I’m back for round two of Comet Press’ Randy Chandler novel collection. This time we have Dime Detective, a pulp detective novel set in the ’50s. I was a bit skeptical about this one. I mean, why read a book written today about a private dick in the ’50s? Why not just read a book written during the height of the pulp detective craze? Because it’s awesome, that’s why.
Dall is a bouncer at a local dive in small town Florida. His ex-wife, daughter of the Orange Juice baron is murdered, strangled by her own bra. He’s suspect number one until the baron reveals he’s had Dall tailed by a private eye giving him an alibi for the murder. What’s more the baron wants to hire Dall to find his daughter’s murderer and bring him some Old Testament justice. Armed with a freshly minted private detective licence and a gun to go with it, he sets out into the seedy underbelly of town leading him into occult worship and death.
Much like Daemon of the Dark woods, Dime Detective is a fun ride. The time period is only a few days so the pacing is nice and fast with plenty of sleazy intrigue without being gratuitous. The characters were fun to read and the book didn’t feel hokey or stilted. It came out natural and engaging without being a carbon copy of old school detective novels, which was a relief for me. The occult angle didn’t dominate the book but added a nice touch of creepy in an otherwise pretty straight story. I would gladly read about the continuing adventures of Dall and his dames set in the sinful south. Comet Press didn’t let me down once again. I can’t wait for whatever they conjure up next. Pick up both Daemon of the Dark Woods and Dime Detective for a double dose of Chandler. Tell ‘em Toxic Graveyard sent ya!