The Last Striptease
Dunne, Oct 2007, $23.95
During a surveillance project, Chicago private investigator Joe Kozmarski sees a murder that he calls in over 911. His former police crony, Bill Gubman follows up on Joe’s call, but is shot by the killer who escapes.
When his employee Bob Piedras is suspected of killing his girlfriend, Le Thi Hanh, former judge Peter Rifkin asks family friend Joe to investigate; the judge assumes Piedras is innocent although he and Le had a public argument. Joe does not like these types of cases in which a friend with a presumption hires him because the truth may not be what the person wants, but a$15K retainer supersedes any doubt. Besides Joe has a grudge with the Judge, who was forced to retire for behavior unbecoming a court official. As Joe makes inquiries, Le’s angry violent brothers follow his every move because they plan their own form of justice including keeping a PI straight anyway necessary. However, the toughest project is his eleven year old nephew who has been dumped on him to straighten him out, but the lad insists on doing field work instead of schoolwork.
Joe is terrific in this bruising (to the characters that is) action-packed urban noir. The story line is fast-paced as it seems everywhere that Joe goes; a corpse either greets him or follows after him. Readers will appreciate his joy ride of Chicago even as his wise guy not precocious nephew insists on leading the investigation.