Boston’s brilliant investigator Julius Katz does not work unless he absolutely has to make some money. For his artificial intelligence sidekick, Archie, this is a frustration. As much as he can feel or recognize frustration, because Archie uses their cases to build on his neural network. Archie does not expect Julius Katz to meet with this latest potential client, Henri Chervil, but Julius surprises him and easily agrees to a meeting.
Julius soon figures out why the legendary detective agreed to meet Chervil as well as why Chervil wants him. Since Chervil was arrested by Cambridge Police for assaulting a fellow chief by the name of Jasper Quayle it seems pretty obvious what he wants. What Julius wants seems obvious as well to Archie. However, as Archie soon learns, not everything is in the files and databases and real people are often far more complex than their fictional counterparts.
Another good in one the series featuring Julius Katz. As always the dialogue between Archie and Julius runs true along with the occasional flash of humor. Like many with are artistic temperament, Julius is often a bit prickly at times, but he gets the job done in always enjoyable ways.
The tone of the book radically changes with the other stories in this book. Dave Zeltsman has a tendency to go to the horror genre as evidenced by Monster, The Caretaker of Lorne Field (which still hits me as more science fiction than horror in a view not shared by many) and other works. That tendency is quickly evidenced here in the short stories “Pink Wiggly Things” and “King” and is at times present in the other stories as well.
“Pink Wiggly Things” is told from the perspective of something under a bed that is looking for food. What that thing is under the bed is left somewhat open to reader interpretation as are a couple of other elements.
“King” is the tale of Mary Crowley an elderly woman known to one and all as “the crazy pigeon lady.” That would have been fine, as bad as that was, if things had been left alone. Her birds in the park were not left alone and she has a plan.
Craig and Susan frequently argue in front of others in “Old Wives’ Tales.” Craig has plans and those are not exactly a secret either.
“’Til Death Do You Part” features Roy. He is a man who is intent on being the only one for Charlotte. Or maybe that was really her plan all along. Hard to tell in this strange tale where nothing is as it seems.
This is a book of serious extremes. One end of the spectrum represented by the opening story of the book title Archie Solves The Case where the topic is serious, but there is a light touch at work throughout the read. A cozy style story that, like other stories featuring Julius Katz and Archie, plays respectful homage to Nero Wolfe while creating a thoroughly modern world. The tales may detail some human failings but the tone overall is light and gentle.
Then you have the rest of the book which has nothing at all to do with Archie, Julius Katz, or those stories. Nothing on the cover would indicate to readers that they are getting anything but Julius Katz, but the rest of the read is filled with stories that are dark and twisted and often with elements of the horror genre. Even the stories which are not clearly horrific are very creepy and disturbing at various levels. They serve as quite a clash with the Julius Katz story and may surprise some readers expecting a read in the vein of Julius Katz.
Archie Solves The Case
Top Suspense Books
Amazon advises me I picked this up last November. The author is very generous in making his titles available as free reads and I can’t remember now if I got it that way or he sent it to me directly. Either way it was for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014