Private detectives have seen many types of incarnations over the years in the fiction realm. It is an area filled with the known, Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Nero Wolf, and the unknown. There have been movies, television shows, radio shows and endless books written that deal with a private detective. So, you may wonder is there anything else that can be done with the genre. Let me ask you this… Who do you think you are Nostradamus, and can tell the future?
The book opens with the Blake asking the reader to imagine what it would be like to watch a washed up detective chasing a uniformed cop through the streets of Chicago. This opens the reader into the life of Blake and the type of work he does. It will also introduce you to members of the police and a woman of the street. You will also get a feeling on how Blake feels about guns, but most importantly you get an intro on what is to come.
The story is told through the eyes, and mind, of Blake. A detective who nearly refuses to let people learn his first name. Nod is not exactly common and not a name that the man cares much for. Blake makes sure to tell you in those first few pages his life is not easy. In those written words you read how luck is non-existent in his life, and good fortune is only a fantasy. His life is not an easy one and as that first chase continues a blow to the head may unlock more than his “marbles”.
Corpses Say the Dardnest Things, takes you into a case that will drive Blake to the extremes. The man will be beaten up, hit by a car and unconscious a few times. The entire time trying to solve a murder, no make that plural, murders, he could be charged for committing.
It all starts when a woman comes into his office looking to hire Blake for her employer. A rich televangelist that is going out of town and needs someone to ensure his wife is safe while gone. The man, Reverend Conrad Delp, is a powerful man and appears has an enemy as he has received death threats. So he wants his wife watched and his assistant, Gina Bridges, comes to hire him. The problem he refuses the job but Blake’s secretary (Lisa) takes the job for him. This starts the case that will lead to more trouble and adventures that could end up with one dead Private Detective.
Lamoreux uses a great mix of comedy, self-deprecating humor, and characterization to draw the reader into this book. The characters in the book are well thought out and as you read the story, written in Blake’s view point, you get a great sense of the trouble he is facing. The story will have Blake traveling around Chicago and outside of the area, and to make things worse this is not our modern era. The book takes place in the 1970’s when Betamax and VHS were still trying to decide who is better.
Another thing in the book I enjoyed was how Blake seemed to be compared to many movie stars of the era. The reader will find the simple question of, “Who do you think you are”, asked numerous times within the book. A few younger readers may not get the references but some of those he is accused of being are as follows: Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Norris and Audie Murphy.
The additional thing that lends a bit of a “supernatural” twist to the book is how Blake suddenly has visions as he struggles to solve the murders. The murders all start with the woman he is hired to watch, the good reverend’s wife. The visions could be a result of several blows to the head, but either way when they happen they are vivid and very real.
Corpses Say the Darndest Things is a well written book that is not easy to put down. There is plenty of detective work being done throughout the book and at times you wonder if you can solve the crime before Blake. There are of course hints that are littered through the book but you may miss them and catch yourself realizing that at the reveal. It is a will written book that takes you back to those classic detective stories but at the same time adds some fresh elements many should enjoy.