Created by Michael Connelly
JACK KARCH is a Las Vegas PI who, although not the main
charcter, figures prominently in Connelly's Void Moon.
It's an interesting book in that the 'protagonist' (Cassie
Black) is a hot prowl burglar trying to make the one last
score so she can run away and start over, and the 'villian' is
Karch who is employed by the Casino she pulls the job in to track
her down and eliminate her. He works well as a villian since over
the course of the book he kills a half dozen people, some of them
just for being in the wrong place, and even sees fit to bury some
of the bodies out in his favorite spot in the desert. Karch's
father was a professional magician who used to open for the Rat
Pack on the Vegas strip before his hands were systematically crushed
by irate mobsters. Jack used to perform with his father when he
was a kid earning him the nickname Jack of Spades. As such, he
knows quite a bit of magic and has perfected several sleight of
hand techniques that he alternatesly uses to charm children (one
he kidnaps) and adults (several he kills). He calls to mind Arthur
Morrison's Horace Dorrington
with his particular amoral view of the world and his clients.
A skilled investigator, fluent liar and cold-blooded killer --
a great combination for a private investigator! Karch and Cassie
are just two of the lively characters in a well-crafted crime
tale that evokes the hard-boiled Parker novels, and (with intended
reference) Jack Finney's Oceans Eleven.
Philip Eagle laments in his entry for Horace Dorrington on this site:
"There are countless PI writers who enthusiastically create brutal or corrupt coppers by the precinct-full, but who shy away from creating a truly amoral private investigator, even as an opponent for their knight in shining armour."
Apparently, there is nothing shy about Michael Connelly who has created just such a PI in spades. Jack of Spades to be precise.
Respectfully submitted by Dale Stoyer.