Here’s the big question: Will Detroit shamus Amos Walker ever run out of wisecracks? Apparently not, as long as he keeps ogling blonds, out-tailing tails, and out-lipping cops, crooks, and picaresque auxiliary characters. Superstar Gilia Cristobal, who’s not really a blond (and not really Gilia Cristobal, for that matter), hires Walker (Sinister Heights, 2002, etc.) to find blackmailer Jillian Rubio, who hasn’t appeared lately for her payoff after threatening that if she failed to show up, Gilia’s past would be splashed all over the tabloids. That past includes a quick sashay out of a nearby dictatorship where she was wanted for murder. Of course, she has an alibi, but to validate it, Walker must find a professor who had an eyeball burned out with a sizzling copper penny, a fate that Walker himself soon faces. Meanwhile, Walker’s old nemesis, drug impresario Hector Matador, has become Gilia’s theatrical manager, adding a generous helping of goons and controlled substances to the plot, although they are nowhere as appealing as Gilia’s seductive hair-tossing and long, long legs. When Jillian turns up dead, the next question is not whodunit but who has her blackmail file and is about to emerge as the next, more dangerous blackmailer?
Here’s the follow-up to the big question: How many wisecracks is one too many? Sure, they’re frequently pungent and often witty, but there comes a point when you crave a simple declarative sentence, maybe even a couple of them in a row, and some straightforward exposition without that unrelenting cleverness.