Sunday, February 10, 2008

Songs of Innocence, by Richard Aleas

Songs of Innocence, by Richard Aleas

I picked this up from a bargain bin in an after-Christmas sale. I’ll admit the cover caught my eye—a naked woman with a teddy bear and a gun—but the promise of a lurid story is why I bought it. I’ve always liked the tales of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and this looked to be in the same vein. While Aleas is no Hammett, I did enjoy this very quick read.

The hero is investigating a suicide that he believes is really a murder. Along the way he uncovers the victim’s sordid past, gets framed for a killing he didn’t commit while escaping blame for one he did, and badly beaten up. Like most mysteries of this ilk the clues tend to fall in the lap of the detective rather than the result of deduction or hard work, but that doesn’t really detract from the tale. The solution to the puzzle I figured out before the reveal, but the ending was both unexpected and shocking. Written in 2007, it is nice to see that the art of noir isn’t dead.

First Sentence:
I was a private investigator once.

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