With over 350 books in my pile to be read and reviewed, I lost all semblance of control a long time ago. Now I just try to avoid looking at the mess, the fully loaded shelves in place, and walk softly so as not to disturb the slumbering beast. That means the stacks get bigger and bigger despite my best efforts. That also means that occasionally something happens in the space time reading continuum and a book comes spitting out of the beast. Such is the case here.
Published back in 2004 by the now very dead Quiet Storm Publishing it features Arthur Conan Edwards, (Ace) Private Investigator in a case perfect for the season. Ace normally drinks Killians, documents cheating spouses, and occasionally works something more interesting like arson, blackmail, kidnapping, etc. His latest case kept him up late and he isn’t thrilled when the phone rings at 3 a.m. The fact that the caller is Jake doesnâ€™t improve his mood. But, Jake gets him the occasional high paying client and he needs one these days.
Jake tells him about a meeting he setup for Ace the next day before quickly hanging up and turning on his voice mail. That means Ace can’t ask any questions and that is annoying as well. Morning comes way too fast and soon he is at and all too soon he is at MeMaw’s cafÃ© in North Dallas awaiting his mystery client. The meeting spot isn’t much, Ace’s mood isn’t much better, and the client is nowhere to be found. That is, until suddenly he is there. The fact that the client can’t be more than 2 ft tall probably explains why Ace didn’t see him walk inside even though he was looking or notice him earlier. Or how he vanished so fast.
But, it doesnâ€™t explain how he knew where Ace lived. Or what happened when he was a kid. Ace, 42 and a ten year veteran of the Dallas P. D. before getting out because he was so fed up with the politics, has seen a lot of things over the years. But, he had never met an elf before, let alone Santa’s Chief Elf for North Texas operations. Toys are missing and the clock is ticking and the Elf needs help before the big guy finds out.
If you can accept the premise, this is a very funny book. Ace, much like his creator Randy Rawls, is a blast and full of entertainment. Sweeper and Striker, his opinionated cats, are back and in rare form as are a number of recurring characters from the series. There are quite a few thugs, occasionally amusing in their own right, as well as complexities to the case and a very overeager client who wants to help in everyway possible.
The result is a read that works on all levels and provides a fun time perfect for the season.
Quiet Storm Publishing
Large Trade Paperback
Review copy provided quite some time ago by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2008