Joe Ready
Created by Bob Truluck

"You mean you're a private detective?"
"That's a little formal for what I do."

-- Joe tries to keep it casual
in "A Man Called Ready"

JOE READY says he's not a private detective, but reckons it's "a nice payday for a guy who's been about as busy as a pickpocket at a nudist joint the last couple of years."

At least, that's his reasoning for going into the "shamus game." And anyway "greed's a good front; it's sleazy enough to be plausible."

When we first met him in "A Man Called Ready,"a 2002 short story, Joe's been working the game for a while, "sorta free-range," adding his little bit of dirty to the thirties as he goes, never quite making the big payday he's been dreaming of.

Joe's a slick piece of goods -- he's got a swift line of patter, not above cutting a few corners. And he'll lie at the drop of a hat.

He goes to work for a man named Bremer out of St. Paul, trying to recover $200,000 of his money from the notorious Ma Barker and company, who are on the lam and hiding out in the Florida boondocks. There are a few complications; namely a gargantuan alligator lurking in the swamp outside the hideout and hot-shot G-man Melvin Purvis and his boys, who are closing in and expected to arrive any day.

Isn't that nice?

Actually, it's a great story and I said so at the time, a gritty period piece that gets the feel right, and it left me with a taste in my mouth for more. Now, almost five years later, it looks like my wish is finally coming true. Joe will be returning in a full-length novel, The Art of Redemption, set for release from Dennis McMillan Publications in 2007.

But the Joe of The Art of Redemption is not the Joe of "A Man Called Ready." Time has kept on spinning its wheels, and now the ex-cop, ex-PI, former vigilante is 98 years old (I repeat, 98 YEARS OLD!) although he's not quite ready to give up yet, although he allows his former partner, Jimmy Cotton, to tell a large part of the tale(s).

Author Bob Truluck also writes about private eye Duncan Sloan, an easy-going Florida gumshoe who keeps his stash of pot in a moldy refrigerator. Duncan's first appearance, in Street Level (2000), won the 1999 PWA/St. Martin's Best First PI Novel Contest.




Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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