Friday, April 16, 2021

A Man Named Doll - Jonathan Ames

I picked up Jonathan Ames's new novel - A Man Named Doll - on a rainy Saturday morning and finished it before dinner. It's just over 200 pages - but those pages make for addictive reading.

Meet Happy Doll - yes, that's his real name, but he does answer to Hank. Former Navy, LAPD and currently a struggling Private Investigator.  He also works security for a massage parlor to make ends meet. And for the reader - a unique lead character.

An old colleague stops by the office to see if Hank would be willing to donate him a kidney. And that one act is the start of a string of bodies and a set of crimes that you just can't predict.

The setting is LA and I immediately got a noir feeling from settings and characters - Hank's office setting, his occupation, his home under the Hollywood sign, the buxom barkeep at his local and more.

Happy's inner dialogue is wickedly sharp and darkly humourous. He acts on impulse quite often and doesn't seem to realize that he isn't immortal. He's quite likeable and you can't help but behind him. Oh, and his dog George is an excellent sidekick.

The plot kept me guessing with every new turn (and body). There was no way to guess how things were going to turn out. The pacing of the book is fast and furious, with no downtime. Well, maybe a tad - Hank does get knocked out quite a bit.

The writing was excellent, the lead character engaging and the plot was inventive. Lee Child says this about A Man Named Doll - "Quirky, edgy, charming, funny and serious, all in one." I couldn't have said it better myself. And.....there's more Happy-ness to come. The first chapter of the next book is included at the end.  The Wheel of Doll is due out next year.


Ethan said...

You seem to be on a roll of reading can't put down books! You know I can't pass up a good detective novel!

Luanne said...

Oh Ethan I think you'll like it! And yes, it's been a run of great reads!