Created by Adam Baron
Here's a new private eye writer I've just discovered who bears watching: his name's Adam Baron, he's British, and he writes books (two, so far) about London private eye BILLY RUCKER. There's a nice bittersweet world-weary tone and an original voice at work here, tempered with a yearning compassion that feels a bit like Stephen Greenleaf or John Shannon's recent work (ie: Lew Archer with a life). The usual adjectives of noir and gritty are sprinkled throughout the blurbs, but in this case, they actually apply.
In fact, the baggage of Billy's life is considerable. He's a former cop, a shining star on the rise, when his brother was run off the road, most likely in his stead, by suspects in acase Billy was working. The attackers were never caught, and Luke, a once-promising writer and actor, engaged to be married, now lies in a coma. Guilt-ridden, Billy quit the force, to take care of Luke, and inadvertently falling in love with Sharon, Luke's former fiancee. Guilt, pain and a brooding, almost bruising sense of melancholy pervade the series, as Billy throws himself into a new career as a private eye who specializes in tracking down missing teenagers. Not that Billy will bring them home, or even ever tell their parents where they are.
"I used to, when I first started. But often a kid has run away from home because a father, or an uncle maybe, has been cruel. Or violent. or raping the shit out of them. Male and female. If they are under sixteen I sometimes tell the police where they are. If they're in trouble. If they are over sixteen I don't tell anybody. I just find them, photograph them, and if they will speak to me, tell them to think of their mothers and phone home. Then I send the photograph I have taken to my client and give them an honest description of how their kid is...
For this service I charge a flat rate of four hundred pounds, inclusive of update reports if I happen to run into their kid again, in the near to nearish future. I suppose I lose a lot of work this way (but) my reasoning is that kids run away for a reason..."
And so Billy wanders the streets of London, toting a camera, dressing down, talking to young ones, hanging out, occasionally spotting one of his lost children, counting on a combination of skill, patience and more than a little luck.
Besides writing the Billy Rucker series, Adam Baron writes for TV and radio, and is part of a comedy act with his two brothers, called (hold your hats) The Baron Brothers (oh the hours of discussion and pints of beer that must have gone into that decision!). They appear regularly on the comedy circuit, and on The Paul Ross Show and The Lenny Beige Show on British television. Baron is also the author of the infamous short story, "The Man Whose Penis Made Him Locally Famous." I'm sure his mother is very proud. He lives in East London.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.