is the new guy in town, one Holden Hart, a golden boy with a club, primo booze and the right kind of kindling to light a fire under Buck, metaphorically speaking.
Now, if you want to know more, like how the sleuthing bit goes, how Holden Hart figures in, what parts the ladies of the night and the floating opium palace play, how Buck handles a little dust-up with Tommy Guns and some really pissed off rival gangs… that’s easy. *Points to the header with the buy links*
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and no it ain’t Shakespeare, but it’s a shortie told with tongue firmly in cheek (and elsewhere), with a really engaging main character and a host of supporting players who move the story along, some action, some suspense, a few thrills and chills, and a homage to the outlaw days during Prohibition.
Now really, what more can you ask for? A sequel? Well, yeah. And there’s a rumor one’s in the works. Count me in.
Five stars for Buck Baxter, Love Detective for being pulp-fiction-entertaining, humorous, and a wee bit sigh-worthy.
Welcome to Wilde City, 1924—a crane on top of every skyscraper, a party in every club, a romance on every dance floor, a shooting every night, a broken heart on every street corner and a dirty secret behind every window with the curtain drawn. It’s the kinda town that keeps Buck Baxter, private detective, in business.
For despite his fondness for a cold gin and a pipe stuffed with cannabis, Buck is the best gumshoe in Wilde City. Why? Because he has rules: never make friends, never make enemies, and never ever fall in love. That is until the day playboy nightclub owner Holden Hart swings into town. He’s suave, he’s charming, he’s chivalrous… and he’s exactly the kinda man that Buck will break all the rules for.
From the romance of the Rainbow Palace atop the Wilde City Tower, to the dazzling debauchery of the gentlemen’s parlor The Velvet Viper—from the history surrounding the sinister convent on the hill better known Hell’s Bells, to the lantern-lit opium barge, The Peking Empress, run by the mystical Madame Chang—could Buck be about to unravel the greatest mystery of them all…