Created by Gene Wolfe
Another genre mix-and-match. And it's not even really a detective story, even if down-and-out P.I. JIM STUBB is one of the four main characters. It's 1983, and old man Ben Free offers free room and board to anyone who will come and live with him, and help save his home from demolition. An overweight hooker, an unemployed salesman and a self-professed witch join Jim in taking up the old man on his offer.
Alas, it's too late, and the house is torn down, and Free disappears, but not before hinting that there's something valuable hidden somewhere in the house. The quartet team up to find it, although each has a very different idea of what the treasure might be. The plot jumps from character to character, and along the way, there are wizards, shootouts, gypsies, men with goat heads, flying saucers, puns, wordplay, deceit, some scenes right out of the Marx Brothers, government conspiracies, time travel, treachery, two-timing broads and lots of other good stuff; more fiction genre cliches than you can shake an old pulp magazine at. It reads like a Stephen King novel, at times, albeit one where Steveroo mellowed out a bit on some dynamite weed before he began writing.
A strange book, but sorta fun. And it's recently been reissued.
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