Created by Michael Logan
"... cheekbones so sharp that a man could kiss her and shave at the same time."
-- Kat describes her client
Fucked up private dicks with troubled pasts -- male or female -- are a dime a dozen, and those circling the drain aren't exactly rare birds, either. But smartass LA gumshoe KAT MURPHY isn't circling -- she's already fallen right through. She's in Hell, literally, in tHell's Detective (2017), a curious but intriguing, action-packed new fantasy/crime hybrid by Scottish author Michael Logan, best known until know for such bovine bestsellers as Apocalypse Cow and World War Moo.
No zombie cows here, but there is a lot of slightly tongue-in-cheek world-building going on -- or should that be underworld-building? With Kat cracking wise in the narrator's spot, Logan concocts an entirely credible if somewhat peculiar afterlife, a solidly constructed urban cesspool called Lost Angeles, with its own peculiar rules and routines, where wraith-like Torments descend upon its inhabitants night after night, ripping their souls apart, forcing them to relive in agonizing detail the most shameful, painful moments of their past lives -- over and over.
Not that Lost Angeles is any picnic during the daytime, mind you. Seemingly crafted from old B flicks and film noirs, the cars and the phones and everything else hark back to the Eisenhower era; giving a weird retro vibe to a sprawling metropolis of the formerly living.
And so down these mean streets of Hell struts our hero, a kick-ass private eye back in the day; only forty-two when she put a bullet in her own brain in 1978. Since then (with every day more or less the same, Kat's long since lost count) she's been existing on Ward Eight cocktails at Benny's (a local dive), a few odd detective jobs, and her own all-consuming guilt and pain; never aging, never dying, and certainly never feeling better.
'Cause, like, eternity's a long time, ya know?
It's a pretty good yarn (some froth about Kat being hired to retrieve a "very significant item" in exchange for a chance to skip the nightly Torments), but I'm not sure there's anywhere to take Kat after the events in this book.
But it's a helluva romp while it lasts; an action-packed ripsnorter pounded out in big pulpy strokes that makes me hope the author visits our genre again.
―Eric Van Lustbader
Fantasy and Occult Eyes
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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