Created by John Straley
"There is something ardent and romantic about getting drunk.
-- Cecil gets all mopey about drinking in The Woman Who Married a Bear
CECIL YOUNGER has at least two claims to fame: he works the mean... er, roads, trails and paths, I guess, of the port city of Sitka, Alaska, and he's just gotta be the only hard-boiled dick named Cecil. He's a sensitive, introspective, literate type driven by a compulsive curiousity on the one hand, and on the other, he's cynical, shiftless, and self-centered and investigator with a nasty drinking problem and a legacy left to him by his father that he'll never be able to live up to. And the fact is, even by his own admission Cecil isn't even that good a private investigator.
Nevertheless, Cecil plunges on, trying to get at his version of the truth, or at least the version his client wants:
-- The Woman Who Married a Bear
In fact, Cecil's quest usually involves plowing through stories of all kinds, cold hard facts, vague recollections, myths, legends, drunken fantasies, public records, old newspapers, gossip and rumours. Seems everyone he meets seems to have a story. But hell, what else can you do?
As Marilyn Stasio of The New York Times Book Review said, "Those cute folks on 'Northern Exposure' wouldn't last the winter in (Cecil's Alaska where) barrooms are dangerous, race relations are touchy, and the landscape is too awesome for a man to look at without a drink." And the PWA liked it too. They awarded Cecil's debut with the 1993 Shamus for Best First Private Eye Novel.
And so it goes. Quietly, without attracting much attention, Straley somehow wrote one of the great P.I. series of the nineties, a gritty, literate study of a flawed but compassionate man struggling with the wildness within and without; an oddball combo of the poetic grandeur of James Lee Burke, the gonzo territory of Carl Hiaasen and the slow burn melancholy of Ross Macdonald. He seemed to have wrapped up the series in 2001, with Cold Water Burning, but seventeen years later, Cecil returned with Baby's First Felony.
Author Straley knows his stuff-not surprising considering he's worked as a criminal investigator for the the public defender's office of the state of Alaska. John Straley lives in Sitka, Alaska, with wife, a marine biologist who studies whales.
-- Chicago Tribune
-- The Wall Street Journal
-- The Man Who Married a Bear
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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