A DRIFTER DETECTIVE LONG SHORT STORY. #1. (Paperback and eBook include the bonus short story “Fighting Chance.” Paperback also contains a preview of Hell Up in Houston, the second book in the Drifter Detective series.) -- Jack Laramie, grandson of the legendary U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie, is a tough-as-nails WWII vet roaming the modern West. He lives out of a horse trailer hitched to the back of a DeSoto, searching out P.I. gigs to keep him afloat. With his car limping along, Jack barely makes it to the sleepy town of Clyde, Texas, where he stops at a garage. While waiting for repairs, he accepts a job from the sheriff, pulling surveillance on a local oilman allegedly running liquor to Indian reservations in Oklahoma. When Jack runs afoul of several locals and becomes dangerously close to the oilman’s hot-to-trot wife, he wonders if the money is worth his life.
A PI novella here with a difference. Instead of the gloomy office with the desk and the obligatory bottle in the bottom drawer, we have a travelling PI, Jack Laramie. Laramie is driving through Texas, trying to eke out a living picking up cases town to town. Our setting is post-WWII.
Arriving in Clyde, he lays up while his car receives some necessary repairs. A trip to the saloon, a drink with the sheriff and he has a new case. He's hired to keep watch on the comings and goings at an out-of-town ranch owned by a rancher turned oilman Thomas McFaull. The sheriff suspects McFaull of running illegal booze to an Indian reservation. A few days in and Laramie thinks he's been sold a pup.
An interesting story; we have a small town with the gossiping inhabitants, each with a whisper in the stranger's ear about the sheriff, there's obvious friction between him and his deputy which Laramie finds himself in the middle of. A couple of dames adding to the mix. Laramie is rooming at the boarding house run by the lonely widow woman, where a few night-time shenanigans occur, and McFaull has an attractive buxom wife, one who is quite generous with her favours to a couple of the locals.
Great sense of time and place and a decent twist at the end. Elliott has created an intriguing character in Jack Laramie and drops just enough snippets about his history to make me want to read the next Drifter Detective tale and discover a bit more.
At the back of this 106 page e-book there's a great bonus story - Fighting Chance. A boxer gets slipped a mickey while celebrating his acquittal in a court case. He wakes up in the ring, where he has to fight for his life literally, his mob boss displeased at recent events.
Excellent reading fare - 4 from 5
Garnett Elliott has penned a few more Jack Laramie tales, some of which I have on the kindle. There's eight in the series so far with three of them penned by other authors. BEAT TO A PULP is the publisher.
I can't find an author website, but he's on Twitter - @
Read in October, 2016.
Bought a year or two ago for Kindle.