Ellis York

Created by Michael Compton

There has been an ever-increasing flood of self-published P.I.s over the last few decades, thanks to the POD boom in the late nineties and the subsequent ebook explosion. Granted, despite a handful of successes, the one entity that has consistently prospered from it all is Amazon, who've enabled countless hordes of wannabe-Chandlers to swing for the fences, regardless of race, creed or talent.

Sadly, far too many of these new authors lack the writing chops or even a clear understanding of how publishing works to make much of a dent in the public consciousness, and so they rely on their pals to stuff their Amazon pages with reviews, almost always of the five-star variety.

The result being that often the reviews are more entertaining than the books themselves.

Which may -- or may not -- be the case with Michael Compton's Gumshoe (2015). I haven't read it, although it seems a good-natured romp, a little cleverer than most, not intended to be taken too seriously. But the reviews (all five stars, of course) are awesome:

"Phillip Marlowe was never this good."

"I just re-read (this book) to catch the nuances that I missed reading the first time."

"I knew by about page 10, this book was a five star out of a possible five star read."

"It seemed as though biology and environment were conspiring against me in my efforts to read this book."

"More than just a noir parody, it drops dubious hints along the winding path that will have you scratching your head the entire way."

"The book's characters are so real they are unreal."

But my favourite might be one which compares Compton to well-known classic hard-boiled author Raymond Carver.

Yeah. Raymond Carver.

I wonder how the author, a screenwriter who teaches English and Screenwriting at The University of Memphis, feels about all this.

Certainly, the novel starts well, with Chesterfield-smoking 1940s Hollywood dick ELLIS P. YORK strapped to the electric chair, about to be executed for a murder, the details of which are as yet-to-be-determined. Which of course is the perfect time to start rolling the flashback machine.

Hell, the next chapter actually begins with:

"As usual, it all started with a dame."

Like, what else?


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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