Friday, October 31, 2008
Nervous Laughter (Thomas Black) by Earl Emerson
I picked up several Thomas Black novels at the Partners & Crime bookstore when I was visiting NYC this summer. This was the first one I read of those and it brought me back to the nineties which was a great time for PI-lovers. Together with Steven Womack’s stuff this was one of my favourite writers of that time. This one proved again why.
With witty, direct prose Earl Emerson tells us the tale of Thomas Black and his platonic girlfriend Kathy. Thomas is hired to follow a man who is suspected of adultery. When he follows the guy he turns up dead, along with a teenage girl. It seems like a murder-suicide deal but his wife, Deanna doesn’t think so and hires him to prove it.
I loved the characters like Seymore Teets (bawdy and sleazy PI), the attractive femme fatale Deanna and the villains who aren’t professional gangsters but to the unarmed Thomas just as dangerous. Those, combined with the easy-to-read and fast-paced writing made this a heck of a read.