It all starts decorously enough, with London shamus Martin Jackson taking on two new clients. Corporate exec Christopher Streetfield is worried because the wife who’d just confessed her affair and been reconciled to him has vanished. Sleek Nola Poshard is looking for her sister Louise, who took off with a valuable rarity: the uncorrected (and extremely indiscreet) proofs of a John le Carré novel. But since Jakubowski’s name is on the cover, you know that once the preliminaries are over, this will be just another tale of looking for love in all the wrong places and positions and with all the wrong implements. When the tale zigzags between Martin’s desultory, but amazingly efficient, inquiries and the parallel story of Cornelia, a Yale Ph.D. book collector/exotic dancer/assassin, there’s no point in waiting for the two lines to converge—as they will with a bang in the Big Easy—when you can relax and enjoy the fleshpots along the way: tours of strip clubs, lengthy interpolated tales of sadomasochism and bestiality, throwaway references to casual or desperate whoring. Jakubowski (It’s You That I Want to Kiss, 1997, etc.) wrings every lurid drop (semen, urine, blood) from the geometry of pairings, trios, and quartets before kissing off his inflatable dolls with the obligatory aperçus about the tenderness that’s mostly honored in the breach here.
“I’m a private eye,” says Martin. “I can see things you don’t see.” Consider yourself warned.