Robinson’s amateur sleuth and his trusty canine sidekick return (The Dudley Files: Sold Out Without the Holdout, 2012) to help a young couple assume their rightful claim to a grandfather’s estate.
On a trip back to Houston from Mexico City, gumshoe Careless meets Karly, and she has a case for him back in Houston. Karly’s husband, Carl, recently lost his grandfather Albert, but they have no details on the man’s wealth or possible will thanks to his controlling daughter, Nanette, who isn’t returning phone calls. Careless and his beloved pal, Dudley, a large Black Mouth Cur, along with a few of Careless’ cohorts, find that Albert left behind an antique World War II gun, part of the collection Albert promised to Carl. Any fans of Kinky Friedman’s books will see his influence right away: Both authors feature Texan-born detectives living in lofts with scene-stealing pet companions. There are also superficial references that get to be a bit excessive—minor characters with the Friedman surname; quotes from Friedman’s song lyrics. But Dudley is a character all his own, and the novel is at its best when he monopolizes the narrative. Careless takes Dudley with him almost everywhere, and the dog more than proves his worth with his sniffer (the Black Mouth Cur is a hunting dog), solving Careless’ second—and unrelated—case of a missing prized miniature donkey practically by himself. The story does sometimes grow repetitive, reiterating that it’s tradition for Careless’ family to have breakfast every weekday morning and that Careless is allergic to exercise. But few will mind repeated references to Dudley’s “oversized jowls,” the “trail of goober” he leaves behind on the phone when he quite thoughtfully answers it, or the fact that his doggie grumbles remind Careless of someone mumbling under his breath.
Often funny; sure to send readers to Careless and Dudley’s debut story.