Saturday, November 17, 2012


Peeper-Loren D. Estleman-1989-1st Edition/DJ

This is my annual shout-out to Loren Estleman's demented and hilarious destruction of the Lonely But Honorable Private Eye myth.

Detroit private eye Ralph Poteet is a sink-hole dirtbag whose grubby life manages to get even grubbier with the each chapter.

Even after three readings over the years, Peeper keeps me laughing--many times out loud--all the way through. This isn't cheap parody. It's a witty take on many private eye cliches filled with people you wouldn't want to meet without wearing a bio-hazard suit, including a monsignor who dies in a whorehouse. Poteet is asked to help secret the man's enormous body to a more discreet location. And he decides while he's at snap a few pics of the corpse. Never know what kind of money they'll bring on the open market.

Estleman takes numerous shots at Churchly cover-ups and this was before (1994) the scandals broke. What makes this work is Estleman's enormous skill. Nobody writes a better classical private eye story better than Loren and even when he's having fun with the tropes. He does so with his usual mastery of language, pacing and storytelling.

Trust me. You'l like this one a lot.

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