Middle-aged STEVE CRANMER was a cop who later worked for a "classified government agency" where he was injured in the line of duty. He now walks with the aid of Demerol and a cane, which he occasionally uses as a weapon if he needs to. When the first book, Straight opens he has been operating as a P.I. in Oklahoma City for 18 months.
His much younger assistant, BUTCH MANERI, is a "slim, well-muscled redhead" whose professional background we aren't told. They met when Cranmer, working a case, proved that Maneri's sister was guilty of murder -- hardly the usual meeting cute scenario. No wonder their relationship is refered to as "an odd kinship"
Nonetheless, Maneri is very capable, despite his his outward hipster persona (and his proclivity for skirt-chasing). In one memorable instance, he congratulates Cramner on his testmony on the stand by calling out -- in court -- "Way to fire, Dad. You done good."
Cranmer and Maneri often work the same case but independently of each other. Neither is very admirable. Cranmer is a cynical hard-boiled survivor who looks out for number one, whileManeri is a misogynist and a user of women. They are very effective in their work, however.
Knickmeyer claims he was influenced by Elmore Leonard, although if he was, he was certainly ahead of the curve in 1976. But the writing certainly recalls the deadpan drollness of Leonard's work. Quentin Tarintino, Estleman's Peter Macklin and Block's Keller ( for Straight) also come to mind.
THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOPPE
Report respectfully submitted by Eric Chambers.
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