For the first time Laurence Shames, the comic master of Key West Crime, has written a first person novel. His new voice, his new hero, is Pete Amsterdam. Peter never intended to become a PI. He blames his accountant for the whole sorry mess. It was he who said that no PI makes money, it was he who said that Pete should plough some of his ...
For the first time Laurence Shames, the comic master of Key West Crime, has written a first person novel. His new voice, his new hero, is Pete Amsterdam. Peter never intended to become a PI. He blames his accountant for the whole sorry mess. It was he who said that no PI makes money, it was he who said that Pete should plough some of his profits from selling something trivial that only made life more annoying into a business that even the IRS didn't bother with. And lazing naked in the hot tub in the garden of his house in Key West it had, briefly, seemed a pretty good plan to PI Peter Amsterdam - even his name fitted after all. But then the blonde walked in, a situation ripped from the pages of the most cliched of detective novels, and before you could say 'pass me that towel' he was on a case that would overturn his life. After nearly ending it.
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-04-24 Shames's eighth Key West novel (after Welcome to Paradise) has its moments of charm and interest, especially when narrator Pete Amsterdam, debuting here, describes the particular pleasures of the setting: "Key West is a place to withdraw to, a retreat without apology or shame. And you learn things from the place you live. One of the things Key West teaches is that disappointment and contentment can go together more easily than you would probably imagine." Pete has learned this lesson well, as a man both disappointed (by his lack of success, especially with women) and contented (with his cozy house and the freedom to indulge his three main interests--wine, music and tennis--without actually working). Unfortunately, his accountant has talked Pete into getting a PI's license for tax reasons, and that's where the trouble begins--for Pete as well as for the novel. Shames does provide a few original touches--for example, the well-built blonde who arrives early on to hire Peter (and catches him naked in the hot tub) and who turns out to be a cross-dressing man. But the plot quickly bogs down into a routine search for two missing mail pouches buried on a spit of sand, sought after by not only Pete and his soon-to-be-late client but also by the usual assortment of local thugs and corrupt cops. Too bad. Amsterdam and his main squeeze, a lithe yoga instructor named Maggie, deserve better next time out. Author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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