The Blue Door
Harcourt, Jan 2008, $25.00
The year is 1962 and in Philadelphia, welterweight boxer Eddie Cero is depressed as the throbbing cut over his eyebrow still bleeding which means the probable end of his boxing career as he lost to cheap shot artist T-Bone’s head butt. When he leaves the Southside Boxing Club where he trains, Eddie wants to avoid everyone he knows until he has at least two drinks; one to numb the physical pain; the other the mental. He cuts across a dark alley only to come across two street punks roughing beating up an elderly man. Unable to stay out, Eddie intercedes and prevents Sal Giambroni from receiving a horrific beating.
Sal buys Eddie a drink at the Corner Bar & Grill explaining he is a professional private-investigator. He offers Eddie work and although he thinks snooping is lower than boxing on the employment ethics scale, he needs to eat so he accepts with great reluctance case work with SG Confidential Investigations; his prime tasks being surveillance and occasional muscle. He proves quite good, but soon becomes involved with the cold case disappearance in 1959 of Johnny Pope, lead singer of the Excels over the concern of Sal. As he remains their biggest fan, Eddie meets group member and Johnny’s sister Valerie and investigates what happened to the lead singer of the Excels.
THE BLUE DOOR is an exciting historical private investigative tale. Eddie is terrific as he holds the story line together; his hunk lit asides add depth to 1962 when Bandstand ruled Rock and Roll. Readers will enjoy Eddie working the case, but it is the underbelly of the short-lived Camelot era that comes to vivid life that makes this a strong Philadelphia Noir.