Author: Russell Blake
Performed by RC Bray
Published: Janda Management, Released on Audible July 2014
Category: Hardboiled, Noir Fiction
'When Artemus Black is hired to investigate a series of suspicious accidents at LA’s most prestigious modeling agency, he quickly discovers that brooding pouts and mascara can be as dangerous as guns or bombs. From LA to Mexico to Tahoe to NY, the story pokes fun at the world of high fashion.'
Models from a top class agency are dying at an unprecedented rate and Black is called in to investigate, requiring him to attend photo shoots in exotic locations. The first of which is in Cabo San Lucas. It doesn’t go well and Black manages to get into his girlfriend, Sylvia’s bad books. It seems the modelling world is rife with corruption and deceitful competitors. As events escalate Black has his work cut out to get to the bottom of the accidents…or are they murders?
All the old favourites are back, including Mugsy, the fat and flatulent feline. Black’s exchanges with Roxie, who is planning a move to Germany with her boyfriend (Black will have to see about that!) and Stan, his police buddy, are as funny and entertaining as ever.
'“Stan. It’s Black. You called?”
“Yeah. It was a lousy connection.”
“My blood pressure and cholesterol. Thanks for asking.”
“Appreciate the update. But I was thinking more about why you called.”'
Black’s parents, Spring and Chakra, also feature and Black and Sylvia brave a visit with them en route to a photo shoot in Las Vegas. If Black isn’t being ragged on by Roxie, his mother is shooting her little barbs.
I’m enjoying this series so much, I love Black more with each book. Really great characterisation in the writing and narration. Black continues to develop into a genuinely good guy with a tough side and I think Roxie might even be slightly less abrasive. A surprising twist at the end, I didn’t see that one coming at all. The murder/mystery story lines are authentic and well thought out with a profusion of suspects to choose from.
Russell Blake’s characters are colourful, well drawn and very memorable, the writing clever and witty. Coupled with RC Bray’s masterful narration these audiobooks are a must have.
'“Gunther will be out in a moment to show you back. Pellegrino?”
Black was stumped. “I don’t know who designed my suit.”
She didn’t blink. “Would you like some water? Juice?”
“Oh. No. I’m good.”'
I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud. Several times. The snappy dialogue is such fun, especially when delivered so well.
Disclaimer: I was gifted a copy of the audiobook which does not affect the content of my review in any way.