Gus Harris is a private detective who is living the classic private detective lifestyle. Dead broke, recently divorced and very unhappy, he is struggling to keep his business afloat, not beat up his wife’s new boyfriend (even though the guy clearly needs a good beating), and stay in his kids life. It is a lot to handle. Then he gets a case in his small office above Hostetter’s Vacuum Repair. You might tend to be cranky all the time as well if you listened to the noise from vacuum cleaners screaming all day.
Gene and Grace Hughes are his latest clients and when they start explaining why they are in his office, Gus starts remembering the news coverage. Their son is missing. He was best friends with Drew Davis. The same Drew Davis who recently committed suicide by jumping off the pedestrian bridge in the Horton Nature Preserve. His death sparked a wave of stories about teenage suicides in both the local and national news outlets. Both boys were on the high school wrestling team. Not only were Gus and now his ex-wife Lucy alumni of Horton High, their teenage daughter, Jessie, goes to school and there and has a part in an upcoming school play. So, the story hit home for Gus in more than one way.
Albie Hughes is wanted for questioning in the Drew Davis suicide case by the local police. The more Gus interviews the parents, the more he is convinced there is a lot they are not telling him. Something is definitely wrong with what they say and it isn’t just the obvious marital discord between the missing son’s parents. Thanks to the parents and the info they did share, Gus has two leads with the first being the Horton High Wrestling Coach, Geoff Hanson. He took in Albie weeks ago to help and then made sure to cutoff contact between the boy and his parents among other things. That coach is definitely a place to start on the search.
What follows is a complex crime tale that easily could be happening anywhere these days. Author CS DeWildt keeps the tale moving at a steady pace. While Gus hits all the stereotype cliché boxes (broke, divorced, affair with his far younger assistant, etc.) with his character, the author breathes new life into those clichés and spins them in a tale that works at all levels. Crime fiction with a hint of noir and good old fashioned mystery with the occasional flash of dark humor, Suburban Dick: A Novel is a novel is a good one and well worth your time. And, yes, the title has more than one meaning and, no, I am not telling you.
Suburban Dick: A Novel
Shotgun Honey (Down & Out Books)
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
Paperback ARC provided by the author with no expectation of review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2018