Michael Wiley's The Last Striptease (2007) won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin's Press Best First Private Eye Novel contest, and introduced ex-cop turned Chicago PI JOE KOZMARSKI, whose biggest strength may be that he's, well, just a regular joe.
I mean, he's got a mother, fer cryin' out loud, and a slew of family problems, including a troublesome young nephew he's taken in. But Joe has other problems on his plate to deal with as well. While on a routine surveillance job, he witnesses a murder; his former cop partner has been shot by the suspect, and a retired judge (and estranged family friend) has asked him to work on behalf of an employee of his, whose been accused of murdering his party girl girlfriend, a Vietnamese-American beauty with a taste for booze, drugs and stripping in front of cameras.
Joe muddles through it all with a plodding, dogged determination, making mistakes along the way (and not always learning from them), but that makes for a nice change from some of the over-boiled histronics that many of his more turbo-charged, infallible fellow fictional eyes indulge in, giving him an affable, regular Joe quality.
And it's served Joe well in two (and counting) sequels.
Michael Wiley is a lit professor at North Florida University and assures us a second Joe Kozmarski mystery is on its way. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
INQUIRING EDITORS WANT TO KNOW DEPARTMENT
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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