by Robert White
a 2011 release from Grand
Mal Press, TP 236 pages
Thomas Haftmann is an ex homicide cop living in Ohio. Now he’s a private investigator pretty near the end of his profession. Clients are few and he’s struggling with some major physical and mental problems. Haftmann is not your typical upstanding white knight of a PI. He confronts his drinking problem by hanging out in sleazy bars, has sex with women he finds on the Internet, and abuses the good will of the few friends he still retains.
He’s bright and the novel is littered with his political and philosophical ruminations. His intimacy quotient is low, as his ex-wife would quickly testify. Somewhere in his core, however, is a moral kernel that leads him to put his sanity and his life on the line to try to tease out an unusual serial killer operating in the sleaziest sections of Boston. His entry into this dark and dangerous segment of society, in a town where he has no resources at all, is a search for his client’s missing daughter who may be stripping in one of Boston’s unsavory clubs.
The novel is well-written, coherent and fast-paced. Make no mistake it is very dark, violent and pretty explicit in several instances. It is a very modern story in that much of the motivations on the dark side are rooted in some of the nastier beliefs of today. The novel takes some effort to get into but somehow, for this reader at least, Thomas Haftmann, in spite of his bizarre rules, grabbed me by the collar and held my interest until the ride was finished.