Joe LaFlam
Created by Rick Dewhurst

"Since I'm going to die, do you mind if I lead you to the Lord?"
-- Joe faces off against a gunman

According to author Rick Dewhurst, his private eye JOE LaFLAM and I have something in common. But here, let's let Joe tell it:

"I was born in Vancouver, Canada, but later moved to Seattle. And why not? Glued to the American channels as a child, my head had been raised south of the border anyway. I'd always wanted to be an American detective and grow up to fill the gumshoes of my television role-models, like Mannix, and Rockford and Columbo. I admired Americans, and I wanted to be one too. They were more aggressive than those polite Canadians, more entrepreneurial, more litigious. Sure they had their faults, and sure the culture was crumbling, but culture was crumbling all over the western world. And even though I was coming up short on riches and long on rags, if it was all going down, I wanted to go down American. And even though in Canada the Mounties always got their man, Mounties could never, ever be private detectives. So now I, Joe LaFlam, Christian Detective, was much more at home in Seattle than ever I was in that cold, northern, Canadian town of Vancouver."

Personally, I'm not quite buying it. Although I can certainly plead guilty to having suckled on the nipple of American pop culture (as a child, the CBC seemed to be reserved for Mr. Dress-up, The Friendly Giant, The Beach Combers and Hockey Night in Canada) and of coming of age to the sound of screeching tires and gunfire via Rockford, Mannix et al, I've never particularly wanted to be an American. I'm actually quite proud of being a Canadian (and even more so a Montrealer) -- as anyone who's spent five minutes talking to me knows. And God only knows, I miss la belle ville, which is not only way colder than Vancouver, but also a lot more fun -- and it sure as hell beats Seattle.

But homesickness doesn't seem to be Joe's problem. Nope, when we first meet him in his quirkier-than-thou debut, Bye Bye Bertie (2005), his gripe with his lot in life is that he's thirty-three, still single, driving a cab part-time and living with his mother. And poor lonely Joe, good Christian that he is, desparately wants to be married. Bored stiff with the singles get-togethers at his church, he decides to go on a twenty-one day fast with the high hopes of impressing God, who will reward his new-found burst of spirituality by sending him a wife.

But Joe has other problems, as well. Never any great shakes as a detective (he's often resorted to finding lost kittens and moonlighting as a cabbie), he's suddenly thrust into a crazy mixed-up caper involving the Mulligan family, whose members seem to be disappearing at a rather alarming pace, a strange Celtic cult called the Latter Day Druids and a pint-sized hitman who may or may not be out to kill him.

And then there's Joe's addiction to jelly-filled doughnuts.

I tell ya, it ain't easy being Joe.

Rick Dewhurst, by the way, isn't knocking Christianity. He's actually been a pastor for the last ten years at the City Gate Church in Duncan, British Columbia, so he knows that of which he speaks. He also writes about another P.I., the waggishly named Jane Sunday.

UNDER OATH

  • "If you crossed the cockeyed wit of Adrian Plass with the hairpin plot twists of Agatha Christie, and threw in a dash of Keystone Kops for flavoring, you'd have something close to Rick Dewhurst's Joe LaFlam and his gumshoe antics. Part slapstick whodunit, part sharp-eyed satire on the contemporary church's fickleness and fetishes, Bye Bye Bertie is as tasty and sticky as a jelly donut, with probably less than half the calories."
    -- Mark Buchanan
    .
  • "Private detective Joe LaFlam is a Perry Mason wannabe on evangelical Christian steroids,"
    --
    Publishers Weekly

  • "The author, a Canadian pastor, brings a satirical perspective to all the great religious and moral quandaries and provides plenty of laughs even for readers outside the born-again culture."
    -- Jon L. Breen,
    Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

THE EVIDENCE

  • "... evil forces that tossed humanity to and fro like a slow clown in a two-bit rodeo."
    -- from My Fear Lady

NOVELS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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