Florida Paperback: Mad Dog Barked by Rick Ollerman, 2016, 9781944520090.
Stark House Press prints some really neat stuff. Stark does a ton of reprints and new novels from people like Ollerman and the great Charlie Stella. I really enjoyed this novel. Ollerman does some fine work.
Scott Porter owns a private investigation agency in Florida.
He has several employees.
He is very secretive.
He is not warm and cuddly. Although he would like to get warm and cuddly with his married assistant, Trudy.
He has a weird guy walk in asking Porter to protect him from issues related to his purchase of a first publication of Murders in the Rue Morgue.
Things start moving.
The weird guy says his assistant is missing and may be dead. That weird guy is immediately leaving town after his meeting with Porter and hands over a big fat check and a coded letter found in the book. Weird Guys is vague and says the letter is likely an issue. From my description you can imagine that Porter has little to work on. But, he now has a big check to cash and takes the case.
Pretty soon Porter and his PI staff run across a murder at Weird Guy's local estate. Early in the novel Porter declared to Weird Guy that Porter won't do anything illegal. That changes toot sweet - even after Weird Guy is next found dead in Virginia.
Things move along as Porter starts sparring with a New Jersey hit man who is roaming town and looking for the letter. Porter continually tries to romance Trudy who he had a one-night-stand with several months ago. Some violence ensues. Some double dealing ensues. Porter tells many half-truths to Trudy, his staff, Hit Man, the police and has to keep his lies straight.
Porter is like many fictional PIs but with a realistic bent. Porter has a real agency - he is not a one man shop with a single room office and a bourbon bottle in a desk drawer. He has pride in his work and wants to do it right for his client. He also wants to win. He is not going to back down from Hit Man's threats and demands.
Ollerman has us following Porter around as he works to figure out what is going on with the case plus hoping Trudy leaves her abusive and philandering husband for Porter. I've not much else to say, I'm drawing a blank on interesting commentary.